Category Archives: History

What am I reading?

I’ve reviewed a number of books over the years, including several little “What are you reading?” contributions to Times Higher Educational Supplement (THE).  Indeed, I submitted a couple there recently. The first one appeared a couple of weeks ago.  The other one will appear before long.

HerStory Scotland? Yes, but under a different name

Idly scrolling through Twitter, an account called Herstory caught my eye.  It’s owned by Alice Wroe, a London feminist artist.

Herstory- set up by @alicewroe uses feminist art to engage people with the women’s history absent in the curriculum.

Being naturally inquisitive, I had to find out who Alice was:-

Alice Wroe


Feminism / Art / Education. See my project @herstory_uk


It got better.  HerStoryIreland spotted my retweet, so I thought I’d see what was happening over there, too:-



Herstory is a new cultural movement created to tell the lost life stories of extraordinary women from history and today.

Dublin City, Ireland  ·

So the obvious question was, what about Scotland and Wales?  We certainly do study women’s history ‘over the border’ – and although there isn’t a Twitter @HerStoryScotland, there is Women’s History Scotland @womenshistscot, not to mention the amazing Glasgow Women’s Library @gwlkettle.  (I must admit I’ve never really thought about what goes on in Wales, as regards feminism or feminist history. Shocking, considering my Welsh Borders ancestry, but I have only ever lived there for one academic year.)

I keep an eye on the Women’s History Scotland group activities, but I’m already 11228598145_661aa7a45d_zjuggling being a music librarian, musicologist and PGCert online student, so I’m a bit pushed for time at present.  Women’s place in history is an interest of mine, but not my main focus.  My current research is into historical music copyright collections.  From time to time, this does lead me to think about women involved with music.  In my doctoral research, I encountered early 19th century song-collectors in the Hebrides, and more recently I’ve discovered a lady music cataloguer in early 19th century St Andrews, and a deserted Scottish mother who supported herself and her daughter in London by teaching and composing harp and piano music. She also sold her deceased, deserting husband’s compositions (nice work, Sophia!), and established a music school with her second husband.  Quite a lady.   (Oh, and there was the English lady concert promoter who tried to get in on the first Edinburgh Musical Festival.  She didn’t get anywhere.) Then there were my English lady song-composers who set songs about the pastoral life, romance, sensibility … and the Napoleonic Wars!

Meanwhile, in my capacity as music librarian, I’ve boosted our stock of books about women in music, historical or otherwise, in the past year or so.  And I have research colleagues outwith the library, who study women in music whilst simultaneously composing music, and suffragette women in politics whilst animating live theatre events.  But this is just in my small corner of Western Scotland.  There is bound to be lots more activity that I don’t even know about.