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American Women: Resources from the General Collections

Using the General Collections

Carol M. Highsmith, photographer. [Main Reading Room. View from above showing researcher desks. Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building, Washington, D.C.]. 2009. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Library of Congress holdings in U.S. women's history have a breadth and depth that cannot be matched elsewhere, and researchers of topics great and small will find incredible sources among the millions of items in the General Collections. Many other libraries, however, have superb American women's history collections and hold items comparable to those at the Library of Congress. The arrangement of this discussion of the General Collections may prove helpful to researchers using other libraries because it is not the individual items mentioned that are critical, but the types of materials. The sample subject headings and call numbers should lead to similar works in other libraries. Also, the advice on subject searching, especially on finding the most specific subject headings, is applicable to other library catalogs.

Whether you are looking for a biography of an Alaskan woman or a journal on women's health, a description of women's roles in the American Revolution or a book on dating rituals of the 1920s, you need three things to find such items in the General Collections: valid Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH), Library of Congress Classification (LCC), and access to both online and manual catalogs.