Celebrating Women’s History: 100 Amazing Libraries and Collections on the Web

Women have played a big and sometimes under-appreciated role in the shaping of history in the United States and around the world. Take part in celebrating the achievement of brave, smart, and determined women from all countries and time periods by learning about women’s history online. There are numerous sites on the web, many through libraries and archives, that can provide you with access not only to information but to documents, photos and first hand accounts of women as well. Here is a list of 100 places to start looking to learn more about women’s history.

Libraries and Archives

Check out these large collections and libraries for a huge range of photos, documents and other information on women’s history.

  1. The Women’s Library: This UK-based library is home to an incredibly extensive collection of resources on women’s history. While much of their collection is available online on site, they have a large number of electronic resources you can search through as well.
  2. Sallie Bingham Center: This Duke University center, dedicated to women’s history and culture, provides a number of online collections including those on women’s liberation, African-American women, and women in the Civil War.
  3. Iowa Women’s Archives: The University of Iowa is home to this collection of historical materials and a good amount is available through the digital collections offered through their website.
  4. Schlesinger Library: Located at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, this library chronicles the lives of women from the 19th century to the present. You’ll be able to access some of their materials online via the Harvard Open Collections Program.
  5. Texas Women’s University Library: The digital collections from this university can give you easy access to photos, manuscripts, artifacts, and more as well as focusing on special collections like women in aviation.
  6. Digital Library of Georgia: This library provides links to hundreds of resources including photos, books, and documents that chronicle the experience of women predominantly in Georgia, but in other areas of the south as well.
  7. Sophia Smith Collection: This site provides access to digital collections and online exhibits but also can be a great place to look up information on a huge range of women’s history issues.
  8. National Women’s Party Digital Collection: Explore the long history of women’s suffrage and liberation through the photos and documents supplied by this site.
  9. The University of Texas, San Antonio: This library has a large collection of resources on gender, women’s rights, feminism and more some of which are available digitally.
  10. Women Artists Archives National Directory: Rutgers maintains this search engine and archive which can help you easily find information and images on a wide range of female artists.
  11. The Gerritsen Collection: This online collection is not free to use, but you can sign up for a free trial and get access to one of the largest collections of women’s history documents in the world.

Government Resources

The U.S. government is a great source for information about women’s history. Check out these sites for loads of resources.

  1. First Ladies Gallery: Check out the White House site to learn all about the women who have stood by American presidents since the beginning of the nation.
  2. Federal Resources for Educational Excellence: This government site has a number of informative online resources that range from a history of Miss America to the life of Queen Elizabeth I.
  3. The National Archives: Take advantage of this government-managed facility, as it offers links and resources on women in a huge range of historical time periods.
  4. National Park Service: Want to visit some historical sites relevant to women’s history? Check out this list put together by the National Park Service.
  5. Women of NASA: Read the inspirational stories of women who have participated in space flights, launches and the development of new technologies.
  6. U.S. Census Bureau: Women by the Numbers: Find out how many women there are in the U.S., how educated they are, how much they make and much more.
  7. Library of Congress: Women’s History: The Library of Congress is a great resource for information about women’s history, whether you’re looking for photos, original documents or just general information.
  8. American Life: This government site provides a place to learn about important women in history through a large range of resource.
  9. Vermont Women’s History Project: The state of Vermont has put together this helpful website, which offers an online database you can search for stories about how women have shaped the history of Vermont and the nation.
  10. Women In Congress: On this government site you can read about women who have taken an active role in the United States government, following the first representative, Jeanette Rankin.
  11. Department of Defense: Learn about the women who have played a big role in the military through this site.

Suffrage and Women’s Rights

The fight for equal rights, including the right to vote, makes up a big part of women’s history and you can learn more about it through these sites.

  1. Free Speech Movement Digital Archive: Check out this Berkeley maintained site to find text documents related to numerous free-speech issues that occurred at the University during the 60’s and 70’s, including the rise of women’s rights activism and the civil rights movement.
  2. Catt Collection of Suffrage Photographs: Bryn Mawr University’s Special Collections provides this digital archive of images. You’ll find photographic documentation of many of the women who were integral to getting women the right to vote.
  3. Suffragists Oral History Project: Read first-hand accounts of women who dedicated their lives to fighting for women’s rights.
  4. Sewall-Belmont House and Museum: Here you’ll find a gallery of the cartoons of Nina Evans Allender, which depict the struggles of women to earn the right to vote as well as numerous other suffrage-related images.
  5. Miller NAWSA Suffrage Scrapbooks: While the bulk of this material is located in the actual on-site collections of the Library of Congress, you can gain access to some digital scans of these materials right from your own computer.
  6. Maine Memory Network: Check out this site’s collection of political cartoons, brochures, announcements and a variety of other suffrage-era documents.
  7. Jane McCallum and the Suffrage Movement: Jane McCallum was a Texas-born women and a fighter for the right of women to vote. This site contains several images and documents related to her and the movement.
  8. Worcester Women’s History Project: This site can be a great resource about women’s history, especially related to the fight for the right to vote and other women’s rights issues.
  9. Citizens at Last: The Women’s Suffrage Movement in Texas: Check this site for photos and documents related to women’s suffrage in the state of Texas.
  10. Women’s Suffrage in Washington State: Here you can find photos, newspapers, and biographies of women who played a key role in earning the right to vote for women in Washington.
  11. Women’s Suffrage and the 19th Amendment: The National Archives have put together a collection of material related to the Seneca Falls Convention that can provide interesting and informative reading material.
  12. Living the Legacy: The Women’s Rights Movement: This organization has compiled information about the history of women’s rights as well as a detailed timeline.

