To facilitate the use of the Worldwide Web in conjunction with the third edition of the reader, Women and Power in American History, we have prepared an online version of the “Selected Links” section that offer descriptions and URLs of web sites that seem particularly well suited given the specific articles included in the reader. We will update these links periodically as changes are needed. If you come across web materials that you feel would be particularly appropriate for inclusion in these lists, please feel free to email Thomas Dublin.
In recent years a wide array of primary documents and secondary accounts in American women’s history has been mounted on the World Wide Web, readily accessible for use by teachers and students. What follows is a selective listing of materials chosen because of their relevance to issues raised in the readings in Women and Power in American History. Items on the “Women and Social Movements” website, also edited by Kathryn Kish Sklar and Thomas Dublin, include discussion questions. You can go beyond what is recommended here by using search engines to locate additional materials related to the readings in this book.
Pocahontas and Powhatan Links
This website offers a large number of links of varying quality and reliability. Examine the first group of links associated with Pocahontas and Powhatan in light of the analysis offered by Kathleen M. Brown in the article, “The Anglo-Algonquian Gender Frontier.” This particular group of links permits readers to consider the interplay of history and memory and to think about how views of the interrelations between Euro-Americans and Algonquins of the Powhatan Confederacy have changed over the centuries and how those views reflect the vantage points of subsequent artists and writers. Particularly worth considering are the perspectives offered on the Pocahontas myth as expressed by representatives of the Renape Powhatan Nation (today’s New Jersey descendants of the Virginia Algonquin nation) and the analysis of the Disney treatment offered by David Morenus in “The Real Pocahontas.”
“Africans in America,” a PBS website accompanying a six-hour documentary film of the same title.
This extensive website includes historical documents and historians’ commentaries on African-American history between 1450 and 1865. The first of its four sections, “The Terrible Transformation, 1450–1750,” explores the origins and institutionalization of slavery in the British southern mainland colonies, and offers numerous connections to the analysis offered by Allan Kulikoff in his article, “The Beginnings of the Afro-American Family in Maryland.”
Women in the American Revolution
This site depicts the vigorous support given to the Revolutionary cause by the members of the Ladies Association of Philadelphia. It demonstrates the ways that American women drew on their traditional activities to contribute to opposition to Great Britain. Library subscription required.
Martha Ballard, the Maine midwife, at the DoHistory website
This website reproduces the diary kept by Maine midwife Martha Ballard between 1785 and 1812 and numerous other historical documents that Laurel Thatcher Ulrich used to write her Pulitzer-Prize-winning history, The Midwife’s Tale. The sources highlight issues related to childbirth and midwifery and relations between men and women in northern New England in the early national period. Case studies of particular incidents permit users to follow Ulrich’s keen detective work with the documents to arrive at understandings that are not self-evident at the outset.
Women Working, 1800 - 1930
This extensive collection, drawn from Harvard University’s library and museum collections, features over 500,000 digital pages and images related to the history of women and work in the United States. Resources on this freely accessible website relate to articles in the reader by Dublin, Lasser, and Peiss.
Lowell Mill Women: “Uses of Liberty Rhetoric among Lowell Mill Girls”
Professor Catherine Lavender, at the College of Staten Island, has assembled an interesting group of images and primary documents focusing on the “ways nineteenth-century women used ‘liberty rhetoric’ to argue for changes in their worlds.” The resources at this website explore, in turn, the Revolutionary tradition, women in Lowell, and the 1848 Declaration of Sentiments adopted at Seneca Falls. From the site’s home page, click on the Lowell section and examine the primary sources assembled there in relation to the argument made by Thomas Dublin in the article, “Women, Work, and Protest in the Early Lowell Mills.”
The Digital Scriptorium, Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library, Duke University: African American Women
This site provides scanned images and transcriptions of writings by three African-American women during the 19th century, as well as background essays. Materials include an 85-page memoir and other published writings by Elizabeth Johnson Harris (1867–1923), a written in 1857 by a North Carolina slave named Vilet Lester; and four letters written between 1837 and 1838 by Hannah Valentine and Lethe Jackson, slaves on an Abingdon, Virginia, plantation. The themes illustrated by these primary sources reinforce the argument offered by Virginia Meacham Gould in her exploration of slave women in antebellum New Orleans.
Harriet A Jacobs: Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Written by Herself, 1861
This website provides an online edition of a notable slave memoir written by the escaped slave Harriet Jacobs, edited by the abolitionist Lydia Maria Child and published in 1861. Like the New Orleans slave women discussed by Virginia Meacham Gould in this collection, Jacobs was an urban house slave whose first mistress was the half-sister of her slave grandmother. Until the death of her mistress the young Jacobs had been sheltered from the harshest elements of slavery. Her life as a house slave, however, soon exposed her to some of the worst abuses of slavery and she became the mistress of a white neighbor rather than submit to being the concubine of her master. Jacobs’s narrative confirms Gould’s argument concerning the importance of family to slave women and shows a slave woman’s agency even under the constraints of unfreedom.
