Nora Barnacle (1884-1951) – Tales from Wo-Fan’s Land

Was the muse, partner and eventually wife of the most famous Irish writer of the 20th century, James Joyce. Born in Galway. Her father was a baker and her mother a dressmaker. The marriage was not a happy one and she was mostly raised by her maternal grandmother. Two of the boys she fell in … Continue reading Nora Barnacle (1884-1951) – Tales from Wo-Fan’s Land

Megan Stewart, Elizabeth Cambers, and Sabrina Coons discover Irena Sendler – Tales from Wo-Fan’s Land

A short 90 minute drive from both Kansas City, Missouri and Lawrence, Kansas is a remarkable space in an unremarkable place. Fort Scott, Kansas was the home to the 1st and 2nd Kansas Colored Infantry during the United States Civil War and the birthday place of photographer Gordon Parks. It is also home to the … Continue reading Megan Stewart, Elizabeth Cambers, and Sabrina Coons discover Irena Sendler – Tales from Wo-Fan’s Land

Coccinelle: The Power of Being Unapologetically You – Tales from Wo-Fan’s Land

Jacqueline Charlotte Dufresnoy was born on August 23, 1931 in Paris, France. Sounds like the beginning to a normal story, right? However, Jacqueline, better known by her stage name, Coccinelle (meaning ‘ladybug’), was anything but ordinary in her time. This Marilyn Monroe lookalike was a French actress, entertainer, and a pioneering transgender activist for LGBTQ+ … Continue reading Coccinelle: The Power of Being Unapologetically You – Tales from Wo-Fan’s Land

Ellen Maria Langham (aka Nelly Power) – Tales from Wo-Fan’s Land

Ellen Maria Langham (or Lingham, depending who you ask), marginally better known as Nelly Power, was a music hall and pantomime star in London in the late 1800s. Unfortunately, the only real reminder of Nelly these days is a blue plaque, used in the UK to mark places of historical significance, on her house in … Continue reading Ellen Maria Langham (aka Nelly Power) – Tales from Wo-Fan’s Land

Hurrem Sultan, Roxelana (1502-1558) – Tales from Wo-Fan’s Land

Although Hurrem Sultan, or Roxelana, may be a more well known historical figure, I decided to write about her basically because I hadn’t heard of her in any (of several) history classes. Her influence on the Ottoman Empire at its height is difficult to exaggerate, as one women transformed her position from slave to ruler, … Continue reading Hurrem Sultan, Roxelana (1502-1558) – Tales from Wo-Fan’s Land

Claudette Colvin – Tales from Wo-Fan’s Land

One of the pioneers of the American civil rights movement was just fifteen when she made history, and you’ve likely never heard of her. Nine months before Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus for a white passenger, Claudette Colvin took a similarly defiant action on another Montgomery bus. Colvin, however, … Continue reading Claudette Colvin – Tales from Wo-Fan’s Land

The Penis Envy Blues: Karen Horney and the Birth of Feminine Psychology – Tales from Wo-Fan’s Land

If you’ve heard of Dr. Karen Horney, I’m guessing that you have taken an introductory psychology course. (At least that’s where I heard of her, and now that I teach psychology courses my students tell me they have never heard of her before.) Like me (and my students), you might have learned that she was … Continue reading The Penis Envy Blues: Karen Horney and the Birth of Feminine Psychology – Tales from Wo-Fan’s Land

Arabella Babb Mansfield – Tales from Wo-Fan’s Land

Arabella “Belle” Babb Mansfield (May 23, 1849-August 1, 1911) – is best known for being the first woman in the United States to pass the bar examination and the nation’s first female attorney. At the time she sat for the bar, Iowa law required applicants for bar admission to be white, male, and over the … Continue reading Arabella Babb Mansfield – Tales from Wo-Fan’s Land