Special Collections

These special collections focus on a range of specific issues related to women’s history.

  1. Women Come to the Front: This collection of photos and newspaper articles documents the role women played as journalists and photographers during WWII.
  2. Votes for Women: The Library of Congress provides this great collection of texts, images and illustration from the period of women’s suffrage.
  3. Jewish Women’s Archive: See the role Jewish women have played throughout history, including a new online exhibit on the rise of feminism.
  4. Women and Social Movements in the United States: This site contains numerous articles about social movements and women’s roles in them in the United States as well as a range of other helpful links.
  5. Redstockings: If women’s liberation is of interest to you then this site is a must-see. You’ll find loads of documents on the subject as well as photos, information and information on events today.
  6. Women in Aviation and Space History: Find loads of information on women who have taken to the skies on the this Smithsonian site.
  7. Women in Sports: Sports Illustrated put together this collection of biographies of the greatest female athletes of the past 100 years.
  8. Rosie the Riveter: The Regional Oral History Office has interviewed dozens of individuals about their experiences working in factories or fighting during WWII. Many of those interviewed are women and it can be an indispensable resource for those focusing on this time period.
  9. Women Working 1800-1930: Harvard University provides this collection of photos and documents related to women in the workforce from the turn of the 19th century to pre-WWII America.
  10. Kate and Sue McBeth: These sisters were missionaries to the Nez Perce tribes, and you can find documents, maps and photographs that can give you an idea of their experiences and the native people they worked with in the late 1800’s.
  11. The Making of a Homemaker: Many women’s experiences today are much different than those living in the decades or centuries that have preceded. Check out this online collection from the Smithsonian to learn what used to make the ideal housewife.
  12. A Daring Experiment: Harvard and Women’s Business Education 1937-1970: Learn about the history of business education for women at Harvard in this online exhibit with photos, documents and other sources.

Photos

Get a photographic tour of parts of women’s history through these sites.

  1. National Museum of Women in the Arts: See the work that women contribute to the world of art through the exhibits and photos listed on this site.
  2. Native American Women: This gallery contains photos of Native American women from the Plains and Southwest tribes, many coming from the early years of photography and documenting more traditional native practices.
  3. Slave Life in the Americas: The University of Virginia hosts this photographic archive which has images that document many women and men’s experiences as slaves in 19th century America.
  4. American Women: The Pioneers: This photo essay provides helpful information and beautiful images to document the experience of women who chose to travel west with their families.
  5. Women of Our Time: The National Portrait Gallery maintains this online archive of images of famous women throughout the 29th century.
  6. LOC: American Memory: While you can find a range of subject matter in the photos offered by the Library of Congress, some of these images are specific to women’s history, including suffrage, daily life and much more.
  7. Women’s History In Pictures: About.com has pulled together this collection of photos that take women’s history from the ancient to the modern day.
  8. Fashion Era: Think those high heels are uncomfortable? You may have it easy compared to former female fashions. Check out this site to see how women’s fashions have changed over the years.
  9. Women of Protest: These images from the Library of Congress document the activities of the National Women’s Party.
  10. Women’s Issues: Then and Now: See how things have changed in areas like sports, entertainment, birth control and more on this informative site, loaded with pictures to illustrate.
  11. Tejano Voices: Learn about the struggles of Mexican-American women and men through the photos and documents provided by this site.
  12. Picturing Women: This site is full of interesting information and contains a number of photos and cartoons that show how women have been depicted historically by men and themselves.

Documents

Check out these sites to read primary and secondary documents about women’s history.

