We read them to children, we share them with our friends, we watch them in movies and on television. They inspire us, they teach us and they entertain us. Our lives are filled with them. They have been around for time immemorial, passed down from generation to generation, retold, tweaked and rewritten. Many storytellers were born to tell their stories. Some get published within their lifetimes, while others were only published posthumously. Some are lauded profusely, winning prizes and honors. While others reside in obscurity for years before being discovered.

Many of them end up in libraries for a time, and others remain on the shelves for years, and even centuries. The latter are deemed classics, and their authors’ names remembered through the years. These stories have been researched, analyzed, critiqued and explained. They are studied in high schools and colleges, with reports and theses required to be written by students. Some of these classic stories were initially written under pseudonyms, as it was the only way women authors could be published during their day. It was sometimes many years before the gender of those authors became known.

This was always also true about newspaper editors and reporters. One of those was a women right here in Kansas before the Civil War. When the abolitionist editor of a newspaper published in Quindaro became ill, his wife, Clarina Nichols, took over the publication to keep it afloat. She continued the paper as though she were him. As the paper was their only livelihood, this was a necessary deception. You can read more about her story, as well as many of the classics any time you visit the library. We honor women storytellers of the past and present day, but especially during the month of March – Women’s History Month.