Witness the March Towards Women's Rights
Women’s Studies Archive: Women’s Issues and Identities was named a 2018 CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title. Reviewer: J. Stoehr, CHOICE
As the first module in the Women’s Studies Archive, which is a Platinum Award winner at the 2023 Modern Library Awards, Issues and Identities is an essential resource for scholars, providing primary sources from diverse archives that trace the path of women’s issues from past to present—pulling primary sources from manuscripts, ephemera, documents, newspapers, periodicals, journals, history collections, women’s literature, and more. It captures the foundation of women’s movements, struggles, and triumphs, and provides researchers with valuable insights, focusing on the social, political, and professional achievements of women and other gender issues throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. Along with providing a closer look at some of the pioneers of women’s history, this resource offers teachers and researchers a deep dive into the issues that have affected women and the contributions they’ve made to society.
Women’s Studies Archive: Issues and Identities spans multiple geographic regions, providing a variety of perspectives on female history, gender, and women’s experiences and cultural impact. Fascinating historical records from Europe, North and South America, Africa, India, East Asia, and the Pacific Rim—with content in English, French, German, and Dutch—can be found within the archive. The resource brings together archival collections, manuscript collections, and special collections from across the world, and features primary sources from eminent libraries and archives, such as the archives of the New York Public Library; the London School of Economics and Political Science Women’s Library; the Sophia Smith Collection of Women’s History from Smith College Library; the Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library of the History of Women in America at Harvard University; the Swarthmore College Peace Collection; Northeastern University; the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender (GLBT) Historical Society; the National Women’s History Project; and the People’s History Museum. Gale’s goal to digitize a broad array of primary source material, covering multiple aspects of women’s history across the globe, makes this an essential resource for those researching sexuality and gender studies, women’s history and feminist theory, and social studies.
The digital collections included in the resource cover a vast amount of primary source material, digitized directly from the archives, enabling researchers to examine and conduct studies into female and gender history. Some highlights include:
- The Malthusian League records from the London School of Economics and Political Science Library, a collection of resources from one of the first organizations in the world to advocate voluntary family limitation as the solution to the problems of overpopulation and poverty, including the journal The Malthusian and the publication The Eugenics Review, which feature articles on topics ranging from poverty, race, and birth control to abortion, child welfare, fertility, and peace.
- The Planned Parenthood Federation of America record collection from Smith College Library, which documents the history of the organization and its struggles to provide services, such as birth control, men’s sexual health, relationship counseling, sex education, treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, and international family planning.
- The Grassroots Feminist Organizations collection, which includes manuscripts and papers covering multiple aspects of the women’s liberation movement, the history of feminism, and gender studies.
- The Herstory Collection, within which can be found journals, newspapers, and newsletters of women’s liberation and civic, religious, professional, and peace organizations from all over the world, offering multiple perspectives on the history of feminism and feminist activism and the empowerment of women in the 20th century.
- Women and Law, a collection of materials across a variety of categories, covering women’s experience, rights, and politics in history—including information on the changing roles and social conditions of women throughout the world, how men have related and reacted to women and women’s movements in history, materials on stereotypes, and materials about women’s liberation groups.
- The records of the Women’s Labour League, a broadly based feminist pressure group founded in London, England, which feature a collection of materials that document the organization’s efforts to promote the political representation of women in parliament and local bodies.
- The European Women’s Periodicals collection, which offers academics the opportunity to explore female-oriented periodicals from across Europe, dated 1840‒1940, from women’s groups against German National Socialism, as well as from continental European suffragists, birth control propagandists, housewives’ associations, and educational reformers.
These collections represent only a small fraction of the coverage within the archive. By exploring these resources, along with the numerous other collections featured in Women’s Studies Archive: Issues and Identities, scholars of history, gender, social science, and more can begin to uncover the history of women’s experience, from women’s suffrage and women’s rights to legal and medical support, gender studies, and women’s literature. Bringing all these materials, from eminent libraries and archives across the globe, together in one place, the module forms an essential resource for scholars, both in their own research and in the classroom, seeking to uncover and document the full picture of women’s experience through the 19th and 20th centuries.
With primary sources from libraries and archives across the world, Issues and Identities is a key resource for academics and teachers to explore, both in their research and in classroom teaching, when undertaking studies into women’s experience. Using this resource, essential archival material can be uncovered, through which studies into gender history, suffrage, feminism, and many other aspects of women’s history—from the history of feminism and feminist theory to the history of gender and female culture to labor history and peace activism—can be conducted. The diverse primary sources in the archive provide a rich history of women’s experiences in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Approximately one million digitized pages
Content will include approximately one million never-before-digitized pages of primary source material, all aligned with women’s studies.
Covering important topics
Including: the History of Feminist Theory and Activism; domestic culture; lay and ordained church women; women in industry; women's sexuality and gender expression; women’s education; women’s movement; women’s health and mental health; women and law; women and the control of their bodies; and women’s roles and interactions within society.
Discover new connections
Integrate content from complementary primary source products in one intuitive environment, uncovering valuable connections between history and the issues facing us today.
Empower insights from the source
Discover content from resources like the New York Public Library, The National Women’s History Project, the London School of Economics, Women's Library and many more.
About the individual collections
Click on the links below to be taken to a detailed description.
"This online archive provides content that is unique, rich, and highly relevant to historical research as well as to current conversations about politics, social issues, and women’s health…The platform makes discovering relevant primary sources easy for novice researchers while also giving more control to experienced scholars…"
- E. A. Nicol, Washington State University
- Gender & Women's Studies
- Humanities & Social Sciences
- Multicultural Studies
- U.S. History
- World History
- Current Events
Platform Features & Tools
Researchers can see the frequency of search terms within sets of content to begin identifying central themes and assessing how individuals, places, events, and ideas interact and develop over time.
By grouping commonly occurring themes, this tool reveals hidden connections within search terms—helping to shape research by integrating diverse content with relevant information.
Search across the materials of complementary primary source products, including books, in one united, intuitive environment, enabling innovative new research connections.
Reviews & Testimonials
2018 CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title
The Gale’s Women’s Studies Archive is doubtlessly valuable to researchers who are investigating the history of the women’s liberation movement. As new generations of leaders in the women’s studies movement emerge, they can use the Gale’s Women’s Studies archive to look back on the movement for research, inspiration, and useful lessons. Recommended for academic libraries.
In addition to the impressive scope of the collections in this database, Gale’s straightforward user interface, source citations, collection overviews, document management tools, the functionality of browsing digitized material as archival collections, and the ability of linking and cross-searching capabilities across other Gale primary source modules make Women’s Studies Archive: Women’s Issues and Identities a wise investment for any academic library….Women’s Studies Archive: Women’s Issues and Identities complement Gales’ Archives of Sexuality and Gender series making Gales’ primary source suite one of the most comprehensive digital resources available for gender and sexuality studies.