Women’s History – Books about Women through History


Free online books on women’s history; including feminism, collective biographies, women’s work, daily life on the American frontier, the Civil War, Europe in the Middle Ages, ancient Egypt, ancient Rome, and many more topics, places and time periods.

 
Hint: When a book you want to borrow at Internet Archive is already checked out, go to the Internet Archive’s ‘Search’ box, check “Search Metadata”, and search for the book’s title. Sometimes they have two or more copies.

Century Past Library

-Directory-


Women in History Collection

Numerous free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Women History”. Be patient as the page loads.

Women in American History Collection

Numerous free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Women United States History”. Be patient as the page loads.

Hospital Sketches and Camp and Fireside Stories

Alcott, Louisa May
Boston: Roberts 1885 Dewey Dec. 973.7

“Several years before Louisa May Alcott created “Little Women” (1868), her most well- known novel, she worked as a nurse at a soldiers’ hospital in Washington, D.C., during the Civil War. Drawing on that experience, Alcott wrote ‘Hospital Sketches’ (1863), a vivid account that offers rich insights into women’s wartime roles, the shocking conditions in soldiers’ hospitals, the lives of the soldiers themselves, and the racial prejudice of the time. Alice Fahs’s introduction supplies biographical, literary, and historical context for Alcott’s work.” -Publisher

Contents: Obtaining supplies — A forward movement — A day — A night — Off duty — A postscript — The King of Clubs and the Queen of Hearts — Mrs. Podgers’ teapot — My contraband — Love and loyalty — A modern Cinderella — The Blue and the Gray — A hospital Christmas — An hour.

A Perfect Union: Dolley Madison and the Creation of the American Nation

Allgor, Catherine
Holt 2006        Dewey Dec.    973.5

“An extraordinary American comes to life in this vivid, groundbreaking portrait of the early days of the republic – and the birth of modern politics. Within a few years [of her arrival in Washington in 1812], she had mastered both the social and political intricacies of the city, and by her death in 1849 was the most celebrated person in Washington… Catherine Allgor reveals that while Dolley’s gender prevented her from openly playing politics, those very constraints of womanhood allowed her to construct an American democratic ruling style, and to achieve her husband’s political goals. And the way that she did so – by emphasizing cooperation over coercion, building bridges instead of bunkers – has left us with not only an important story about our past but a model for a modern form of politics.” -Publisher

Contents: Prologue — 1. Mrs. Madison goes to Washington — 2. Meeting Madison — 3. Lady about town — 4. Social work — 5. The merry affair — 6. Portrait of a lady — 7. Sex, lies, and the election of 1808 — 8. Lady presidentess — 9. Presiding genius — 10. “The great centre of attraction” — 11. Family matters — 12. The Republican Queen — 13. Affairs to remember — 14. “Mr. Madison’s war” — 15. Potomac phoenix — 16. To home and history — 17. Legacies — Epilogue.


Also see our collection of Articles on Women’s History


Parlor Politics: In Which the Ladies of Washington Help Build a City and a Government

Allgor, Catherine
University of Virginia 2000        Dewey Dec.    973.5

“When Thomas Jefferson moved his Republican administration into the new capital city in 1801, one of his first acts was to abolish any formal receptions, except on specific holidays. However, without the face-to-face relationships and networks created in society, the American experiment in government could not function. Into this conundrum stepped women like Dolley Madison and Louisa Catherine Adams, women of political families who used the unofficial, social sphere to cement the relationships that politics needed to work.” -Publisher.

Contents: President Thomas Jefferson in Washington City — Dolley Madison takes command — Washington women in public — Louisa Catherine Adams campaigns for the presidency — The fall of Andrew Jackson’s cabinet

The Women of the South in War Times

Andrews, Matthew Page, comp.
Baltimore: Norman, Remington 1920 Dewey Dec. 973.7

“The following pages depict the life of the southern people within the lines of the Confederacy during the four years of its storm-tossed existence. The greater part of the material is given in the words of those who were a part of the times in which they lived …[Editorial notes were added that] bar upon related events of larger historical import…” -Author’s Preface

Contents: (15 of 34 chapter headings are shown here) Genius of the southern woman – Wartime experiences of Elizabeth Waring Duckett; interviews with Lincoln and encounters with Stanton – The publication and singing of “My Maryland” – Excerpts from the diary of Judith Brockenbrough McGuire – Caring for wounded foes – Mrs. Betsy Sullivan, “Mother of the First Tennessee Regiment” – Capture and imprisonment of Mrs. William Kirby – Mrs. Betty Taylor Philips, “mother” of the “Orphan Brigade” – Captain Sally Tompkins, C.S.A. – The Florence Nightingale of the South – A night on the field of battle – The ride of Roberta Pollock – The diary of Mrs. Judith Brockenbrough McGuire (continued) – A last song in a burning home

Centuries of Childhood

Aries, Philippe
1962        Dewey Dec.   940.2

“The theme of this extraordinary book is the emergence of the modern conception of family life and the modern image of the nature of children. The discovery of childhood as a distinct phase of life, M. Aries shows, is a recent event. Until the end of the Middle Ages, the child was, almost as soon as he was weaned, regarded as a small adult, who mingled, competed, worked and played with mature adults. Only gradually did parents begin to encourage the separation of adults and children, and a new family attitude, oriented around the child and his education, appeared.” – Book jacket


See our book collection on Education of Girls & Women in the 19th Century U.S.


