Rare Primary Sources Supporting Women’s Studies Research

Much of history is one-sided, focusing mainly on the male perspective and leaving women’s voices unheard. Bringing women’s stories to light, the Women’s Studies Archive connects collections and resources concerning women’s history and gender from archives, organizations, and libraries across the globe—enabling scholars to undertake research from a wide range of resources. In Issues and Identity and Voice and Vision, Gale offers an examination of the social, political, and professional aspects of women’s lives; gives an insight into gender and feminist theory; and provides academics with a look at the roles, experiences, and achievements of women in society.

Focusing on the evolution of feminism and female history throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the resources in the archive provide a close look at some of the pioneers of women’s history and the organizations they created, a deep dive into the issues that have affected women, and the many contributions they’ve made to society. Scholars can explore materials on women’s political activism, women’s suffrage, the evolution of feminism, birth control, pacifism, civil rights, and socialism. Women’s voices are represented across female-authored literature and women’s periodicals providing insight into women’s experiences and culture. By providing the opportunity to witness female perspectives, Gale’s Women’s Studies Archive is an essential source for those teaching and studying women’s studies, sexuality and gender studies, and social history.

The first module, Issues and Identity, traces the path of women’s issues from past to present—pulling primary sources from manuscripts, newspapers, periodicals, ephemera, and more. Sourced from renowned libraries and archives across the world, the collections include material from the Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America at Harvard University, New York Public Library, the National Women’s History Alliance, the London School of Economics and Political Science Women’s Library and many more. An essential resource for graduate students and seasoned scholars, this primary source database captures the foundation of women’s movements, feminist history, and women’s struggles and triumphs, providing scholars with valuable insights, focusing on the social, political, and professional achievements of women throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Along with providing a closer look at some of the pioneers of women’s movements, this collection offers scholars a deep dive into the issues that have affected women, feminism, and the female voice, and the many contributions that women have made to society.

Voice and Vision builds on the platform started with Issues and Identity and brings yet more female voices to the forefront, with primary source materials from the collections of eminent libraries and archives, such as the British Library; Swarthmore College; New York University; the UK National Archives; the American Antiquarian Society; and the University of California, Santa Barbara. Particular attention has been paid to the mediums through which women have created a voice for themselves, with female-authored literature, journals, and magazines that were produced by women, not just for women. These shed light on the voices of women writers and their audiences, uncovering a literary strand that has often been overlooked. Going beyond simply women’s suffrage, the archive covers multiple areas that are of key importance to the study of women’s history—from the abolition of slavery, alcohol and temperance movements, pacifism, and political activism to domestic service, education, health and hygiene, divorce, and social reform—giving academics full access to vital aspects of the female past.

Gale’s Women’s Studies Archive is an essential online tool for those undertaking in-depth research into gender and feminist studies. Using the resources in these digital collections, scholars can explore the cross-cultural development of feminist thought and theory, feminist politics, the battle for human rights and the organizations that made it happen, and the culture and language that women—from women writers to pacifist campaigners to Chicana activists—created for themselves. Through the archival collections in this primary source database, academics at all levels—from library researchers and archivists to graduate students and university faculty teaching and researching sexuality and gender studies—can use unique literature, ephemera, pamphlets, correspondence, and other key primary sources in their studies to examine, research, and understand the full scope of women’s history.

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