Angelina Grimké: Speech at Pennsylvania Hall, Philadelphia, May 1838
After the Massachusetts tour in the spring and summer of 1837 on behalf of abolition, Angelina Grimké spoke in public for the last time in May 1838 at Pennsylvania Hall in Philadelphia. While she spoke, the hall was attacked by a hostile mob estimated at about 10,000 men who threw stones, broke windows, and disrupted the proceedings inside. That night the mob burned the Hall to the ground. This online document provides the text of Angelina’s speech transcribed by a person in the audience at the time and printed shortly afterward. Interruptions by the mob are noted in the transcription. For an account of the women’s exit from the Hall before the mob torched the building, see Kathryn Kish Sklar, Florence Kelley and the Nation’s Work, pp. 18–19. This speech provides a rich example of the rhetoric that Angelina Grimké probably employed in the Massachusetts campaign treated by Kathryn Kish Sklar in “Women’s Rights Emerges within the Antislavery Movement.”
Catharine Beecher: A Letter to Mary Lyon, 17 November 1844
The archives and special collections of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst College, Smith College, Hampshire College, and Mount Holyoke College have joined together to sponsor the Five College Archives Digital Archives Project. The project has digitized significant portions of numerous manuscript collections from their respective holdings. Included in these online resources is the Mary Lyon Collection at Mount Holyoke College, with letters from the educational reformer Catharine Beecher. In one letter Beecher outlined her plans to draw on Protestant women as teachers in the West, a project discussed in detail by Kathryn Sklar in her article, “Catharine Beecher Promotes Women’s Entrance into the Teaching Profession.”
Harriet Beecher Stowe: Her Work, Her Life
This brief examination of the life and work of Harriet Beecher Stowe is part of an online project of the American Studies Department at the University of Virginia entitled “Mothers in Uncle Tom’s America.” After reading the brief quote at the outset from one of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s letters, read the three additional letters that appear in the section “Her Life” further down on the page. How do the letters underscore the argument that Kathryn Sklar makes about Stowe’s efforts at birth control in her article, “Victorian Women and Domestic Life?”
How Did White Women Aid Former Slaves during and after the Civil War, 1863-1891?
Carol Faulkner has collected documents that explore gender conflict within the Freedman’s Aid movement during the Civil War and Reconstruction. In these years, northern white women volunteered to assist freedmen and women and sought to mobilize the federal government in support of these efforts. With private assistance and through the Freedmen’s Bureau, these women taught in schools, dispensed charity, ran employment bureaus, and assisted migration. This project tells the story of their efforts and the conflicts that arose with male reformers whose chief priority was to end freedpeople’s dependence on others. Library subscription required.
Helen Lefkowitz Horowitz, “Victoria Woodhull, Anthony Comstock, and Conflict over Sex in the United States in the 1870s”
This online article appeared in the September 2000 issue of the Journal of American History and offers a thoughtful complement to the article, “Reproductive Control and Conflict in the Nineteenth Century,” by Janet Farrell Brodie. Horowitz explores the conflict between sex reformer Victoria Woodhull and the federal morals agent, Anthony Comstock. She places the 1872 trial of Woodhull and other legal cases during the 1870s within a broader set of cultural frameworks that she argues shaped representations of sexuality in the United States in the nineteenth century. The article offers concrete examples of the changing legal treatment of abortion and contraception that Brodie delineates. Library subscription required.
Angel Island Poetry URL: http://www.english.uiuc.edu/maps/poets/a_f/angel/angel.htm
This site, published by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign English Department, offers an excellent compilation of primary and secondary information related to Angel Island Immigration Station, the point of entry for most Chinese immigrants. Resources include poems, essays, photographs, a timeline, and the text of the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, and offer an excellent complement to Sucheng Chan’s essay on the experiences of Chinese women during the exclusion period.
African-American Women in the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, 1880–1900
This editorial project from the “Women and Social Movements” website illuminates the participation of African-American women in the WCTU between 1880 and 1900. Documents include annual reports made by the three Superintendents of Colored Work in the WCTU in these years, Frances E.W. Harper, Sarah J. Early, and Lucy Thurman. It also treats a controversy that erupted between black activist Ida B. Wells and long-time WCTU President Frances Willard over the Union’s stance toward lynching and its tolerance of segregation in its Southern locals. These documents provide a national framework within which to place the North Carolina study presented by Glenda Gilmore in “Race and Womanhood.”