A History of Private Life, Vol 1

Volume 2

Volume 3

Volume 4

Aries, Philippe and Georges Duby
Belknap Press 1987 Dewey Dec. 940.1

Vol 1: ‘From Pagan Rome to Byzantium’, Paul Veyne, editor — Vol 2. ‘Revelations of the Medieval World’, Georges Duby, editor — Vol 3. ‘Passions of the Renaissance’, Roger Chartier, editor — Vol 4. ‘From the Fires of Revolution to the Great War’, Michelle Perrot, editor. There is also a fifth volume, covering WWI to the 1990s, that was not found online.
“First of the widely celebrated and sumptuously illustrated series, this book reveals in intimate detail what life was really like in the ancient world. Behind the vast panorama of the pagan Roman empire, the reader discovers the intimate daily lives of citizens and slaves–from concepts of manhood and sexuality to marriage and the family, the roles of women, chastity and contraception, techniques of childbirth, homosexuality, religion, the meaning of virtue, and the separation of private and public spaces.
The emergence of Christianity in the West and the triumph of Christian morality with its emphasis on abstinence, celibacy, and austerity is startlingly contrasted with the profane and undisciplined private life of the Byzantine Empire. Using illuminating motifs, the authors weave a rich, colorful fabric ornamented with the results of new research and the broad interpretations that only masters of the subject can provide.” -Publisher description of Vol 1.

The Oldest Vocation: Christian Motherhood in the Middle Ages

Atkinson, Clarissa W.
Cornell University 1991 Dewey Dec. 940.1

“After tracing the roots of medieval ideologies of motherhood in early Christianity, the author reconstructs the physiological assumptions underlying medieval notions about women’s bodies and reproduction. She then describes the development of “spiritual motherhood” both as a concept emerging out of monastic ideologies in the early Middle Ages and as a reality in the lives of certain remarkable women” -Book jacket

Contents: Christian motherhood: “Who is my mother”? — Physiological motherhood: The wandering womb — Spiritual motherhood: Extraordinary women in the early Middle Ages — Theological motherhood: The Virgin Mother of God — “Mother of love, mother of tears”: Holiness and families in the later Middle Ages — Motherhood reformed: The parson’s wife and her children — The construction of motherhood

A Virginia Girl in the Civil War, 1861-1865; being a record of the actual experiences of the wife of a Confederate officer

Avary, Myrta Lockett, ed.
NY: Appleton 1903 Dewey Dec. 973.7

The author tells of her many travels across the war-torn South, her capture behind enemy lines, her encounter with the famous Belle Boyd, her friendship with the dashing general J E B Stuart, and the devastation suffered by the citizens of Richmond in the last days of the Confederacy.

Contents: (15 of 27 chapter headings) Home life in a southern harbor – How I met Dan Grey – The first days of the Confederacy – The realities of war – I meet Belle Boyd and see Dick in a new light – SA faithful slave and a hospital ward – Traveling through Dixie in war times – By flag of truce – I make up my mind to run the blockade – I cross the country in an ambulance and the Pamunkey on a lighter – The old order – A dangerous masquerade – A last farewell – The little Jew boy and the provost’s deputy – I fall in the hands of the enemy

Women’s Work; The First 20,000 Years

Women, Cloth, and Society in Early Times

Barber, Elizabeth Wayland
Norton 1994 Dewey Dec. 930

“New discoveries about the textile arts reveal women’s unexpectedly influential role in ancient societies. Twenty thousand years ago, women were making and wearing the first clothing created from spun fibers. In fact, right up to the Industrial Revolution the fiber arts were an enormous economic force, belonging primarily to women… Elizabeth Wayland Barber has drawn from data gathered by the most sophisticated new archaeological methods–methods she herself helped to fashion. In a “brilliantly original book” (Katha Pollitt, Washington Post Book World), she argues that women were a powerful economic force in the ancient world, with their own industry: fabric.” -Publisher

An English wife in Berlin; A Private Memoir of Events, Politics, and Daily Life in Germany Throughout the War and the Social Revolution of 1918

Blücher von Wahlstatt, Evelyn Mary Stapleton-Bretherton
1920        Dewey Dec.    940.3

Selected Articles on Mothers’ Pensions

Selected Articles on Mothers' Pensions Book Cover

Bullock, Edna D., comp.
H. W. Wilson 1915        Dewey Dec.    362.8

In the first decades of the 20th century publisher H.W. Wilson produced many volumes in its Debaters’ Handbook Series on social and political issues that were under discussion at the time. Each book contains the full text of selected articles and documents representing opposing views on the issue, along with a substantial bibliography of books and articles.

Most of the books mentioned in these guides are likely to be freely available online. Search by title; first at the Internet Archive (archive.org), then at HathiTrust.org. Referenced magazine articles may also be available online at the same sites, with HathiTrust the preferred site for magazines.

Mistress of the House, Mistress of Heaven: Women in Ancient Egypt

Capel, Anne K.
Hudson Hills 1996        Dewey Dec.   932

“Masterpieces or Egyptian art dating from 3000 to 300 B.C. have been brought together from great American museum and private collections to illuminate the role of women in ancient Egyptian society. This magnificent volume explores the full spectrum of women’s lives and pursuits through three millennia of history. Separate essays cover ” Women’s Work: Some Occupations of Nonroyal Women as Depicted in Ancient Egyptian Art”; “In Women Good and Bad Fortune Are On Earth: Status and Roles of Women in Egyptian Culture” and “The Legal Status of Women in Ancient Egypt”… But the dazzling centerpiece of ‘Mistress of the House’ is devoted to more than one hundred objects assembled for the accompanying exhibition.” -Book jacket

Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China

Chang, Jung
Flamingo 1993        Dewey Dec.    951

The author “tells the harrowing life stories of her maternal grandmother, her mother, and herself. Their tales span a period of radical change in China that has touched every aspect of life.” -Booklist

Working Life of Women in the Seventeenth Century

Clark, Alice
1919        Dewey Dec.   940.2

Introductory – Capitalists – Agriculture – Textiles – Crafts And Trades – Professions – Conclusion

Lady of the Two Lands: Five Queens of Ancient Egypt

Cottrell, Leonard
Bobbs-Merrill 1967        Dewey Dec.   932

This volume covers what little is known about the personal lives of the five queens (Hashepsowe, Tiye, Nefertiti, Ankhesnamun, Nefertari), and shows the detective process by which information has been extracted from objects recovered by archaeologists. The author also presents “animated portraits of the women who served them, dressed their hair, sang songs, baked bread, poured wine. One cannot help but make a more direct identification with these lively ladies than with the “prim matrons of Rome or the marble goddesses of Greece””. -Book jacket

In Detroit Courage was the Fashion. The Contribution of Women to the Development of Detroit from 1701 to 1951

Crathern, Alice Tarbell
Detroit: Wayne University 1953

In 1951 the City of Detroit celebrated its 250th year. Business and professional women of Detroit set up a committee to gather material on the contribution of women to Detroit life, and they asked Professor Alice Crathern to produce this history. She organized it into the following chapters, showing how women, individually and through their organizations, contributed to the welfare of Detroit’s population, and to civic life.

