About the Archive
This is an archive* of women’s history, a collection of snapshots – both literal and literary – of the extraordinary lives of ordinary women around the world. Throughout history few women’s lives have been considered important enough to be chronicled, which has left historians, students, storytellers, and many families without the facts necessary to know the full story of where we come from. This project assumes that all women’s lives are important, entertaining, and valuable. The stories in our archive prove that point.
These mini biographies (no more than 2000 words) focus on the facts of each woman’s life from beginning to the present. By looking at the whole arc of each life it’s possible to see the rules of living each woman tried to follow in her world, whether it be in 1920’s England, 1950’s Africa, or 1970’s America. All economic classes are included, all races, all religions, describing all kinds of sanity, artistry, fears and fulfillment. Some stories are set in the middle of world events; others of the same time, don’t even mention them.
The unique perspective given to these observations is that all of the stories in this archive have been written by daughters and sons about their mothers. Many people react in horror at the thought of doing this themselves. Each of us faced down the Mother Taboo, that fear that says if you say anything about your mother, she and whole the family will be shamed. (Perhaps this fear has been another reason so few stories of women’s lives have been recorded.) Contrary to any shame, we have found that, in writing the facts of her life without judgement, we have given shape and meaning to our mothers’ experiences. Through honouring her in this way, her achievements, personality and perspective have been recorded and thus will not be forgotten. The world is able to learn from the achievements of women when their stories are told. And there are accurate, dynamic role models for all of us to consider, beyond the generic definitions of women so readily available.
The stories are posted as they’ve been written to maintain the authenticity of the writer’s voice. They are available to the public everywhere and we hope you will return the favour by adding your own Mother’s Story.
Browse by where these women were born or by when they were born. Or hit a tag and see what combination of stories come up. Click on Viet Nam War and you can read of mothers dealing with the war in America, with draft dodging husbands in Canada, or growing up in Viet Nam. Read about adoption from both sides.
Acknowledging the fact that a life cannot be told in 2000 words, we have encouraged siblings to each submit their own version of their mother’s life. These stories are identified by the § symbol and have a common tag name so it’s possible to read of one woman’s life many different ways.
This symbol ⓜ indicates that the mother who is the subject of a story has also written about her mother and both stories share a common tag name.
This symbol Δ indicates an adopted person has written about their birth mother and/or their adopted mother and their stories are linked by a common name tag.
It’s possible for one story to collect many symbols of interrelation.
Social groups are encouraged to write, share, and then submit their mother stories. By choosing their common tag the collective history of these groups can be read and enjoyed.
This symbol on a page indicates a donation has been made in this mother’s name to the Mothership Stories Society. A list of donors can be found on our donate page.
All stories and images are protected by copyright held by Mothership Stories Society © 2010. No stories or images may be used without express written permission of MSS. For more information contact us at: mothersstory[at]gmail[dot]com
*Our Archive is also secured in the digital repository at Langara College Vancouver where mothers stories will be saved for future generations.