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Berkshire Conference of Women Historians virtual bookstore

With the cancellation of the in-person Berkshire Conference of Women Historians meeting, we are inviting Berks' attendees to instead browse our virtual bookstore. We are offering a 30% discount and free media mail shipping on all the books below from May 25 until August 31. To access the discount, add the books you would like to purchase to your cart, and use the promo code HBCH before checking out.

To see more books that might interest you, browse our latest history catalog here.

Iliazd: A Meta-Biography of a Modernist

Johanna Drucker

Iliazd is the first full-length biography of the poet-publisher, Ilia Zdanevich, as well as the first comprehensive English-language study of his life and work. Johanna Drucker weaves two stories together: the history of Iliazd's work as a modern artist and poet, and the narrative of the author's encounter with his widow and other figures in the process of researching his biography. Drucker's reflection on what a biographical project entails addresses questions about the relationship between documentary evidence and narrative, between contemporary witnesses and retrospective accounts. Ultimately, Drucker asks how we should understand the connection between the life of an artist and their work.

Fabric of EmpireThe Fabric of Empire: Material and Literary Cultures of the Global Atlantic, 1650-1850

Danielle C. Skeehan

A history of the book in the Americas, across deep time, would reveal the origins of a literary tradition woven rather than written. It is in what Danielle Skeehan calls material texts that a people's history and culture is preserved, in their embroidery, their needlework, and their woven cloth. In defining textiles as a form of cultural writing, The Fabric of Empire challenges long-held ideas about authorship, textuality, and the making of books. This book shifts how we look at cultural objects such as books and fabric and provides a material and literary history of resistance among the globally dispossessed.

Faces of Civil War NursesFaces of Civil War Nurses

Ronald S. Coddington

In Faces of Civil War Nurses, Ronald S. Coddington turns his attention to the experiences of 77 women of all ages and walks of life who provided care during the war as nurses, aid workers, and vivandières. Their personal narratives are as unique as fingerprints: each provides a distinct entry point into the larger social history of the brutal and bloody conflict. Coddington tells these determined women's stories through letters, diaries, pension files, and newspaper and government reports.  Following their postwar stories, he also explains how the bonds they formed continued long after the cessation of hostilities.

The Lives of Amish WomenThe Lives of Amish Women

Karen M. Johnson-Weiner

Karen M. Johnson-Weiner draws on her thirty-five years of fieldwork in Amish communities and her correspondence with Amish women to consider how the religiously defined roles of Amish women have changed as Amish churches have evolved. What does it mean for an Amish woman to be humble when she is the owner of a business that serves people internationally? Is a childless Amish woman or a single Amish woman still a "Keeper at Home" in the same way as a woman raising a family? What does Gelassenheit—giving oneself up to God's will—mean in a subsistence-level agrarian Amish community, and is it at all comparable to what it means in a wealthy settlement where some members may be millionaires?

Come and Be ShockedCome and Be Shocked: Baltimore beyond Johns Waters and The Wire

Mary Rizzo

The city of Baltimore features prominently in an extraordinary number of films, television shows, novels, plays, poems, and songs. Whether it's the small-town eccentricity of Charm City (think duckpin bowling and marble-stooped row houses) or the gang violence of "Bodymore, Murdaland," Baltimore has figured prominently in popular culture about cities since the 1950s. In Come and Be Shocked, Mary Rizzo examines the cultural history and racial politics of these contrasting images of the city. From the 1950s, a period of urban crisis and urban renewal, to the early twenty-first century, Rizzo looks at how artists created powerful images of Baltimore and explores the rise of tourism, urban branding, and citizen activism.

Suffrage at 100Suffrage at 100: Women in American Politics since 1920

edited by Stacie Taranto and Leandra Zarnow

In Suffrage at 100, Stacie Taranto and Leandra Zarnow bring together twenty-two scholars to take stock of women's engagement in electoral politics over the past one hundred years. Why, they ask, has women's struggle to achieve equal political power in the United States dragged on longer than the nearly seventy-five-year campaign for women's suffrage? This is the first wide-ranging collection to historically examine women's full political engagement in and beyond electoral office since they gained a constitutional right to vote. Bringing this history up to the Women's March and the #MeToo movement, the collection assesses how far women have come, as well as the ongoing challenges of navigating a patriarchal political system.

