Ten years ago, Beckett Graham and Susan Vollenweider sat down in front of a mic at a big dinner table in Graham’s house and started talking about Marie Antoinette. And they’ve been talking ever since–about Joan of Arc and Rosa Parks and every woman of note in between. Graham and Vollenweider are the voices, brains, and personalities behind the fun dive into female history they call the History Chicks podcast.
“This isn’t History 101 and there is no test,” the women declare. Indeed. Their casual chat about historical figures sounds a lot like what you and your friends, if you read a lot of biography books, might gossip about when having a blab in one another’s kitchen.
They summarize the woman’s story, give context about what else was happening historically during her lifetime, and then chat about the ins and outs and ups and downs throughout the lady’s lifespan. Their motto is, “Any resemblance to a boring history class is purely coincidental,” and once you hear them, you’ll get it. “Imagine being forced to marry a fat, stinking, no-bath-taking man … she cried all the way to the altar” is a typical comment. It makes a great, addictive addition to your usual rotation of podcasts or audio-books.
Having Fun Looking Back
The duo of midlifers based in Kansas City, Missouri, post new episodes every couple of weeks. In addition, they’ve developed a compelling community. They create a Pinterest board for every episode, highlight new podcasts via social media, have outings to historical locations, and do fun little experiments chronicled on their website.
For instance, they tried being 1950’s housewives once. The recap gives you more insight into their engaging tone of voice: “For me it was like someone bundling up in a North Face jacket and Uggs to go to a RenFest and walk away thinking they knew what Renaissance life was like. They don’t. And I didn’t. But we had some fun anyway.”
History Chicks, we love you! Nothing like education and entertainment being blended into one fun, female-focused package.