-Homemakers -For the Children -Educators -For the Sick -Philanthropists -Club Women -Artists -Crusaders -Women in Business, the Professions, and Industry -Women in Public Affairs

Encyclopedia of Women’s History in America

Cullen-DuPont, Kathryn
Facts on File 2000        Dewey Dec.    305.4

Highlights the lives and contributions of women in American history ranging from Pocahontas to Hillary Clinton and Madeleine Albright. Entries cover individuals, movements, court cases and women’s issues from Colonial times to the present.

Women of the Renaissance

Dean, Ruth and Melissa Thomson
2005        Dewey Dec.   940.2

Introduction : worlds of the Renaissance — Wives, mothers, and caregivers — Women at work — Women in religious life — Women who filled the role of queen — Political leaders, rebels, and pirates — Women scholars and scientists — Women writers — Women artists

The Knight, the Lady, and the Priest: the Making of Modern Marriage in Medieval France

Duby, Georges
Pantheon 1983 Dewey Dec. 940.1

“This ambitious study sets out to discover what marriage meant in the daily lives of the nobles of the tenth, eleventh, and twelfth centuries. Through entertaining anecdotes, family dramas, and striking quotations, Duby succeeds in bringing his subjects to life, making us feel as if we understand the motives and conflicts of those who inhabited the distant past.” -Publisher

Contents: The marriages of King Philip I — Moral values : priests and knights — Marriage according to Bourchard — Robert the pious — Princes and knights — The heretics — The lives of the saints, male and female — Guibert of Nogent — Yves of Chartres — The royal family — Literature — The lords of Amboise — The counts of Guines.

History of Women in the West, Vol 2: Silences of the Middle Ages

Duby, Georges and Michelle Perrot, eds.
Belknap 1992 Dewey Dec. 940.1

Contents: Christiane Klapisch-Zuber, editor. Writing the history of women / G. Duby, M. Perrot ; Including women / C. Klapisch-Zuber ; The clerical gaze / J. Dalarun ; The nature of women / C. Thomasset ; The protected woman / C. Casagrande ; The good wife / S. Vecchio ; Regulating women’s fashion / D.O. Hughes ; Women from the fifth to the tenth century / S.F. Wemple ; The feudal order / P. L’Hermitage-Leclercq ; The courtly model / G. Duby ; Life in the Late Middle Ages / C. Opitz ; The world of women / F. Piponnier ; The imagined woman / C. Frugoni ; Literary and mystical voices / D. Regnier-Bohler — Affidavits and confessions / G. Duby

The Congress of Women Held in the Woman’s Building, World’s Columbian Exposition …

Chicago, U.S.A. 1893, with portraits, biographies and addresses

Eagle, Mary Kavanaugh Oldham, ed.
Conkey 1894        Dewey Dec.    305.4

“As a part of the Columbian Exposition … there was a daily gathering of women, who, in a great building devoted to their uses, expressed their ideas regarding the social, business and political affairs of humankind and all that pertains to making a greater future for the human race. This book reproduces the ideas advance by these women, who represented the civilized world.” – from the Publishers’ Preface

This large volume contains over 150 papers by representatives of many states and countries that were given as addresses in the Woman’s Building during the exposition. There are brief biographies for each author, and portraits of most.

For works on the World’s Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893, see: Illinois Cultural History: Education, Recreation, the Arts

Pioneer Women of the West

Ellet, E F.
New York: Scribner 1852

“In this interesting volume, we have 59 extended biographical sketches of wives and mothers who ventured into the western wilds, and bore their part in the struggles and labors of the early pioneers. Most of the biographies were prepared from private records, and are authentic in every respect; none had appeared previous to their publication in this work.”
– Peter G. Thomson, A Bibliography of the State of Ohio (1880)

Mothers of Invention: Women of the Slaveholding South in the American Civil War

Faust, Drew Gilpin
Univ. of North Carolina 1996 Dewey Dec. 973.7

” When Confederate men marched off to battle, southern women struggled with the new responsibilities of directing farms and plantations, providing for families, and supervising increasingly restive slaves. Drew Faust offers a compelling picture of the more than half-million women who belonged to the slaveholding families of the Confederacy during this period of acute crisis, when every part of these women’s lives became vexed and uncertain.” -Publisher

Contents: Introduction: All the relations of life — ch. 1. What shall we do? : women confront the crisis — ch. 2. World of femininity : changed households and changing lives — ch. 3. Enemies in our households : confederate women and slavery — ch. 4. We must go to work, too — ch. 5. We little knew : husbands and wives — ch. 6. To be an old maid : single women, courtship, and desire — ch. 7. Imaginary life : reading and writing — ch. 8. Though thou slay us : women and religion — ch. 9. To relieve my bottled wrath : Confederate women and Yankee men — ch. 10. If I were once released : the garb of gender — ch. 11. Sick and tired of this horrid war : patriotism, sacrifice, and self-interest — Epilogue: We shall never … be the same — Afterword: The burden of Southern history reconsidered.

