American Women's History: A Research Guide
Books with Primary Sources
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Library Catalog Tips

I. Use appropriate subject heading terms.

Use one or more of the following search terms to limit a search to primary sources: "correspondence," "diaries," "personal narratives," "interviews," and "sources." The following example uses "sources" to find works that include primary sources about Southern women.

Keyword search of the subject field for: Women Southern States Sources
Title: Our Common Affairs: texts from women in the Old South/
edited by Joan E. Cashin.
Publisher: Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996.
Description: x, 309 p. : ill.; 24 cm.
Subject: Women--Southern States--History--Sources
Subject: Southern States--History--1775-1865--Sources

II. Limit searches by date of publication.

Most library catalogs allow searches to be limited by date of publication. A researcher studying the effects of the Great Depression on women could limit her search to works published in the 1930s.


The "Recent Editions" section of the quarterly journal Documentary Editing "provides an annotated bibliography of current documentary editions in the fields of American and English history, literature, and culture."

Arksey, Laura, Nancy Pries, and Marcia Reed. American Diaries. 2 vols. Detroit: Gale Research, 1983-1987.

Cline, Cheryl. Women's Diaries, Journals, and Letters: An Annotated Bibliography. New York: Garland, 1989. 716p.

Culley, Margo, ed. A Day at a Time: The Diary Literature of American Women from 1764 to the Present. New York: The Feminist Press at the City University of New York, 1985. The bibliography includes hundreds of references to published women's diaries.

Davis, Gwenn, and Beverly A. Joyce, comps. Personal Writings by Women to 1900: A Bibliography of American and British Writers. London: Mansell, 1989.

Fuller, Kathryn Wagnild, and Gayle Veronica Fischer. "Collections of Primary Sources in United States Women's History: An Annotated Bibliography." Journal of Women's History 7 (Winter 1995): 206-29.

Goodfriend, Joyce D. The Published Diaries and Letters of American Women: An Annotated Bibliography. Boston, Mass.: G.K. Hall, 1987.

Marlow, H. Carlton, comp. Bibliography of American Women. New Haven, Conn.: Research Publications, [1975]. Microfilm.
Lists 50,000 books by or about American women during the period 1600-1904.

Newton, Sarah E. Learning to Behave: A Guide to American Conduct Books Before 1900. Bibliographies and Indexes in American History, no. 28. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1994.

American Women's History: A Research Guide

Ken Middleton
Middle Tennessee State University Library