Cynthia Greig and Catherine Smith
Hardcover, Harry N. Abrams, New York, NY, 2003
184 pp., 150 color and black-and-white illustrations, 7-1/4 x 10-1/4 inches
ISBN-10: 0810945711

Inspired in part by the title character of Greig's installation, New Eden: The Life and Work of Isabelle Raymond, the book chronicles some of the real women—both celebrated and ordinary—who broke from society's expectations not only in the way they dressed, but the way they lived their lives. Recognized by the Amelia Bloomer Book List Award for Non-Fiction in 2004. The editor's synopsis and review excerpts below:


Despite what most people may think, American women have always worn pants. Featuring an unusual collection of vintage photographs from the 1850s to the 1920s, Women in Pants documents an almost forgotten revolution in clothing. Defying convention, Victorian dress reformers as well as farmers, laborers, miners, cowgirls, and sportswomen openly wore trousers, while other women disguised themselves in men's attire to get good jobs, go to combat, engage in relationships with other women, or experiment with gender identity.

Candid, often humorous quotes from contemporary newspapers and magazines complement the photographs and enhance our understanding of the culture and time in which these women lived. For some, wearing pants was a necessity; for others, it was an act of defiance; for still others, it was just fun.


Fan the Flames, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, June 18 - September 7, 2014 2014, curated by Sophie Hackett.

"Fan the Flames showcases works by such Canadian and international figures as varied as Raphael Bendahan, Brassai, Claude Cahun, Colin Campbell, Chris Curreri, Shawna Dempsey & Lorri Millan, Zackary Drucker & Rhys Ernst, Nan Goldin, Nina Levitt, Robert Mapplethorpe, Mark Morrisroe, Will Munro, Alice O’Malley, Catherine Opie, Ho Tam and Weegee, among others. The artists document, perform, appropriate, collect and reinterpret images to present a range of views on fashioning the self through photographs and videos. The exhibition also includes Herb Ritts' cover with Cindy Crawford and kd lang for Vanity Fair as well as YouTube videos, selected by curator Jon Davies, and objects from the personal collections of artist Cynthia Greig and critic and curator Vince Aletti."

Images of Resistance, Residential College Art Gallery, The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, May 1999, curated by Cynthia Greig and Cate Smith.

"Images of Resistance bears witness to the forgotten histories of 19th and early 20th-century women laborers, athletes, adventurers, soldiers, both full and part-time cross-dresssers. The exhibition of photographs raises questions about the reasons and motivations for female cross-dressing and the traditional role that clothing plays in constructing gender. In addition, the photographs raise other questions: Why, when offered a more sensible alternative such as bloomers or trousers, did the majority of women continue to opt for the more cumbersome and constrictive options of heavy skirts and tightly laced corsets? Why have we found significantly less images of African- Latin- and Asian-American female cross-dressers? Selected from a collection of almost 400 photographs this broad range of images challenges the standard histories and perceptions of women and their achievements before the second half of the 20th century, and certainly marks the continuing struggle of women to achieve economic and social equality with men."


[T]he book works as an enthralling casual read, and it works especially well as a teaching tool. Smith and Greig have contributed a worthwhile addition to the fields of women's history, photographic history, and popular and material culture.
—Rhonda Jenkins Armstrong, Women Writers: A Zine, January 1, 2004

This beautiful book…allows a part of history unknown to many of us to come alive…[It’s] hard to put down.
—Melody Ballard, The Library Journal, June 1, 2003

This beautiful volume... brings to life a hidden history: women who traded their dresses for clothes that "made the man."
—Diane Ellen Hamer, The Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide, January 1, 2004

Women in Pants gives the entire stereotypical image of Victorian femininity a good dusting.....If nothing else [the book] shows more dirt on more women than any other photo-based book I can recall." Peter Goddard, Toronto Star , May, 3, 2003

A new book, Women in Pants, records these early responses to trouser clad ladies and presents a fabulous archive of vintage photographs dating from the 1850s to the 1920s....From dashing and chic to the frankly bizarre, these portraits are a captivating record of women's history." Louise Carolin, DIVA , May 2003

A significant contribution to the scholarship on the history of... women’s rights, which included a "fight for our clothes."
—Joy Sperling, The Journal of American Culture, June 2004

Since photography is a primary interest of the authors of this fascinating book, it is not surprising that it largely consists of a collection of historical photographs. This is not a negative aspect though, as these fascinating photos (150 in all) show women of the past as we've never seen them before.…The women profiled here paved the way for women's rights in many areas of life. This book should be included in Women's Studies courses, but deserves to be read by, and delight, a much wider audience.
—Kathie Oliver, The Textile Museum of Canada Book Reviews, August 7, 2008

Authors Catherine Smith (Assoc. Prof., Mott Comm. College, Flint, MI) and Cynthia Greig (fine-art photographer and independent curator) have compiled a superb collection of photographs and quotes for Women in Pants: Manly maidens, cowgirls, and other renegades. The book gives us a glimpse into an unexplored aspect of the Victorian/Edwardian female world. Some of the anecdotes are gutsy and funny, while others, like those about the dangers of women's dress, are tragically sad. The best part about the photographs is the women's faces. Some of the women shyly avoid the camera's gaze, while others giggle at the fun of having their picture taken in slacks. But my favorite are those women who stare directly at the lens, shoulders back and chins held high, as if challenging the viewer to protest."
—Margaret Perry, Book review, May 24, 2013