  1. Making It On Their Own: Women in the West: Learn about the brave women who took on the wild west through the large number of texts available on this site. You’ll also find photos from the period and links to other helpful research sites.
  2. Women’s History Project: In this project, you’ll find all kinds of texts related to the fight for women to get equal rights, especially those from the 1850 convention.
  3. Documenting the American South: If you’re doing research on women in the southern United States, especially during the Civil War era and the years that surround it, you’ll find numerous first-hand letters and documents to help you on this site.
  4. HEARTH: Cornell University maintains this site which has online collections of hundreds of home economics-themed journals from the 1800’s-1950.
  5. Five Colleges Archives: Women’s History: Read diary entries, records, oral histories and peruse photos on this this site dedicated to documenting the experiences of women at the Five Colleges.
  6. Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender: Here you can explore articles and essays about women’s lives during the medieval period.
  7. Early Modern Women Database: Search through the University of Maryland library for information about women in the medieval and renaissance periods.
  8. The Emma Goldman Papers: This anarchist and feminist is a fascinating historical figure. You can read some of her personal documents on this Berkeley site.
  9. Godey’s Lady’s Book: One of the most popular publications of the 19th century, get an idea of what women during this time period were reading by checking out the online version of this book.
  10. H-Women Manuscript Collection: Find documents that cover a big range of historical periods and geographical areas on this site.
  11. Lesbian Herstory Archives: Read the stories of lesbians and women throughout history through this organization started in 1973.

Women’s Writing

Read the words of women throughout history on these literary sites.

  1. The Victorian Women Writers Project: Here you can find numerous texts by British women who were writing during the 19th century.
  2. African American Women Writers of the 19th Century: The New York Public library provides this online collection of writings done by African American women in the United States in an attempt to give their point of view on history.
  3. The Liz Library: Women of Achievement: Check out some of the most important documents written by women on this site.
  4. The Willa Cather Archive: Learn more about this famous female writer, read portions of her writing and view photographs on this large archival site.
  5. A Celebration of Women Writers: Here you’ll find a listing of hundreds of women writers from around the world, some famous and some lesser known.
  6. Domestic Goddesses: Visit this site to read articles and books written by women on domestic topics.
  7. Women Writing the Holocaust: This article gives attention and voice to three women who lived through the Holocaust.
  8. Other Women’s Voices: Translations of Women’s Writing Before 1700: It can be hard to find women’s writing from earlier historical periods, but this site compiles it in one easy to use place.
  9. Voices from the Gaps: Read writings of African American women from a range of historical periods on this site.
  10. Medieval Women Writers: Give this site a look to see what women were writing all the way back in the middle ages.
  11. Women of Color, Women of Words: Here you can access information and works from African American women authors.
  12. Women’s Studies: Core Books: Get access to some essential texts in women’s studies through this University of Wisconsin online database.

International

Find historical information and resources on these sites, which give more of a global perspective on the history of women.

  1. Women’s History Scotland: Check out this site for information on Scottish queens, witchcraft, women’s suffrage and more.
  2. Diotima: Study women’s history in the ancient world through this site. You’ll get access to documents and images that can help illuminate what it was like for women in ancient Greece.
  3. Gifts of Speech: Get inspired by women’s speeches from around the world on this site. You’ll find speeches by everyone from U.S. Senators to professional biologists.
  4. The Suppressed Histories Archives: Check out this site for informative articles and photos on international issues involving women, slavery, shamanic practices, and resistance to oppression.
  5. International Information Centre and Archives for the Women’s Movement: Based in the Netherlands, this site provides a large number of resources for anyone interested in women’s history around the world.
  6. International Archive of Women in Architecture: Find out how women have impacted the buildings we admire and live in in the United States and around the world through this Virginia Tech site.
  7. Women’s International Center: This nonprofit organization provides a range of information including biographies and a collection of helpful links.
  8. Kamat’s Potpourri: Maintained by a women’s studies scholar, this site explore Indian women and their experiences.

Miscellaneous

These historical resources touch on a wide range of topics related to women’s history.

  1. Internet Women’s History Sourcebook: Read about famous women from Ancient Egypt to the modern day on this highly informative website.
  2. National Women’s History Project: Find resources about women’s history, learn about powerful and influential women in the world and even get audio recordings on this organization’s site.
  3. Biographies of Women Mathematicians: Math is often considered to be a male dominated field, but these women prove that females can be just as good at crunching numbers.
  4. Distinguished Women of Past and Present: Here you can read biographies and find photos of women who have helped to shape the world today and years in the past.
  5. The Women’s Museum: Learn about women today and women who have shaped our history in this Texas museum.
  6. The History Channel: Women’s History: Even if you don’t have cable you can check out this website to get videos and information on women throughout American history.
  7. American Women’s History: A Research Guide: If you’re at a loss as to where to start looking for resources in women’s history, check out this amazingly comprehensive site.
  8. The Feminist Resource Site: Here you can find links to primary resources, women’s studies information and a whole lot more.
  9. NY Times Special: Women in the United States: This timeline makes it easy to understand how the feminist movement has overlapped with other events in American history.
  10. A Woman a Week: If you ignore the distracting music this site plays, it can be a great place to learn about important women, with a new one posted each week.
  11. National Women’s Hall of Fame: This site is home to numerous biographies of women who’ve made an impact in a wide range of field.
  12. 300 Women Who Changed the World: Encyclopedia Britannica has compiled this collection of biographies that can help you learn about women who have shaped history.


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This entry was posted on Wednesday, October 8th, 2008 at 9:52 am and is filed under Educational Resources. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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