Kimberly Hamlin researches, writes, and teaches about women and gender in the U.S.  Her forthcoming book (under contract with W.W. Norton) Free Thinker: Helen Hamilton Gardener’s Radical Pursuit of Equality and the Vote provides the first biography of the woman who steered the Nineteenth Amendment through Congress and converted President Woodrow Wilson into an ally. In 1920, Wilson nominated Gardener to the U. S. Civil Service Commission, making her the highest-ranking woman in federal government and a national symbol of what it meant, finally, for women to be full citizens. Yet, Gardener was an unlikely woman to become a mainstream symbol of female citizenship.  In her early twenties, she was outed in Ohio newspapers for having an affair with a prominent married man. Rather than suffer the usual fate of a “fallen woman,” she moved to New York City, changed her name, and became a popular freethought lecturer. Proclaiming that she aimed to be the “Harriet Beecher Stowe of Fallen Women,” Gardener wrote bold novels that dramatized the sexual abuse of women and girls. Denied admission to college, she also took on the scientists who claimed that women’s brains were “naturally” inferior to men’s and donated her own brain to science to prove the intellectual equality of women. Linking together the histories of sex, science, and politics, Free Thinker enhances our understanding of women’s rights history and introduces readers to one of the movement’s most fascinating figures.

Hamlin’s book From Eve to Evolution: Darwin, Science and Women’s Rights in Gilded Age America (University of Chicago Press 2014) provides the first full-length study of American women’s responses to evolutionary theory and illuminates the role science played in the nineteenth-century women’s rights movement. Hamlin reveals how a number of nineteenth-century women, raised on the idea that Eve’s sin forever fixed women’s subordinate status, embraced Darwinian evolution—especially sexual selection theory as explained in The Descent of Man—as an alternative to the creation story in Genesis. This book also provides an important pre-history of feminist science and disrupts long-held ideas about the “natural” differences between women and men. From Eve to Evolution has been widely reviewed and cited in both scholarly and popular outlets.

From Eve to Evolution


"Gender," A Companion to the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, Wiley Blackwell, 2017

Sexual Selection and the Economics of Marriage: ‘Female Choice’ in the Writings of Edward Bellamy and Charlotte Perkins Gilman,” in America’s Darwin: Darwinian Theory and U.S. Culture, 1859-present, eds. Lydia Fisher and Tina Gianquitto, Univ. of Georgia Press, 2014.

‘The Case of a Bearded Woman’: Hypertrichosis and the Construction of Gender in the Age of Darwin,” American Quarterly 63 (December 2011): 955-981.  (Winner of the Nineteenth Century Studies Association’s Emerging Scholar Award for 2012 and the 2014 Margaret Rossiter Prize from the History of Science Society for Outstanding Scholarship on the History of Women in Science).

"The Birds and the Bees: Darwin's Evolutionary Approach to Human Sexuality," in Darwin in Atlantic Cultures: Evolutionary Visions of Race, Gender and Sexuality, eds. Jeannette Eileen Jones and Patrick Sharp, Research in Atlantic Studies Series, ed. William Boelhower, Stephen Fender, and William O’Reilly (New York: Routledge Press, 2010): 53-72.

Bathing Suits and Backlash: The First Miss America Pageants, 1921-1927,” in “There She Is, Miss America”: The Politics of Sex, Gender, and Race in America’s Most Famous Pageant, eds. Elwood Watson and Darcy Martin (New York: Palgrave/St. Martin’s, 2004): 27-52.

From Eve to Evolution: Darwin, Science, and Women's Rights in Gilded Age America, University of Chicago Press, 2014

Non-academic Publications

“Galentine’s Day and the Political Power of Women’s Friendships,” Washington Post, February 13, 2019

“What Happens When Women Talk to Congress About Sex,” Washington Post, September 25, 2018

The Miss America Pageant Taught us to Ogle Women's Bodies, Can it Now Teach Us to Value Their Ideas? The Washington Post, June 2018

This President's Day, Let's Celebrate the Women Who Have Run, The Washington Post, February 2018

Roy Moore and the Revolution to Come, The Washington Post, November 2017

Are Women People? The Equal Rights Amendment Then and Now
, Origins, July 2017

The First Time Women Marched on Washington
, Origins, January 18, 2017

Beauty Pageants and American Politics, Origins, September 9, 2016

Madame President: A History of the Women Who Ran before Hillary, Origins, July 2016

What’s American (Studies) About the History of Science in America?” invited contribution to the History of Science in America Newsletter (Winter 2008, Volume XXIV, no. 2), ed. Daniel Goldstein.  Accessible at americanscience.blogspot.com

One Year, Two Sides of the Interview Table,” insidehighered.com, 2/22/2008