American Women Through Time
American Women Through Time
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Go to: II. RESEARCH SOURCES (Advertising, Advice Lit., Manuscripts, Newspapers, ...)


America 1900 is the companion site to the PBS film of the same title.

Female missionaries associated with Oberlin College are among those killed during the Boxer Rebellion in China.
Women Physicians: 1850s-1970s [Drexel University College of Medicine] includes the newspaper article, "Boxers Clipped Chickens' Wings to Warn Christians of Fire."

Images of Early African American Life, David Levering Lewis and Deborah Willis discuss the collection of photographs that were featured in "The Exhibit of American Negroes" at the 1900 Paris International Exposition.
African American Photographs Assembled for the 1900 Paris Exposition [Library of Congress] offers access to over 480 images. A search for women returns over 150 images.

Remembering the Galveston Storm of 1900 is part of National Public Radio's Lost and Found Sound series. See also CNN's In-Depth Special, A Centennial Remembrance: The Galveston Hurricane.

Lizzie Black Kander's The Settlement Cook Book is published.
Michigan State University's Feeding America digital archive offers access to The Settlement Cook Book in several formats.
The Settlement Cook Book is featured in Angela Fritz, Lizzie Black Kander & Culinary Reform in Milwaukee, 1880-1920, Wisconsin Magazine of History 87 (Spring 2004): 36-49.

Charlotte Hawkins Brown founds the Palmer Memorial Institute in Sedalia, North Carolina.
The Charlotte Hawkins Brown Museum web site offers a brief overview of Brown's life and information about the museum.

Mary Harris "Mother" Jones organizes West Virginia for the great anthracite coal strike of 1902.
The Mother Jones Collection [American Catholic History Center, The Catholic University Of America] includes the correspondence of Jones and John Mitchell and a small collection of photographs.

National Women's Trade Union League of America founded, 1903 Women Working, 1800-1930, Harvard University Library] provides an overview and numerous primary sources in digital format.


The 1904 World's Fair: Looking Back and Looking Forward, an online exhibit from the Missouri Historical Society, includes Gerhard Sisters' Photographs.

Forty Irish orphans from New York are adopted by Mexican families in Arizona.
Listen to the Talking History interview with Linda Gordon (Oct. 8, 2001), author of The Great Arizona Orphan Abduction (Harvard University Press, 1999).

Helen Keller graduates from Radcliffe College.
The American Foundation for the Blind offers a wealth of sources about Helen Keller. See in particular On Education and Portrait of Helen Keller at her Radcliffe Graduation, 1904.

Ida Tarbell's The History of the Standard Oil Company.
See Ida Tarbell Home Page.

Mary McLeod Bethune founds the Daytona Normal and Industrial School for Negro Girls, now Bethune-Cookman College.
The Mary McLeod Bethune, Educator site offers a history of Bethune-Cookman College, an interview with Bethune, photographs, and lesson plans.

The National Child Labor Committee is formed.
National Child Labor Committee (NCLC) [Women Working, 1800-1930, Harvard University Library] provides an overview of the NCLC, primary sources in digital format, and links to additional web resources.

Nampeyo demonstrates pottery-making at the Grand Canyon Hopi House.
A Nampeyo Showcase [Arizona State Museum] includes images and descriptions of 19 pottery vessels, a timeline, and a section on ancestral Hopi pottery.

The 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire [Bancroft Library] includes nearly 14,000 images and 7000 pages of text. One option would be to select "Browse," then "Women--California--Correspondence."

Harriot Stanton Blatch and the Equality League of Self-Supporting Women.
Terry Gross interviews Ellen Dubois, author of Harriot Stanton Blatch and the Winning of Woman Suffrage, on Fresh Air [11 March 1998].

Lewis Hine Photographs for the National Child Labor Committee, 1908 - 1912.
The National Archives' ARC database includes 483 of Hine's photographs.
Search hints are available.

Marian MacDowell founds the MacDowell Colony, an artists' retreat.
Robin Rausch's The House That Marian Built: The MacDowell Colony of Peterborough, New Hampshire, is one of the topical essays in American Women: A Gateway to Library of Congress Resources for the Study of Women's History and Culture in the United States.

