American Women's History: A Timeline
1600-1699 1700s 1800-1819

Go to: II. RESEARCH SOURCES (Historical Overviews, Primary Sources, and Secondary Sources)

I. TIMELINE

1708
That Properly Belongs to Every Christian Man, 1708 is part of the Library of Virginia's Working Out Her Destiny exhibit.

1740s
Eliza Lucas Pinckney helps introduce the cultivation of indigo to South Carolina
A brief profile of Eliza Lucas Pinckney appears in Enterprising Women: 250 Years of American Business.

1746
Lucy Terry Prince composes "Bars Fight," the earliest known poem by a black person in America.
Lucy Terry Prince Composes Poem [Mass Moments, Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities] provides information about Prince and the text of the poem.

1756
Priscilla's Homecoming tells the story of Priscilla, a 10 year old girl taken on a slave ship from Sierra Leone to South Carolina in 1756.

1761
John Wheatley Purchases a Slave Child, July 11, 1761 [Mass Moments, Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities]

1773
Phillis Wheatley becomes the first African American to publish a book: Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral. The Massachusetts Historical Society's From Our Cabinet feature includes images of the title page and frontpiece of the book, as well as a poem in Wheatley's hand.

1774
Juan Bautista de Anza begins overland expeditions from what is now Mexico to the San Francisco Bay area. Patricia Molen van Ee devotes several pages to the women who took part in the expeditions in Women on the Move: Overland Journeys to California.

"The Peculiar Circumstances of the times" reproduces a letter from Mercy Warren, dated 29 December 1774, to Catharine Macaulay. Warren described the impact of the closing of the port of Boston and of the Coercive Acts.

1775
Abigail Adams Knows "The Die is Cast" [Mass Moments, Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities]

Take the Money and Run: April/May 1775 -- Rachel Revere to Paul Revere is part of the exhibit, Spy Letters of the American Revolution [Clements Library, University of Michigan].

1776
Abigail Adams' "Remember the Ladies" letter to John Adams, 31 March 1776. See Selected Manuscripts: Remember the Ladies from the Massachusetts Historical Society.

1777
Lucy Knox to Henry Knox, August 23, 1777, part of the Treasures of the Collection exhibit [Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History

Mary Katharine Goddard is the printer of the first copy of the Declaration of Independence with the typeset names of the signers.
See the profile of Goddard in the Enterprising Women exhibit.

1780
The sentiments of an American Woman is featured in An American Time Capsule: Three Centuries of Broadsides and Other Printed Ephemera [Library of Congress]. Read Rosemary Fry Plakas' essay The Sentiments of an American Woman for background.

1780s
Martha Washington's Gown, 1780s [Legacies: Collecting America's History at the Smithsonian]

1781
Jury Decides in Favor of "Mum Bett" Freeman, August 22, 1781 [Mass Moments, Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities]

1782
Deborah Sampson, soldier in disguise [Massachusetts Historical Society]
Deborah Sampson enlisted in the Continental Army under the name "Robert Shurtliff." This site reproduces a letter by Paul Revere in support of a military pension for Deborah Sampson Gannett.
Masquerade: Deborah Sampson, Continental Soldier [Old South Meeting House, Boston, 29 September 2004] "Join historian Alfred Young, author of Masquerade, and Pulitzer Prize winning historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, in examining Americans' public memory of Sampson and other Revolutionary-era women. Performer and storyteller Joan Gatturna brings Deborah Sampson to life in a dramatic first-person performance."

1785
Martha Ballard begins her diary on January 1, 1785.
See Martha Ballard's Diary Online.

1786
A Petition by Rachel Lovell Wells, 1786 [Women's Project of New Jersey]

1787
Mercy Warren to Catherine Macaulay, 28 September 1787

1789
Martha Washington to Francis B. Washington [Archive of Past Documents, Gilder Lehrman Collection]

Mercy Warren. Autograph letter signed, dated Plimouth [Massachusetts], 20 September 1789, to Catharine Macaulay is one of the letters that is featured in Dear Madam: Letters Between Catharine Macaulay and Mercy Warren

1798
Griffith v. Griffith's Executors
An overview of Griffith v. Griffith's Executors: 1798, taken from Women's Rights on Trial (Gale, 1996), is available online.


II. Research Sources

Historical Overviews

The American Revolution section of American Women's History: A Research Guide includes information about Bibliographies, Biographical Sources, Historical Overviews, and other sources. See the interview with Cokie Roberts about her book, Founding Mothers, or listen to the interview with Carol Berkin on Revolutionary Mothers [Talking History, 7 July 2005].

Diaries & Letters

Drinker, Elizabeth. The Diary of Elizabeth Drinker. Edited by Elaine Forman Crane. Boston : Northeastern University Press, c1991.
Drinker, a Philadelphia Quaker, kept a diary from 1758 until her death in 1807.
Extracts from Journal of Elizabeth Drinker, part of the African in America [PBS], includes Drinker's observations on the effects of the Yellow Fever epidemic of 1793.

Mrs. Mary Dewees's journal from Philadelphia to Kentucky is part of the The First American West: The Ohio River Valley, 1750-1820.
Dewees describes her journey from Philadelphia to Lexington, Kentucky. Dated Sept. 27, 1788-Feb. 11 1788 [i.e. 1789].

The Papers of John Jay include numerous letters to and from Jay's wife, Sarah.



American Women's History: A Timeline

Ken Middleton | Walker Library, MTSU, Murfreesboro, TN 37132