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Celebrating Women's History Month: Perspectives from Historical Primary Sources

Posted on 03/28/2023

Celebrate Women’s History Month with a look back through the Readex blog archive featuring articles from Readex digitized primary source collections. Read on to discover and celebrate the accomplishments, trials, tribulations, and daily lives of women throughout history.

Women’s Suffrage in the U.S.: The Long Fight for Passage of the 19th Amendment

… this article by appropriate legislation.” The 19th Amendment is a simply written article to the U.S. Constitution that guarantees all American women the right to vote. In 1919 the House of Representatives and the Senate passed the… read more


Women in War: From the American Indian Wars to the American Civil War

…   The experiences of women in wartime have been less well documented than those of men. Their contributions, their sufferings and heroism merit closer attention. The wealth of digitized primary sources in Readex collections offer fresh… read more


Nerves of Steal: Cassie Chadwick, “Patron Saint of Confidence Women”

… burn scar on right elbow.  Ah, but those eyes were sufficiently persuasive for her to intimidate even her prison matron, and hold both men and women under her sway.  “Cassie L. Chadwick, or ‘Mme. De Vere,’ for that was the name I knew… read more


“Shed Underwear Says Suffragist": Fashion as Social Commentary in the 19th and Early 20th Centuries

… – The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.” That appears to have been the inspiration for many religious diatribes against women who sought to adorn themselves. An anonymous tract, published in 1722: “ Hoop-Petticoats… read more


In the New Readex Report: Surveilling Du Bois; a Famous Football Club; and Black Woman Journalists

… those that pressed the urgent matter of ending American bondage. Jennifer Harris has demonstrated how such newspapers followed African-Canadian women writers and speakers such as Amelia E. Johnson, Mary Ann Shadd Cary, and Charlotte… read more



Mauricia de Tiers and Her Sensational Dip of Death: The Fearless Young Frenchwoman who Thrilled Americans in the Early 20th Century 

… Portugal, was fatally hurt. Her automobile left the track and crashed into the arena. Her chest was crushed and her legs were broken. Many women among the spectators fainted. A part of the crowd present made a demonstration and… read more


'The Messenger Should Not Be Hanged': The Enduring Mystery of Mother Shipton, England’s Most Famous Prophet

… July 13, 1786, in the Exchange Advertiser (Boston, Massachusetts) pays her grudging respect by likening her to the “ Sybills of old,” meaning the women oracles of Ancient Greece. The writer then defames both her looks and her character… read more



‘Women Who Wheel’: How the Bicycle Craze of the 1890s Helped to Expand Women’s Freedom

…   In the late 19th century women began participating in the bicycle craze which men had enjoyed for two decades. This craze did not last long, but for women it was exciting and liberating. It was mostly affluent society… read more


Hetty Green, “Financial Amazon” of the Gilded Age

… York City for self-defense. And like a proper feminist iconoclast she was immediately criticized for her temerity and linked to other prominent women such as temperance advocate Carrie Nation and anarchist Emma Goldman. Worse, if Mrs.… read more

“Through the tears, confident and determined”: American Women Get the Vote One Century Ago

… August 18, 1920, was a momentous day for the women of America. When Tennessee ratified the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the act granting equal suffrage for women, which had been passed by Congress earlier in… read more

“An equality of wages”: The Evolution of Working Women’s Rights, as Captured by Early American Publications

… Among the United States’ earliest and most fervent supporters of working women’s rights was an Irish immigrant named Mathew Carey, who arrived in Philadelphia in 1784. In that city he established a publishing business … and pamphlets… read more

‘The voice of female sorrow’: Highlights from Afro-Americana Imprints, 1535-1922

… a drawer full of letters, and a few books &c. Another, Mr. Horn, stood in the parlor and threatened the mob with a pistol. He drove off the women (!!!) who were trying to set fire to the house with torches, but was finally obliged… read more


Female Playwrights in Nineteenth-Century American Drama: Works by Clara Harriet Sherwood, Nellie H. Bradley, and More Than 100 Other Women Dramatists

…   Among the playwrights in Nineteenth-Century American Drama there are scores of women. The genres of their plays are as varied as those of their male counterparts, although more of the works for children and classrooms are by  read more

Fostering Understanding—and Children: Pearl S. Buck Interprets China for Americans and Chinese Alike

… for that book in 1932, and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1938, she was regarded as a celebrity and a public intellectual as well.   To many women she was a beacon of the equal rights movement; for many mixed-race children she was… read more

To learn more, visit the Readex bloglog in through your library, or request a trial of Readex digital historical collections.

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