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


Anna Mae McCabe Hays becomes the first woman general in the U.S. Army.
See the Hat worn by Anna Mae McCabe Hays when she became the first woman general in the U.S. Army, June 11, 1970, part of the Smithsonian's Legacies exhibit.

Bella Abzug wins election to the U.S. House of Representatives.
The Women of Valor: Bella Abzug exhibit from Jewish Women's Archive includes a wealth of biographical information about Abzug, including a section on her Passionate Politics.

Disabled in Action, a grassroots disability rights group, is founded by Judith Heumann in New York City.
The Disability Rights and Independent Living Movement includes transcipts (and selected audio clips) from oral history interviews with Heumann and five other Disabled in Action members.

Kent State University Shootings
Kent State Shootings: Oral Histories includes 69 oral histories related to the shootings.

May 4 Collection [Kent State University Libraries]

Talk of the Nation (4 May 2005) offers The Kent State Shootings, 35 Years Later. Writer Philip Caputo returns to Kent State 35 years after he covered the shootings there. The site also includes an excerpt from Caputo's book, Thirteen Seconds.

Loretta Lynn's "Coal Miner's Daughter."
Coal Miner's Daughter is part of The NPR 100, National Public Radio's selection of the 100 most important American musical works of the 20th century. The audio clip includes an interview with Lynn and short clips from the song.

Anna Nieto Gomez, in the first issue of the Chicana newspaper, Hijas de Cuauhtemoc, calls for the elimination of sexism in Chicano families and in the Chicano movement.
The Chicana Feminists section of The Virtual Oral/Aural History Archive [California State University, Long Beach] includes oral history interviews with Nieto Gomez, additional activists in Hijas de Cuauhtemoc (Corinne Sanchez, Leticia Hernandez and Sylvia Castillo), Yolanda Nava, and Consuelo Nieto. Access note: the audio recordings of these interviews will not be available until 2006.

Breaking New Ground - Reed v. Reed, 404 U.S. 71 (1971) [Supreme Court Historical Society]

The National Women's Political Caucus (NWPC) is founded by Gloria Steinem, Betty Friedan, and Bella Abzug.
Listen to a brief audio clip from Gloria Steinem's address to the National Women's Political Caucus [History Channel]

The Equal Rights Amendment is passed by the Senate and submitted to the states for ratification.
Equal Rights Amendment [Florida Memory Project] includes four examples of constituent letters for and against the ERA.

Shirley Chisholm becomes the first African American woman to run for president.
Chisholm '72: Unbought & Unbossed, the companion site to the PBS film, includes a brief guide to 1972, an excerpt from Chisholm's Unbossed and Unbought, and the text from Gloria Steinem's 1973 article on the impact of Chisholm's candidacy.
Buttons supporting Shirley Chisholm for president, 1972, part of the Smithsonian's Legacies exhibit.
Shirley Chisholm's 1972 Presidential Campaign [Jo Freeman]

Title IX of the Education Act Amendments of 1972 bans discrimination in most federally assisted educational programs.
Gender Equity in Sports includes a concise overview of Title IX, a timeline of Title IX cases, federal and state legislation, and more.
Title IX: 25 Years of Progress (U.S. Department of Education, 1997)

Frontiero v. Richardson Supreme Court decision.
See A Double Standard for Benefits - Frontiero v. Richardson from the Supreme Court Historical Society.

In Roe v. Wade, the United States Supreme Court rules that women have a right to abort a fetus during the first trimester of pregnancy.
OYEZ offers an overview of the case, oral arguments (in Real Audio format), and a link to the written opinions of the court.
Also see CNN's special report, Roe vs. Wade 25 Years Later.

Listen to Barbara Jordan's Statement at the U.S. House Judiciary Committee Impeachment Hearings, part of Say It Plain: A Century of Great African American Speeches from American Radio Works.
A Tribute to Barbara Jordan and Shirley Chisholm [WGBH Forum Network; video].

Ella Grasso is elected governor of Connecticut. She becomes the first woman in the United States to be elected governor without the benefit of a husband's previous incumbency. Mount Holyoke Digital Collections includes a few photographs of Ella Tambussi when she attended Mount Holyoke, as well as a campaign flyer from 1972.
Ella Giovanna Oliva (Tambussi) Grasso [Connecticut State Library] offers a biographical profile and portrait of Grasso.

Lesbian Herstory Archives opens.
Jewish Women and the Feminist Revolution [Jewish Women's Archive] includes a video clip of Joan Nestle, co-founder of Lesbian Herstory Archives.

The Jewish women's magazine Lilith is launched.
Susan Weidman Schneider discusses her experiences as editor of Lilith in a Library of Congress webcast [video; 47 min.].

The Alice Paul Memorial March, Washington, D.C. 1977 [Jo Freeman]

See Sisters of '77, a companion site to the film about the National Women's Conference in 1977.

The first home pregnancy tests start appearing on drug store shelves.
A Thin Blue Line: The History of the Pregnancy Test Kit [Office of NIH History] includes an overview, a timeline of pregnancy testing, examples of advertisements, and transcripts of interviews with medical researchers Judith Vaitukaitis and Glenn Braunstein.

Mariel boatlift results in a wave of immigration from Cuba to Florida.
Finding Mañana Details Cuban 'Exodus' [Weekend Edition, National Public Radio] includes an interview with Mirta Ojito, and an excerpt from her book, Finding Mañana: A Memoir of a Cuban Exodus.
Pulitzer Stems from Cuban Boatlift [32 minutes] features Terry Gross' interview with Ojito.

