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12 Women Who Shaped America: 1619 to 1920

Meet the often-overlooked women who changed the face of America—feminists, scholars, reformers, and visionaries.

12 Women Who Shaped America: 1619 to 1920 is rated 3.6 out of 5 by 18.
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Rated 4 out of 5 by from Knowledgeable presenter, could be a 24 lecture set Mechanical aspects of using DVD are simple, same as other courses. Presenter is a little stiff, but is obviously knowledgeable of the subject. A complaint by another viewer indicated a slant to women's issues. Wasn't that the point? As a male, I did not find that unsuitable, given the topic. Watched it with my wife. Well done.
Date published: 2022-09-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Good way to find out about these women. I enjoyed learning about these women who worked to promote women's rights. They were strong enough to stand up for themselves and other women. Many of these women I'd never heard of before. Good to know they exist.
Date published: 2022-09-06
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Rather Boring I've watched the first two lectures, and am not very motivated to continue.
Date published: 2022-09-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very interesting! The material is very interesting. Some of the women were familiar to us but others were not. The material was also well presented.
Date published: 2022-08-15
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A strong focus on US women's suffrage As someone from UK, I am always interested in widening my knowledge of American history. However I found this series of 12 sessions reflected a much more personal slant from Prof Lange than I expected. Her interest in how women who fought for women's suffrage and black women's civil rights were presented through pictures took centre stage. Although interesting, I found it rather uni-dimensional.
Date published: 2022-08-03
Rated 1 out of 5 by from boring It sounded great it sounded interesting but, the professor was pretty boring. I think in order to make it more interesting she needed to do something more like raise her voice when something exciting was about to happen.
Date published: 2022-06-10
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Falls short I really wanted to like this course but could only make it through about 5 episodes. I felt like I was listening to something aimed at fifth graders. In the first episode, the instructor talks slave auctions as if this is something new she just discovered. The episode on Sacagawea, she only covered common information. In the episode of Sojourner Truth, the instructor went into a long explanation about photo development in the 1800's. I think that could have been summed up in a couple of sentences. This course does not compare to the past Great Courses that I've watched.
Date published: 2022-05-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from All your Courses I think I Have learned more from your courses over the last fifteen or so years than I did during the whole of my fancy education at an Ivy League University. I’ve studied religion (Ehrman among others), music (Greenberg!), history (Rufus Fears among others) and mythology. I’m still at it, and it enriches my life immeasurably. Thank you.
Date published: 2022-05-13
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Overview

Too often, historical narratives overlook the contributions of women. Museums, documentaries, historical sites, and even textbooks omit essential parts of the whole because they leave out her story. Join Allison K. Lange, historian and professor, as she guides you through the fascinating lives of 12 early Americans in 12 Women Who Shaped America: 1619 to 1920 and shares their stories which are crucial to a better understanding of American history. With a deft talent for bringing history to life, Allison explores the complex and often controversial lives of these American women who shaped the United States as we know it today.

About

Allison K. Lange

It's an unfortunate but well-known fact that textbooks, documentaries, historical sites, museums, and many other types of histories often overlook women in the United States. It's time to tell her story.

INSTITUTION

Wentworth Institute of Technology

Allison K. Lange is an Associate Professor of History at Wentworth Institute of Technology. She holds a PhD in History from Brandeis University.

Allison is a historian who explores the stories that images tell about the intersection of gender and power in US history. Her book Picturing Political Power: Images in the Women’s Suffrage Movement focuses on the ways that women’s voting rights activists and their opponents used images to define gender and power. She has written for The Atlantic, The Washington Post, and Imprint. She has also provided interviews for The New York Times, TIME magazine, USA TODAY, and podcasts like And Nothing Less and American Girls Podcast.

For the Nineteenth Amendment centennial, Allison served as a historian for the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission. She also curated exhibitions at the Massachusetts Historical Society and Harvard University’s Schlesinger Library as well as a website for Melinda Gates’s Pivotal Ventures called Truth Be Told: Stories of Black Women’s Fight for the Vote. Various institutions have supported her work, including the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Library of Congress.

By This Professor

12 Women Who Shaped America: 1619 to 1920
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12 Women Who Shaped America: 1619 to 1920

Trailer

Phillis Wheatley Peters, Founding Poet

01: Phillis Wheatley Peters, Founding Poet

Before the age of eight, Phillis Wheatley Peters was kidnapped, forced to endure the Middle Passage, and sold into slavery. By the age of 21, she was a published poet, lauded by the intellectual giants of the new American Colonies. Travel back in time to colonial Boston and discover the woman whose words made her one of the very first professional Black writers in the United States.

