Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History
By Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
(Vintage, Paperback, 9781400075270, 320pp.)
Publication Date: September 23, 2008
Other Editions of This Title: Hardcover
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From admired historian—and coiner of one of feminism's most popular slogans—Laurel Thatcher Ulrich comes an exploration of what it means for women to make history.
In 1976, in an obscure scholarly article, Ulrich wrote, "Well behaved women seldom make history." Today these words appear on t-shirts, mugs, bumper stickers, greeting cards, and all sorts of Web sites and blogs. Ulrich explains how that happened and what it means by looking back at women of the past who challenged the way history was written. She ranges from the fifteenth-century writer Christine de Pizan, who wrote The Book of the City of Ladies, to the twentieth century’s Virginia Woolf, author of A Room of One's Own. Ulrich updates their attempts to reimagine female possibilities and looks at the women who didn't try to make history but did. And she concludes by showing how the 1970s activists who created "second-wave feminism" also created a renaissance in the study of history.
Laurel Thatcher Ulrich is currently Phillips Professor of Early American History and 300th Anniversary University Professor at Harvard. Her book A Midwife's Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary, 1795-1812, won the Pulitzer Prize in History, the Bancroft Prize, and the American Historical Society's John H. Dunning and Joan Kelly Memorial Prizes. Ulrich's discovery of Martha Ballard and work on the diary has been chronicled in a documentary film written and produced by Laurie Kahn-Leavitt with major funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Experience television series. Ulrich is also the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship and many other honors and awards.
"A bravura performance. . . . Ulrich is brilliant here. . . . Few have done as much to so profoundly enrich and enlarge our vision of the past."
—The Boston Globe
"The book is a pleasure to read. . . . Ulrich's style is plain and direct."
—The Washington Post Book World
"Ulrich writes with deep insight and humor about subjects that touch our daily lives."
—The Washington Times