American Women's History: A Research Guide
Social Reforms
Home Page | Last Update: 11/29/2004 | Suggestion Box

  • Bibliographies & Databases

  • Biographical Sources

  • Primary Sources: Archives

  • Primary Sources: Microform

  • Primary Sources: Digital Collections

  • Talking About Women's History
  • See Also:

    Bibliographies & Databases

    "Bibliography: Social Reform and Social Movements." Journal of Women's History 5 (Fall 1993): 191-214.

    Blair, Karen J. The History of American Women's Voluntary Organizations, 1810-1960: A Guide to Sources. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1989. 363p.

    Buhle, Mari Jo. Women and the American Left: A Guide to Sources. Boston, Mass.: G.K. Hall, 1983.

    Humphries, Marilyn L. "Women in the Anti-Ku Klux Klan Movement, 1865-1984." Women's Studies International Forum 12, no. 1 (1989): 35-40.

    Papachristou, Judith. Bibliography in the History of Women in the Progressive Era. [Bronxville, N.Y.]: Sarah Lawrence College, 1985.

    Philanthropic Studies Index [database online]. Joseph and Matthew Payton Philanthropic Studies Library, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis. [cited 14 February 1998]. Available from:

    Ryan, Barbara. Women's Movement: References and Resources. New York: G.K. Hall, 1996. 339p.

    Biographical Sources

    Many of the works cited in the general biographical section include an appendix which lists women covered by field of importance.

    Buenker, John D., and Edward R. Kantowicz, eds. Historical Dictionary of the Progressive Era, 1890-1920. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1988. 599p.
    Includes short biographical profiles of women who played key roles in the period, such as Jane Addams, Anna Howard Shaw, and Sue Sheldon White.

    Hardy, Gayle J. American Women Civil Rights Activists: Biobibliographies of 68 Leaders, 1825-1992. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, 1993. 496p.

    Whitman, Alden, ed. American Reformers: A Biographical Dictionary. New York: H.W. Wilson, 1985. 930p.

    Primary Sources: Archives

    Sklar, Kathryn Kish. "Organized Womanhood: Archival Sources on Women and Progressive Reform." Journal of American History 75 (June 1988): 176-83.

    Duke University Special Collections Library

    Daley, Virginia, comp. Public Service and Social Reform [online]. In A Sampler of Women's Studies Resources: Primary Source Materials in the Special Collections Library at Duke University. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Special Collections Library, 1988. Revised, 1995. Available from:

    General Federation of Women's Clubs - Women's History and Resource Center

    Home page

    Iowa Women's Archives, University of Iowa Libraries

    Search by Subject [online]. Iowa City: Iowa Women's Archives, University of Iowa Libraries, January 1997 [cited 14 June 2000]. Available from:
    See "Civil Rights Activists," "Equal Rights Amendment," and "Social Workers."

    Social Welfare History Archive, University of Minnesota

    Home page:

    University of Oregon Library System

    Political and Social Activists [online]. In Manuscript Collections Documenting Women in Society. Last updated 14 April 1997 [cited 18 June 1999]. Available from:

    Virginia Commonwealth University Libraries

    Women Activists of Virginia Collections [online]. October 1996 [Cited 10 January 1998]. Available from:

    Primary Sources: Microform Collections

    Association of Southern Women for the Prevention of Lynching Papers, 1930-1942. Sanford, N.C.: Microfilming Corp. of America, 1983.

    Elizabeth Glendower Evans. Part 1, Papers and Corrspondence from the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe College. Brighton, Sussex, England: Research Publications, 1987. 11 microfilm reels.

    Emma Goldman Papers. Alexandria, Va.: Chadwyck-Healey, 1990.
    Detailed online description of collection:
    This site also includes a sampling of photographs and historical documents from the microfilm set.

    Grassroots Women's Organizations: Records of the Women's City Club of New York, 1916-1980. Frederick, Md.: University Publications of America, c1989.

    Jane Addams Papers, 1860-1960. Ann Arbor, Mich.: University Microfilms International, 1984. Online description from the publisher:

    Lillian Wald Papers. Woodbridge, Conn.: Research Publications, 1991.
    Reviewed by Doris Groshen Daniels in Journal of American History 79 (March 1993): 1701-1702.

