How Our Grandmothers Disappeared Into History

A Historian Turned Novelist Ponders the Absence of Women From America's Historical Archives

I recently Googled my grandmother’s name. I wanted to know the date she died, so I could better place a childhood memory. In the 21st century, embarrassingly, the internet has become the family Bible. The first hit was a link to my own book, a history of Southern motherhood. I had dedicated the book, in part, to her. My stomach gave a funny flip. I had gone looking for my grandmother and found myself—and yet my own writing was resurrecting her. This is an ouroboros of women’s history. We search …