A Century of Women: The Most Influential Events in Twentieth-century Women’s History

Felder, Deborah G.
Carol 1999        Dewey Dec.    305.4

“In this decade-by-decade account, events selected run the gamut from the founding of organizations like the League of Women Voters and the Girl Scouts, to the emergence of icons like Barbie, Betty Crocker, and Ann Landers, to the patenting of the brassiere. Each event is accompanied by a brief essay explaining and analyzing the topic under review.”

Contents: (1st half of chapter titles) 1900-1909: Carry Nation — The International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union formed — Electric washing machine invented — The twilight sleep technique for painless childbirth introduced — National Women’s Trade Union League is Formed — Mary McLeod Bethune founds the Daytona Normal and Industrial Institute for Negro Girls — 1910-1919: The Mann Act — First women movie stars — Dr. Alice Hamilton — The Triangle Shirwaist fire — The first International Women’s Day — Juliette Gordon founds Girl Scouts — Mary Phelps Jacobs patents the brassiere — Mother’s Day becomes a national holiday — “Vogue” becomes the leading fashion magazine — The Woman’s Peace Party founded — The first birth control clinic opens — Jeanette Rankin is first woman elected to U.S. Congress — WWI — League of Women Voters founded — 1920-1929: Congress ratifies 19th amendment, guaranteeing women the right to vote — Betty Crocker — Miss America — Sheppard-Towner Act — Women track & field athletes included in Amateur Athletic Union — “History of Woman Suffrage” is published — Sex hormones are discovered — Margaret Mead publishes “Coming of age in Samoa” — 1930-1939: The Great Depression — Amelia Earhart flies solo — Sulfa drugs first used against puerperal (childbed) fever — National Council of Negro Women is organized — Margaret Mitchell’s “Gone with the Wind” published — Karen Horney challenges Freudian conceptions of female psychology in “New Ways in Psychoanalysis” — WWII — “Seventeen” Magazine for teens published — First baby boomers born — French fashion designer Louis Reard invents the bikini — “Modern woman: the lost sex”, a postwar treatise on the status of women, is published.

Women in Popular Culture: A Reference Guide

Fishburn, Katherine
Greenwood 1982       

Histories of women in popular culture — Women in popular literature — Women in magazines and magazine fiction — Women in film — Women in television — Women in advertising, fashion, sports, and comics — Theories of women in popular culture
 

Families in Former Times: Kinship, Household, and Sexuality

Flandrin, Jean-Louis
1979        Dewey Dec.   940.2

The author provides a detailed analysis of kinship, household and family relations in early modern France. He discusses the strength of kinship and family ties, the structure of households, the rights and duties of husband and wife, their authority over their children, the role of the family in education …
Borrow online from Internet Archive

Woman on the American Frontier; a valuable and authentic history of the heroism …

adventures, privations, captivities, trials, and noble lives and deaths of the “pioneer mothers of the Republic”

Fowler, William W.
Williamstown, Mass: Corner House 1878

Numerous brief stories of heroism and hardship on many frontiers throughout American history. Some of the chapter headings are:

– Woman as a Pioneer – Woman’s Work in Floods and Storms – Woman’s Adventures and Heroism – On the Indian Trail – Captive Scouts – Patriot Women of the Revolution – Home Life in the Backwoods – Encounters with Wild Beasts – Courage and Daring
– Woman as a Missionary to the Indians – Woman in the Army – The Comforter and Guardian – Woman as an Educator on the Frontier.

American Home Life, 1880-1930: A Social History of Spaces and Services

Foy, Jessica H. and Schlereth, Thomas J, eds.
Univ. of Tennessee 1992        Dewey Dec.    973.8

Essay collection. “The book’s contributors study transformations in services (such as home utilities of power, heat, light, water, and waste removal) in servicing (for example, the impact of home appliances such as gas and electric ranges, washing machines, and refrigerators), and in serving (changes in domestic servants’ duties, hours of work, racial and ethnic backgrounds). In blending intellectual and home history, these essays both examine and exemplify the perennial American enthusiasm for, as well as anxiety about, the meaning of modernity”. Publisher.

Contents: Introduction : American homes and American scholars / Thomas J. Schlereth — The modern look of the early twentieth-century house : a mirror of changing lifestyles / Candace M. Volz — The decline of the memory palace : the parlor after 1890 / Katherine C. Grier — Children in the house, 1890 to 1930 / Karin Calvert — Home libraries : special spaces, reading places / Linda M. Kruger — A history of American beds and bedrooms, 1890-1930 / Elizabeth Collins Cromley — “The family that plays together stays together” : family pastimes and indoor amusements, 1890-1930 / Donna R. Braden — Parlor piety : the home as sacred space in Protestant America / Colleen McDannell — Gardens of change / Patricia M. Tice — Coal stoves and clean sinks : housework between 1890 and 1930 / Ruth Schwartz Cowan — Conduits and conduct : home utilities in Victorian America, 1876-1915 / Thomas J. Schlereth –Modernizing domestic service / Daniel E. Sutherland

Caesar’s Wives: Sex, Power, and Politics in the Roman Empire

Freisenbruch, Annelise
Free Press 2010        Dewey Dec.   937

“In scandals and power struggles obscured by time and legend, the wives, mistresses, mothers, sisters, and daughters of the Caesars have been popularly characterized as heartless murderers, shameless adulteresses, and conniving politicians in the high dramas of the Roman court. Yet little has been known about who they really were and their true roles in the history-making schemes of imperial Rome’s ruling Caesars; indeed, how they figured in the rise, decline, and fall of the empire. Now, in ‘Caesars Wives’, Annelise Freisenbruch pulls back the veil on these fascinating women in Rome’s power circles, giving them the chance to speak for themselves for the first time. With impeccable scholarship and arresting storytelling, Freisenbruch brings their personalities vividly to life, from notorious Livia and scandalous Julia to Christian Helena.” -Publisher

