Wandering the Halls of History – On a Personal Note

Christine de Pizan lecturing men!

Christine de Pizan lecturing men!

I’m not a historian and don’t pretend to be. That may not be a wise statement to make on a history blog, but it’s the truth and I don’t necessarily believe it’s a disadvantage here. While the occasional author has popped in to comment about a woman she has written about, I think most of you are interested amateurs like I am. We know women have played a significant role throughout history, but for various reasons they haven’t gotten the recognition that they deserve. So this intrigues us, or angers us, and we seek out information or at least take note of it when we see it.

The Beginning

While I’ve always loved history, this venture began when I started collecting materials for a class I wanted to teach on the history of science and mathematics. Not long after that, health problems forced me to stop teaching and I never got to teach the class, but ended up with all these resources.

Also as a result of the end of my teaching career (at least in public schools), I ventured into the world of internet marketing. Well that didn’t last long. The people who make money that way are, as a rule, the people teaching others how to make money on the internet or affiliate marketers who sell other peoples products. Neither of which I could put my heart into. However, I learned a lot about websites, blogging, and especially WordPress that has helped me. (Although, wordpress.com has made blogging so easy now that you shouldn’t let lack of knowledge keep you from starting one if you want. Shoot me an email if I can help.)

So one day I decided to combine the two and start a blog about women in history. Actually, there were a couple of other blog attempts, but this is where I ended up about a year and a half ago.

Restored Stoa in Athens. (Photo: Adam Carr, Wikipedia)

Restored Stoa in Athens. (Photo: Adam Carr, Wikimedia Commons)

Wandering the Halls

To be honest, I’ve struggled with the idea that I needed to be an expert to write about this topic. There are many blogs and Facebook pages run by people who are experts and it can sometimes be a little intimidating. I’ll begin to get a handle on a particular subject, for example women’s suffrage, and something else will grab my attention which I just have to read about. So I’m off on a tangent pursuing my latest interest.

I was happily maintaining the Facebook page for “Saints, Sisters, and Sluts” and I kept coming across great posts about ancient Egypt, so I started the “Ancient History Lovers” page. Then I was watching a documentary with Bettany Hughes about the ancient Minoans when she mentioned a female archaeologist named Harriet Boyd, so of course I had to read about her. You get the idea. In fact, finding interesting posts for Facebook has sometimes caused my frustration, because there just isn’t enough time to read about all the fascinating subjects and people that I encounter.

I’ve decided to call this “Wandering the Halls” syndrome. Smile It’s like wandering the halls of a great museum and learning little bits and pieces about ancient peoples or great artists, and never seeing the “whole picture.” But all those little pieces, I believe, enrich our lives.

Some halls are more complete than others. (Photo: Adam Carr, Wikimedia Commons)

Some halls are more complete than others. (Photo: Adam Carr, Wikimedia Commons)

Where to From Here?

Is this a problem? It could be, but I don’t think it has to be. When I was teaching I always considered myself more of a facilitator than a teacher. It’s an approach that isn’t always appreciated in public schools, but I started in adult education. As a rule, adults learn better the more control they have over the learning environment. Providing resources, motivation and a little guidance can lead to some of the best results.

I love to see someone discover things themselves. And if they go on to become an expert, that’s great! But, if they are also afflicted with “Wandering the Hall” syndrome, then I’ve found a kindred spirit.

I decided that I’m comfortable being a “Jill of all trades, mistress of none.” Many of the most interesting women I’ve learned about were because someone else mentioned them to me. That is what I want this blog to be about; information that intrigues people and makes them want to learn more. I hope I’ve done that at least for some.

Please Comment

As I said, some of the most interesting people I’ve learned about were mentioned to me by others. I would love to have more dialogue on the blog. Which of these women interest you? Can you add interesting information about them? Do you like them, dislike them, etc.? Disagreement is welcome, politely of course.

If you’ve read this far into my little tangent, thank you. The next post will be about another interesting woman. I think I know which one, but you never know what hall I might turn down! Laughing

Any thoughts?

Any thoughts?


