Women's Authors & Publishers: Collections
The writing of women has frequently been absent from the history of publishing, books, and authorship, with female voices minimized across the centuries. Even where literary works were aimed at a female audience, often the author remained male, with the role of women writers being overlooked within literature and publishing. The content in Gale’s Women’s Studies Archive allows for the study of female authorship by examining 19th century and 20th century publications, records, periodicals, monographs, novels, and other forms of literary and nonliterary writing that were produced for and by women. Researchers can develop a greater understanding of women as writers and novelists, as well as providing opportunities to explore the concepts of gender, literature, and authorship in a more general way. By examining the eclectic variety of texts produced by and for women during the 19th century and 20th century, researchers can examine the diversity of viewpoints and perspectives put forward by female authors and women writers. The primary sources available in the collections offered as part of Gale’s Women’s Studies Archive provide the chance to understand this important intersection of gender, literature, and writing.
Female authorship took a number of forms in the 19th century and 20th century. Exploring the work of women writers, both novelists and nonfiction writers, through the diverse corpus of books and pamphlets available in the archive allows for the examination of the intersection of gender and authorship by presenting a detailed insight into the female experience across both literary novels and nonfiction. Periodicals could be produced by women, for women, allowing them to express their views on a wide range of issues, including literature, the arts, education, working conditions, political movements, and feminism.
Periodicals played a key role in amplifying the voices of women, and exploring these publications enables scholars to understand women as both authors and readers. There were many publishers of periodicals that published material intended for women, and although some were still written and produced by men, these periodicals can vary greatly in terms of their ideology and approach toward gender. As well as amplifying female voices, these publishers also played a role in providing employment in publishing for women—for example, the Women’s Printing Society, which offered access to the publishing industry, a traditionally male-dominated space. This content is integral to understanding the modes of expression and authorship available to women during the nineteenth century and twentieth century, and for exploring the ways in which that authorship intersects with issues of gender and identity.