28 min
Martha Washington, First Lady of the Republic

02: Martha Washington, First Lady of the Republic

Was Martha Washington more than simply the first American First Lady? Was she more than an icon for 19th century opponents of women’s rights? Consider what we know today about her complicated life as a mother, wife, widow, partner, and architect of the preeminent female role throughout much of the history of the United States.

26 min
Sacagawea, Shoshone Diplomat and Guide

03: Sacagawea, Shoshone Diplomat and Guide

Who was the real Sacagawea? Was she the mythologized “Indian Princess,” guide, and helpmate to white explorers that you learned about in school? Was she something more than the stories? Meet Sacagawea of the Shoshone and explore how the stories about her life have often reflected changing American political and cultural landscapes.

27 min
Sojourner Truth, Crusader for Human Rights

04: Sojourner Truth, Crusader for Human Rights

American society in the early 1800s told women that they were not supposed to work on the lecture circuit or become political activists. Sojourner Truth did both. Learn how this undaunted, formerly enslaved woman advocated for herself and all women, using photographs to fight the limiting racist and sexist narratives of her day.

28 min
Catharine Beecher, Author and Educator

05: Catharine Beecher, Author and Educator

Catharine Beecher believed in traditional gender roles, but that did not diminish the value of women’s contributions to American life. In seeking to educate a new generation of women to fill the roles of mother, wife, and teacher, she also raised the ire of anti-slavery and women’s rights activists who wanted more for women than domesticity and compliance.

27 min
Victoria Woodhull, 1872 Presidential Candidate

06: Victoria Woodhull, 1872 Presidential Candidate

Come face to face with the complex and outspoken Victoria Woodhull: stockbroker, editor, politician, consummate feminist, and the first female candidate to run for the US presidency. Learn about the public speaking talent that led to her being embraced by American suffragists—and the controversial free love ideology that eventually forced them to reject her.

28 min
Susan B. Anthony, Women’s Rights Champion

07: Susan B. Anthony, Women’s Rights Champion

Mocked by cartoons depicting her and other suffragists as masculine and a threat to established gender norms, Susan B. Anthony fought back. Examine the photographs she used to control her public image and see how her editorial oversight of an influential book series defined the women's voting rights movement and its leadership.

28 min
Harriet Tubman, Underground Railroad Leader

08: Harriet Tubman, Underground Railroad Leader

The truth about Harriet Tubman is sometimes as extraordinary as the familiar myths about her. As a child, Tubman suffered a traumatic brain injury, but she did not let that stop her from escaping slavery and creating an exceptional life. Learn about her work as a nurse, domestic worker, mapmaker, spy, Underground Railroad conductor, and even military raider, as she tirelessly fought for equity and justice.

28 min
Isabella Stewart Gardner, Art Museum Pioneer

09: Isabella Stewart Gardner, Art Museum Pioneer

Born into an age when women across New England were blazing trails in both politics and art, Isabella Stewart Gardner dreamed of opening her own museum. Reveal how heartbreak over a child’s death provided the impetus to travel and finally manifest her dream of a museum that we still enjoy today.

27 min
Frances Benjamin Johnston, Photographer

10: Frances Benjamin Johnston, Photographer

Explore the extraordinary life of one of America’s first female professional photographers. From her earliest days in portraiture for the elite of Washington, DC, to her later years as a documentary, architecture, and landscape photographer, Frances Benjamin Johnston’s vision and talent paved the way for generations of female artists and photographers.

26 min
Alice Paul, National Woman’s Party Leader

11: Alice Paul, National Woman’s Party Leader

Dive into the life and work of the unusual Alice Paul, who was considered a radical by other American suffragist leaders. Well-educated for a woman in any era, Paul was exceptional in early 20th century America. Hear about her controversial protests, her historic leadership, and the fight for the 19th Amendment.

34 min
Mary Church Terrell: Suffrage to Civil Rights

12: Mary Church Terrell: Suffrage to Civil Rights

As the first president of the National Association of Colored Women, Mary Church Terrell understood the critical importance of public image. Find out more about her long life, from her birth into slavery in Tennessee to her education at Oberlin College, and her eventual fights to secure rights and freedoms for all people through politics, protests, and the law.

32 min