Pharaoh, pirate, soldier, spy. Most have heard of Joan of Arc, but throughout history and across cultures, there have been a great number of women who have dressed in male attire in order to fulfill the roles that had traditionally been reserved for men. Many disguised their identities, sometimes taking their secret to the grave, while others were brazen, and even celebrated by their contemporaries. While their stories have largely been lost to time, there are some that made their mark on history.
This month Chronicling America added newspapers from its 50th contributor – the University of the Virgin Islands! This first newspaper from the U.S. Virgin Islands, the St. Croix Avis, provides a deep dive into a particularly tumultuous time in the U.S. Virgin Islands. In 1867, the islands were on the cusp of being sold to the United States when a hurricane, earthquake, and tsunami struck within a month. Covering the events of 1867 was the St. Croix Avis.