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American Women: Resources from the Manuscript Collections

Male Scientists

The Manuscript Division's holdings relating to male scientists are quite extensive, but only a few examples are needed to illustrate their potential interest to women's historians.

Letter from Alexander Graham Bell to Mabel Hubbard Bell. August 8, 1875. Library of Congress Manuscript Division.

The papers of geologist, Indian agent, and explorer Henry Rowe Schoolcraft (25,000 items; 1788-1941; bulk 1820-56), include the papers of his wives and daughters as well as stories about Native American women in the Michigan area. Schoolcraft's first wife, Jane Johnston Schoolcraft (1800-1842), was part Ojibwe, and her papers consist of poems she wrote before and after her marriage, writings about Indian girlhood and Ojibwe stories, and a journal (1828) detailing her agricultural and household activities while her husband was away from home. The papers of Henry's second wife, novelist Mary Howard Schoolcraft, a member of a wealthy slave-owning family who left her home in South Carolina to live with Henry in Washington, D.C., reflect her thoughts about women's need for economic independence; southern women and slavery; and Washington politics and society. A digital version of the Henry Rowe Schoolcraft Papers is also available via the subscription database Gale Primary Sources: Indigenous Peoples of North America.

Also of interest to historians of Native American women are the papers of zoologist and ethnologist C. Hart Merriam (5,000 items; 1873-1938), whose wife Virginia Elizabeth Gosnell (d. 1937) accompanied him on his many trips to the American West to study Native American culture, record local flora and fauna, and compile Indian vocabularies.

The family papers of inventor and educator Alexander Graham Bell (147,700; 1834-1974) include correspondence and other papers of his mother Eliza Grace Symonds Bell (1809-1897) and his wife Mabel Gardiner Hubbard Bell (1857-1923), both of whom were deaf, as well as his daughters Marian Hubbard Bell Fairchild (1880-1962), a suffragist and author, and Elsie May Bell Grosvenor 1878-1964), a suffragist and explorer. Selected items from the papers of the Alexander Graham Bell Family are available on the Library of Congress web site.

Manuscript Resources Referenced

The following collection titles link to fuller bibliographic information in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. Links to additional online content, including finding aids for the collections, are included when available.

The subscription resources marked with a padlock are available to researchers on-site at the Library of Congress. If you are unable to visit the Library, you may be able to access these resources through your local public or academic library.