Detectives in the ShadowsDetectives in the Shadows: A Hard-Boiled History

Susanna Lee

America has had a love affair with the hard-boiled detective since the 1920s, when Prohibition called into question who really stood on the right and wrong side of the law. And nowhere did this hero shine more than in crime fiction. In Detectives in the Shadows, literary and cultural critic Susanna Lee tracks the evolution of this truly American character type—from Race Williams to Philip Marlowe and from Mike Hammer to Jessica Jones. Lee explores how this character type morphs to fit an increasingly troubled world, offering compelling interpretations of The WireTrue Detective, and Jessica Jones.

Mary Elizabeth GarrettMary Elizabeth Garrett: Society and Philanthropy in the Gilded Age

Kathleen Waters Sander

Mary Elizabeth Garrett was one of the most influential philanthropists and women activists of the Gilded Age. With Mary's legacy all but forgotten, Kathleen Waters Sander recounts in impressive detail the life and times of this remarkable woman, through the turbulent years of the Civil War to the early twentieth century. At once a captivating biography of Garrett and an epic account of the rise of commerce, railroading, and women's rights, Sander's work reexamines the great social and political movements of the age.

All the Horrors of WarAll the Horrors of War: A Jewish Girl, a British Doctor, and the Liberation of Bergen-Belsen

Bernice Lerner

On April 15, 1945, Brigadier H. L. Glyn Hughes entered Bergen-Belsen for the first time. Waiting for him were 10,000 unburied, putrefying corpses and 60,000 living prisoners, starving and sick. One month earlier, 15-year-old Rachel Genuth, Lerner's mother, arrived at Bergen-Belsen; deported with her family from Sighet, Transylvania, in May of 1944, Rachel had by then already endured Auschwitz, the Christianstadt labor camp, and a forced march through the Sudetenland. In All the Horrors of War, Bernice Lerner follows both Hughes and Genuth as they move across Europe toward Bergen-Belsen in the final, brutal year of World War II.

ArtifactsArtifacts: How We Think and Write about Found Objects

Crystal B. Lake

In Artifacts, Crystal B. Lake unearths the four kinds of old objects that were most frequently found and cataloged in Enlightenment-era England: coins, manuscripts, weapons, and grave goods. Following these prized objects as they made their way into popular culture, Lake develops new interpretations of works by Joseph Addison, John Dryden, Horace Walpole, Jonathan Swift, Tobias Smollett, Lord Byron, and Percy Bysshe Shelley, among others. Rereading these authors with the artifact in mind uncovers previously unrecognized allusions that unravel works we thought we knew well.

Entangled LivesEntangled Lives: Labor, Livelihood, and Landscapes of Change in Rural Massachusetts

Marla B. Miller

In Entangled Lives, Marla R. Miller examines the lives of Anglo-, African, and Native American women in one rural New England community—Hadley, Massachusetts—during the town's slow transformation following the Revolutionary War. Peering into the homes, taverns, and farmyards of Hadley, Miller, a longtime resident of the town, offers readers an intimate history of the working lives of these women and their vital role in the local economy. Her compelling stories about women's everyday work reveal the larger economic networks in which Hadley operated and the subtle shifts that accompanied the emergence of the middle class in that rural community.

The Ruler's HouseThe Ruler's House: Contesting Power and Privacy in Julio-Claudian Rome

Harriet Fertik

In The Ruler's House, Harriet Fertik considers how the emperor's household and the space he called home shaped Roman conceptions of power and one-man rule. While previous studies of power and privacy in Julio-Claudian Rome have emphasized the emperor's intrusions into the private lives of his fellow elites, this book focuses on Roman ideas of the ruler's lack of privacy. Fertik explores the world of the Roman house, from family bonds and elite self-display to bodily functions and relations between masters and slaves. She draws on a wide range of sources, including epic and tragedy, historiography and philosophy, and art and architecture.

