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From the Boudoir to the Brothel

Prostitutes, madams, and the sex trade played an important role in the development of western culture. Often portrayed as a world apart, these businesses were, in fact, integrated into the development and structure of western economies and cultures. Libbie Hayes operated a brothel owned by Rachel and Joseph Lindley. By contrasting the experiences of Hayes and Lindley, this exhibit explores the impact of class and profession in the lives of western women in the early 1900s.

“Unfettered” Feminist Embroidery Art by Robyn Windham

Experience a virtual art gallery of images that address womanhood in a subversive way. The medium becomes part of the message in Windham’s provocative designs. Items are available for purchase at pop-up shops and through the website: www.dgafembroidery.com

Catherine Brodhead: Care, Connection, and Community in Eastern Montana

From 1927 to 1949, Catherine Brodhead operated the Brodhead Maternity Home in Fairview, Montana. Her work exemplified the significance of women like her who ran these important community institutions.

Mary Kassmeier: Midwife on the Upper Missouri

Midwives attended a majority of births in Montana in the early 1900s, but their work rarely entered the historical record. Mary Catherine Reicks Kassmeier, a Fort Benton midwife, was a noteworthy exception. She documented the infants she helped bring into the world by collecting pictures in a photo album – one for each baby delivered. Kassmeier helped pregnant women in communities along the Upper Missouri, and established a practice by attending births on her own, assisting physicians, and delivering in the local hospital.

Midwives in Montana

Women in early Montana helped mothers deliver babies in all sorts of places, from cabins to shanties to teepees. Folks called them midwives and they were respected members of their communities. Within a century, though, midwives were targeted and told to quit their work. This is the story of the women who fought for the right to birth at home and the state legislature that acted to protect their profession.