Victoria Woodhull

In light of the upcoming US presidential election, I would like to focus on the extraordinary women’s rights pioneer Victoria Woodhull (1838-1927). She was the first woman to run for this position in the 1872 election on an Equal Rights Party ticket, even though women had not yet won the right to vote. Her vice-presidential […]

The menstrual cup

Leona Chalmers was an actress/singer who gave up her career to develop a patent for a “problem”, which she considered to be “as old as Eve.” She is now credited as the inventor of the menstrual cup. Prior to the 1930s, prototypes such as the “catamenial sacks”, a belt-like construction with a metal or flexible […]

Female Figureheads

I came across the topic of female figureheads while reading a wonderful essay by the architect Denise Scott-Brown. In “Room at the Top? Sexism and the Star System in Architecture” (1975) she mentions that before the invention of modern navigation devices, women would be entrusted to guide a vessel at sea in form of a […]

Shirley Chisholm

Shirley Chisholm (1924-2005), nicknamed “Fighting Shirley”, was a remarkable African-American woman of many firsts. Particularly in this day and age, she is remembered for her fight for women’s rights, the environment, healthcare and anti-racism. After a reapportionment of congressional districts in Brooklyn in 1968, Shirley Chisholm took a chance at running for congress under her […]

The Queen Bee

The lifecycle of a queen bee begins with her birth from a queen cup, which is a specially constructed cell. While in the cell, larvae are fed royal jelly until they eventually grow into queens. A queen measures approx. 0.78? and can live up to 7 years. Contrary to the belief that the queen bee […]

“Flintenweiber”

May 8th 1945—75 years ago today—marks the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany and, therefore, the end of World War II in Europe. In order to celebrate this anniversary, Berlin declared it a national holiday in 2020. In memory of all the victims of this horrible war, I would like to cast some light on a […]

Minna Braun

In October 1919, Minna Braun, a young Berlin nurse, took an overdose of morphine and sleeping pills with the intention of committing suicide. Several hours later, her body, seemingly lifeless, was found in the forest known as Grunewald. A physician declared her dead and she was placed in a coffin. 14 hours later, while Braun’s […]

The Frog Test

Prior to the invention of immunological pregnancy tests in the 1960s, women relied on the very widespread and popular “frog test” to determine pregnancies. This method was invented around 1930 and required the injection of the patient’s blood or urine under the skin of a small living animal, often a frog or a toad—hence the […]

Clara Möller-Cobrug

Given that my last two entries focused on the topic of infectious disease and hygiene, I would like to stay with the zeitgeist and cast light on an undervalued artist, who sadly—as her death date indicates—fell victim to the influenza pandemic over 100 years ago: Clara Möller-Coburg (1869-1918). Möller-Coburg was educated at the Damenakademie des […]

Mary Wortley Montagu

The history of Western virology can be traced back to observations made by Mary Wortley Montagu (1689-1762) amongst harems in the Ottoman Empire. The wife of the ambassador to Constantinople, Wortley Montagu observed how through the practice of inoculation—also referred to as variolation—smallpox immunity was obtained by injecting a healthy person with pox puss from […]

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