A Room of Their Own: Home Museums of Extraordinary Women Around the World (Women History Book of Museums, Historic Homes of Famous Women, Feminist History Tourbook, Home Museums to Visit)

A Room of Their Own: Home Museums of Extraordinary Women Around the World (Women History Book of Museums, Historic Homes of Famous Women, Feminist History Tourbook, Home Museums to Visit)

A Room of Their Own: Home Museums of Extraordinary Women Around the World (Women History Book of Museums, Historic Homes of Famous Women, Feminist History Tourbook, Home Museums to Visit)

A Room of Their Own: Home Museums of Extraordinary Women Around the World (Women History Book of Museums, Historic Homes of Famous Women, Feminist History Tourbook, Home Museums to Visit)


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Explore Historic Homes of Famous Women

Add to your travel bucket list with A Room of Their Own, the history guide to famous ladies and their estates. Experience the impact of these international residents on history through the artifacts that they left behind.

Experience the daily lives of feminist icons. Ever wonder what the most famous women in history did in their spare time? From bestselling author Marlene Wagman-Geller comes a women history book and travel memoir about the home museums of women who helped shape history. From female authors, artists, and public figures, A Room of Their Own has something for everyone wanting to know more about who these legendary ladies were.

Connect with relics of the past. Full of historical facts and stories from 37 different locations around the world, this travel memoir also shares something that can only be found in these historic homes: the preservation of their personal legacy. Each chapter visualizes the emotional journey these residents lived through the personal items left behind. Featuring unknown stories about Frida Kahlo; Lizzie Borden; Diana, Princess of Wales; and more, history lovers will reconnect with these famous women in history as real people with everyday lives.

Explore these home museums of famous women in history. The Betsy Ross Museum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Jane Austen’s House, Chawton, The United Kingdom; Museo Frida Kahlo, Mexico City, Mexico; Anne Frank House, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Anne of Green Gables House, Prince Edward Island, Canada; Carry A. Nation, Medicine Lodge, Kansas; and more.

Inside, you’ll also find:

  • How these home museums came to be
  • Unique furniture, photographs, letters, and other artifacts
  • History trivia about the daily lives of these famous women

If you liked books such as All the Beauty in the World, Women in White Coats, or Unabashed Women, you’ll love A Room of Their Own.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781684815227
Publisher: Mango Media
Publication date: 07/30/2024
Pages: 260
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Marlene Wagman-Geller is a bestselling author known for her work in writing about phenomenal women and their impact on civilization. Since publishing her debut book in 2008, she has gone on to write popular feminist books such as Still I Rise, Women of Means, and Women Who Launch, which were reviewed by The New York Times and The Huffington Post. Wagman-Geller currently lives in sunny San Diego with her husband and Persian cat, and teaches English when not writing her next book about famous women in history.

A native of New Hampshire, Joyce Maynard began publishing her stories in magazines when she was thirteen years old. She first came to national attention with the publication of her New York Times cover story, “An Eighteen Year Old Looks Back on Life,” in 1972, when she was a freshman at Yale.

Since then, she has been a reporter and columnist for The New York Times, a syndicated newspaper columnist whose “Domestic Affairs” column appeared in over fifty papers nationwide, a regular contributor to NPR and national magazines including Vogue, The New York Times Magazine, and many more, and a longtime performer with The Moth.

Maynard is the author of seventeen books, including the novel To Die For and the bestselling memoir, At Home in the World—translated into sixteen languages. Her novel, To Die For was adapted for the screen by Buck Henry for a film directed by Gus Van Sant, in which Joyce can be seen in the role of Nicole Kidman’s lawyer. Her novel Labor Day was adapted and directed by Jason Reitman for a film starring Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin, to whom Joyce offered instruction for making the pie that appeared in a crucial scene in the film.

The mother of three grown children, Maynard runs workshops in memoir at her home in Lafayette, California. In 2002 she founded The Lake Atitlan Writing Workshop in San Marcos La Laguna, Guatemala, where she hosts a weeklong workshop in personal storytelling every winter. She is a fellow of The MacDowell Colony and Yaddo.

Read an Excerpt


The word museum originated from the ancient Greek word that denoted “place of the Muses.” The nine Muses were the offspring of Zeus—who wasn’t?—and Mnemosyne, the Goddess of Memory. Indeed, museums are the repositories of memories, of ancient civilization, of the apogee of artistry.

Everyone has heard of the major museums whose stories are as intriguing as the works they display: Paris’s Louvre, London’s National Gallery, New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. Between these three iconic institutions, twenty million visitors walk their halls, approximately the same number as people living in Beijing. But what about the galleries that do not display canvases bearing the signatures of Old Masters such as Rembrandt, Caravaggio, or Gentileschi?

