A history mag? We're with you. A women's history mag? You had us at hello. And it's smart and handsome, too? Swell! It's called...HerStoria? Aye, there's the rub. But don't let it deter you!
We can't say how well HerStoria magazine is doing, because the quarterly only launched in February. But the UK-based magazine is all kinds of awesome. Think of it as a cross between American Heritage and a gender studies journal: accessible history, but smart and unpatronizing. As they put it, the mag "explores the past to discover how the other half lived, telling the story of ordinary - and extraordinary - women. We'll bring you opinions about the fairer sex from across the centuries, and investigate the ways in which women responded and lived their lives." If, like me, you find the juxtaposition of the quaint "fairer sex" with the also kinda-quaintly earnest title curiously endearing, you're in serious luck.
Issue one includes stories on women pirates, "unexpected aspects of the lives and loves of Sappho and the women of ancient Greece" and Bess of Hardwick, as well as examinations of how women's history is taught in schools, interviews with historians, and "a women's history walk around Bloomsbury in London." In short, a history nerd's dream come true! I don't mind admitting that I've shelled out the admittedly steep £29 for a subscription, both because I'm tantalized by descriptions of the new issue's focus on Victorian traveler Isabella Bird, "life in the workhouse" and the applications of Darwin's Descent of Man for women, and because I want to support this magazine. Yes, the title is goofy, and no, it's not designed for serious historians. But it's smart and well done and aimed at thinking women who find history fun - and there's a lot right with that. And yes, I may accidentally put masking tape over the title.