Center for Women's History
Explore women's history through exhibitions, programs, scholarship, and immersive multimedia.
About the center
Our new Center for Women’s History—the first of its kind in the nation within the walls of a major museum—reveals the untold stories of women who have shaped and continue to shape the American experience. As a hub for scholarship and education, the new Center demonstrates how women across the spectrum of race, class, and culture exercised power and effected change before they could even access the ballot box. Guided by a committee of distinguished historians and informed by the latest research, the Center features permanent installations, temporary exhibitions, and a vibrant array of talks and programs, enriching the cultural landscape of New York City and ushering in a new era of historical discovery.
"Miss Rose Bower of North Dakota" Woman playing trumpet, wearing "Votes for Women" sash. Gelatin Silver Photograph, New-York Historical Society.
Major funding for the Center for Women's History programs provided by
Joyce B. Cowin
Diane and Adam E. Max
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
Jean Margo Reid
The Estate of Jean Dubinsky Appleton
Eric J. & Daria L. Wallach
Diana and Joseph DiMenna
Claudine and Fred Bacher
James Basker and Angela Vallot
The Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation
The Caroline M. Lowndes Foundation
Public funding for the Center for Women’s History
New York City Department of Cultural Affairs,
in partnership with the City Council
Empire State Development and I LOVE NEW YORK
under Governor Andrew Cuomo’s
Regional Economic Development Council Initiative
Editta Sherman (1912–2013), June Carter Cash, undated. Gelatin silver print. New-York Historical Society, Gift of the children of Lloyd R. Sherman
The Duchess of Carnegie Hall: Photographs by Editta Sherman
August 18, 2017 – January 8, 2018
Editta Sherman lived and worked above Carnegie Hall from the late 1940s to 2010, photographing thousands of celebrity portraits―actors, writers, poets, and musicians―in classic black-and-white style. Referred to as the “Duchess of Carnegie Hall” by her dear friend Bill Cunningham, Editta Sherman was featured as the sole model of his 1970s Facades series, exploring period fashions against the architectural history of New York City. Fifty selections from the Editta Sherman Archive, donated to New-York Historical by her children, will showcase Sherman’s signature style as she captured luminaries such as actor Yul Brenner, author William F. Buckley, Jr., and poet Carl Sandberg through her lens.
November 3, 2017 - March 28, 2018Hotbed explores the vibrant political and artistic scene of Greenwich Village in the early 20th century, where men and women joined forces across the boundaries of class and race to fight for a better world. At the heart of the downtown radicals’ crusade lay women’s rights: to control their own bodies, to do meaningful work, and above all, to vote. Immersive installations and more than 100 artifacts and images—drawn from New-York Historical’s archives and several private collections—bring to life the bohemian scene and its energetic activist spirit. The exhibition is curated by Joanna Scutts, Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Women’s History, and Sarah Gordon, Senior Postdoctoral Marie Zimmermann Legacy Fellow in Women’s History, under the direction of Valerie Paley, vice president, chief historian, and director of the Center for Women’s History at the New-York Historical Society, and is on view in the Joyce B. Cowin Women’s History Gallery.
Walk This Way: Footwear from the Stuart Weitzman Collection of Historic Shoes
April 20, 2018 – October 8, 2018
Shoes in recent years have culturally transcended their utilitarian purpose to become an object of desire and deliberation, calling up abstract considerations—like the freighted meanings of femininity, power, domination, and aspiration—for both women and men alike. Walk This Way: Footwear from the Stuart Weitzman Collection of Historic Shoes highlights examples from the shoe designer’s extensive private collection, assembled over three decades. The exhibition considers the story of the shoe from the perspectives of collection, consumption, presentation, and production with more than 60 pairs of shoes on view. The exhibition will explore larger trends in American economic history, from industrialization to the rise of consumer culture, with a focus on women’s contributions as makers, designers, and entrepreneurs. Coordinated by Valerie Paley, vice president, chief historian, and director of the Center for Women’s History, with Edward Maeder, consulting curator, and Jeanne Gardner Gutierrez, research fellow.