Curiosity about the daily lives of the famous draws us to the places they called home. A Room of Their Own is an investigation into museums of a kind sometimes referred to as memory museums, dedicated to fascinating women whose lives left indelible fingerprints on history. As these landmarks are situated in their subjects’ homes, rather than passively gazing at paintings with accompanying brass plaques, visitors undergo a more intimate experience. Upon entering their thresholds, one encounters a three-dimensional diary with artifacts that comprised their everyday lives: furniture, photographs, and letters. Even the most mundane of objects takes on a magical realism, as they were the possessions of ladies of legend. The rooms where their residents lived serve as a confessional; here they laughed, mourned, and created. For those with a nod to the mystical, their ghostly chatelaines serve as guides. House museums are Pied Pipers to the curious. Walking where historic figures once trod presents the opportunity to hear the scratching of Emily Brontë’s quill in her Haworth Parsonage, listen to an aria in Édith Piaf’s Parisian apartment, or imagine the iridescent blue of the radium that doubled as Marie Curie’s nightlight. Whether their homes be humble or haute, all double as biographer. Betsy Ross’s miniscule dwelling in Philadelphia and Marjorie Merriweather Post’s opulent estate, Hillwood in Washington, DC, are equally compelling. The closest we can come to time travel—or to a séance—is entering what were once the ladies’ private places. Their spirits hover over the heads of their guests and whisper, “We were here. We mattered.”

While working on A Room of Their Own, I chanced upon a delightful novel, The Lost Bookshop, by Evie Wood. Opaline, the protagonist, is a 1920s literary sleuth whose quest is to uncover a lost Emily Brontë book. As part of her research, Opaline journeys to the Haworth Parsonage. Evie wrote of her experience, “Merely to stand where the Brontë sisters had stood, to look out at the moors that inspired Emily’s writing, was such a touching experience…” The passage encapsulates the mysticism that accompanies a visit to a storied address. In a subsequent chapter, Evie wrote words applicable to the women profiled in A Room of Their Own: “I was cursed with that most enduring of human desires—to make my mark.”

Although most women’s home museums are situated in the United States, other countries also have shrines to the ladies who left legacies, including England, Canada, Mexico, Holland, Poland, Germany, Switzerland, New Zealand, France, the Dominican Republic, and Kenya. When visiting these locales, these are must-see landmarks.

One method of obtaining a peephole into the past is by gazing out the windows of historic homes; each chapter ends with a few lines on what may be Seen from Her Window. Geographical locale and gardens play an integral part in the makeup of one’s psychological DNA. When Isabella Stewart Gardner looked out her window, her view was of the courtyard that housed gems of civilization such as a Renaissance Venetian canal-scape, an ancient Roman sculpture garden, and a medieval European cloister. Surrounding these treasures are rotating flower displays depending on the month—orchids in the winter and hanging nasturtiums in the spring. Isabella’s mantra comes as no surprise in light of these surroundings: “the best of everything.”

Artist Frida Kahlo lived in the Casa Azul in Coyoacán, a suburb of Mexico City, Her collection of animal companions in the course of her life, who often served to inspire her paintings, included indigenous hairless dogs, a black cat, a couple of turkeys, an eagle, two spider monkeys, and a fawn. Visits to the Kahlo home invariably proved a boredom-buster.

By touring storied addresses, tourists experience off-the-beaten-path destinations that double as magical mystery tours. Whether we love or loathe these women, walking in their shoes makes for a better understanding of their legacy. While traditional galleries allow us to gaze upon well-known canvases, the thrill is nevertheless a passive experience. In contrast, stepping over the threshold of a famed long-ago resident allows for an up close and personal encounter.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1: Anne Hathaway’s Cottage (opened 1892)
Chapter 2: The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (opened 1903)
Chapter 3: Orchard House (opened 1912)
Chapter 4: Lyme Regis (opened 1921)
Chapter 5: Winchester Mystery House (opened 1922)
Chapter 6: Brontë Parsonage Museum (opened 1928)
Chapter 7: The Betsy Ross House (opened 1937)
Chapter 8: Marbacka (opened 1940)
Chapter 9: The Susan B. Anthony Museum & House (opened 1945)
Chapter 10: Hill Top (opened 1946)
Chapter 11: Jane Austen’s House Museum (opened 1947)
Chapter 12: The Peggy Guggenheim Collection (opened 1951)
Chapter 13: Ivy Green (opened 1954)
Chapter 14: Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace (opened 1956)
Chapter 15: Museo Frida Kahlo Museum (opened 1958)
Chapter 16: The Anne Frank House (opened 1960)
Chapter 17: Carry Nation House (opened 1961)
Chapter 18: Maria Sklodowska Curie Museum (opened 1967)
Chapter 19: The Musée Édith Piaf Museum (opened 1967)
Chapter 20: Hillwood House (opened 1977)
Chapter 21: May McLeod Bethune Council House (opened 1979)
Chapter 22: Monk’s House (opened 1980)
Chapter 23: Johanna Spyri Museum (opened 1981)
Chapter 24: The Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum (opened 1984)
Chapter 25: Alice Austen Museum (opened 1985)
Chapter 26: Farley Farm (opened 1987)
Chapter 27: The Golda Meir House Museum (opened 1995)
Chapter 28: The Mabel Dodge Luhan House (opened 1996)
Chapter 29: The Lizzie Borden House (opened 1996)
Chapter 30: The Margaret Mitchell House (opened 1997)
Chapter 31: The Princess Dianna Museum (opened 1998)
Chapter 32: The Emily Dickinson Museum (opened 2003)
Chapter 33: Greenway House (opened 2003)
Chapter 34: The Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts (opened 2005)
Chapter 35: Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation (opened 2010)
Chapter 36: The Marian Anderson Historical Residence Museum (opened 2011)
Chapter 37: The Belmont-Paul; Women’s Equality National Monument (opened 2016)

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