“With my usual sublime self-confidence, I rode roughshod over the objections.” Emily Hahn

You know the names of their male colleagues, contemporaries, and husbands. But if you’ve encountered their names at all, it was likely alongside a rueful qualifier like: “a forgotten gem” or “the greatest female writer of her day.” As if it’s to be assumed that we’ve forgotten them. As if there can only be one great female writer of each “day.”

Whatever their token personal firsts, they were, foremost, artists, intellectuals, and travelers. Some were more politically engaged than others, and some paid dearly for it. Some balanced work with family life and found great inspiration in doing so. Some did not. Some were extremely religious. Others were decidedly … not.

What these diverse women have in common is that they documented their travels with words, photographs, films, paintings, sculptures, and more — and each one was changed in some way by the journeys she took.

Their canon offers a historical snapshot of their time, as well as insights for contemporary problems. This site is not a melancholic plea for their remembrance. Here, their work is as relevant as it’s always been.

Copyright Sandra Knisely