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Women's & Gender Studies: Primary Sources & Media

Tips, techniques & links to help you find answers for your research papers & projects

Film & Media

Primary Sources

Primary sources are materials that were produced during the time under study. For example, letters, personal diaries or journals, newspaper articles, photographs, art, and recordings could all be considered primary sources. Below are a few collections where, in addition to art and newspaper databases, you can find material specific to women's experiences.

North American Women's Letters and Diaries - This is the largest collection of women's diaries and correspondence ever assembled, spanning more than 300 years and including the personal experiences of some 1,325 women and 150,000 pages of published letters and diaries from individuals writing from Colonial times to 1950.

American Memory Project : Library of Congress - free and open access through the Internet to written and spoken words, sound recordings, still and moving images, prints, maps, and sheet music that document the American experience.

 Discovering American Women's History Online : Middle Tennessee State University’s Walker Library - This database provides access to more than 600 digital collections of primary sources, including letters, diaries, photos, and artifacts that document the history of women in the United States.  These diverse collections range from Ancestral Pueblo pottery to interviews with women engineers from the 1970s.

African American Women Writers of the 19th century : The New York Library Digital Library Collections - This full-text database of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture includes 52 works by 19th-century black women writers of the United States.

Women Writers Project: Brown University- This collection features full transcriptions of texts published by women in English between 1526 and 1850. Rare or otherwise difficult to find, these texts shed light on women’s participation in literate culture in the early modern era.

Working Women, 1800-1930 : Harvard University Library Open Collections Program - This digital collection from Harvard University examines women's influence on the economic life of the United States between 1800 and the Great Depression. It includes 650,000 digitized pages and nearly 1,500 images. These focus on such subjects as working conditions, workplace regulations, home life, costs of living, commerce, recreation, health and hygiene, and other social issues.

Early American Newspapers - collections of historical newspapers from the early 1600s to the late 1800s.


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Kimberly Moeller
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