James H. Thomason Library

History 3241

Women in American History

Reference Sources


Three of the 400 Leaders

photograph by Paul Thompson, c. 1915

  Handbooks & Companions
  Writing Guides
Locating Books
   WorldCat & I.L.L.
Locating Articles
  Journal Databases
  Historic Newspapers & Periodicals
  Key Journals
  Journal Finder
Web Sites
  General Primary Sources
  Sources on Women's Suffrage
  Sources on Women in the Media
Get Help

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Reference Sources:  

For background information and definitions refer to the following library reference works and online reference collections:

Black Women in America, Oxford University Press, 2005.
Main Level, Reference: R 305.48 B561B [3 vols]

Black Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia, Indiana University Press, 1994.
Main Level, Reference: R 920.7208996 B561B [2 vols]

Encyclopedia of American Women and Religion, ABC-CLIO, 1998.
Main Level, Reference: R 200.82 B441E

Encyclopedia of Women in the American West [SAGE eReference], SAGE Publications, 2003.
This encyclopedia contributes to the growing body of literature documenting the diverse lives of women in the West and the nation. Some of the topics explored include the clubwomen's movement, politics, prostitution, women homesteaders, suffrage, mining, agriculture, rodeo women, literary women, conservation, emigrant experiences, as well as bios of key figures from the mid-1800s to the present.


The Encyclopedia of Women's History in America, Facts on File, 1996.
Main Level, Reference: R 305.40973 C897E
Brings together information about the organizations, books & newspapers, speeches, documents, demonstrations and conventions, legislative actions, task forces and committees, and the legal rulings rendered.

The Fifties in America, Salem Press, 2005.
Main Level, Reference: R 973.9203 F466F [3 vols]
Browse index in last volume.

Greenwood Encyclopedia of Women’s Issues Worldwide: North America and the CaribbeanGreenwood Press, 2003.
Main Level, Reference: R 305.4203 G856G v.5

The Sixties in America, Salem Press, 1999.
Main Level, Reference: R 973.9203 Si97S [3 vols]
Browse index in last volume.

Women in Early America: Struggle, Survival, and Freedom in a New World, ABC-CLIO, 2004.
Main Level, Reference: R 305.40973 M455W

Women During the Civil War: An Encyclopedia, Routledge, 2004.
Main Level, Reference: R 973.7082 H232W

Women's Studies Encyclopedia, Greenwood Press, 1989-1991.
Main Level, Reference: R 305.403 W842W [3 vols]

Handbooks, Companions & Guides   back to top

The ABC-CLIO Companion to Women's Progress in America, ABC-CLIO, 1994.
Main Level, Reference: R 305.40973 F929A
“Records the public milestones of women’s history, emphasizing those people who either self-consciously championed women’s rights or pioneered the way for others.”

American Decades,  Thomson Gale, 1997.
Main Level, Reference: R 973.9 Am35A [10 vols]
Covers events, publications, lifestyles, and individuals important to US history during the 20th century. Each volume covers one decade.

American Decades: Primary Sources, Thomson Gale, 1998.
Main Level, Reference: R 973.9 Am35A suppl [10 vols]

Supplemental volumes containing primary sources for each decade of the 20th century. Includes photographs, political cartoons, advertisements, and excerpts from diaries, essays, speeches, poetry, and other literary works written back in earlier time periods covered.



American Eras, Thomson Gale, 1998.
Main Level, Reference: R 973.8 Am35A [10 vols]
Covers events, publications, lifestyles, and individuals important to US history from early 1600s through the development of the industrialized US in 1899. Includes essays, chronologies, statistics, images for each major US era.

Handbook of American Women's History, Garland Publishing, 1990.
Main Level, Reference: R 305.40973 H191H
Alphabetically arranged definitions for core concepts, events, organizations, and historical figures in the field.

One Hundred Years Toward Suffrage: An Overview [ E. Susan Barber, NAWSA, American Memory Project, Library of Congress]
Includes events from 1776-1923.

Reader’s Companion to U.S. Women’s History  [CREDO Reference], Houghton Mifflin, 1998.
Also available Main Level, Reference: R 305.40973 R227R
Covers five centuries of U. S. women's issues and concerns.