Muller v. Oregon (Supreme Court upholds maximum hour law), February 24, 1908 [Women Working, 1800-1930, Harvard University Library]

International Ladies Garment Workers Union (ILGWU) organizes strike by 20,000 New York City shirtwaist makers.
Heaven Will Protect the Working Girl [American Social History Project, Center for Media and Learning] is the companion site to a film that tells the story of two fictional New York City immigrant teenagers who worked in the garment industry in the first decade of the twentieth century. The site includes text (e.g., lyrics for the song, "Heaven Will Protect the Working Girl"), images, and audio from an oral history interview.

Kheel Center Labor Photos database includes images of the strike, as well as images of ILGWU activities covering most of the twentieth century. Access note: Researchers have to set up a free account before searching the database.


Historical Overviews

Tompkins, Vincent, ed. American Decades: 1900-1909. Detroit: Gale Research, 1996.


Emergence of Advertising in America: 1850-1920 [online]. [Durham, NC]: Digital Scriptorium, Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library, Duke University, 2000 [cited 12 March 2001]. Available from:

Advice Literature

Peterson, Kelsy. The Glory of Woman: Prescriptive Literature in the Sallie Bingham Center for Women's History and Culture [online]. Durham, NC: Sallie Bingham Center for Women's History and Culture, Duke University, 2003 [cited 21 November 2005]. Available from:
Researchers can browse this extensive, annotated bibliography by date.

Women Working, 1800-1930 [online]. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Library Open Collections Program, 2004- [cited 21 November 2005]. Available from:
Select "Browse the Collection," then "Conduct of Life" to retrieve digital editions of books published from 1800 to 1930. Results display in reverse chronological order.


Digital Dress Costume Collections allows researchers to search four collections simultaneously. Enter 1900-1909 to search for items from 1900 to 1909.

Wisconsin Historical Museum Children's Clothing Collection [online]. Madison: Wisconsin Historical Society, updated 26 June 2001 [cited 10 December 2001]. Available from:
Tour the collection by decade (then by gender and type of clothing).

Historic Films

American Memory [Library of Congress] offers several film collections from this time period, including Inside an American Factory: Films of the Westinghouse Works, 1904, The Life of a City: Early Films of New York, 1898-1906, Before and After the Great Earthquake and Fire: Early Films of San Francisco, 1897-1916.

Historical Statistics

Historical Census Browser
Researchers can examine state and county topics for individual census years and over time, as well as generate maps of selected data.

Historical Statistics of the United States, Colonial Times to 1970. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1975.
Also available online in two parts: Part 1 and Part II.

Statistical Abstract of the United States [online]. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1879- .
A valuable online tool for locating historical statistics for a given year.

Manuscripts: Diaries & Letters

Many academic libraries offer access to the commercial digital collection, North American Women's Letters & Diaries. This collection offers numerous search options, including the ability to search by "year written." See a brief tutorial on searching this collection by time period.

Delia Kingsley [online]. In Women Working, 1800-1930. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Library, 2005.
Kingsley's diary from 1906 to 1910 describes her activities as a Massachusetts school teacher, as well as her romantic interests, travels, and daily life.

Louise Marion Bosworth (1881-1982) [online]. In Women Working, 1800-1930. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Library, 2005.

Manuscript Diary of Margaret A. Eadie, 1901-1909 [Schoenberg Center for Electronic Text & Image, University of Pennsylvania Library]


The National Digital Newspaper Program will create a digital collection of historically significant newspapers from all states and U.S. territories published between 1836 and 1922. The pilot project will involve the digitization of newspapers from six states covering the years 1900 to 1910.

Utah Digital Newspapers [online]. Salt Lake City: Marriott Library, University of Utah, 2002 [cited 12 February 2003]. Available from:
Numerous papers in this collection cover the early 1900s.


Browse the Quilt Index by time period (e.g., "1901-1929")

The Quilts section of American Women's History: A Research Guide includes additional links to digital collections.

Secondary Sources

The database America: History & Life offers a simple option for limiting a search for articles and other sources to a specific time period. If you are searching for articles that cover the decade from 1900 to 1910, enter 1900d in the "Time Period" row of the search screen. See Searching America: History & Life by Time Period for an example using another time period.

American Women Through Time

Ken Middleton
Middle Tennessee State Univ. Library
Murfreesboro, TN 37132