The history of this book spans two institutions, many more than two years, and even more patient friends and colleagues willing to listen to me talk about gendered words in the history of English – and reassure me that others would be interested as well. The book was made possible in part by the generous support of the Walter Chapin Simpson Center for the Humanities and the Royalty Research Fund at the University of Washington; I appreciate all the efforts by both institutes to support the research of faculty in the humanities and social sciences. I am also enormously grateful to the staff at the Humanities Text Initiative at the University of Michigan, in particular John Price-Wilkin, Christina Powell, and Nigel Kerr, who created a web-accessible version of the Helsinki Corpus and helped with the research in innumerable other ways. Special thanks also go to Judy Avery and Barbara Beaton at the University of Michigan Libraries, Kathy Welsh at the Center for Statistical Research at the University of Michigan, and Paul Schaffner at the Middle English Dictionary.
This book would not have been possible without the help and support of many wonderful friends and colleagues. I would like to thank in particular some of my colleagues and former mentors at the University of Michigan, who fed and informed my passion for pursuing questions about the history of English: Richard W. Bailey, Frances McSparran, Lesley Milroy, Karla Taylor, Theresa Tinkle,and Thomas Toon. I am indebted and immensely grateful to Anis Bawarshi and Mary Curzan, who have read and commented on this book chapter by chapter, with incredible care and insight, providing invaluable observations, commentary, and suggestions. I would also like to thank the anonymous reviewers for Cambridge University Press, whose feedback and questions showed me new ways to discuss some of the issues in this book. I received valuable research assistance from Elizabeth Falsberg and Andrew Hsu. I would also like to acknowledge the ways in which I continue to be inspired by the curiosity, enthusiasm, and discernment of so many of the students with whom I have had the opportunity to discuss questions about language and gender. Many thanks also to Merja Kytö, a member of the editorial team responsible for the Studies in English Language series, for her meticulous reading and comments on the manuscript and to Kate Brett,