Forgotten Women of History

I’m a sucker for history, especially history that focuses on women. Generally speaking, women have not had it easy for most, if not all of our written and recorded history. I’ve always wondered about the stories of the women behind the Roman generals or the grandmother of famous painters like Vincent Van Gogh. Who were they and what made them tick. And, this is why I’ve created the historical narrative writing project called: Forgotten Women of History.

Forgotten Women of History

Forgotten Women of History or FWOH for short is a blog dedicated to these women. Whether it is your grandmother who became the first female sheriff in rural Arkansas like Thelma Jewel Sanders Harber or Lulu Marie Sayer, your great aunt who abandoned her child in the forest on commands from her new husband, FWOH is telling all the stories of these women.

One the favorite stories I’ve come across while researching genealogy has been that of Philena Mae Fairbanks who was generally considered a beautiful young woman at the turn of the 20th century (see picture below). So much so, that her new husband became jealous of her beauty and locked her in their home while he was away on business trips. As the years progressed and they had more children (eight to be exact), her husband became more and more verbally  and emotionally violent. Philena knew what might happen next and told her husband “If you ever hit me, I will get a divorce.”

Philena Mae Fairbanks

This sorry excuse for a man didn’t listen and gave Philena a black eye after being angry about something or another. Philena went straight to the judge and demanded an immediate divorce from her abuser, which was granted. The story goes on to say that she told one of her daughters that by the time she died she would have a diamond ring for every finger on her left hand for all the travails she had to endure in her life. And wouldn’t you know it, by the time she passed away she had four big diamond rings she had purchased herself.

Forgotten Women of History Banner

Since launching this project late last fall, I’ve been able to write about the lives of several women, but I don’t want to stop there. Here is where you come in. I want to write about your grandmother who entered STEM fields in the early 1900’s or your great-great-great aunt who traveled around the world in search for a better life.

Since launching this project late last fall, I’ve been able to write about the lives of several women, but I don’t want to stop there. Here is where you come in. I want to write about your grandmother who entered STEM fields in the early 1900’s or your great-great-great aunt who traveled around the world in search for a better life.

If you are interested in me telling your families stories, send an email to  thehipsterhistorian (at) gmail (dot) com


  1. Only females and female identified individuals will be considered for FWOH.
  2.  This individual must no longer be living. This is important as we do not want to invade the privacy of any living individuals without consent.
  3.  Stories need to be kept to around 1800 words (at max). The more citations and information you can provide, the easier the editing process will be.
  4. The more pictures and records you have available, the better.

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Happy Fourth!

The celebrations for the year have been a bit different for us here at the Hipster Historian.  Instead of lounging about and watching fireworks at the beachside park, we traveled south to spend it with family. For the first time since a family wedding in Texas (2011), the entirety of my in-laws family are together (that’s all 8 kids + 2 parents, spouses and children) for the holidays. There has been lots of family togetherness –and let me tell you, you’ve never experience laughter if you haven’t heard eight siblings all laughing together in tandem at different octaves (it’s quite the experience).

Usually, I’m close to my kitchen with all my needed supplies and food stuffs. But in a jiffy, I was able to whip up a banging guacamole recipe that I borrowed from My Hipster Grandma’s Kitchen that won out over the family. It’s allergy-friendly, and it only takes about 30 minutes to make. Check out the recipe here.

Happy Fourth of July!

Happy 4th of July


Cemetery Walks

Earlier this week I was invited to be part of a walking tour through one of the oldest cemeteries in Whatcom County, Bayview. It was founded in 1887 in the town of Whatcom and the first burials took place in 1888. During this tour, we were treated to the history of the monuments of the founding families of our area, like the Eldridges, Roeders and Bloedels.
Cemeteries have always been a super peaceful place for me to take a walk, not something scary or spooky like lives in legends or an episode of Buffy. My mother is a professional genealogist (who you can find here) and taught me and my siblings a great respect for cemeteries and the dead from a  young age.
John Raynolds 1866-1897, Congregation Beth Israel
Henry Roeder, 1824-1902
Henry Roeder, 1824-1902
The tombstones speak to some people and tell stories of others. There are hundreds of people buried in this particular cemetery and thousands more buried around the county. I wonder what their stories are telling us.

Family History Story Time

Everyone has stories and our families (chosen or by blood) give us some of the tales that will be with us for the rest of our lives and often passed on as somewhat legends down on the line.  Under this guise, I’d like to introduce Family History Story Time to the Hipster Historian blog.

During Family History Story Time, we will relay either a story that comes from our family history or one submitted to us from you, the readers. To submit your story, e-mail us at This week’s story comes from a writing prompt from Kat Bouska at Mama’s Losin’ It — check it out here, I chose prompt three.

My husband and I had barely been married a year and in that time, I had been sick a number of times, but he never had. It wasn’t something I was used to from him and I didn’t know what to expect when the time finally came.

I was worried about my response because when I was a teenager, I developed a nervous tic to adults retching. I’m not entirely sure where it came from, but whenever adults upchuck next to me or within hearing distance I dissolve into a puddle of hysterical laughter. It’s always been that way, but my now new-husband hadn’t really experience the full brunt of this funny little tic of mine.

Engagement Photo

Becky and her husband at their engagement photo shoot in 2004

Our first jobs as a married couple was working for our universities janitorial service from 3 a.m. to 7 a.m. He worked in the health center and I worked in the administration building (that story is for another time — I constantly fell asleep on the job). After I quit, my husband kept working while I picked up a job at our local thrift store owned by the Mormon Church.

One morning during that later half of the summer of 2005 was when what we call “the incident” happened. My husband had gone to work and celebrated one of his coworkers birthdays with an employee breakfast. He came home in good spirits and even offered to drive me to my classes later that morning.

As we got ready to go, he looked fine and we walked out the door. As we were getting into the car, he mumbled to me a quick “I don’t feel well” and threw up as I was on my way over. I felt it happen as soon as I rounded the back of the car. The giggles began to peel over me and before I knew it, I was on the blacktop shaking.

I spent the next 15 minutes listening to my new spouse retch over and over again not able to assist him in anyway because of my laughter. My husband forgave me years for this incident, but it sticks in my mind as one of the most embarrassing moments of my life. What is yours?

By Becky Campbell, The Hipster Historian