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Tag Archives: history

History’s 10 Greatest Love Letters from Wives to Their Husbands

The Letter by Alfred StevensMen and women have used writing to express their feelings to one another since the dawn of recorded time. Most of those heartfelt words are lost to the press of history. Even from what survive, there may be more beautiful and earnest love letters. But these 10 letters demonstrate the qualities that make a love letter a moving tribute to the beloved—and provide some guidance for writing beautiful love letters of our own.


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The History of Wifery: Women in 19th Century America

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Alexis de Tocqueville spent 9 months in 1831 traveling around the United States to study America’s religious, political, and economic character. In this excerpt, he describes why women are part of what made America a great nation.

On the Moral Education of Young Women

Long before an American girl arrives at the marriageable age, her emancipation from maternal control begins: she has scarcely ceased to be a child when she already thinks for herself, speaks with freedom, and acts on her own impulse. Read the rest of this entry

History’s 10 Strangest Fashions for Women

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As much as we might regret the return of 80s fashion, women have worn far stranger things than neon colors and acid wash jeans. Dead-animal chic, non-existant sleeves and skirts that won’t pass through doorways are just the beginning. It seems like women have always been willing to go to extremes to look fashionable, but hopefully these 10 bizarre styles are gone for good. Read the rest of this entry

Wifery in Action: Abigail Adams

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In his Pulitzer-Prize-winning book, Founding Brothers, Joseph Ellis names Abigail Adams as one of the eight most prominent political leaders in early America alongside such greats as her husband, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington. (It almost goes without saying that she is the only woman on his list.) Her loyalty to her husband, devotion to their common cause, and excellence as a wife and mother make her a beautiful example of Wifery in Action. Read the rest of this entry

What It Means to Be a Woman: Teenage Girls and Role Models

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I teach ninth- and tenth-grade English class at the Brookewood School. For the final project, I asked each girl to define for herself what is it to be a woman and design a website to share her ideas with the world. While I’m proud of each and every site I’m blown away with the realization they all reached: a woman cannot be a better woman and wife by herself. We need to look for role models to become good women. And the girls came up with some ingenious places to look.
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Vintage Marriage Advice from the Eve of World War I

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We modern women tend to be focused on our rights. So focused on them, in fact, that we occasionally forget that our rights also come with responsibilities. Healthy marriages aren’t built on the love, devotion, and selflessness of one partner alone. Marriage ought to be built on mutual love and sacrifice.

In her 1913 Don’ts for Wives, Blanch Ebbuttt unapologetically presents a simple picture of what marriage for women of her generation ought not be: neither spouse should dominate the other. Instead, she suggests that we keep our husbands’ needs and desires constantly in mind in the hope that they’re the ones looking out for what we need and want. Read the rest of this entry