U.S. Suffragist Movement Timeline, 1792-Present [ACWL, University of Rochester]

Women's Firsts, Gale Research, c1997.
Main Level, Reference: R 305.409 W842W

Book Cover

Biography   back to top

Oxford African American Studies Center 
Search this collection of reference works like African American National Biography. Included are essays about slaves and abolitionists, writers, politicians, and business people, musicians and dancers, artists and athletes, victims of injustice and the lawyers, journalists, and civil rights leaders who gave them a voice.

American National Biography, Oxford University Press, 1998.
Main Level, Reference: R 920.073 Am35A [24 vols]
Portraits of more than 17,400 men and women whose lives have shaped the nation.

Gale Biography in Context  [Thomson/Gale]
Includes biographies from Gale reference books and full-text articles from hundreds of periodicals. Search for people by name or personal facts [birth and death year, nationality, ethnicity, occupation or gender] or combine criteria to create a highly-targeted custom search.

Women in World History: A Biographical Encyclopedia, Yorkin Publications, 1999-.
Main Level, Reference: R 920.7203 W842W [17 vols]

Notable American Women, 1607-1950: A Biographical Dictionary, Belknap, 1971.
Main Level, Reference: R 920.720973 N843N [3 vols. + 1980 supplement]
Biographical sketches of  American women who lived between 1607 and 1950.  The 1980 supplement covers an additional group born between 1857 and 1943 and who died between 1951 and 1975.

Statistics   back to top

Almanacs of American Life, Facts on File, Inc., 1995-2002.
Main Level, Reference: R 973 Al62A [5 vols]
Volumes titled Colonial America to 1763, Revolutionary America, 1763 to 1800, Victorian America, 1876 to 1913, Modern America, 1914 to 1945, and Cold War America, 1946-1990. Browse index in back of each volume.

American FactFinder [U.S. Census Bureau]  
This is the portal to the major products of the Census Bureau, including the decennial census, the American Community Survey, the economic census, annual population estimates, and annual economic surveys.

Historical Statistics of the States of the United States: Two Centuries of the Census, 1790-1990, Greenwood Press, 1993.
Main Level, Reference:
R 317.3 H629H
Contains statistics on general population1790-1990, agriculture 1850-1990, and manufacturing 1850-1989.

Historical Census Data Browser [University of Virginia Library]
Using data from the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR), this site allows users to browse selected census data from 1790 to 1970 by state and county. Data from the early years (1790 to 1830) focuses solely on population characteristics, while data after those years include selected economic, manufacturing, and agricultural information.

Historical Statistics of Black America, Gale Research, c1995.
Main Level, Reference: R 973.0496073 H629H [2 vols]
Agriculture to labor & employment covered in vol. 1 and Media to vital statistics in vol. 2.

Historical Statistics of the United States, Colonial Times to 1970 [pdf format], Bicentennial Edition, Bureau of the Census, U.S. Govt. Printing Office, 1975.
Also available Main Level, Reference: R 317.3 Un3H [2 vols]
Good introductions and tables that gather together a wide variety of historical statistics.

Social Change in America: The Historical Handbook 2006, Bernan Press, 2006.
Main Level, Reference: R 317.3 So13S
List of Figures and Tables in front, subject index in back.

Statistical Abstract Historical Statistics 1900-2001
Includes tables for educational attainment; employment; live births, deaths, infant deaths, and maternal deaths; births to teenagers and to unmarried women; etc.

Statistical Abstract of the United States [U.S. Census Bureau]
Provides an “authoritative and comprehensive summary of statistics on the social, political, and economic organization of the United States.”  This site highlights the current edition but also includes links to earlier editions, which start in 1878.  The site also provides links to state abstracts.
Also available Main Level, Reference: R 317.3 Un3 1998-2007
Also available Main Level, Reference: RR 317.3 Un3 2008

The Women's Atlas of the United States, revised ed., Facts on File, 1995.

Main Level, Reference: ATLAS 305.40973 F265W
Published in 1995, this atlas gives a historical look at women in the early 1990s regarding demographics, education, employment, family, health, crime, and politics.

The World's Women, 1970-1990: Trends and Statistics, United Nations, 1991.
Main Level, Reference: R 305.4 W893W

The World's Women, 1995: Trends and Statistics, United Nations, 1995.
Main Level, Reference: R 305.4 W893W 1995
Contains statistics on population, households and families, population growth, distribution and environment , health, education and training, work, power and influence.

Writing Guides   back to top

Citation Style Guides

Humanities: Documenting Sources [Research and Documentation Online], Bedford/St. Martins, 2003.

