Welcome to The Victorian Sportswoman Visual Archive, a digital companion to my dissertation on the Sportswoman and athleticized female bodies in Victorian literature and culture. I apply the modes of close reading from my traditional dissertation to annotating and curating images of women extracted from nineteenth-century periodicals. This component of my dissertation enables me to share my academic work with the aim that it will generate larger scholarly conversations around research methods and serve as a pedagogical tool for fostering critical thought about depictions of women.

Recently Added Items

Elliman's Universal Embrocation


This advertisement is for an ointment to soothe stiffness, aches, sprains and bruises incurred while cycling. That it features a female cyclist…

The Awful Effects of Velocipeding

awful-effects-of-velocipeding.jpg from the New Comic Times, british magazine from the mid-1800s.jpg

The bicycle, along with the self-assertive New Woman who was often depicted riding it, is a symbol of women's rights. Experiencing the freedom of…

Preparing for the Fray


This image of two female fencers who are soon to engage in combat exemplifies how athletic equipment, like their fencing foils, is presented as a tool…



At first glance, this image seems to suggest an inept Sportswoman who has entangled her line on a man's coat while attempting to cast. However, when…