Women’s History Month

Sometimes, it’s downright difficult, if not impossible, to locate information about female ancestors. Unless you have had way more success than me, you probably have quite a few ancestors with the last name of (MNU) – maiden name unknown.

This list of resources telling the stories of collective women’s lives throughout American history and of accomplishments of individual women won’t eliminate the (MNU) issue, but may help you put some flesh on the bones of your female ancestors. If you are really lucky, you might find a biography about a direct or collateral line in your family tree.

You may be familiar with names like Susan B. Anthony and Clara Barton, but who were Sybil Luddington, Lydia Taft of Uxbridge, Massachusetts, Bathsheba Spooner and Elizabeth Blackwell? Each has a story to tell.

These websites, books and other resources, for the most part, aren’t in any particular order, but some of the links, such as suffrage and wartime, are grouped.

Pennsylvania Women in the American Revolution – by William Henry Egle, 1898; link is to PDF in FamilySearch books

DoHistory – Online diary of Martha Ballard from the early 1800s

Representative Women of New England, by Julia Ward Howe, editor, 1904, digital book on HathiTrust

Our Famous Women: Comprising the Lives and Deeds of American Women. . ., by Harriet Beecher Stowe, 1883, link on HathiTrust

Womenfolk: The Art of Quilting

Index of References to American Women in Colonial Newspapers – Helen F. Evans. This link to HathiTrust provides a search of the three volumes. Check WorldCat to locate libraries that have the books.

Mothers of Maine – by Helen Coffin Beedy, digital copy of the 1895 version. There is a 2012 reprint that can be purchased online.

Botany Mills – factory life in Passaic, New Jersey

Lowell Mill Girls – industrial life in Lowell, Massachusetts

Lowell National Historical Park

The Gerritsen Collection of Women’s History, 1543-1945. 1 :A Bibliographic Guide to the Microform Collection, by Duane R. Bogenschneider, 1983.

To learn about the historical aspects of women’s suffrage, here are some resources with which to begin, but be sure to check for state, county and local resources:

American Women’s Suffrage Collection

Chronicling America – newspaper articles

History of Woman Suffrage: 1900-1920, by Ida Husted Harper, Editor, 1922. Google Books link

Elizabeth Cady Stanton – The History Channel

Susan B. Anthony – The History Channel

The Original March on Washington and the Suffragists Who Paved the Way – The Smithsonian

The Senate Passes the Woman Suffrage Amendment- United States Senate

The Women’s Rights Movement, 1848-1920

“Vote No on Women’s Suffrage: Bizarre Reasons for Not Letting Women Vote”

Wilson and Women’s Suffrage

Woman Suffrage – National Geographic Society

Woman Suffrage – The Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site

Woman Suffrage – The National Museum of American History

Woman Suffrage and the 19th Amendment – The National Archives

Woman Suffrage Timeline

Women’s Rights National Historical Park

Women’s Suffrage – Wikipedia article includes data from other countries besides the U.S.

Women’s Suffrage – The History Channel

Women and the World Wars:

Wikipedia: American Women in World War I

U.S. History: America in the Second World War

The American Homefront During WWI

Americans on the Homefront Helped Win World War I

The U.S. Homefront During World War II

Brown University: What Did You Do in the War Grandma?

In addition to these vintage, out-of-copyright books, there are hundreds, if not thousands of 20th century and 21st century books written about individual women and groups of women, women’s movements through history in just about every location in the United States. Use an internet search engine and/or WorldCat, HathiTrust and GoogleBooks, as many previews can be accessed.

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