Jessie: In New Hampshire where everything, simply everything, is melting!
March is Women’s History Month and I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about historical women. In the course of researching a new project I came across a website devoted to information about American Women’s Dime Novels. While all of it was fascinating, what really struck a chord with me was how books written for and by women were amongst the first bestsellers.
The popularity of inexpensive books written with young, working women in mind held extraordinary appeal for a previously untapped market. Stories with suspenseful plots and plucky working class heroines stole the hearts of factory girls and domestic help. Despite their limited resources they faithfully purchased stories written by literary superstars like Laura Jean Libbey in never before seen numbers.
Long before women had the legal right to vote they were voting with their pennies and choosing to spend both their money and their time with characters that made them feel understood and acknowledged by the world. This is something I think the best writers, from all walks of life and from every generation, have in common. They make us feel that someone, somewhere knows who we are, that somehow, though we’ve never met, they see us. Themes, styles and attitudes all change over time but that craving for connection and understanding never does.
Which circles back to Women’s History Month. I feel such a swell of gratitude and connection when I consider those trail blazing women, both those in my biological family tree and those in a more literary one, that have led the way and made it possible for me to add my own chapter to Women’s History. They created space for women from all walks of life to have the chance at lives they wanted to live.
Thank you ladies!
Readers do you have a woman writer or a woman in your family that struck a chord with you? Who are some of the women in history you most admire?