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The Women Who Made New York

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An illuminating, elegant history of New York City, told through the stories of the women who made it the most exciting and influential metropolis in the world Read any history of New York City and you will read about men. You will read about men who were political leaders and men who were activists and cultural tastemakers. These men have been lauded for generations for cr An illuminating, elegant history of New York City, told through the stories of the women who made it the most exciting and influential metropolis in the world Read any history of New York City and you will read about men. You will read about men who were political leaders and men who were activists and cultural tastemakers. These men have been lauded for generations for creating the most exciting and influential city in the world. But that's not the whole story. The Women Who Made New York reveals the untold stories of the phenomenal women who made New York City the cultural epicenter of the world. Many were revolutionaries and activists, like Zora Neale Hurston and Audre Lorde. Others were icons and iconoclasts, like Fran Lebowitz and Grace Jones. There were also women who led quieter private lives but were just as influential, such as Emily Warren Roebling, who completed the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge when her engineer husband became too ill to work. Paired with striking, contemporary illustrations by artist Hallie Heald, The Women Who Made New York offers a visual sensation -- one that reinvigorates not just New York City's history but its very identity.


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An illuminating, elegant history of New York City, told through the stories of the women who made it the most exciting and influential metropolis in the world Read any history of New York City and you will read about men. You will read about men who were political leaders and men who were activists and cultural tastemakers. These men have been lauded for generations for cr An illuminating, elegant history of New York City, told through the stories of the women who made it the most exciting and influential metropolis in the world Read any history of New York City and you will read about men. You will read about men who were political leaders and men who were activists and cultural tastemakers. These men have been lauded for generations for creating the most exciting and influential city in the world. But that's not the whole story. The Women Who Made New York reveals the untold stories of the phenomenal women who made New York City the cultural epicenter of the world. Many were revolutionaries and activists, like Zora Neale Hurston and Audre Lorde. Others were icons and iconoclasts, like Fran Lebowitz and Grace Jones. There were also women who led quieter private lives but were just as influential, such as Emily Warren Roebling, who completed the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge when her engineer husband became too ill to work. Paired with striking, contemporary illustrations by artist Hallie Heald, The Women Who Made New York offers a visual sensation -- one that reinvigorates not just New York City's history but its very identity.

30 review for The Women Who Made New York

  1. 5 out of 5

    Nan

    The Women Who Made New York provides well-researched sketches of dozens of women who made a significant impact on the city-- from colonial times to the present, from the relatively unknown to the famous to the infamous, from politicians to artists to intellects to activists and everything in between. I've had it on my nightstand for about a year and have been savoring it in small doses. Enthralling and illuminating, and not just for history buffs, New Yorkers or women. The Women Who Made New York provides well-researched sketches of dozens of women who made a significant impact on the city-- from colonial times to the present, from the relatively unknown to the famous to the infamous, from politicians to artists to intellects to activists and everything in between. I've had it on my nightstand for about a year and have been savoring it in small doses. Enthralling and illuminating, and not just for history buffs, New Yorkers or women.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Griggs

    A lovely collection of some of the amazing women who made New York into the beloved city it is today. Peppered with fantastic illustrations by Hallie Heald, the book features women from all walks of life and careers, and showcases how they influenced the city and changed it. Some of my favorite women mentioned were Nora Ephron, Dorothy Parker, Nellie Bly, Edna Lewis (who was just featured on an episode of Top Chef which I found delightful), Emily Warren Roebling (who was featured this season on A lovely collection of some of the amazing women who made New York into the beloved city it is today. Peppered with fantastic illustrations by Hallie Heald, the book features women from all walks of life and careers, and showcases how they influenced the city and changed it. Some of my favorite women mentioned were Nora Ephron, Dorothy Parker, Nellie Bly, Edna Lewis (who was just featured on an episode of Top Chef which I found delightful), Emily Warren Roebling (who was featured this season on Drunk History), and so many more. Their stories were fascinating, and if anything, it made me want to seek out biographies for so many of them. I always love to read history books about women since so few of them seem to be featured in my education, and this book was a lovely journey through their stories.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Youlia

    I don't always cry but when I do it's about women's empowerment!!! I don't always cry but when I do it's about women's empowerment!!!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ann Aldrich

    Approximately 120 biographies of famous, infamous, and unknown women who played significant roles in creating the character of New York City. The vignettes range from several paragraphs to several pages, depending on the historical information available or the author's interest n the individual. The book is beautifully produced, with delightful characateurs of a few of women done by Hallie Heald. However, the omission of photographs or sketches of most of the honorees significantly limits the ov Approximately 120 biographies of famous, infamous, and unknown women who played significant roles in creating the character of New York City. The vignettes range from several paragraphs to several pages, depending on the historical information available or the author's interest n the individual. The book is beautifully produced, with delightful characateurs of a few of women done by Hallie Heald. However, the omission of photographs or sketches of most of the honorees significantly limits the overall impact of the book. Without the distinguishing face to associate with each person, the numerous individuals soon become one big blur.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sheryl Kirby

    History books remember the men, but women were part of history too. Schelfo, with illustrations by Hallie Heald, honours the many women who built New York City, from the actual female engineers to the artists, philanthropists and fashion icons. Small criticisms — the book is sorted into categories and not everything feels like a good fit, and I dislike the author’s habit of creating segues from one woman to the next instead of just creating stand-alone entries. Still a great, interesting book to History books remember the men, but women were part of history too. Schelfo, with illustrations by Hallie Heald, honours the many women who built New York City, from the actual female engineers to the artists, philanthropists and fashion icons. Small criticisms — the book is sorted into categories and not everything feels like a good fit, and I dislike the author’s habit of creating segues from one woman to the next instead of just creating stand-alone entries. Still a great, interesting book to gives props to many amazing, inspiring women.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sharon Griffitts