The Feminine Mystique

Friedan, Betty
1997        Dewey Dec.    305.4

“First published in 1963, The Feminine Mystique ignited a revolution that profoundly changed our culture, our conciousness, and our lives. Today it newly penetrates to the heart of issues determining our lives–and sounds a call to arms against the very real dangers of a new feminine mystique in the economic and political turbulence of the 1990s. Three decades later, the underlying issues raised by Betty Friedan strike at the core of the problems women still face at home and in the marketplace. As women continue to struggle for equality, to keep their hard-won gains, to find fulfillment in their careers, marriage and family, The Feminine Mystique remains the seminal consciousness-raising work of our times.” -Publisher

Contents: Introduction / Anna Quindlen — Metamorphosis : two generations later — Introduction to the tenth anniversary edition –The problem that has no name — The happy housewife heroine — The crisis in woman’s identity — The passionate journey — The sexual solipsism of Sigmund Freud — The functional freeze, the feminine protest, and Margaret Mead — The sex-directed educators — The mistaken choice — The sexual sell — Housewifery expands to fill the time available — The sex-seekers — Progressive dehumanization : the comfortable concentration camp — The forfeited self — A new life plan for women

Life in Dixie during the War; 1861-1862-1863-1864-1865

Gay, Mary Ann Harris
Atlanta: Byrd 1897 Dewey Dec. 973.7

A first-person account of wartime experiences, by a lady from Decatur, Georgia.

Contents: (6 of 35 chapter headings) The Magnolia cadets – The war record of DeKalb County – labors of love -musical – Decatur – Labors of love -Knitting and sewing, and writing letters to “our soldiers” – The Third Maryland Artillery – some old songs – A daring and unique chase – the capture and re-capture of the railroad engine, “The General” – Coming home from Camp Chase – the faithful servant’s gift – a glimpse of Confederate braves

Women in the Middle Ages

Gies, Frances and Gies, Joseph
Crowell 1978        Dewey Dec.    305.4

“From Blanche of Castile to a peasant farmer’s wife, this book describes the lives of a group of women in the Middle Ages who represent all classes and a variety of occupations. [Accounts of] an abbess, a clothmaker, a merchant’s wife are … drawn from household records, letters, and secondary sources.” Libr J.

Contents: pt. 1: The background. Women in history. Women in the Earlt Middle Ages. Women and feudalism. Eve and Mary — pt. 2: The women. An abbess: Hildegarde of Bingen. A reigning queen: Blanche of Castile. A great lady: Eleanor de Montfort. Piers Plowman’s wife. A city working woman: Agnes li Patiniere of Douai; Women and the Guilds. Margherita Datini: An Italian merchant’s wife. Margaret Paston: A fifteenth century gentlewoman. The Middle Ages and after.

Celtic Goddesses: Warriors, Virgins and Mothers

Green, Miranda J.
Braziller 1996        Dewey Dec.   936

“Celtic goddesses presided over war, nature, animals, healing and fertility. Considerable recent interest has been focused on the role of goddesses in ancient societies, though not always with a clear eye on the actual source material. This book, written by one of the leading scholars of Celtic myth and religion, examines the significance of the female in Celtic belief and ritual as expressed in surviving archaeological remains and written sources.” -Publisher

Contents: Women in Celtic society – Goddesses of war – The divine female in Welsh myth – Sovereignty, sexuality and the otherworld in Irish myth – Water-Goddesses, healers and mothers – Love, marriage and partnership among the Goddesses – Priestess, prophetess and Witch – Mistress of the beasts – From Goddess to saint

Women and Work in Preindustrial Europe, ed.

Hanawalt, Barbara
1986        Dewey Dec.   940.2

Peasant women’s work in the context of marriage. Peasant women’s contribution to the home economy in late Medieval England / Barbara A. Hanawalt — The village ale-wife : women and brewing in fourteenth-century England / Judith M. Bennett — Slaves and domestic servants. To town to serve : urban domestic slavery in Medieval Ragusa / Susan Mosher Stuard — Women servants in Florence during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries / Christiane Klapisch-Zuber — Occupations related to female biology : wet nurses and midwives. Municipal wet nurses in fifteenth-century Montpellier / Leah L. Otis — Early modern midwifery : a case study / Merry E. Wiesner — Urban women in work and business. Women in business in Medieval Montpellier / Kathryn L. Reyerson — Women’s work in a market town : Exeter in the late fourteenth century / Maryanne Kowaleski — Is there a decline in women’s economic position in the sixteenth century? Women in the crafts in sixteenth-century Lyon / Natalie Zemon Davis — Women, the family economy, and the structures of market production in cities of Northern Europe during the late Middle Ages / Martha C. Howell

Michigan Women: Firsts and Founders, Vol II

Harley, Rachel Brett and MacDowell, Betty
Michigan Women’s Studies Association 1995       

(Vol 1 was not found online.) “This volume recognizes the achievements of more than five hundred women who have been the first women (or first persons) in their fields or who have been the founders of movements, programs, organizations or institutions that have benefitted our society…. This volume also celebrates the 75th Anniversary of the passage of the Federal Suffrage Amendment. It includes an expanded chronology of Michigan women’s history that highlights Suffrage events, photographs of Suffrage activities, and a Michigan Woman Suffrage Honor Roll that lists by county more than 3,000 women and men who supported the long struggle for women’s right to vote.” -Foreword

Contents: Biographical entries – Photographs of the woman suffrage movement in Michigan – Chronology of Michigan women’s history – Michigan woman suffrage honor roll – List of sources

Feminism: Opposing Viewpoints

Hurley, Jennifer A.
Greenhaven 2001        Dewey Dec.    305.4

“This collection of 25 short essays addresses the status of women in America, the differing views of the goals of feminism, and how it has affected our society, and includes the debate over whether or not the movement is obsolete.” SLJ

