A History of Women in 101 Objects

    Annabelle Hirsch

    A History of Women in 101 Objects


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An excellent reminder that women have always been there. They may be written out of texts, but the objects they leave behind reveal them in all their complexity. Women that fought, women that worked, women that wielded power and carried agency. Through these 101 objects you can touch the hands of ancestors and understand the worlds they inhabited. Dr Janina Ramirez, author of Femina

This is a neglected history. Not a sweeping, definitive, exhaustive history of the world but something quieter, more intimate and particular. A single journey, picked out in 101 objects, through the fascinating, too-often-overlooked, manifold histories of women.

Open up this cabinet of curiosities and you'll find objects that have been highly esteemed - even, like the Bayeux tapestry, fought over by nations - and others that are humble and domestic. Some (like a sixteenth century glass dildo) are objects of female pleasure, some (a thumbscrew) of female subjugation. There are artefacts of women celebrated by history and of women unfairly forgotten by it; examples of female rebellion and of self-revelation; objects that are inspiring, curious or (like radium-laced chocolate) just fundamentally ill-conceived.

From the Sappho papyrus to the Remington typewriter, the Singer sewing machine to Kim Kardashian's Ring, these objects show the evolution of how women were perceived by others, how they perceived themselves, how they fought for freedom. Through the variety and nuance in all these 101 objects, Annabelle Hirsch has created a new history - teeming, unexpected, witty and always illuminating. This overdue corrective reveals what a healed femur says about civilisation, what men have to fear from hat pins, and it shows that the past has always been as complicated and fascinating as the women that peopled it.

Format/pages: hardback / 416 pages

ISBN: 9781805300878

Publisher: Canongate Books

Year: 2023



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