Women's History

A Cold and Stormy Night - October, 1888

A Cold and Stormy Night - October, 1888

Ella Rhoads Higginson’s recollection of her arrival on the shores of Bellingham Bay on a dark night in October of 1888 and the “horrors” she encountered, is the perfect seasonal read for BellingHistory nerds. The story was written some 20 years after the fact and originally published in the American Reveille June 14, 1908. It was later reprinted in Edith Beebe Carhart’s 1926 compilation “A History of Bellingham, Washington” and in Lela Jackson Edson’s 1951 “The Fourth Corner.”

Jail Tales: Female Trouble

Jail Tales: Female Trouble

Given that much of the subject matter on our tours involves lawbreaking folks, we have always been particularly interested in the jail, and in particular the experiences of women in the legal system. On our Downtown Sin and Gin Tours, we discuss the creation of the women’s ward in the jail, and the hiring of female wardens. In case you can’t get enough jail fun facts, here’s a sampler of some jail history from our notes.

Case Study: Lorena Upper the Female Barber

Case Study: Lorena Upper the Female Barber

From these articles, it appears that Lorena was harassed while she was with customers, peeped-on through a spy hole, beaten by her accuser, and the case against her relied entirely on eyewitness testimony that itself relied heavily on euphemism and innuendo. The city brought forth witnesses who were almost entirely local business men and whose testimony is dripping with hearsay.

Repost: Early Mugshots of Women in Vancouver, BC

Repost: Early Mugshots of Women in Vancouver, BC

After my standard explanation of GTG and a half second of fear that the archivist was going to be offended by the very nature of my research-- this is uber polite Canada afterall-- she suggested I take a look at a book called “The Rogues Gallery.”

Mary Pickford and the Changing Role of the Actress in America

Mary Pickford and the Changing Role of the Actress in America

Pickford's stage debut coincides with a cultural shift in post-Victorian America. The idea of female purity in the Victorian Era (1830s-1900s) was inextricably connected with domesticity and the home; women who lived a public or nomadic life were by their very nature suspect. But after Queen Victoria's death in 1901 a gradual relaxation of rules about where women should be seen and heard took place.