When I was in graduate school for history, my advisor told a story to several women’s history classes about when she first expressed an interest in women’s history. One of her professors curtly informed her that women’s history was too hard to study because women changed their names at marriage and so couldn’t be tracked through historical records the same way men could. Decades later, with women’s history now firmly established as a legitimate field of study, the claim that many women are lost to history merely through the act of changing their surname is laughable, but I think of it every time I walk through a cemetery and see stones like these, where a woman is listed with at least two surnames she used during her life.
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A Grave Concern by Ashley D. Smith is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.