The Lost Books of Jane AustenThe Lost Books of Jane Austen

Janine Barchas

In the nineteenth century, inexpensive editions of Jane Austen's novels targeted to Britain's working classes were sold at railway stations, traded for soap wrappers, and awarded as school prizes. At just pennies a copy, these reprints were some of the earliest mass-market paperbacks, with Austen's beloved stories squeezed into tight columns on thin, cheap paper. Few of these hard-lived bargain books survive, yet they made a substantial difference to Austen's early readership. Informed by the author's years of unconventional book hunting, The Lost Books of Jane Austen will surprise even the most ardent Janeite with glimpses of scruffy survivors that challenge the prevailing story of the author's steady and genteel rise.

The Pursuit of ParenthoodThe Pursuit of Parenthood

Margaret Marsh, and Wanda Ronner

Bringing their unique expertise in gender history and women's health to the subject, Margaret Marsh and Wanda Ronner examine the unprecedented means—liberating for some and deeply unsettling for others—by which families can now be created. Beginning with the early efforts to create embryos outside a woman's body and ending with such new developments as mitochondrial replacement techniques and uterus transplants, the authors assess the impact of contemporary reproductive technology in the United States. The book dispels a number of fertility myths, offers policy recommendations, and reveals why the United States is still known as the "Wild West" of reproductive medicine.

Campus Sexual AssaultCampus Sexual Assault: College Women Respond

Lauren J. Germain

In Campus Sexual Assault, Lauren J. Germain focuses attention on the post–sexual assault experiences of twenty-six college women. She reframes conversations about sexual violence and student agency on American college campuses by drawing insight directly from the stories of how survivors responded individually to attacks, as well as how and why peers, family members, and school, medical, and civil authorities were (or were not) engaged in addressing the crimes. Germain weaves together women's narratives to show the women not as victims per se but as individuals with the power to overcome these traumatic experiences.

Brides, Mourners, BacchaeBrides, Mourners, Bacchae: Women's Rituals in Roman Literature

Vassiliki Panoussi

Feminist approaches to the study of women in Greek literature have helped illustrate the importance of their religious and ritual roles in public life—Latin literature, however, has not been subject to similar scrutiny. In Brides, Mourners, Bacchae, Vassiliki Panoussi takes up the challenge, exploring women's place in weddings, funerals, Bacchic rites, and women-only rituals. Panoussi probes the multifaceted ways women were able to exercise influence, even power, in ancient Rome from the days of the late Republic to Flavian times. The book elucidates not only the importance of female religious experience in Rome but also the complexity of ideological processes affecting Roman ideas about gender, sexuality, family, and society.

OutsidersOutsiders: Five Women Writers Who Changed the World

Lyndall Gordon

Mary Shelley, Emily Brontë, George Eliot, Olive Schreiner and Virginia Woolf: they all wrote dazzling books that forever changed the way we see history. In Outsiders, award-winning biographer Lyndall Gordon shows how these five novelists shared more than talent. We have long known the individual greatness of each of these writers, but in linking their creativity to their lives as outcasts, Gordon throws new light on the genius they share. Writing with passionate intelligence of her own, Gordon reveals that these renegade writers inspired a new breed of women who wished to change a world locked in war, violence, exploitation, and sexual abuse.

Victorians UndoneVictorians Undone: Tales of the Flesh in the Age of Decorum

Kathryn Hughes

In Victorians Undone, renowned British historian Kathryn Hughes follows five iconic figures of the nineteenth century as they encounter the world not through their imaginations or intellects but through their bodies. Or rather, through their body parts. Using the vivid language of admiring glances, cruel sniggers, and implacably turned backs, Hughes crafts a narrative of cinematic quality by combining a series of truly eye-opening and deeply intelligent accounts of life in Victorian England.

The Backwash of WarThe Backwash of War: An Extraordinary American Nurse in World War I

Ellen N. La Motte, edited with an introduction and biography by Cynthia Wachtell

In September 1916, as World War I advanced into a third deadly year, an American woman named Ellen N. La Motte published a collection of stories about her experience as a war nurse. Deemed damaging to morale, The Backwash of War was immediately banned in both England and France and later censored in wartime America. At once deeply unsettling and darkly humorous, this compelling book presents a unique view of the destruction wrought by war to the human body and spirit.  This volume gathers, for the first time, La Motte's published writing about the First World War. In addition to Backwash, it includes three long-forgotten essays.

