American Women's History: A Research Guide
Home Page | Last Update: 2/19/2004 | Suggestion Box


Bennett, Leslie. Music [online]. Collection Development Core Lists. [Chicago]: Women's Studies Section, Association of College & Research Libraries, 2000; distributed by University of Wisconsin System Women's Studies Librarian's Office. Available from:

Block, Adrienne Fried, and Carol Neuls-Bates. Women in American Music: A Bibliography of Music and Literature. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1979. 302p.

Biographical Sources

See the general Biographical Sources section for additional information sources.

Cohen, Aaron I. International Encyclopedia of Women Composers. 2d ed. 2 vols. 1,151p. New York: Books & Music USA, 1987. Entries include brief biographical information and a list of compositions. Appendix 4, "Women Composers by Country," lists approximately 1900 U.S. women.

Hitchcock, H. Wiley, and Stanley Sadie, eds. The New Grove Dictionary of American Music. 4 vols. New York: Grove's Dictionaries of Music, 1986.

Slonimsky, Nicolas. Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians. 8th ed. New York: Schirmer Books/Macmillan, 1992.

Historical Overviews

Ammer, Christine. Unsung: A History of Women in American Music. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1980.

Pendle, Karin, ed. Women & Music: A History. Bloomington & Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1991.
This work, international in scope, includes several chapters that cover American music: "Women and American Music, 1800-1918," "North America Since 1920," "American Popular Music," and "African-American Women in Blues and Jazz."

Journals in the Field

American Music []

Women and Music: A Journal of Gender and Culture []

Networking: Associations/Discussion Groups

Society for American Music []

International Alliance for Women in Music []

Primary Sources: Archival Collections

See the general Archives and Manuscript Collections section for additional information sources.


Krummel, D. W., Jean Geil, Doris J. Dyen, and Deane L. Root. Resources of American Music History: A Directory of Source Materials from Colonial Times to World War II. Urbana, Ill.: University of Illinois Press, 1981.

Selected Archives & Manuscript Collections

"Arts, Performing." In Selected Subject List for Iowa Women's Archives [online]. Iowa City: Iowa Women's Archives, University of Iowa Libraries, January 1997 [cited 14 October 2000]. Available from:

Center for Popular Music [Middle Tenn. State Univ.] []

Dwight Anderson Music Library [online]. In Guide to Women's Archival Collections at the University of Louisville Libraries. Louisville, Ky.: University Archives and Records Center, University of Louisville, 1997 [cited 5 October 2000]. Available from:

Rausch, Robin. "Music Division." In American Women: A Library of Congress Guide for the Study of Women's History and Culture in the United States, edited by Sheridan Harvey, Janice Ruth, Barbara Natson, Sara Day, and Evelyn Sinclair. Washington, DC: Library of Congress, 2001.

Primary Sources: Digital Collections

The Brush Creek Follies [online]. Kansas City: Special Collections, Miller Nichols Library, University of Missouri - Kansas City, n.d. [cited 19 February 2004]. Available from:
"Cowtown Cowgirls" in the "Follies Stars" section includes a brief history, photographs and a few audio files of songs.

California Gold: Northern California Folk Music from the Thirties [online]. [Washington, D.C.] :; American Folklife Center, Library of Congress, 1997 [cited 15 October 2000]. Available from:

Florida Folklife from the WPA Collections, 1937-1942 [online]. Washington, DC: Library of Congress, 2000. Available from:
Includes folksongs by women and men from a variety of immigrant/ethnic cultures.

Marian Anderson Collection of Photographs, 1898-1992 [online]. [Philadelphia, Penn.]: University of Pennsylvania Library, 1998 [cited 16 April 2001]. Available from:

Performing Arts in America, 1875-1923 [online]. New York: The New York Public Library, 2001 [cited 3 March 2002]. Available from:

Talking About Women's History

Griffin, Farah Jasmine. Blue Notes and Butterflies: Black Women's Vocality [Lecture online]. Cambridge, Mass.: Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, 20 September 2001 [cited 3 November 2002]. Available from:

Marcic, Dorothy. Respect: Women and Popular Music [Interview online]. Fine Print with Rebecca Bain, Nashville Public Radio, 15 February 2003. Available from:

Margolick, David. Billie Holiday-Strange Fruit [online]. Interviewed by Fred Nielsen. Talking History, 4 February 2002. Available from:
Margolick discusses Strange Fruit, a song made famous by Billie Holiday about lynching in the South.

Swing Shift [online]. Hosted by Lynn Neary. Morning Edition. National Public Radio, 27 July 2000. Available from: [7:19]
Neary talks to Sherrie Tucker, author of Swing Shift: All-Girl Bands of the 1940's, and former trumpet player Clora Bryant.

American Women's History: A Research Guide

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