U.S. Intellectual History Blog

A Woman’s Work: Toward a Bibliography II

Silhouette BookThanks to all of you for helping to build the first part of this intellectual history of early American women. In many ways, this work builds on conversations held at the 2011 USIH conference, and the comments that Ray Haberski kindly gathered and posted here. Now it’s time to crowdsource a bibliography for the second phase, which spans the Victorian period, from 1848 to 1891. For now, I define intellectual history as ideas in action. And so I’m interested in it all: manuscripts, monuments, myths, memorials, biographies, secondary sources, and public history sites that feature/analyze the intellectual and cultural contributions of early American women. Following up on L.D. Burnett’s sage notice of new media’s ability to broaden the realm of traditional academic scholarship, I’m seeking citations for related blogs/posts here, too, in order to form a sound bibliographical foundation. A short list appears below. Paging all historians, librarians, editors, archivists, journalists, and history fans: Please add suggestions in the comments.

19th Century American Women in Intellectual History: Books & Digital Resources

American Women Writers National Museum

Balkun, Mary McAleer and Susan C. Imbarrato, eds. Women’s Narratives of the Early Americas and the Formation of Empire. Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016.

Mia Bay, Farah J. Griffin, Martha S. Jones, and Barbara D. Savage, eds. Toward an Intellectual History of Black Women. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2015. (And check out the excellent, 6-day roundtable hosted by our colleagues at the African American Intellectual History Society).

Brekus, Catherine. The Religious History of American Women: Reimagining the Past. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2007.

Capper, Charles. Margaret Fuller: An American Romantic Life. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999-2007.

Clinton, Catherine. The Other Civil War: American Women in the Nineteenth Century. New York: Hill and Wang, 1984.

Catherine Clinton and Nina Silber, eds. Battle Scars: Gender and Sexuality in the American Civil War. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.

Cotera, María Eugenia. Native Speakers: Ella Deloria, Zora Neale Hurston, Jovita González, and the Poetics of Culture. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2008.

Cott, Nancy. A Heritage of Her Own: Toward a New Social History of Women. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1979.

Cutter, Barbara. Domestic Devils, Battlefield Angels: The Radicalism of American womanhood, 1830-1865. DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 2003.

Dabakis, Melissa. A Sisterhood of Sculptors: American Artists in Nineteenth-Century Rome. University Park: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2014.

Dabel, Jane E. A Respectable Woman: The Public Roles of African American Women in 19th-Century New York. New York: New York University Press, 2008.

Deese, Helen R., ed., 2 vols. Selected Journals of Caroline Healey Dall. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society and Charlottesville: Distributed by the University of Virginia Press, 2006— .

Degler, Carl. At Odds: Women and the Family from Revolution to the Present. New York: Oxford University Press, 1980.

Evans, Stephanie Y. Black Women in the Ivory Tower, 1850-1954: An Intellectual History. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2007.

Faust, Drew Gilpin. Mothers of Invention: Women of the Slaveholding South in the American Civil War. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1996.

Foster, Frances Smith. Written by Herself: Literary Production by African American Women, 1746-1892. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1993.

Fraser, Rebecca J. Gender, Race and Family in Nineteenth Century America: From Northern Woman to Plantation Mistress. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.

Green, Harvey. The Light of the Home: An Intimate View of the Lives of Women in Victorian America. New York: Pantheon Books, 1983.

Hahner, June E., ed. Women through Women’s Eyes: Latin American Women in Nineteenth-Century Travel Accounts. Wilmington: SR Books, 1998.

Heineman, Helen. Restless Angels: The Friendship of Six Victorian Women: Frances Wright, Camilla Wright, Harriet Garnett, Frances Garnett, Julia Garnett Pertz, Frances Trollope. Athens: Ohio University Press, 1983.

Helsinger, Elizabeth et al., 3 vols. The Woman Question: Society and Literature in Britain and America, 1837-1883. New York: Garland, 1983.

Juster, Norton. So Sweet to Labor: Rural Women in America 1865-1895. New York: The Viking Press, 1979.

Kerber, Linda K. Toward an Intellectual History of Women: Essays. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1997.

Kelley, Mary. Private Woman, Public Stage: Literary Domesticity in Nineteenth-Century America. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2002.

Kessler-Harris, Alice. Out to Work: A History of Wage Earning Women in the United States. New York: Oxford University Press, 1982.

Knight, Louise W. Citizen: Jane Addams and the Struggle for Democracy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005.

Kugler, Israel. From Ladies to Women: The Organized Struggle for Woman’s Rights in the Reconstruction Era. New York: Greenwood Press, 1987.

Leach, William. True Love and Perfect Union: The Feminist Reform of Sex and Society. New York: Basic Books, 1980.

Logan, Shirley Wilson. We are Coming: The Persuasive Discourse of Nineteenth-Century Black Women. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1999.

Marshall, Megan. The Peabody Sisters: Three Women Who Ignited American Romanticism. Boston: Houhgton Mifflin, 2005.

McDannell, Colleen. The Christian Home in Victorian America, 1840-1900. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1986.

Nadell, Pamela S. American Jewish Women’s History: A Reader. New York: New York University Press, 2003.

National Museum of Women in the Arts

Peterson, Carla L. Doers of the Word: African-American Women Speakers and Writers in the North (1830-1880). New York: Oxford University Press, 1995.