Contents: Women are the victims of sexism / Andrea C. Poe — Women are not the victims of sexism / Christina Hoff Sommers — Women face discrimination in the workplace / Ida L. Castro — Claims that women face discrimination in the workplace are exaggerated / Elizabeth Fox-Genovese — Violence against women is a serious problem / Ann Jones — Feminists have overstated the problem of violence against women / Rene Denfeld — Women are harmed by societal standards of beauty / Germaine Greer — Women are not harmed by societal standards of beauty / Karen Lehrman — Feminism has expanded women’s choices / Elinor Burkett — Feminism has limited women’s choices / Danielle Crittenden — The sexual revolution has harmed women / F. Carolyn Graglia — Feminism has caused the breakdown of the family / Leslie Anne Carbone — Feminism supports the family / Phyllis Chesler — The feminist movement is dead / Ginia Bellafante — The feminist movement is not dead / Part I: Marcia Ann Gillespie, Part II: Carolyn Waldron — Feminism has abandoned its original principles / Charles Krauthammer — Feminism has not abandoned its original principles / Susan Faludi — Feminists should support abortion rights / Anne Roiphe — Feminists should oppose abortion / Maureen Jones-Ryan — Feminists should work to restrict pornography / Diana Russell, interviewed by Ann E. Menasche — Feminists should work to protect pornography / Wendy McElroy — Feminists should seek international rights for women / Jennie Ruby and Karla Mantilla — Feminists should not seek international rights for women / Paul Craig Roberts — Women’s less than full equality under the U.S. Constitution / Patricia Ireland — Women would not benefit from changes to the U.S. Constitution / Concerned Women for America

Motherhood on the Wisconsin Frontier

Krueger, Lillian
Madison: State Historical Society 1951

 

Small Sound of the Trumpet: Women in Medieval Life

Labarge, Margaret Wade
Beacon 1986 Dewey Dec. 940.1

Describes the daily life of noblewomen, nuns, and peasants in feudal England and Europe. Looks at the treatment of lepers, beggars, prostitutes, and criminals, and offers brief profiles of prominent medieval women.

Contents: Ch. 1. The Precursors — Ch. 2. The Mould for Medieval Women — Ch. 3. Women who Ruled: Queens — Ch. 4. Women who Ruled: Noble Ladies — Ch. 5. Women who Prayed: Nuns and Beguines — Ch. 6. Women who Prayed: Recluses and Mystics — Ch. 7. Women who Toiled: Townswomen and Peasants — Ch. 8. Women as Healers and Nurses — Ch. 9. Women on the Fringe — Ch. 10. Women’s Contributions to Medieval Culture

I Dream a World: Portraits of Black Women who Changed America

Lanker, Brian and Summers, Barbara
Stewart, Tabori & Chang 1989        Dewey Dec.    305.4

A doubled-paged format of photographs, brief biographical information, and first-person accounts of women from all walks of life.

Contents: Rosa Parks — Janet Collins — Eva Jessye — Bertha Knox Gilkey — Alice Walker — Cicely Tyson — Katherine Dunham — Barbara Jordan — Toni Morrison — Althea T.L. Simmons — Maxine Waters — Johnnetta Betsch Cole — Norma Merrick Sklarek — Gwendolyn Brooks — Leontyne Price — Althea Gibson — Ernestine Anderson — Unita Blackwell — Jewel Plummer Cobb — Clara McBride Hale — Ellen Stewart — Beah Richards — Carrie Saxon Perry — Charlayne Hunter-Gault — Constance Baker Motley — Oprah Winfrey — Sonia Sanchez — Georgia Montgomery Davis Powers — Daisy Bates — Marva Nettles Collins — Lena Horne — Willie Mae Ford Smith — Coretta Scott King — Jewell Jackson McCabe — Mary Frances Berry — Ruby Middleton Forsythe — Jean Blackwell Hutson — Anna Arnold Hedgeman. Johnnie Tillmon — Myrlie Evers — Faye Wattleton — Angela Yvonne Davis — Betty Shabazz — Queen Mother Audley Moore — Harriet Elizabeth Byrd — Shirley Chisholm — Wyomia Tyus — Ruby Dee — Leontine T.C. Kelly — Margaret Walker Alexander — Rachel Robinson — Gloria Dean Randle Scott — Marian Wright Edelman — Elizaeth Catlett — Jackie Torrence — Autherine Lucy — Alexa Canady — Yvonne Brathwaite Burke — Dorothy Irene Height — Sarah Vaughan — Josephine Riley Matthews — Niara Sudarkasa — Wilma Rudolph — Odetta — Cora Lee Johnson — Eleanor Holmes Norton — Ophelia DeVore-Mitchell — Sherian Grace Cadoria — Priscilla L. Williams — Leah Chase — Elizabeth Cotten — Marian Anderson — Winson and Dovie Hudson — Maya Angelou — Septima Poinsette Clark.

All the Daring of the Soldier: Women of the Civil War Armies

Leonard, Elizabeth D.
Norton 1999 Dewey Dec. 973.7

“The author presents stories of dozens of women who served in both the Union and Confederacy during the Civil War. Some were spies, but many more adopted men’s names, dressed in men’s clothes and lived and fought and died alongside mostly unsuspecting men.” Publ Wkly

Contents: The ladies were terrific — A handful of Civil War women spies — The women are the worst of all — The broad scope of female espionage and resistance during the Civil War — Half-soldier heroines — A handful of Civil War army women and their predecessors — As brave as a lion and as pretty as a lamb — More Civil War army women, real and fictional — The beardless boy was a universal favorite — Deborah Sampson and a handful of Civil War women soldiers — To don the breeches, and slay them with a will! — A host of women soldiers — A devoted worker for her cause — The question of motivation.