    There were many women in this book whose stories I knew well, but so many more that were new to me. Many of these women made their marks through necessity, I.e. supporting themselves and their families. Others were motivated by desires too help the less fortunate. Women have contributed to New York City’s culture and growth from its inception. Reading this brought home to me the reminder that women have completely into their own in only the last century. We’ve come a long way in a short time.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sinead

    Thank you Netgalley for my review copy of this book. The illustrations are the first thing I'd like to mention here as they are really quite lovely and highlight the stories in the book really well. It is lovely to have a book about important women in history - especially strong ones that shaped society as we know it. Women are largely forgotten in the history books so it must have taken a lot of research to find the detail this book has. Thank you Netgalley for my review copy of this book. The illustrations are the first thing I'd like to mention here as they are really quite lovely and highlight the stories in the book really well. It is lovely to have a book about important women in history - especially strong ones that shaped society as we know it. Women are largely forgotten in the history books so it must have taken a lot of research to find the detail this book has.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Leila Kern

    What a nice way to honor women’s accomplishments in New York throughout history. Wonderful book to ignite knowledge. Just enough of a tidbit for each woman’s contribution and to dig further if one wishes. Great book! I heartily recommend this book for anyone interested in learning about New York’s famous (or nearly so) women.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie Salyer

    My favorite part of this list, as the book doesn't have an overall theme nor narrative, is the end about women in restaurants, and that have changed food in New York City. I did dislike how the author only included people who made a difference in NYC and ignored the rest of the state. There was some really remarkable women for good and bad in this book. I'm glad I read it. My favorite part of this list, as the book doesn't have an overall theme nor narrative, is the end about women in restaurants, and that have changed food in New York City. I did dislike how the author only included people who made a difference in NYC and ignored the rest of the state. There was some really remarkable women for good and bad in this book. I'm glad I read it.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    This is a fun book, with a hugely eclectic collection of women whose short biographies add up to a vivid portrayal of a dynamic city. The illustrations are a welcome surprise revealing an essential humanity in each of their subjects, especially those that are so well known that their faces have become more like masks.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jean

    Be Inspired Women! This book is filled with the stories of women who will make you believe if they can do it; you can do something! It doesn’t have to be great or even remembered,but doing it will give you and the other women in your life confidence.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    I love learning about history, I love New York history, and I love to hear about the triumphs of women - which is sometimes hard to find because people mostly only wrote about the triumphs of men for so long! This book combines all of that! I will read this more than once.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Dorothy

    Lovely way to further appreciate the great city of New York. I’m also reading Gutsy Women and there is some crossover, but love to see the history of women appreciated and acknowledged. Great categories from every walk of life. Loved reading this.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Catherine

    Fun and inspiring read with clever illustrations.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Very cool stories of women, but more textbook like than narrative.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Rena

    Superficial, Wikipedia-style sketches that prove unsatisfying.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Grayce

    EXCELLENT

  18. 5 out of 5

    Victoria Biegel

    A great book to reference continually when looking for some rad inspirational women. Well worth the read. Illustrations and book design are cool too!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kellie

    I'll be looking for more in depth bios on many of the women featured. And, although the illustrations were lovely, this book would've been much more if it had photographs of these women. I'll be looking for more in depth bios on many of the women featured. And, although the illustrations were lovely, this book would've been much more if it had photographs of these women.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Helen

    This book was very interesting and I'm glad I read it, but I don't suggest you read it from cover to cover like I did, it felt kind of like reading a textbook. This book was very interesting and I'm glad I read it, but I don't suggest you read it from cover to cover like I did, it felt kind of like reading a textbook.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Monica

    Got this as a gift from one of my besties, and I absolutely love it! Super interesting to see who was profiled too.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Alexis Miller

    An Inspirational Read If you're looking for a brief history of why NYC is the way it is, then this book is for you! Scelfo provides readers a great insight into some amazing women. It's an easy, interesting read! An Inspirational Read If you're looking for a brief history of why NYC is the way it is, then this book is for you! Scelfo provides readers a great insight into some amazing women. It's an easy, interesting read!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    Entertaining and informative read - not just for #Womenshistorymonth.

  24. 5 out of 5

    penny shima glanz

    This is a delightful mature followup to Wonder Women . Scelfo worked to identify women without whom New York would not exist. This is a remarkable book. I will be rereading it soon and spending time to get to know these women. There were a few names I already knew, there were many others new to me. While I'm still processing all that I read, please enjoy this review from the New York Times (I guess it's no surprise I loved this book as I'm a Barnard alumna) and this slideshow of Hallie Heald' This is a delightful mature followup to Wonder Women . Scelfo worked to identify women without whom New York would not exist. This is a remarkable book. I will be rereading it soon and spending time to get to know these women. There were a few names I already knew, there were many others new to me. While I'm still processing all that I read, please enjoy this review from the New York Times (I guess it's no surprise I loved this book as I'm a Barnard alumna) and this slideshow of Hallie Heald's illustrations from NY Magazine.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Andréa

    Note: I received a digital galley of this book through NetGalley.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Erin

  27. 5 out of 5

    Julie

  28. 5 out of 5

    Evelyn Deutsch

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jim

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly

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