Writing Center, Presbyterian College
Citation styles, writing guides, and scheduling an appointment with a tutor.


Locating Books  
THOMCAT   back to top


Use the online catalog to locate books in Thomason Library. You can search by author, title, word, or subject.

  • Search for a person, as AUTHOR or SUBJECT, with last name, first name:              

Stanton, Elizabeth Cady [as AUTHOR]

  Stanton, Elizabeth Cady [as SUBJECT]  
  • SUBJECT searching requires use of Library of Congress subject headings. The terms below are examples of subject headings related to women's history:

Equal Rights Amendment





  Women in Mass Media  
  • Materials relevant to the study of women's history may also be found by specifying the era or dates, geographic area, or the material type in which you are interested:
  Feminism--United States--History–Sources  
  Women immigrants--United States--History--19th century  
  Women--United States--Social Conditions  
  Women's rights--United States  
  Young women--Social conditions--21st century  

Subject searching is an effective and precise method of searching the catalog, however, KEYWORD searching has benefits, also.

  • If you are unsure of the exact title or the correct subject heading to use, try a KEYWORD search using two or three of the most significant words from the title or subject you are trying to find. Place phrases in "quotation marks."

  • Connect words with AND, OR, NOT to focus your search.
  • Try truncation at the end of a word stem to retrieve singular, plural, and other variations of the word.  Use an asterisk (*) to truncate from 1 to 5 characters. Use a double asterisk (**) to include word endings with an unlimited number of characters.
KEYWORD Searching Tips

· Use AND between words to narrow your search:
Stanton AND suffrage

· Use OR between words to expand your search and
group words with parentheses:
(gender OR sex) AND media

· Add * to the root of a word to expand a term:
vote* = vote, voted, votes, voter

Try WORD searching with ThomCat, other library catalogs & library databases


PASCAL back to top

PASCAL Catalog

If you need books in addition to those found at Thomason Library, try your search here for books in other academic libraries in SC. Through PASCAL Delivers, you can order books online for delivery within 3-4 working days. This service for current PC students, faculty, and staff is a project of PASCAL- Partnership Among SC Academic Libraries. Borrowers will be notified by e-mail when requested items arrive at Thomason Library. Click here for searching and ordering tips.

WorldCat & I.L.L. back to top

WorldCat [FirstSearch, OCLC]
A catalog of books and materials at libraries worldwide. Try searching here to find ALL books available on a topic. Materials available at Thomason Library are highlighted and others can be borrowed through ILL or searched in PASCALCAT.

Interlibrary Loan

ILL is available to PC students, faculty and staff in order to share resources between libraries. Click link for instructions.

Locating Articles:  
Journal Databases back to top

The following journal databases (indexes) are available to PC students, faculty, and staff from on- and off-campus locations.  Search using terms dealing with your topic.

Academic Search Complete   [EBSCOhost] 
Scholarly, multi-disciplinary full-text database, with more than 8,500 full-text periodicals, including more than 7,300 peer-reviewed journals.


A searchablearchive of full-text journals covering all disciplines while providing more full-text access in the library's electronic databases. This archive covers the full run of journals from the first issue of volume one; however, the most current three to five year issues of the journals are not available as specified by the publishers in their agreements with JSTOR.

Project MUSE Basic Undergraduate Collection

Current and recent volumes of over 100 core journals in the humanities and social sciences

Reader’s Guide to Periodical Literature
Main Level, Reference: IND 050 R22 [39 vols]
Print index of popular magazines issued between 1900-1980.

Nineteenth Century Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature

Main Level, Reference: IND 050 N622N [2 vols]

Print index of popular magazines issued between 1890-1899.

Historic Newspapers & Periodicals   back to top

 America’s Historical Newspapers, 1690-1876 [NewsBank Archive of Americana]
A searchable database with issues from over 700 historical American newspapers from 23 states and the District of Columbia focusing largely on the 18th and early 19th centuries. Select specific titles or search publications by state.

The Atlanta Constitution Archive [ProQuest Historical Newspapers]
Full-text & full-image articles from 1868-1945.

The New York Times Archive ProQuest Historical Newspapers]
Full-text & full-image of NYT articles with coverage from 1851 up to three years ago.