Jane Addams, Twenty Years at Hull-House, 1912
This online edition of Jane Addams’s autobiography offers a first-person memoir of the life and early settlement house work of the noted reformer Jane Addams at Chicago’s Hull-House. Her account complements Kathryn Sklar’s analysis of the first decade at Hull-House in her article, “Hull House in the 1890s: A Community of Women Reformers.”
The Early Years of the National Association of Colored Women
The National Woman’s Party and the Enfranchisement of Black
Rosalyn Terborg-Penn examines the place of African-American women in the woman suffrage movement. These two web projects provide useful images and documents to complement that essay. The project on the National Association of Colored Women documents the efforts of middle-class African-American women to organize for racial uplift and to secure for themselves a respected place among women reformers between 1890 and 1920. The project on the National Woman’s Party, in turn, reveals obstacles that African-American women faced as late as the early 1920s in their effort to secure the right to vote. These two document projects require library subscription.
The Public Writings of Margaret Sanger, 1911-1960
The Public Writings and Speeches of Margaret Sanger, 1911-1960 is a digital edition of Margaret Sanger's speeches and articles and a companion to the four-volume Selected Papers of Margaret Sanger. This edition provides readers with an in-depth look at the changing rhetoric of the birth control movement and its relationship woth feminism, radicalism, eugenics, public policy and population control. Covering almost sixty years of activism, this digital edition will provide access to material that until now has been available only in hard to find journals or on microfilm. The documents offer numerous connections to "The Professionalization of Birth Control" described by historian Linda Gordon.
The Emma Goldman Papers
The Emma Goldman Papers, edited at the University of California, Berkeley, provide one of the premier websites in U.S. women’s history. The site’s home page describes Goldman in these terms: “An influential and well-known anarchist of her day, Goldman was an early advocate of free speech, birth control, women’s equality and independence, organization, and the eight-hour work day. Her criticism of mandatory conscription of young men into the military during World War I led to a two-year imprisonment, followed by her deportation in 1919. For the rest of her life until her death in 1940, she continued to participate in the social and political movements of her age, from the Russian Revolution to the Spanish Civil War.” The site includes sample documents, an online exhibition, and curriculum materials for student use.
The Debate over the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1920s
This collection of documents expresses both sides of the lively debate between proponents and opponents of the ERA in the 1920s. Introduced with a brief essay by Kathryn Sklar on the history of the ERA, it complements Sklar’s essay on why most politically active women opposed the ERA in the 1920s. Library subscription required.
Civil Rights in Mississippi Digital Archive
While Ruth Feldstein’s article focuses on the ways in which one individual--Nina Simone--participated in the black freedom struggle through her music, this digital archive provides access to local documents that provide rare views of this struggle on the ground. The University of Southern Mississippi has assembled these materials and describes the project in these terms: “Mississippi was a focal point in the struggle for civil rights in America, and Hattiesburg, where USM is located, had the largest and most successful Freedom Summer project in 1964. The original sources collected in the state represent local collections with truly national significance.”
Women at War: Redstone’s WWII Female “Production Soldiers”
This Web project provides an interesting account of women’s wartime employment at the Huntsville (Ala.) Arsenal during World War II. The text and accompanying photos show how the facility came to rely increasingly on women workers as the war went on, accounting for fully 37 percent of the arsenal’s 6,700 workers in September 1944. The site complements well Ruth Milkman’s article on women workers in the automobile industry during World War II.
Mujeres Latinas Digital Collection
This project by the Iowa Women's Archives provides oral histories, clippings, postcards, text, and photographs related to the history of Latinas in Iowa, providing interesting possibilities for comparison and contrast with Maria de la Luz Ibarra's treatment of Mexican migrant domestic workers in Santa Barbara.
Making Face, Making Soul...
This site contains numerous resources for Chicana history, including biographies, cultural resources, literature and poetry. It offers an excellent complement to the essay by Ibarra.
Documents from the Women’s Liberation Movement
The guide to this online collection describes it well: “The materials in this on-line archival collection document various aspects of the Women’s Liberation Movement in the United States, and focus specifically on the radical origins of this movement during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Items range from radical theoretical writings to humorous plays to the minutes of an actual grassroots group.” Coupled with Cynthia Harrison’s treatment of the origins of NOW in her article, “A New Women’s Movement: The Emergence of the National Organization for Women,” these documents will help readers understand the rebirth of feminism in the 1960s and 1970s.
The 1977 Houston National Women's Conference
The National Women's Conference at Houston in November 1977 marked a high point in the influence of second-wave feminist ideas on policy formulation. This document project presents audio selections from speeches at the conference, transcripts of speeches, the conference program, newspapers published during the conference, all the individual planks considered at Houston, and follow-up evaluations of progress on those planks in 1988 and 1997.