14 thoughts on “Wandering the Halls of History – On a Personal Note

  1. How wonderful for you to share a little of your history with history! I’m quite content to follow along as you “wander the halls”. In other words, I’m sorry to admit that I have no women to recommend researching….I see myself as more of a patron, rather than student, of the museum of life, gleaning bits of information wherever I look. That said, your blog posts that I have most enjoyed have been the ones in which you write about what you specifically found fascinating about that featured person. Everyone has interesting and noteworthy pieces in their lives, but I often find delight in what catches the interest of those who have studied the whole. Hmm… Your “title” has most often been teacher, but you seem to be much more the student…but then that is what I expect the best teachers really are…

    • Thanks Susan. You’re right. I am the perpetual student. And that is why I started this. Not to teach anyone anything, but to share what I learn. Thanks for taking the time to comment. Oh and for reading 🙂

    • I love your serendipitous attitude! You’ve entertained and educated me with your tangential “wandering the halls.” That has been my biggest pleasure in studying history and i am definitely a kindred spirit. Thanks for sharing your story, i think there are many kindred spirits reading your blog.

      As i commented before, i especially loved your comments on Margaret Sanger and Catherine Mc Cormick. I think the world should have a day honoring them. Has there been two other women who have changed our personal lives so much, and their actions could save the earth, if we set our minds to it. What happened to the zero population goal we talked about in the 1970’s?

      If you like blueberries, check out the woman who developed them, Elizabeth White of Whites Bog, NJ.

      • Jean I agree so much with you about Sanger and McCormick. I do try to stay informed about women in other, developing, parts of the world and the struggles they face. Even if women in industrialized parts of the world don’t appreciate their work, or take it for granted, it truly changes and saves the lives of women elsewhere. As does education of girls and women.

        And I love blueberries! Thanks for the name and for stopping by!

  2. I am excited to see where you go with this! I thoroughly enjoyed what you have done so far. I do a lot of genealogy and have found many of the women I have researched in your writings. Such fun!!! I have recommended it to many of my friends. Thank you for sticking with it!!!

    • Katherine, Thank you so much for the kind words. I’m intrigued that you have found connections with women you have researched. Are they your family connections or do you do work for others? I have just recently started documenting some of my own family history, searching census records, etc. It is fascinating but I’m just getting started. Thanks for taking the time to comment!

  3. Susan-We are kindred spirits. I’m a Jill too!!! My attempts at house cleaning and organizing follow the wandering….I’ll start one project and jump to another. Explains why my bathroom was 3/4 painted for two years….Excellent as always, and like the other ladies, I’m content to wander along!

    • LOL 🙂 I guess it does apply to other areas of my life at times too. I do think there is virtue in finishing things, but not just for the sake of finishing. At least not at this point in my life. I used to always finish any book that I started. Now if it’s not good, there are too many other things that I would rather spend my time on. Thanks Tami!

  4. Aloha Susan. As a credentialed historian, let me tell you the most important aspects of being an historian are passion for your subject and strong research skills. These you have. Thank you for sharing your research results.

    • Sandra, Thank you so much for the encouragement. I guess all those years of honing my analytical skills in math and science weren’t wasted 🙂 What is your area of expertise? ‘Aloha’ reminded me, I watched a documentary about the conquest of Hawaii this weekend. I’ve read a little about it and it is sadly part of American history that many don’t know about. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment.

  5. Susan, great piece. I enjoyed reading a bit of your personal “Hall of History.” I agree with you that “facilitating” as opposed to “teaching” can be a far more effective and empowering method of evoking the learning process from within, rather than imposing it externally. As for other interesting women, have you done much research on the Goddess Inanna? From what I know of her story she would make excellent grist for your mill.

    • Thanks Nena, I know a little about Inanna, I occasionally post artifacts, etc of gods and goddesses from ancient sites on the ancient history FB page. It’s been a while since I’ve done much reading about her, but I do have some good books. I’ll read up on her. 🙂

  6. As always, Thanks for offering your thoughts and your insights. As a brit and a male, I am concerned about becoming involved in any discussion about women with a woman – too many ‘isms to confuse the few words offered in this type of exchange. If I ever find anyplace that I can assist with offering any factual information then I’ll comment – but not with opinions!

    • I understand completely Geoff, especially when people define so many of those ‘isms differently. Even among women there are many disagreements and often the inability to see the other person’s perspective. I am also aware of the fact that as an American woman, I have my limitations as well. Part of what I love about history is seeing the diversity among people and hopefully transcending some of those limitations along the way. That being said, as a math and science person by training, I do love those facts! Your input is always welcome, fact or opinion. Thanks for commenting! 🙂

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