State of Missouri v Celia, a Slave (1855)

When asked by a reporter why she had killed her owner, Celia, a 19-year-old Missouri slave replied, “the Devil got into me.”

Celia had been purchased by Robert Newsom when she was 14. For the next five years, he would rape her…

Women have a long history of supporting religion — mostly to their detriment

The Martyr

Born in northeast Lincolnshire, England, in 1521, Protestant martyr Anne Askew has been referred to as a “proto-feminist” (Gilbert & Gubar). I was thinking about her when writing a recent article about medieval mystics — “The Happy…

Two medieval mystics

In many ways they were opposites. One was a nun and a “religious recluse” who confined herself to a cell and the Church while the other was an “eccentric preacher”* who boldly left her husband and set out on pilgrimages that took her to Italy, Jerusalem, and…

Gerda Lerner (1920–2013)

If you don’t know about historian Gerda Lerner and the impact she had on women’s history, pull up a chair. March is Women’s History Month, and we need to be talking about this woman. Seriously.

First of all, Lerner played no small part in expanding the study of women in…

The humanities have fallen on hard times.

In the words of historian Robert Tracy McKenzie,

“Despite the growing mountain of evidence to the contrary, the majority of Americans are convinced that the serious study of the liberal arts is a waste of time and money, or at least a luxury that we can’t afford.”

Since the economic…

What I found when I lost my way in Scotland

Edinburgh. It was a decades-long dream for this American to be there. And there I was, about halfway between Edinburgh Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse on the Royal Mile.


The friend I was traveling with and I had just parted ways for the afternoon. She had other interests…

What are yours?

Are you excited that travel options are opening up again? If you’re like me, you can’t wait to indulge that wanderlust!

As I make my travel plans for the summer, the inevitable question comes up: What to take?

Looking back at my travel experiences over recent years — Victoria, Canada…

…walk up to a bar (but not the kind you think….)

The Frontiero Case

When United States Air Force officer Lt. Frontiero applied for dependent spouse benefits, the Air Force refused her.

Why? After all, spouses routinely received such benefits. How were the Frontieros any different?

Well, it was the early 1970s. Lt…

And how can I tell?

Someone asked me a grammar question recently that I thought would be worth discussing. But first, I have to say I get ridiculously excited when someone asks me a grammar or punctuation question. …

Scholar, historian, women’s historian, activist, archivist, reformer, wife, mother — all at once

I recently wrote about historian Gerda Lerner’s contributions to women’s history and the debt all historians owe her, followed by an article about Anna Julia Cooper and other pioneering Black women historians.

This time, I want to turn my attention to Mary Ritter Beard — historian, activist for women’s suffrage…

S. A. Howard

Writing coach, writer, copyeditor, course designer, instructor, mom, cat servant, and managing partner at

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