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American Women: Resources from the General Collections

Secondary Sources

In this essay's focus on types of materials, especially primary sources, you must not forget that the General Collections contain numerous secondary sources. Women's history surveys such as Born for Liberty: A History of Women in America, by Sara M. Evans and Eleanor Flexnor's Century of Struggle: The Woman's Rights Movement in the United States; mingle on the shelves with much more narrowly focused titles such as Félix V. Matos Rodríguez's Women and Urban Change in San Juan, Puerto Rico, 1820-1868 and Katherine Osburn's Southern Ute Women: Autonomy and Assimilation on the Reservation, 1887-1934 (resources are linked below).

Works such as these and the thousands of others in the General Collections are the fruit of historians' hard toil to uncover, analyze, and synthesize evidence in an effort to understand and explain how women have lived. Such texts are valuable for

  • their depictions of women's lives in other times and places
  • reminding readers of the variety of women's experiences
  • models to reconstruct women's roles
  • showing the significance of gender as a category for historical analysis
  • presenting different research methodologies
  • quoting primary sources that are not easily available
  • providing notes and bibliographies that lead to other works

Secondary sources are indispensable to historical research and make up a major portion of the General Collections.

SEARCH TIPS: Recent secondary sources in the General Collections are rarely mentioned in this guide because they are often available at other libraries around the country, and they are usually easy to find through specific LC subject headings and published bibliographies (refer to those sections of this guide).

Selected Secondary Sources