UNPRECEDENTED ACCESS TO OVER ONE MILLION PAGES OF FEMALE-AUTHORED WORK
The third module in Gale’s Women’s Studies Archive series, Rare Titles from the American Antiquarian Society, 1820-1922, gives researchers unprecedented access to over one million pages of female-authored work across a diverse range of fiction and non-fiction. Sourced from all subject areas at the American Antiquarian Society, the pre-eminent collector of pre-twentieth century Americana, this archive includes around 5,700 monographs published between 1820 and 1922 in the United States in which a woman fulfilled an authorial role (sometime as co-author or editor).
An official bibliography of female-authored texts published in the United States during this period does not exist. Until such a bibliography is written, this assembly of monographs from a collection built up over two centuries by expert curators and librarians at the American Antiquarian Society will prove incredibly valuable to scholars and students.
Composed of many rare and unique titles that cover over a century of writing by over 2,000 different female authors, the collection will enable new scholarship into feminist perspectives. It will facilitate the discovery of female-authored works that have been previously overlooked, providing users with an expanded corpus of women’s writing. Although several of the authors found within will be highly recognisable, such as George Eliot and Louisa May Alcott, many of them will be completely unknown.
The archive will help to answer questions about a range of women’s cultural contributions, provide insight into many women’s lived experience, and it presents exciting new opportunities for the digital humanities. Through its sheer volume of over a million pages and by presenting a variety of women’s words in context with each other, scholars will be enabled to make new connections as well as rediscovering lost or ignored works from the past. The vast majority of monographs presented here have never been scanned before and are not available on the open web.
The monographs in this archive were selected from across all subject areas in the American Antiquarian Society’s collection, exclusively because they were authored or edited by women, to provide users with the broadest possible swath of women’s writing. This artificially constructed collection supports a diverse variety of research areas, both answering questions on women’s cultural contributions and providing insight into the day-to-day lives of both upper-class and working-class women.
Encompassing more than one hundred years of female authorship, the material in Rare Titles from the American Antiquarian Society, 1820-1922 includes a diversity of fiction genres and non-fiction subjects such as poetry, personal letters, recipe books, memoirs, histories, pamphlets, leaflets, domestic instructional guides, etiquette manuals, biographies, autobiographies, personal papers, children’s literature, commentaries on fashion, diaries, religious tracts, legal accounts, oration, political ephemera and fiction, although there is no overlap with Gale’s American Fiction archive. These titles are united in that they are all texts written by women, not just documents about them, with the wide variety of genres supporting multiple avenues of research into women’s history, in women’s own voices.
A de-duplication analysis has been conducted and none of the content overlaps with other Gale archives, and there is a minimal amount available via open access platforms.
A MULTIDISCIPLINARY ARCHIVE
The deliberately broad nature of the selected titles included in Rare Titles from the American Antiquarian Society, 1820-1922 means it contains a wide variety of materials that will appeal to a range of disciplines, such as:
- Women’s History
- Gender Studies
- American Literature
- Cultural Studies
- Critical Theory and Analysis
- History / American and Canadian History
- Media and Journalism
OPPORTUNTIES FOR DIGITAL SCHOLARSHIP
As an archive of exclusively female-authored or female-edited works, Rare Titles from the American Antiquarian Society, 1820-1922 presents an exciting opportunity for text and data mining. By providing a unique corpus of material that has clear definition and boundaries, the module forms a perfect data set for digital humanities research, enabling new scholarship into feminist perspectives.
Platform Features & Tools
Researchers can see the frequency of search terms within sets of content to begin identifying central themes and assessing how individuals, 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 content of complementary primary source products in one intuitive environment, enabling innovative new research connections.