Collaboration between Georgeanna Jones and Howard Jones results in the first child conceived by in-vitro fertilization in the United States.
In Vitro Fertilization Pioneer Jones Dies [All Things Considered, March 28, 2005].
Reproductive Medicine Pioneer Georgeanna Seegar Jones Dies at 92 [Eastern Virginia Medical School]

First medical reports to describe Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS).

In Their Own Words ...: NIH Researchers Recall the Early Years of AIDS [online]. [Bethesda, Md.: National Institutes of Health, 2001]. Available from:
See the transcripts of interviews with Ms. Barbara Fabian Baird, R.N., and Christine Grady, R.N., Ph.D.

Sandra Day O'Connor becomes the first woman appointed to the United States Supreme Court.
O'Connor discusses her book, Lazy B: Growing Up On a Cattle Ranch in the American Southwest, on Booknotes.

Reflections on the Rehnquist and O'Connor Legacies [Princeton; video]. The lengthy (1 hour, 30 min.) panel discussion of O'Connor's legacy is moderated by Professor Neil Siegel.

Unveiling of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, designed by Maya Lin.
See Booknotes interview with Maya Lin (2000). Maya Lin's Vietnam Veterans Memorial proposal is featured on the American Treasures of the Library of Congress site.

Barbara McClintock wins the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
The Barbara McClintock Papers, part of the National Library of Medicine's Profiles in Science site, includes correspondence, lecture notes, and numerous photographs.

Rita Levi-Montalcini and Stanley Cohen are awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their discoveries of nerve growth factor and epidermal growth factor.
The Nobel Foundation provides an autobiography and Levi-Montalcini's Nobel lecture, "The Nerve Growth Factor: Thirty-Five Years Later."
Washington University's Women in Health Sciences online exhibit includes a biographical profile of Levi-Montalcini.

A Year in the Life: Beginning the Struggle for Gay and Lesbian Rights in Albany New York, 1987-88 [online]. Produced by Stephanie Madnick. Talking History, 29 June 2000. Available from:

Women of Valor: Gertrude Elion [online]. Brookline, Mass.: Jewish Women's Archive, n.d. [cited 16 March 2002]. Available from:
Elion (1918-1999) helped develop treatments for childhood leukemia, the herpes virus, immunity disorders, arthritis, and other diseases. She won the Nobel Prize in 1988.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Darlene M. Iskra becomes the first woman to take command of a U.S. Navy ship.
Darlene M. Iskra is featured on the Library of Congress site, Experiencing War: Stories from the Veterans History Project. The site includes a lengthy interview (video; 62 min.) with Iskra, clips of interview highlights, and five photographs.

Hodgson v. Minnesota tests the constitutionality of Minnesota's abortion notification statute.
OYEZ provides an overview of the case, Oral Arguments (Real Audio), and a link to the written opinions of the court.

Persian Gulf War
Experiencing War: Stories from the Veterans History Project includes a video clip from an interview with Rhonda Cornum, a medical officer who was held by the Iraqis for seven days, and an audio clip from an interview with medic Wendy Wamsley Taines.

Hurricane Andrew.
Voices of Andrew [University of Miami] is an online archive of 70 oral history interviews with people who experienced the hurricane and the subsequent recovery process.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg becomes the second female member of the Supreme Court.
An interview with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg [Audio; 59 min.], from Only In America: Celebrating 350 Years of the American Jewish Experience, offers a rare personal glimpse into Ginsburg's struggles against gender discrimination and her judicial philosophy.
Supreme Court Nominations - Confirmed [Law Library Reading Room, Library of Congress] includes floor debates (Senate debate while in Executive Session), votes, hearing transcripts and Senate statements (statements made about the nominees outside of Executive Session) concerning Ginsburg and other Supreme Court Justices.

Violence Against Women Act of 1994
How Do Social Movements Shape Civil Rights Legislation for Women? The 1994 Violence Against Women Act [Women and Social Movements in the United States]

WTO Seattle Collection [online]. Seattle, Wash. : University of Washington Libraries, n.d. [cited 28 November 2004]. Available from: In addition to photographs of protesters, this collection also includes oral histories of women who helped organize protests during the World Trade Organization (WTO) meeting in Seattle in 1999.

September 11
See Susan Watts (New York Daily News) on the Library of Congress program, Capturing History: Photojournalists and 9/11.
The September 11 Digital Archive offers a wealth of sources, including stories contributed by individuals and groups, still images, video, audio, and documents.
Witness and Response: September 11 Acquisitions at the Library of Congress


Advertising offers 6,000 print advertisments published from 1940 to the present. Search by year or browse by decade.

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.

Historical Statistics

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.

The U.S. Census Bureau offers census data from 1980, 1990, and 2000.

News Sources

The Ten O'Clock News [online]. WGBH Educational Foundation, c2003.
The WGBH Media Archives and Preservation Center has preserved and described 523 tapes from The Ten O'Clock News, WGBH's in-depth nightly news program. Dating from 1974 to 1991, this collection focuses on news stories relating to Boston's African American community.

Public Opinion

See the Public Opinion section for citations to print and electronic sources.

Secondary Sources

Most academic libraries offer access to America: History & Life, a commercial database that 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 1980s or 1990s, enter 1980d or 1990d in the "Time Period" row of the advanced 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