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The General Collections




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Women working in a room at the Chicago Public Library. Chicago Daily News, Inc., photographer. 1917. Chicago Historical Society.

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This discussion of the General Collections describes a few of the most noteworthy types of resources for the study of American women's history. More exist—almanacs, encyclopedias, dictionaries, interior-decorating manuals, technical reports, auction catalogs, census compilations, child-care manuals, and statistical sources. The list goes on. You will find others, and you will examine those described in this discussion of the General Collections and put them to new uses.

The study of women's lives has grown more sophisticated and innovative over the past thirty years as it has become clear that everything is subject to gender analysis. Men's studies is developing as a separate field and giving insights to women's history. These trends should continue, especially if the incredible materials in the General Collections are joined with those described on this Web site.

To summarize the most important advice for using the General Collections:

1. Consult with reference librarians regularly for advice on your search strategy.

2. Search Library of Congress Subject Headings (“Red Books”) for the best subject headings.

3. Look for published bibliographies on your subject.

4. Ask for appropriate microform collections.

5. Don't stop your research with the General Collections. Wonderful sources exist in the special collections.

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