Young Medieval Women

Lewis, Katherine J. et al., eds.
St. Martin’s 1999 Dewey Dec. 940.1

Eight essays. Primarily looking at the 14th and 15th centuries in England, the studies cover prostitution, Joan of Arc, the representation of young women in the Malterer Embroidery, rape in medieval literature, queen-making during the Wars of the Roses, female wardship, virgin martyrs, and maidenhood as the “perfect age of a woman’s life.”

Contents: Maidenhood as the perfect age of woman’s life / Kim M. Phillips — Model Girls? Virgin-martyrs and the training of young women in late Medieval England / Katherine J. Lewis — Crowns and virgins: queenmaking during the Wars of the Roses / Joanna L. Chamnberlayne — A positive representation of the power of young women: the malterer embroidery re-examined / Kristina E. Gouralay — Rape in John Gower’s Confessio amantis and other related works / Isabelle Mast — Joan of Arc: gender an authority in the text of the Trial of condemnation / Lilas G. Edwards — Female wards and marriage in romance and law: a question of consent / Noël James Menuge — Pigs and prostitutes: streetwalking in comparative perspective / P.J.P. Goldberg

The Reader’s Companion to U.S. Women’s History

Mankiller, Wilma P.
Houghton Mifflin 1998        Dewey Dec.    305.4

“The most inclusive book to date on U.S. women’s collective history! A landmark work, The Reader’s Companion to U.S. Women’s History, gathers together more than 400 articles to offer a diverse, rich, and often neglected panorama of the nation’s past. Written by more than 300 contributors, drawn from various areas of expertise, these narrative and interpretive entries “effectively cover five centuries of women’s experiences” (Bloomsbury Review). Here are articles on cowgirls and child care, on the daily lives of single women and the changing notions of motherhood, on the artistic contributions of women of color and the history of Jewish feminism. Wide-ranging in scope and wonderfully accessible, this unique resource reexamines with fresh clarity and brio the issues and concerns that color the lives of all women. Articles and their contributors include: African American Women, Darlene Clark Hine; Cult of Domesticity, Carroll Smith-Rosenberg; Fashion and Style, Lynn Yaeger; Jazz and Blues, Daphne Duval Harrison; Lesbians, Elizabeth Lapovsky Kennedy; Native American Cultures, Clara Sue Kidwell; Picture Brides, Judy Yung; Salem Witchcraft Trials, Mary Beth Norton; Vietnam Era, Sara M. Evans.” -Publisher

American Women’s History: A Student Companion

Matthews, Glenna
Oxford 2000        Dewey Dec.    305.4

Alphabetical articles on major events, documents, persons, social movements, and political and social concepts connected with the history of women in America. Includes bibliographical references, museums and historic sites, further readings and websites.

Pioneer Women: The Lives of Women on the Frontier

Peavy, Linda S. and Smith, Ursula
Smithmark 1996        Dewey Dec.    305.4

“Pioneer Women provides a rare look at frontier life through the eyes of the pioneer women who settled the American West. Linda Peavy and Ursula Smith vividly describe the hardships such women endured journeying west and making homes and communities on the frontier. Their hopes and fears and, most of all, their courage in the face of adversity are revealed in excerpts from journals, letters, and oral histories. Illustrated with a fascinating collection of seldom-seen photographs, Pioneer Women reveals the faces as well as the voices of women who lived on the frontier.” -Publisher

Contents: The journey west-Pioneer women on the move — A home in the west-Pioneer women settling in — Behind closed doors-Pioneer women and family dynamics — The work of women’s hands-Pioneer women in action — Molders and shapers-Pioneer women as community builders.

The Employments of Women: A Cyclopaedia of Woman’s Work

Penny, Virginia
Boston: Walker, Wise 1863

The author, Virginia Penny, dedicated this book, “To Worthy and Industrious Women in the United States, striving to earn a livelihood”.

In the preface she explained that she researched and wrote this book to help women to earn a respectable livelihood. She said that, “the few employments that have been open to women are more than full. To withdraw a number from the few markets of female labor already crowded to excess, by directing them to avenues where they are wanted, would thereby benefit both parties.” The book was written during the Civil War, and she wrote that, “a million of men are on the battle field, and thousands of women, formerly dependent on them, have lost or may lose their only support.” But the need for jobs for women was not a temporary condition that would end with the war. She is intent in helping to open up to women occupations customarily closed to them. She also strongly advocates “… the plan of every female having a practical knowledge of some occupation by which to earn a livelihood.” “If a female is not taught some regular occupation by which to earn a living, what can she do, when friends die, and she is without means?”

The author collected the information in this volume in New York City from 1859 to 1961. She corresponded with or visited hundreds of workplaces, and talked to managers and employees. The work contains 533 articles; more than 500 of them descriptions of occupations in which women were or could be engaged, with descriptions of working conditions, effects on the health, wage rates, a comparison of wages for men and women, time required to learn the business, and other information.

Women Workers and the Industrial Revolution, 1750-1850

Pinchbeck, Ivy
1981        Dewey Dec.   940.2

Part 1: The Employment Of Women In Agriculture – I Women In Agriculture In The Eighteenth Century – II The Agrarian Revolution – III The Appearance Of Women Day Labourers – IV Agricultural Depression And The Poor Law – V Rural Conditions In The Mid-Nineteenth Century.
Part II: Women In Industry And Trade – VI Textile Industries—The Domestic System – VII Textile Industries—The Spinners – VIII Textile Industries—The Handloom Weavers – IX Textile Industries—Factory Workers – X The Smaller Domestic Industries – XI Women’s Work In Mines And Metal Trades – XII Craftswomen And Business Women – XIII Conclusion – Appendix: Occupations Of Women In 1841

Medieval English Nunneries c. 1275 to 1535

Power, Eileen
Cambridge University 1922 Dewey Dec. 940.1

Contents: The Novice – The head of the house – Worldly goods – Monastic housewives – Financial difficulties – Education – Routine and reaction – Private life and private property – Fish out of water – The world in the cloister – The olde daunce – The machinery of reform – The nun in medieval literature –

Women in Ancient Egypt

Robins, Gay
Harvard University 1993        Dewey Dec.   932

Using primary sources, this book provides a review of the lives of Egyptian women between about 3000 BC and 332 AD. It deals chiefly with the elite class since the peasants left little mark, and shows how, despite restrictions, some women wielded great power in Ancient Egypt.

