Women Entertainers and the Civil Rights Movement

Nina Simone 1

If you're looking for heroes of the civil rights movement, there are the usual suspects, the names that everyone knows: King, Shuttlesworth, Abernathy, etc. But how about the people who were heroes a little more indirectly? Those who were heroes for other reasons, but lent their fame to the cause? I speak of the entertainers. Lena Horne, Nina […]

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Nothing Like a Dame: Judi Dench

Judi Dench

Dame Judi Dench has recently released a new book of photos and anecdotes from her long career: Behind the Scenes. The photographs are both publicity shots and ones from Dench's private collection, documenting both her professional and personal life. The most striking thing I learned from this book was that as a young actor, a […]

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Moran More

caitlin moran 1

Caitlin Moran made a splash two years ago with her book of essays, How to Be A Woman. While better known in England than here in the States, her body of work so far will hopefully rectify that. How to Be a Woman goes roughly in chronological order, from Moran's burgeoning adolescence in Wolverhampton to contemplating her mortality […]

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His and Hers

pill 1

According to Jonathan Eig, there are four people primarily responsible for the birth control pill: incendiary feminist Margaret Sanger, iconoclast medical researcher Gregory "Goody" Pincus, devoted philanthropist Katherine McCormick, and Catholic OB/GYN John Rock. Eig weaves their stories together in The Birth of the Pill. Pincus runs his medical institute on a wing and a prayer, […]

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BANG! POW! Super Girls in Comics

Black Cat Comics cover superhero in black cat suit drops in on gangsters gambling

With all the new superhero blockbusters like Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy and X-Men: Days of Future Past, it’s hard not to love caped crusaders. For comic book geeks like me, it feels like a new golden age of heroes. This year, for One Book One Chicago, we celebrate the history of superheroes […]

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Ladies of Dagenham, Unite!


Rita O'Grady (Sally Hawkins) is nothing out of the ordinary, working at the Ford factory and raising her children with her husband in their blue-collar suburb of London in 1968.  O'Grady works in the all-female section of the plant sewing seat covers, along with 146 other women. What starts out as a dispute over job designation grows into […]

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Build Her a Myth: Romance Novel Dresses by Carrie Ann Schumacher

short ruffled dress made of book pages

Don't miss Build Her a Myth: Romance Novel Dresses, an exhibit by Carrie Ann Schumacher, on display June 6 to July 18 in the 8th floor north wall exhibit case at the Harold Washington Library Center. When Schumacher came across a box of discarded romance novels at the library, she knew she wanted to use them in her artwork. […]

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Seven Magpies

anjelica huston

I have had a girlcrush on Anjelica Huston since I saw her in Addams Family and Addams Family Values when I was a teenager. I wanted to look like Morticia, say witty things like her, and generally subvert the dominant paradigm like her. I have matured somewhat, but I still think Ms. Huston is one of the best actresses […]

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Living with the Complexities


Axie Muldoon wants: nice clothes, a big house, a meal in her belly.  As an orphan on the streets of 19th century New York, these things seem out of reach. And yet, by the time she is thirty, Axie (AKA Madame Beausacq) has them all. Along the way, she rides the orphan trains, delivers her mother's baby, apprentices […]

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What Are Satmar Girls Made Of?

  If I I have freedom in my Love, And in my soul am free, Angels alone who soar above, Enjoy such Liberty.                                         Richard Lovelace, To Althea From Prison If Charles Dickens had been Jewish and lived now, perhaps he could have come up with Deborah Feldman's childhood.  Born into the Satmar Hasidic Jewish community, […]

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