Piepmeier, Alison. Out in Public: Configurations of Women’s Bodies in Nineteenth-Century America. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004.

Pugh, David G. Sons of Liberty: The Masculine Mind in Nineteenth-Century America. Westport: Greenwood Press, 1983.

Rhodes, Jane. Mary Ann Shadd Cary: The Black Press and Protest in the Nineteenth Century. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1998.

Roth, Sarah N. Gender and Race in Antebellum Popular Culture. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014.

Royster, Jacqueline Jones. Traces of a Stream: Literacy and Social Change among African American Women. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2000.

Ryan, Mary P. Womanhood in America from the Colonial Times to the Present. New York: F. Watts, 1983.

Samuels, Shirley, ed. The Culture of Sentiment: Race, Gender, and Sentimentality in Nineteenth-Century America. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992.

Smith-Rosenberg, Caroll. Disorderly Conduct: Visions of Gender in Victorian America. New York: Oxford University Press, 1985.

Society for the Study of American Women Writers

Stansell, Christine. City of Women: Sex and Class in New York, 1789-1860. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1986.

Wayne, Tiffany K. Woman Thinking: Feminism and Transcendentalism in Nineteenth-Century America. Lanham: Lexington Books, 2005.

Wearn, Mary McCartin. Nineteenth-Century American Women Write Religion: Lived Theologies and Literature. Farnham and Burlington: Ashgate Publishing Limited, 2014.

Welter, Barbara. Dimity Convictions: The American Woman in the Nineteenth Century. Athens: Ohio University Press, 1976.

Willard, Frances E. and Mary A. Livermore, eds. Great American Women of the 19th Century: A Biographical Encyclopedia. Amherst: Humanoty Books, 2005 ed.

Willis, Lucindy A. Voices Unbound: The Lives and Works of Twelve American women Intellectuals. Wilmington: Scholarly Resources, 2003.

Women Writers, University of North Texas Libraries

19th Century American Women in Intellectual History: Articles & More

Calder, William III and Judith P. Hallet. “Introduction: Six North American Women Classicists.” The Classical World 90 (Nov. 1996-Feb. 1997): 83-96.

Conner Prairie Interactive History Park, “Lives of Women”

Dobrzynski, Judith. H. “The Grand Women Artists of the Hudson River School,” Smithsonian (20 July 2010).

Frank, Priscilla. “The Nineteenth Century American Women Artists You Should Know, But Don’t,” Huffington Post (29 May 2015).

Johns Hopkins University Press, Journal of Women’s History

Kelley, Mary. “A Past for the Present: Notes on the Archives.” Legacy 1 (Fall 1984): 7-8.

National Archives, Women’s History Resources

National Collaborative for Women’s History Sites

National Women’s History Project

Northeastern University, The Women Writers Project

9 Thoughts on this Post

  1. There are 10,711 entries in the North American Imprints Project / American Antiquarian Society Catalog w the heading “women as authors.” This covers all the period of 1640-1876 (and is comprehensive up to 1800). Limiting your search to the periods you are interested in will, I hope, uncover many more sources to add to your list.

  2. Maureen Fitzgerald’s Habits of Compassion: Irish Catholic Nuns and the Origins of New York’s Welfare System, 1830-1920, University of Illinois Press, 2006

  3. Perhaps _Caroline Winterer, Mirror of Antiquity: American Women and the Classical Tradition, 1750-1900 _, though it scoops beyond the periodization.

  4. And also Louise Michele Newman’s _White Women’s Rights: The Racial Origins of Feminism in the United States_.

  5. Molly, Erin, Ondine, Stephanie, & all: Thanks for these wonderful suggestions, which will sharpen my research.

  6. Highlights of women’s higher education in this time frame would include Christine D. Myers, University Coeducation in the Victorian Era: Inclusion in the United States and the United Kingdom (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010); Andrea G. Radke-Moss, Bright Epoch: Women and Coeducation in the American West (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2008); Lynn Gordon, Gender and Higher Education in the Progressive Era (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1990); Barbara Solomon, In the Company of Educated Women: A History of Women and Higher Education in America (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1985); and Helen Lefkowitz Horowitz, Alma Mater: Design and Experience in the Women’s Colleges from Their Nineteenth-Century Beginnings to the 1930s (New York: Knopf, 1984).

  7. Carrying on from the comment above by Andrea Turpin, Rosalind Rosenberg’s Beyond Separate Spheres: The Intellectual Roots of Modern Feminism is excellent and focuses on breakthroughs by women in higher education, although most of the action takes place just after your cutoff of 1891. Still, there is valuable material about the deeper background against which these turn-of-the-century changes occurred.

    Also, this may be more of an inquiry for the first part of this bibliography, but I was just reading a bit about Frances Wright and wondered if anyone knew of some good scholarship on her?

  8. Thanks, Andrea & Andy, for your great suggestions to the list.

    Fanny Wright is high on my potential post list, mainly because few full biographical treatments of her exist, and she appears often as a ‘supporting actress’ in larger c19 histories. Here are a few places where I have encountered her: Celia Moss’ ‘Fanny Wright: Rebel in America’; plus cameos in: Eric R. Schlereth’s ‘Age of Infidels’ and Sean Wilentz’s ‘Chants Democratic.’ There’s also a 1924 bio of Wright, by William Randall Waterman, which I look forward to reading.

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