Anne Lister's Cousins

Published on 19 December, 2020 · Last updated on 26 Feb 2024
 Cover photo: IB306660 

Menstruation in the 19th Century 

Anne referred to her period as her 'cousin' and meticulously documented when her cycle began. This was often recorded in crypthand, noting essential details such as the flow and whether she required the use of papers, napkins, or linens.  Furthermore, Anne demonstrated a keen interest in the menstrual cycles of the women in her social circle, often mentioning them in her journal.

As a rich data source, Anne's journals allow us to explore an often overlooked but significant aspect of daily life in the 19th-century concerning women's health.

Through a mix of expert insights, diary extracts, and guided discussion, this session ventures into this intimate territory, shedding light on period practices and management of the era.

With Anna Clark, Leila Straub, and Elissa Stein, facilitated by Mette Hildeman Sjölin

The spreadsheet below collates the details of Anne's menstrual cycles, encompassing changes in mood, health, and other symptoms directly associated with her 'cousin'.  It also captures data provided by Anne regarding the menstrual cycles of individuals such as Ann Walker, Mariana Lawton (née Belcombe), Isabella Norcliffe, Vere Hobart, and others. This project aims to establish a valuable resource for those interested in the study of women's health during the 19th Century.

Periods, Symptoms, and Moods in Anne Lister's journals and papers

Anne Lister's journals include well documented menstruation cycles. Anne often notes when her period starts, how she prepares, and her sanitary practices during the cousin's visit. The spreadsheet below is a collaborative effort to compile all period references in Anne Lister's journals and papers.

Reference tracker: Anne's cousins


This project is made possible through ongoing contributions from the following people:

How to contribute to this project

Tip: Don't worry about redundancy; enter any information you have and we'll reconcile duplicates later.

All information in this spreadsheet is in English, but please preserve the spellings of Ann's nickname, as written by Anne Lister and others.

Anyone can help research and add additional information for each reference in this spreadsheet.