Contents: Royal women and queenship – Queens, power, and the assumption of kingship – Marriage – Fertility, pregnancy, and childbirth – The family and the household – Women outside the home – The economic and legal position of women – Women and temple ritual – Personal religion and death – Images of women in literature and art

Medieval Women and the Sources of Medieval History

Rosenthal, Joel T., ed.
University of Georgia 1990 Dewey Dec. 940.1

“Because the records of medieval society were written largely by men and about men, scholars have often assumed that the means for recovering a full picture of the women of that society are simply not available. As this book makes clear, however, the collections of medieval source material contain much more than initially meets the eye. The fifteen essays assembled in ‘Medieval Women and the Sources of Medieval History’ show that familiar sources can be read in new ways to uncover previously obscured information about the status and roles of women in the social, political, economic, and religious life of medieval Europe.” -Publisher

Contents: Medieval women in French sigillographic sources / Brigitte Bedow- Rezak — Exempla / Jacques Berlioz and Marie Anne Polo de Beaulieu — Sexual equality in medieval canon law / James A. Brundage — German source collections : the Archdiocese of Salzburg as a case study / John B. Freed — The charters of Le Ronceray d’Angers / Penny S. Gold — Women and the sources of medieval history / David Herlihy — Old Norse sources on women / Jenny Jochens — Women and the literature of obstetrics and gynecology / Helen Lemay — “Legal history and the medieval Englishwoman” / Janet Senderowitz Loengard. (Cont) De quibusdam mulieribus : reading women’s history from hostile sources / Jo Ann McNamara — Anglo-Saxon attitudes / Joel T. Rosenthal — Saints’ lives as a source for the history of women, 500-1100 / Jane Tibbetts Schulenburg — Coinage in the name of medieval women / Alan M. Stahl — Sources on medieval women in Mediterranean archives / Susan Mosher Stuard

Women, Work, and Family

Scott, Joan W. and Louse A. Tilly
1978        Dewey Dec.   940.2

“First published in 1978, ‘Women, Work and Family’ became a classic of women’s history and is still the only synthetic text on the history of women’s work in England and France. It provides an excellent introduction to the changing roles and status of women in England and France from 1750 to the present. A large and interesting body of material (census lists, biographical and autobiographical material) is masterfully integrated to tell the story of women’s working lives and family relationships in pre-industrial, industrializing, and industrialized economies.” – Book cover
Part I. The Family Economy in Pre-Industrial England and France: – Economy and Demography – Single Women in the Family Economy – Married Women in the Family Economy.
Part II. Industrialization and the Family Wage Economy: – Industrialization – Demographic Change – Women in the Family Wage Economy.
Part III. Toward the Family Consumer Economy: – Occupational and Demographic Change – Women in the Family Consumer Economy – Changes in Women’s Work Since World War II.

Changing Lives: Women in European History since 1700

Smith, Bonnie G.
1989        Dewey Dec.   940.2

“Unmatched in breadth and scope, Changing Lives is an exciting chronological narrative of women’s experience in Britain and continental Europe from the eighteenth century to the present. This comprehensive and authoritative book fills a great void by synthesizing the historical contributions of both ordinary and famous women—writers, artists, and social and political leaders. The author skillfully details women’s participation in major artistic, cultural, and scientific movements of the times as she integrates women’s experience into the broader currents of modern European social, economic, political, and intellectual history.” – Book cover
Part I. Life and death in the Eighteenth Century — 1. Eighteenth century worlds — 2. Winds of change — 3. The age of revolution
Part II. Work and domesticity in industrializing Europe 1815-1875 — 4. The rise of the woman worker : the early years — 5. The domestic sphere in the Victorian Age — 6. Culture and politics in the nation-state
Part III. A world torn asunder 1875-1925 — 7. Working class life in the Belle Epoque — 8. The new woman — 9. Warriors, pacifists, and revolutionaries
Part IV. The Fruits of Twentieth Century Technology — 10. Consumer culture and the routinization of work — 11. New battles : the rise of dictators and war — 12. Technology and power in the late twentieth century

Women of the French Revolution

Streissguth, Thomas
2005        Dewey Dec.   940.2

A world overthrown : women of the aristocracy — The radical urban vanguard : laborers and market women of Paris — Women of the societies — Women writers — Peasants and villagers — Women and religion — Women soldiers

Women in Industry

Trent, Ray S.
Bloomington: Indiana University 1918

The author was a professor of Economics and Sociology in Indiana University. The study applies to working women nation-wide, but one of the author’s stated goals was to influence applicable laws in Indiana.

Spirited Women: Gender, Religion, & Cultural Identity in the Nepal Himalaya

Watkins, Joanne C.
Columbia University 1996        Dewey Dec.    954

Testimony of Working Women, 1914

Wisconsin Legislature. Committee on White Slave Traffic and Kindred Subjects
Madison: Wisconsin Historical Society

“In 1913, the Wisconsin Legislature established a committee to investigate the causes of prostitution and other vice in Wisconsin….” “In the 1914 testimony, working women from around the state answered questions at hearings held in Green Bay, La Crosse, Oshkosh, Sheboygan, and Superior. The women worked in a range of jobs from a factory worker at a paper mill, to a store clerk, a landlady and a telephone operator. Committee members asked the women questions about their wages, their working and living conditions, and why they chose to work in a given job, all in an effort to understand what “leads young girls astray” in the words of one investigator.”
– Wisconsin Historical Society, “Turning Points in Wisconsin History” website


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