Read my article on Het Koto Museum on OZY.
Located in a quiet neighborhood near the center of historic Paramaribo, Suriname, Het Koto Museum celebrates the lives and legacy of Afro-Surinamese women. The museum is founded and run by Christine Van Russel-Henar, who is reviving the tradition of the Koto outfit. She shared her knowledge and passion with me during a visit the the museum.
Inspiring women, innovative approaches to living and learning, and pioneering social justice work: sound like something from the #metoo or #TimesUp movements? Maybe, but it was also how women at the Hull-House in Chicago lived and worked over 100 years ago.
While I was in Chicago in February, I had a chance to visit the Hull-House and be totally amazed by these women, who I already knew a little bit about. Here is a tour and brief history of the settlement house.
Think hockey is a white sport? The fast-paced action and some signature moves are thanks to a pioneering Black Hockey League that changed the game forever.
The Coloured Hockey League of the Maritimes was truly innovative in so many ways, and I'm glad that George and Darril Fosty researched the story in their book Black Ice: The Lost History of the Colored Hockey League of the Maritimes, 1895–1925. I can't remember where I first heard about the anecdote that led me to the Fostys' book, and I didn't know much about the history of Black Canadians in Nova Scotia or the Maritimes, but I've found some cool research of which I hope to share more.
Friday the 13th has enough scary stuff, so here are some cute photos of kids celebrating Halloween festivities!
This whole post was inspired by this one photo, from the Upshur County Historical Society in Buckhannon, West Virginia. In a collection of thousands of glass plate negatives, this gem appeared. The photographer Fred Brooks was a naturalist working for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, so many of the photos in the collection are of diseased trees or insects. But since he had the camera, he also took photos of his children (like this one) and the travels he took around the United States. (I'm pretty sure this is his daughter Dorothy and the photo is from 1920-22.)
Midwife Problems, and Solutions, part 4
This is part four of a series on midwifery in Sweden and the United States. To read part one click here, part two click here, part three click here.
You never know what you'll find in a box.
Midwife Problems, and Solutions, Part 3
This is part three of a series on midwifery in Sweden and the United States. To read part one, click here, to read part two, click here.
And during all this uncertainty, Johan van Hoorn was hoping someone would listen to him and his talk of jordegumman. Van Hoorn had studied medicine in the Netherlands and Paris, and had returned to Sweden to practice medicine and ended up spreading his gospel of training the midwife.
In Old English, midwife means with-woman, in Swedish jordemor (the jord comes from the Old Norse word for child or offspring) and barnmorska both mean child-mother. In Sweden at the end of the 1600s, most were untrained women known as jordegummor. Van Hoorn wanted to elevate their status, he wanted to make them barnmorskor. First, he put out the textbook called Then Swenske wäl-öfwade Jord-Gumman in 1697. In 1715, he published The Twenne Gudfruchtige I sitt kall trogne Och therföre af Gudi väl belönte Jordegummor Siphra och Pua, a textbook of questions and answers for midwives.
Midwife Problems, and Solutions, Part 2
This is part 2 of a series on the history of midwifery in the U.S. and Sweden. Click here to read part 1.
In Baltimore city, over 150 midwives delivered over 4,000 babies a year, and in every city and town in the U.S., you could find a woman delivering a baby, calling herself a midwife. But just like there were no regulations for doctors, there were no regulations for midwives. Why didn't the U.S. regulate the medical profession? And what did that mean for the health and safety of babies and mothers?
I always loved finding old greeting post-cards when I worked at the archive. What better day to share some of my favorites?
Classic cupid cherubs are always a good choice for telling your valentine how much you care...
But then, you can also get more original. These are two of my favorites. I couldn't decide if the one with the Dutch children is poorly translated, or if it is supposed to be wrong, as if they can't quite make their English flirting correct. And I've definitely printed copies of the tickle card. I find it such a great image of how couples had to flirt in the early 1900s.
Come in, the stacks are open.
Away from prying eyes, damaging light, and pilfering hands, the most special collections are kept in closed stacks. You need an appointment to view the objects, letters, and books that open a door to the past.