The Half the History Project
Women’s stories should constitute half of the stories told, but they do not. The written record and the filmic record over-document the stories and histories of men. As an example, only 18% of the biographies on Wikipedia are of women. Women of color and the stories of women from marginalized groups are particularly underrepresented.
The Half the History Project aims to change this.
Through short-form biography, film, and podcast, we curate, archive, and disseminate diverse women’s stories. With an initial focus on women in the United States, our stories narrate the lives of some women who were well-known in their times or in their fields, as well as many women who were not.
We provide additional resources for those who wish to delve into these women’s stories in greater depth.
“Tell Her Story,” an interactive feature on our website, invites people to nominate women they know or know of to become part of the Half the History archive.
And our “Throughlines” section utilizes innovative search functions that allow users to connect women through many different and varied features that often characterize women’s lives.
About Our Team
Jennifer Burton is a filmmaker and helms the independent film company Five Sisters Productions. She is committed to making female-driven content that represents diverse experiences. Her films include Origin of the Species (a feature documentary exploring how robots are already disrupting our ethical, cultural, and social lives, directed by Abby Child). Kings, Queens, & In-Betweens (a feature documentary on gender, identity, and drag), The Happiest Day of His Life (MTV/Logo) and Manna From Heaven(MGM/SONY). Corporate projects include the “Your Ford Story” campaign of mini-documentary commercials for Ford Motor Company.
Working with Tufts student filmmakers, she has produced the Half the History project, a series of short films on women in American history, and Old Guy, a comedic take on ageism in the media. Her publications include Call and Response: Key Debates in African American Studies (W. W. Norton), co-edited with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and The Prize Plays and Other One-Acts: Zora Neale Hurston, Eulalie Spence, Marita Bonner, and Others (Macmillan/G.K. Hall).
Burton earned her Ph.D. from Harvard University in English and American Literature, writing her dissertation on hope in American literature and film.
Julie Dobrow is the director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies at Tufts University, where she also holds faculty positions in the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development, the Film and Media Studies Program and the Civic Studies Program.
Apart from her social science research, Dobrow shifts gears to work on biography. After Emily: Two Remarkable Women and the Legacy of America’s Greatest Poet (W.W. Norton), Dobrow’s dual biography of Mabel Loomis Todd and Millicent Todd Bingham, came out in 2018. More recently she’s written another dual biography of 19th/20th century writers and Indian policy reformers Elaine Goodale Eastman and Ohíye Sa, Charles Alexander Eastman (upcoming). Her historical articles on these and other subjects have appeared in Literary Hub, South Dakota History, the Historical Journal of Massachusetts, Journal of the Thoreau Society and other publications. She is on the steering committee of the New England Biography Series for the Massachusetts Historical Society, and serves as president of the Boston Authors Club.
Dobrow has also worked as a freelance journalist, writing for the Boston Globe Magazine, Huffington Post, The Conversation and other publications. She holds an AB in anthropology and sociology from Smith College, and MA and Ph.D. degrees from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania.
Five Sisters Productions
FIVE SISTERS PRODUCTIONS, the production company helmed by the five real-life Burton siblings (Maria, Jennifer, Ursula, Gabrielle, and Charity), is committed to making media that is entertaining, engaging, and highlights diverse and underrepresented voices.
A boutique company making high quality independent film, commercials, and running creative corporate leadership workshops, FIVE SISTERS PRODUCTIONS has an excellent reputation in the film industry and beyond.
FSP’s award-winning features, shorts, commercials, and PSA work includes: Kings, Queens, & In-Betweens, Old Guy, Half The History, Manna from Heaven, Temps, Just Friends, The Happiest Day of His Life, The Bobs’ documentary: Sign My Snarling Movie, Julia Sweeney’s Letting Go of God, “Your Ford Story” mini-doc spots, From Slavery to Freedom: a short doc on The Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking with Julia Ormond, Abigail Child’s Origin Of The Species, and other projects in development, including the award-winning script The Sky’s The Limit: The Story of the Mercury 13, inspired by the real-life history of the thirteen women Who tested to be astronauts in 1961-2.
FIVE SISTERS PRODUCTIONS’ business practices and project choices reflect their commitment to social engagement, with a focus on increasing the diversity of voices represented behind camera and onscreen.