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Primary Sources on Women's History: Home

Digital Manuscript Collections

Women's Magazines, Newsletters, etc.

Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Collections

  • Women's History Guide to manuscript collections related to women or women's lives.

Microfilm Collections

  • American Women's Diaries, Northern [microfilm]. New England Diaries of eight middle- and upper-class women, from 1789 to 1915. These candid works offer firsthand accounts of the lives, contributions, and innermost thoughts of women from the colonial period through the turn of the 20th century. Researchers gain new perspectives on a myriad of topics including daily life and the struggle to survive, religion, childbirth and child rearing, education, social issues, war and peace, and personal strengths of women from diverse ethnic and social backgrounds. Guide available.
  • American Women's Diaries, Southern [microfilm]. Diaries of 37 women in the American South. These candid works offer firsthand accounts of the lives, contributions, and innermost thoughts of women from the colonial period through the turn of the 20th century. Researchers gain new perspectives on a myriad of topics including daily life and the struggle to survive, religion, childbirth and child rearing, education, social issues, war and peace, and personal strengths of women from diverse ethnic and social backgrounds. Guide available.
  • New England Women and their Families in the 18th and 19th centuries [microfilm]. The collection includes manuscripts on the New England family and women's history and covers material from a variety of social classes and station. It contains personal papers, letter, and diaries which provides information on everyday life in 18th and 19th century New England, especially the considerable influence New England women had on American society and how the changes affected individual families. Guide available.
  • Immigration and Naturalization Service, Records of. Series A, Subject Correspondence Files  [microfilm]. Most of the collection covers the period from 1907 when the Immigration Act was passed to broaden the Immigration Services' jurisdiction on prostitution matters, until the Justice Department became involved to implement the 1910 Mann White Slavery Act. These files document the lines of cooperation between the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization and Justice Department and such private agencies as the Survey, the National Florence Crittendon Mission, the National Council of Women, and other societies which dealt with reforms for women, and the issues of prostitution and white slavery and their connection to immigration.
  • Papers of the League of Women Voters, 1918-1974 [microfilm].Women won the right to vote in the United States in 1920. The League of Women Voters has been an organization which has promoted voter education and citizenship throughout its existence. It is rigorously non-partisan. It has an issue-oriented agenda which emphasizes international cooperation abroad and humanitarian social reform on the domestic front. Guide available.
  • History of Women [microfilm 1588]. The History of Women Collection is a comprehensive collection (1247 reels) of literature by and about American and European from the 1700s through 1920. The microfilm collection consists of books, pamphlets, periodicals, manuscripts and photographs. Included in the collection are resources on such topics as birth control, education, the professions, women's rights, women's organizations, social reform, and the role of women in the settling of the American West. The History of Women collection is based primarily on works found in the Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, located at Radcliffe College, and the Sophia Smith Collection at Smith College. Digital guide.
  • The Papers of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony [microfilm]. The collection includes manuscript holdings of more than two hundred libraries and private collectors, and printed matter from approximately 700 periodicals. After the Civil War, Stanton and Anthony sought federal protection of women's right to vote through a constitutional amendment. They entered the political arena, pressing Congress, state, legislatures, parties, and the president for action on their demands, and founded the movement for women's political equality in the 19th century. The collection covers the periods 1831 through 1906 and contains more than 14,000 documents such as legislative testimony, correspondence, diaries, speeches, accounts of meetings, calls to action, articles, legal papers and financial papers. Guide available.
  • Papers of Sophonisba P. Breckinridge [microfilm]. Sophonisba Preston Breckinridge (1866-1948) received a Ph.M. degree from the University of Chicago in 1897 and a Ph.D. in political science and economics in 1901. In 1904 she became the first woman to receive the J.D. degree from the University. She also worked at the Chicago School of Civics and Philanthropy, and was instrumental in the merger of the school with the University to form the School of Social Service Administration in 1920. Her teaching, research, and publications helped to define social work as a profession and mold it into an academic discipline. Digital guide.
  • American Civil Liberties Union Archives, 1950-1990 [microfilm]. The ACLU Archives are central to the study of almost any topic in 20th-century American legal and political history. The ACLU Archives, 1950-1990 is an excellent resource for those studying civil rights, legal history, radical history, postwar American history, African-American history, women's history, political history, and the Cold War. Digital guide.
  • Emily Newell Blair papers, 1785-1972 [microfilm].Emily Newell Blair (1877-1951) was a suffragist, feminist, Democratic party official, and writer. Active in the Missouri women's suffrage movement, Blair eventually became a prominent figure in feminist activism. The Emily Newell Blair Papers, 1785-1972 is a collection of Blair's personal, professional, and family correspondence; published and unpublished writings by and about Blair; diaries; speeches; personal and family memorabilia; and clippings. In addition, material relating to Blair's family history is included. This collection is arranged by document type, then by family member, then chronologically within four series: correspondence, writings, memorabilia, and clippings.
  • Records of the Women's Bureau of the Department of Labor, 1918-1965 [microfilm].The Women's bureau of the U.S. Department of Labor was established during the First World War, when the United States witnessed a massive influx of women into the workplace. The archival records of the Women's Bureau chronicle the changing status of women workers through two world wars, the economic upheaval of the Great Depression and the periods of postwar economic adjustment. The Bureau was mandated to investigate the conditions of women workers. Guide available.
  • The Papers of Eleanor Roosevelt, 1933-1945 [microfilm]. This collection covers Eleanor Roosevelt's correspondence with leading political and governmental figures as well as with Eleanor's circle of personal friends during the White House years. Covered in the collection are four major subject areas: social welfare and depression relief, race relations, women in American politics, and youth activities. Of particular interest are her correspondence with Walter White of the NAACP, material about her family, especially her father, and drafts of articles and lectures. Digital guide.
  • The Papers of Eleanor Roosevelt, 1945-1962 [microfilm]. Presents documents related to the work of Eleanor Roosevelt as a U.S. delegate to the United Nations from 1945 to 1962. Reproduces correspondence; publications and documents from U.S. diplomats and UN delegates; special reports on political, socioeconomic, and military affairs; statistical studies; interviews and minutes of meetings with foreign officials; full text of important U.S. delegation correspondence; voluminous reports; and translations of high-level foreign government documents.
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