The following passages offer us a glimpse into the margins of early modern European society. Glückel of Hameln (1645-1724) was born into the Jewish community of Hamburg, a thriving German commercial center. When Glückel was four, the city expulsed its Jewish residents, forcing her family’s exile. Ten years later, Glückel married Hayim of Hameln, with whom she had twelve children. During her... Read More »
The following passage comes from one of the most famous literary works of early modern Europe: François Rabelais’s Gargantua and Pantagruel, first published in four volumes between 1532 and 1552. A satirical chronicle of the journey through France of the giant Gargantua and his son, Pantagruel, the story’s intended audience was the French aristocracy, the educated elite upon whose patronage... Read More »
This excerpt comes from a 1639 letter written by Mother Marie de Saint Joseph, a French Ursuline nun in Canada. The letter is part of the Jesuit Relations, a collection of official yearly reports on the progress of Catholic missionary efforts based on the first-hand accounts of field missionaries. Published for 41 years beginning in 1632, the Relations offer a glimpse into European-Native... Read More »
This engraving pairs images of enslaved people and free blacks in four categories: dress, deportment, entertainment, and access to water. Although there are differences between the pairs, these are not as great as they might be.
Etta Palm D’Aelders, "Discourse on the Injustice of the Laws in Favor of Men, at the Expense of Women" (30 December 1790)
Like many female activists, the Dutch woman Etta Palm D’Aelders did not explicitly articulate a program for equal political rights for women, though that would no doubt have been her ultimate aim. Instead she worked to bring about a change in morals and customs that would in turn foster a more egalitarian atmosphere for women. She gave this address at a meeting of the Confederation of the... Read More »