Archive for April 18th, 2011


Whenever I stroll through a cemetery that has tombstones from the 19th century, I think of an story one of my women’s history professors in graduate school told me.

Ann Randolph Titler

As my professor told it, when she became interested in women’s history while in college, one of her history professors tried to discourage her. After various arguments as to why women did not constitute a worthy area of historical interest, he concluded with a declaration about how women’s history couldn’t be done anyway because women change their names when they marry and there is no way to trace them. Now there are plenty of ways in which I could dispute that old curmudgeon’s theories about women’s history and the possibility of studying women, but the I mostly just chuckle at the ludicrous idea that women’s history will run aground because women change their names at marriage. (We’ll leave aside that name-changing is culture-specific rather than universal.) After all, it’s not like there are government documents or possibly even tombstones where women’s names before and after marriage might be recorded, right?*

Murray (3)

*Heavy sarcasm alert.


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