The Making of Jane AustenThe Making of Jane Austen

Devoney Looser

Just how did Jane Austen become the celebrity author and the inspiration for generations of loyal fans she is today? Devoney Looser's The Making of Jane Austen turns to the people, performances, activism, and images that fostered Austen's early fame, laying the groundwork for the beloved author we think we know. Looser shows how these figures and their Austen-inspired work transformed Austen's reputation, just as she profoundly shaped theirs. Drawing from unexplored material, Looser examines how echoes of that work reverberate in our explanations of Austen's literary and cultural power.

T.S. Eliot's Dialectical ImaginationT.S. Eliot's Dialectical Imagination

Jewel Spears Brooker

Jewel Spears Brooker argues that two of the principles that Eliot absorbed as a PhD student at Harvard and Oxford were to become permanent features of his mind, grounding his lifelong quest for wholeness and underpinning most of his subsequent poetry. The first is that contradictions are best understood dialectically, by moving to perspectives that both include and transcend them. The second is that all truths exist in relation to other truths. Brooker considers Eliot’s poetry in three blocks, each represented by a signature masterpiece: "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," The Waste Land, and Four Quartets. She correlates these works with stages in the poet’s intellectual and spiritual life: disjunction, ambivalence, and transcendence.

The Digital Literary SphereThe Digital Literary Sphere: Reading, Writing, and Selling Books in the Internet Era

Simone Murray

The Digital Literary Sphere considers the contemporary book world from multiple viewpoints. By examining reader engagement with the online personas of Margaret Atwood, John Green, Gary Shteyngart, David Foster Wallace, Karl Ove Knausgaard, and even Jonathan Franzen, among others, Murray reveals the dynamic interrelationship of print and digital technologies. Drawing on approaches from literary studies, media and cultural studies, book history, cultural policy, and the digital humanities, this book asks: How does digital media reframe the "live" author-reader encounter? And does the growing army of reader-reviewers signal an overdue democratizing of literary culture or the atomizing of cultural authority?

Northern Italy in the Roman WorldNorthern Italy in the Roman World: From the Bronze Age to Late Antiquity

Carolynn E. Roncaglia

Carolynn E. Roncaglia's Northern Italy in the Roman World analyzes the effect of the Roman Empire on northern Italy, tracing the evolution of the region from the Bronze Age to the Gothic wars. A wealthy and strategically important region, northern Italy presents an interesting case study for examining the influence of the Roman state on the fluctuating geographic areas of Cisalpine Gaul that were under its control. Using an array of epigraphic, archaeological, numismatic, and literary evidence, Roncaglia shows how Rome affected matters large and small, from loom weights to ritual horse burials, social networks to the careers of writers.

Sarah Gray Cary from Boston to GrenadaSarah Gray Cary from Boston to Grenada: Shifting Fortunes of an American Family, 1764-1826

Susan Clair Imbarrato

The Cary family of Chelsea, Massachusetts, prospered as plantation owners and managers for nearly two decades in the West Indies before the Grenada slave revolts of 1795–1796 upended the sugar trade. Sarah Gray Cary used her quick intelligence and astute judgment to help her family adapt to their shifting fortunes. From Samuel Cary’s departure from Boston to St. Kitts in 1764 to the second generation’s search for trade throughout the West Indies, Susan Clair Imbarrato draws on a wealth of archival material to tell the compelling story of the Cary family from prosperity and crisis to renewal.

The Notorious Mrs. ClemThe Notorious Mrs. Clem: Murder and Money in the Gilded Age

Wendy Gamber

In September 1868, the remains of Jacob and Nancy Jane Young were found lying near the banks of Indiana’s White River. Suspicion for both deaths turned to Nancy Clem, a housewife who was also one of Mr. Young’s former business partners. Wendy Gambler chronicles the life and times of this charming and persuasive Gilded Age confidence woman, who became famous not only as an accused murderess but also as an itinerant peddler of patent medicine and the supposed originator of the Ponzi scheme. The book raises fascinating questions about women’s place in an evolving urban economy. Was Clem on trial because she allegedly murdered her business partner? Or was she on trial because she engaged in business?