A community of optimists hosted by Melinda French Gates

Allison K. Lange is an assistant professor of history at the Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston. She received her PhD in history from Brandeis University. Lange’s book, Picturing Political Power: Images in the Women’s Suffrage Movement, will be published in May 2020 by the University of Chicago Press. The book focuses on the ways that women’s rights activists and their opponents used images to define gender and power during the suffrage movement. Lange loves to back, and highly recommends trying a recipe from this fascinating women’s suffrage cookbook from 1890!

Historical images conveyed ideas about gender, politics, and power and laid the foundations for modern ones. Because she sees strong connections between images and women’s rights in the past and present, Lange especially values sharing her research with the public. She has worked with the National Women’s History Museum and curated exhibitions for the Boston Public Library’s Leventhal Map Center. In preparation for the 2020 centennial of the Nineteenth Amendment, she is curating exhibitions at the Massachusetts Historical Society and Harvard’s Schlesinger Library.

Various institutions have supported her work, including the National Endowment for the Humanities, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Library of Congress, and American Antiquarian Society. Lange has presented her work at conferences such as the American Historical Association, Organization of American Historians, and Berkshire Conference of Women Historians. Her writing has appeared in Imprint, The Atlantic, and The Washington Post.


What inspires you to do the work you do?

The idea that we can work to create a more just society. The suffragists that I study worked hard for decades to create change, and it took a long time! Their work inspires me to keep moving forward.

On Sunday afternoons, you can find me...

Baking a treat—most likely something with chocolate—and ideally with good friends.

What books are on your nightstand?

Lots of women's history books, but also the latest Tana French mystery, Casey McQustion's Red White & Royal Blue, and Alison Roman's Nothing Fancy cookbook.

Please share a favorite quote.

"Justice is not fulfilled so long as woman is unequal before the law." — Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, 1864