    Lydia Maria Child: The Collected Correspondence, 1817-1880. Milwood, N.Y.: KTO Microform, 1979.

    National Council of the Women of the United States: Archives. Ann Arbor, Mich.: University Microfilms International, 1988.
    Online description from the publisher:

    The Papers of Edwin Doak & Lucia Ames Mead, 1876-1936. Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources, 1991. 11 microfilm reels.

    The Papers of Emily Greene Balch, 1875-1961. Wilmington, Del.: Scholarly Resources, 1988.

    The Papers of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. Wilmington, Del.: Scholarly Resources, 1991.

    Papers of Hannah Clothier Hull, 1889-1958. Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources, 1991. 6 microfilm reels.

    Papers of Sophonisba P. Breckinridge. [Washington, D.C.]: Library of Congress Photoduplication Service, 1981. 37 microfilm reels.

    Papers of the Association Against the Prohibition Amendment and the Women's Organization for National Prohibition Reform. Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources, 1981.
    Reviewed by D. Martin in Microform Review 12 (Fall 1983): 273-74.

    Records of the National Association of Colored Women's Clubs, 1895-1992. Bethesda, MD: University Publications of America, 1994.
    Review: Microform Review 24 (Summer 1995): 146-49.

    Primary Sources: Digital Collections

    Agents of Social Change [online]. Northampton, MA: The Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, c2001.
    Documents the careers and contributions of Constance Baker Motley, Dorothy Kenyon, Mary Kaufman, Frances Fox Piven, Jessie Lloyd O'Connor, and Gloria Steinem.

    Digital Images from the American Radicalism Collection [online]. East Lansing: Special Collections Division, Michigan State University Libraries, 1997- [cited 14 February 1998]. Available from: Select "Collections," then "American Radicalism Collection."

    Dublin, Thomas, and Kathryn Kish Sklar. Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1830-1930 [online]. 1997- [cited 23 March 1999]. Available from:
    This collection of primary source documents is organized around numerous topical areas, such as "Women's Peace Mission to European Capitals, 1915," and "Women Suffragists and Partisan Politics, New York, 1920." Each of these different sections includes an introduction to provide context, and an annotated bibliography.

    The Emma Goldman Papers
    Includes selections from Goldman's writings, sample documents and letters, photographs, and a Hearst newsreel.

    Petitions to Congress [from NARA's NAIL Database]

    Travels for Reform: The Early Works of Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, 1852-1861
    Developed by: Model Editions Partnership
    This mini-edition focuses on the work of Anthony and Stanton as reformers in New York State.

    Virtual Oral/Aural History Archive (VOAHA) [online]. Long Beach: VOAHA, California State University, 2002- [cited 17 November 2004]. Available from:
    Follow the links to "Women's History" and "Reformers and Radicals."

    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.

    Commercial Digital Collections

    The Gerritsen Collection - Women's History Online. [Alexandria, Va.] : Chadwyck-Healey, [2000]. Overview from the publisher.
    Limit language to English and search for political and social reform in the "Gerritsen Index" search field. This search will retrieve the full content (i.e., page images) of books published in the United States and England.

    Primary Sources: Selected Books

    Cullen-DuPont, Kathryn. American Women Activists' Writings: An Anthology, 1637-2002. New York: Cooper Square Press, 2002.

    Talking About Women's History

    Baumler Ellen. Montana and the National Florence Crittenton Mission [Lecture online]. The Montana Historical Society's Thursday Night Lecture Series, n.d. [cited 11 March 2004]. Available from:

    Black, Allida. Remembering Eleanor [online]. Interviewed by George Liston Seay. Talking History, 20 September 2001. Available from:

    Lear, Linda J. [Interview] [online]. Interviewed by Dennis Mihelick. Talking History, 15 April 1999. Available from:
    Lear, author of Rachel Carson: Witness for Nature, talks about Carson's life and work.

    American Women's History: A Research Guide

    Ken Middleton
    Middle Tennessee State University Library