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Posts Tagged ‘women’s studies’

Pennsylvania Women Plaque

This is something a little different – this plaque is inside the Pennsylvania state monument at Gettysburg. I am not aware that there is anything else like this on the battlefield proper (but I’ve been wrong before). What it made me think about was that here is a plaque with no names, just dedicated to the loyal women of the commonwealth, and yet it probably contains more information than most of their tombstones did.

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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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Lottie Crane Smith

Eleanor Quirk

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