Thank You to the Phenomenal Women Who Continue to Inspire Us

March 19, 2020
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In honor of Women’s History Month, we want to celebrate the power of women helping women and the incredible community that results when we support and mentor each other along the way. We invited several recent authors to share their stories and to offer thanks to the phenomenal women who have been inspirations and friends in their careers. Thank you to all of the awesome women in publishing and academia who have paved the way. We don’t say thanks nearly enough for the work you do for all of us.

“The woman who most inspired my career was Barbara Johnson. Barbara saw potential in my graduate work when others didn’t and her lectures were so thought-provoking, so energizing, that I felt nourished for days afterward. I’ll never forget what she said while waiting in line with me to order lunch one day: ‘I feel like an imposter.’  The great Barbara Johnson felt like an ‘imposter!’  But she was the real thing.” Carrie Noland, author of Merce Cuningham: After the Arbitrary

“A heartfelt thank you to Joyce Antler and Karen Hansen, who won me over to women’s history during their US Feminisms class in graduate school at Brandeis University. It was a spectacular class that prompted me to think about everything a little differently and drew me to the study of women’s rights movements. Their early guidance toward my dissertation project made all of the difference.” Allison K. Lange, author of Picturing Political Power: Images in the Women’s Suffrage Movement

“I’d like to give a shout-out to Katherine (Kasey) Grier, Emeritus Professor in the Department of History at the University of Delaware. Kasey, author of Pets in America: A History, has been an inspiration, a mentor, and a friend. Among other things, she shares my passion for the study of material culture: if we can find meaning in dogs’ squeaky toys, we can find meaning in anything. Cheers, Kasey!” Wendy Woloson, author of Crap: A History of Cheap Stuff in America

“Sarah Kay has been an important role model, colleague, and mentor for me through the years. She introduced me to the serious study of the troubadours, and I’ve always admired her intellectual curiosity, rigor, and bold originality in the field of medieval literature. Finally, she has demonstrated the importance of collegial generosity and academic community. And, Brigitte Cazelles taught me how to read medieval literature askant, with an eye and ear for visual surprises, noise, and cacophonous laughter.” Marisa Galvez, author of The Subject of Crusade: Lyric, Romance, and Materials, 1150-1500

“I was interested in a career in urban policy or planning when I enrolled in Kathy Conzen’s graduate seminar in American urban history at the University of Chicago. Kathy’s class and her ongoing mentorship inspired my career as a teacher and historian.” Ann Durkin Keating, author of Juliette Kinzie and Her World: Chicago before the Fire

“I can’t begin to express how grateful I am to the many amazing women mentors and role models I’ve had the privileging of working with and learning from over the last couple decades. Among them is Laura Wexler, whom I admire for her creative vision, her intellectual acumen, her generosity of mind, her fierce feminism, and her commitment to knowing and learning and growing in all aspects of life.  With all of this, Laura has given me so much joy, self-confidence, and insight about my work, and presence in my own mind, over the past twenty years. Thank you!” Hanna Rose Shell, author of Shoddy: From Devil’s Dust to the Renaissance of Rags
“Whether it’s having lunch with me on a bench in Dahlem, Germany and discussing the stresses of accessing forgotten archival collections, or having a lively conversation in British pubs or American coffee shops about old hearing aids and telephones, no historian has inspired and encouraged me more than Dr. Mara Mills. Her insightful approach to telling stories of deaf people that are intertwined with moments of technological development rigidly examined through gendered lens, is a masterclass in historical writing. She models the kind of creativity and collegiality that is wonderfully encouraging for early-career historians seeking to harness their own voices.” Jaiprett Virdi, author of Hearing Happiness: Deafness Cures in History
“Alice Kimball Smith, the noted historian of the atomic scientists’ movement immediately after World War II, was an inspiration to me. I worked as a research assistant with her on an edited collection of Robert Oppenheimer letters, learned a great deal about good historical writing, and received the encouragement I needed to stop being a research assistant and instead go back to school and get my own Ph.D.” Nancy S. Seasholes, editor of The Atlas of Boston History

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