March was a fun month for women’s history research and human interest stories! It was a challenge to pull my top picks and also to stop myself from spending all day in bed reading each day after discovering the latest each morning. I hope that this will provide some fun weekend reading for you. There is a piece about the forgotten female aquanauts of the 1970s, the lesser-known history of astrology, a great list of women’s history resources from the Smithsonian, and more. My favorite: a Victorian-era vampire slaying kit that blew my socks off. 

Happy reading! 

Pocket: Beyond Sherlock Holmes: Five Victorian Detective Stories You Must Read

Do you love Victorian-era mysteries? Arthur Conan Doyle created such a sensation with Sherlock Holmes that many other talented writers stepped in to feel the void he left when he ended the series. Some even feature female detectives! 

Atlas Obscura: The Forgotten Women Aquanauts of the 1970s

In 1970 five female scientists spent weeks underwater. They did more research than any male group up to that point, and convinced NASA to let women travel to space. Why aren’t they more well-known? This is their story. 

Oxfam: Reading recommendations for Women’s History Month

Recommended fiction, memoirs, and essays authored by women, compiled by the Women at Oxfam employee resource group.

Fox 5 New York: Winter may be ending, but these gloves will have a ‘long’ life

Victorian women loved long gloves, and the style has made several comebacks, including recently. Stylist Liz Teich gives her tips on wearing this timeless classic.

Lake County News: Women’s History Month: The women who stood with Martin Luther King Jr. and sustained a movement for social change

Vicki Crawford is the director of the Morehouse College Martin Luther King Jr. Collection, where she oversees the archive of his sermons, speeches, writings, and other materials. Here, she explains the contributions of women who influenced King and helped to fuel some of the most significant campaigns of the civil rights era, but whose contributions are not nearly as well known.

The Guardian: Think women have never had it so good? You should take a look at medieval days

What do you think life was like for medieval women? Well, two new books have recent research that may prove you wrong. They were bawdier and busier than many people believe….

Smithsonian: Ten Education Resources to Explore this Women’s History Month

An educator from the Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum shares her top picks for teaching and learning on the topic. This is such a great list and includes articles, videos, lesson plans, and more. My favorite: the Women Making History Guide featuring six American Indian women who have blazed new trails, led nations, and challenged the status quo as heroes, warriors, activists, and advocates.

UCLA: A Victorian-era computer pioneer gets to speak for herself

The world continues to become more fascinated by Ada Lovelace! A UCLA researcher is in the process of transcribing over 15,000 documents related to her life so that more people can continue to learn about her life and learn about her remarkable work. 

Glam: 100 Years Of Astrology

Astrology is no new trend. It was popular and well-respected for hundreds of years before it fell out of fashion by the 1800s. It would be revived around 1850 and would become a society fixture from then to now. This article highlights some of the surprising ways that it appeared in the early 20th century, including in museums in the 1920s. 

Tattler: Royal Ascot fashion, a style retrospective: the evolution of racing’s most glamorous spectacle

Nothing says “high fashion” like the Royal Ascot. Here’s a comprehensive look at how the women’s dress code for the event has evolved over time. 

Wales Online: Victorian vampire slaying kit containing a wooden stake to fetch thousands at auction

You won’t believe this one! A Victorian-era vampire slaying kit is currently on auction and includes a stake, holy water, Bibles, a crucifix, a mirror, rosary beads and a small pocket pistol. Check it out! 

The Conversation: Music and mental health: the parallels between Victorian asylum treatments and modern social prescribing

Victorian-era asylums are often thought to have had poor conditions, but by the middle of the 19th century, almost all the larger asylums in England had their own band and would often organize dances, attended by over a hundred patients. Some of the trends set back then led to mental health treatment still being used today. 

More from the Recollections blog:

A brief history of hat boxes

Private purses: women’s tie-on pockets

Letter seals: a history

19th century spicy trinkets: Nutmeg graters