Kimberly A. Hamlin is a historian specializing in women, gender, sex, science, and politics. A recent recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Public Scholar Award, Hamlin regularly contributes to the Washington Post and other media outlets, and she lectures widely on topics related to women and gender. Her latest book, Free Thinker: Sex, Suffrage, and the Extraordinary Life of Helen Hamilton Gardener (2020), reveals the remarkable story of the “fallen woman” who changed her name, reinvented herself, and became the “most potent factor” in Congressional passage of the 19th Amendment as well as the highest-ranking woman in federal government. Hamlin is actively involved in local and national suffrage centennial activities including guest editing, together with Cathleen Cahill and Crystal Feimster, a special suffrage centennial issue of the Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era. Hamlin’s previous book, From Eve to Evolution: Darwin, Science, and Women’s Rights in Gilded Age America (2014), analyzes the U.S. reception of Darwin in terms of gender and provides the first full-length study of women’s responses to evolutionary theory. Hamlin has received the Carrie Chapman Catt Prize for Research on Women and Politics, the Margaret Rossiter History of Women in Science Prize (from the History of Science Society), and the Emerging Scholar Award from the Nineteenth Century Studies Association, in addition to research fellowships from the New England Regional Fellowship Consortium, the Huntington Library, the Sophia Smith Collection, and others. Hamlin has also published on the origins of the Miss America Pageant, the Girl Scouts, bearded ladies, women running for president, and the Equal Rights Amendment. She has appeared on various public radio shows on both NPR and CBC and contributed to multiple PBS documentaries. Since 2007, she has taught History and American Studies at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. She lives in Cincinnati where she co-hosts the Mercantile Library’s Allgood-McLean “Women You Should Know” Book Discussion Series. For more information, please visit www.kimberlyhamlin.com or follow her on Twitter @ProfessorHamlin.
Helen Hamilton Gardener and the Secret History of Women’s Suffrage in America
This talk reveals the remarkable story of the “fallen woman” who became the “most potent factor” in Congressional passage of the 19th Amendment and the highest-ranking woman in federal government. After being outed in Ohio newspapers for having an affair with a married man, Alice Chenoweth moved to New York City, changed her name to Helen Hamilton Gardener, and became one of the century’s most famous reformers. In 1910, she settled in Washington, D.C. right next to the Speaker of the House. Next, she charmed her way into the Wilson White House and steered the 19 th Amendment through Congress. The year 2020 marks the centennial of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, and this presentation tells the larger story of the suffrage movement through the eyes of one of its most fascinating advocates.
Race, Racism, and the U.S. Women’s Movement: From Seneca Falls to the 2017 Women’s March
The 19th-century women’s rights movement had close ties with abolitionism, and the women’s movement of the 1960s and 1970s grew out of the Civil Rights movement. Yet, mainstream women’s rights movements have often been critiqued for prioritizing the needs of white women over those of women of color, and white leaders have often been blind to issues of race and racism. These historical debates and fissures came to a head during the planning of the 2017 Women’s March on Washington. Who speaks for American women? What issues unite American women? This presentation provides a historical overview of the role of race and racism in the U.S. women’s rights movement, highlighting key issues, rifts, and cooperative efforts from the 1830s to today.
Madame President: A History of Women Seeking the Nation’s Highest Office
In 1872, Ohio native Victoria Woodhull became the first woman to run for President of the United States. She spent election night in a jail in New York City. Find out why in this interactive talk (re)introducing attendees to female presidential candidates such as Woodhull, Belva Lockwood, Margaret Chase Smith, Shirley Chisholm, and Ellen McCormack. This presentation will place each woman in her unique historical context, highlight common themes across generations, and invite us to think about the role of public memory and shared historical narratives in forming our images of the ideal president.
Are Women People? A History of the Equal Rights Amendment
First proposed in 1923 as a follow-up to the 19th Amendment, the Equal Rights Amendment has prompted heated debates about American womanhood for nearly 100 years. Are women people first, or mothers? Are women fundamentally equal to men, or fundamentally different from men? What would it look like for women to be both equal and different? This talk analyzes the evolution of ERA debates, highlights the fascinating women who devoted their lives to working for and against the ERA– including Alice Paul and Phyllis Schlafly– and brings the debate up to the present with the post-2016 resurgence of the ERA.
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