The Nineteenth Century in Print: Periodicals [Library of Congress] 
Twenty-three popular periodicals digitized by Cornell University Library and the Library of Congress, including literary and political magazines, as well as Scientific American, Manufacturer and Builder, and Garden and Forest: A Journal of Horticulture, Landscape Art, and Forestry. The longest run is for The North American Review, 1815-1900.


Key Journals   back to top


Feminist Studies 1972 - present (3 year embargo)

Feminist Studies is the oldest continuing scholarly journal in the field of women's studies published in the U.S. Contents of the journal reflect its commitment to publishing an interdisciplinary body of feminist knowledge, in multiple genres (research, criticism, commentaries, creative work), that views the intersection of gender with racial identity, sexual orientation, economic means, geographical location, and physical ability as the touchstone for its intellectual analysis.

Journal of Women's History 1989 - present

Journal of Women's History is the first journal devoted exclusively to the international field of women's history. Its guiding principle is a belief that the divide between "women's history" and "gender history" can be, and is, bridged by work on women that is sensitive to the particular historical constructions of gender that shape and are shaped by women's experience.

Media Report to Women [print]

Founded in 1972, Media Report to Women pioneered discussion of the ways in which advertising, print and TV journalism and broadcast and movie programming depict the lives of women. We also report on how audiences respond to those images, and what effects these images have on women and girls, men and boys.
Lower Level, Periodical Collection: current issue plus previous 5 years

Ms Magazine [print]

Lower Level, Periodical Collection: current issue plus previous 5 years

Women’s Studies 1972 - present (18 month embargo)

Women's Studies contains articles, review articles, poetry, short fiction, film and book reviews of scholarship and criticism about women in the fields of literature, history, art, sociology, law, political science, economics, anthropology and the sciences.

Women's Studies Quarterly 1988 - present

Since 1972 WSQ (formerly Women's Studies Quarterly) has been an interdisciplinary forum for the exchange of emerging perspectives on women, gender, and sexuality. WSQ is a peer-reviewed interdisciplinary journal published in June and December. Each thematic issue is guest edited and combines contemporary developments in feminist theory and scholarship with essays, poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, and the visual arts.

Journal Finder

Journal Finder provides access to PC's electronic and print journals,

magazines, and newspapers in one convenient location.

Browse Journal Finder by title or subject.

When browsing or searching, you can read articles from any journal that is available in the Full-text resources online group of results. Choose a database in this group based on the dates available and the time frame in which you are interested.

Web Sites  
General Primary Sources   back to top


 Discovering American Women’s History Online [Ken Middleton, Middle Tennessee State Univ.]
A database indexing valuable but scattered collections of primary sources on Women's History (photos, letters, diaries, artifacts, etc.). Search the collections or browse by subject, state, time period, or type of primary source.

American Decades Primary Sources, Thomson Gale, 2004.
Main Level, Reference: R 973.9 Am35A suppl. [10 vols]
A companion to the American Decades series providing insight into the seminal issues, themes, movements and events from each decade of the 20th century through oral histories, songs, speeches, letters, photographs, advertisements, cartoons, and newspaper articles compiled in a print volume for each decade.

American History in Video [Alexander Street Press]
This collection is an exclusive collaboration with A&E Television Networks and features important documentaries and series from The History Channel®, A&E Network®, and Biography®. Historical coverage ranges from the early history of Native Americans, to the lost colony of Roanoke, to the 1988 Vicennes Affair in the Persian Gulf. Biographical coverage ranges from eighteenth century figures such as Benedict Arnold and Daniel Boone to modern day figures such as Thurgood Marshall and Helen Thomas. Search or browse-- powered by Semantic Indexing and searchable transcripts synchronized to video—gives the ability to drill down in seconds to find the footage of interest from thousands of hours of video.

American Women: Women's History and Culture in the US [American Memory Project, Library of Congress]

An online research guide based on and expanding upon a 2001 print guide from the LOC entitled American Women: A Library of Congress Guide for the Study of Women's History and Culture in the United States. Includes digital resources and a growing collection of topical essays.

The Avalon Project [Yale Law School]
Full text documents relating to history, law and government organized by time period. The emphasis is on American and European history. An internal search engine simplifies access.

The Making of America [Cornell Univ. Library]
A collection of primary source material from the 19th century.

Documenting the American South [University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill]
Digitized primary materials that offer Southern perspectives on American history and culture. Projects include slave narratives, first-person narratives, Southern literature, Confederate imprints, materials related to the church in the black community, and North Caroliniana.

Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History [Gilder Lehrman Institute]
The Institute website serves as a portal for American history on the Web; offers high-quality educational material for teachers, students, historians, and the public. Search "suffrage and women" in the collections for information on primary sources.

National Women's History Museum

NWHM is a nonpartisan, nonprofit educational institution dedicated to preserving, interpreting, and celebrating the diverse historic contributions of women, and integrating this rich heritage fully into our nation's history. NWMH has had a Online Exhibits since 1996 and plans to build a physical building in Washington, D.C. under the The National Women's History Museum Act [H.R. 1700].

Women's Education Evolves, 1790-1890 [Clements Library, University of Michigan]

Digitized selections of key primary source materials, such as letters from students and women teachers, diaries of missionary teachers, various schoolbooks, sermons, and catalogs. Manuscript materials have been transcribed.


Sources on Women's Suffrage   back to top

American Women’s History Research Guide-Suffrage [Ken Middleton, Middle Tennessee State Univ.]

Results from browsing the subject category "Suffrage" are shown at the link above.

Carrie Chapman Catt Childhood Home [National Nineteenth Amendment Society]
An online museum for "a key coordinator of the woman suffrage movement and founder of the League of Women Voters." See also links.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony Papers Project [Rutgers University]
A project devoted to locating and publishing the papers of these two nineteenth-century American reformers.

The National Archives - Women [Archives Library Information Center, National Archives and Records Administration]
In celebration of the contributions of American women ALIC has provided a listing of historical websites relevant to women in the United States.

National Women’s History Project - Links by Category
Recognizing the achievements of women in all facets of life – science, community, government, literature, art, sports, and medicine, the goal of the NWHP is to make history accurate by continuing to recognize and celebrate women’s authentic contributions through its current and future projects.

Suffrage History [Susan B. Anthony Center for Women's Leadership, Rochester University]
See National Resources and Bibliography About the U.S. Suffrage Movement prepared by Mary M. Huth, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, University of Rochester Libraries.

The Struggle for Western Women's Suffrage [Women of the West Museum]

Votes for Women-Selections from the National American Woman Suffrage Association Collection 1848-1921 [American Memory Project, Library of Congress]
Selections from the collection consisting of 167 books, pamphlets and other artifacts documenting the suffrage campaign. Browse subjects or search by word.

Votes for Women-Suffrage Pictures 1850-1920 [American Memory Project, Library of Congress]
Browse the name and subject index or search by keyword.

Sources on Women in the Media   back to top

Ad*Access Project [Duke University]
Ad*Access is a pilot project to make a selection of historical advertisements available for study and research. The project draws on part of a large collection of magazine and newspaper ads within the Duke Library's J. Walter Thompson Company Archives. The project includes over 7,000 ads, mainly from U.S. publications dating between 1911 and 1955 in five categories: Beauty and Hygiene, Transportation, Radio, Television, and World War II. Each category attracts a lot of research interest, and most of them also reflect major developments in American society, culture, business, and technology.

American Women’s History Research Guide-Mass Media [Ken Middleton, Middle Tennessee State Univ.]

Results from browsing the subject category "Mass Media " are shown at the link above.

Emergence of Advertising in America 1850-1920 [Duke University Libraries]
"Presents over 9,000 images, with database information, relating to the early history of advertising in the United States. The materials, drawn from the Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library at Duke University, provide a significant and informative perspective on the early evolution of this most ubiquitous feature of modern American business and culture." description from site 5/2010

 Internet Archive - Classic TV Commercials Part 1 (1948)
Search Prelinger Archives [e.g. housewife] at top of page.

Museum of Broadcast Communications
Register for free account allowing searching the archives at bottom of main page. Collections include television programs, television commercials, radio programs, and more. Museum  mission is to collect, preserve, and present historic and contemporary radio and television content as well as educate, inform, and entertain through our archives, public programs, screenings, exhibits, publications and online access to our resources. Includes free access to “The Encyclopedia of Television” first ed., 1997.

Life Magazine
Collections of covers & images from Life Magazine:

WW II Women in the Fight

Civil Rights: Women Speak Out

Women Working, 1800 – 1930 [Harvard University Library]
Focuses on women's role in the United States economy and provides access to digitized historical, manuscript, and image resources selected from the Harvard University Library and museum collections.

Get Help   back to top
Stop by the
Reference Desk

Sara Rowe 833-8313
Dan Lee 833-8437



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