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The General Collections



Starting Places
Periodical Indexes
Periodicals for Girls (and Boys)
Industry and Labor Union Journals
Fashion Magazines and Pattern Books
Publications of Organizations
arrow graphicState Historical Society Publications
Biographical Sources
Women's Writings
Other Sources




State Historical Society Publications
see caption below

The Chrisman sisters. Solomon D. Butcher, creator. 1886. Nebraska State Historical Society. RG2608.PH:000000-001053

bibliographic record

Most state historical associations publish journals or collections of primary sources relating to their state. Within these hundreds of volumes lurk both passing references and long narratives on women. Scanning several issues of the Washington Historical Quarterly (with title change, 1906-, F886.W28) located articles on

  • the dismaying increase in divorce rates in Washington State (April 1914)
  • Mrs. Sheffield's recollections of her 1852 trip from New York to Vancouver (January 1924)
  • Mrs. Agnew's account of settling Idaho in 1864 (January 1924)
The journal of the Illinois State Historical Society printed a selection of letters from a Civil War soldier to his wife. Loving in tone, proud of his service, he comments,

“I shall feel the more a man, and look on you as a true heroine—And when again I appear at the head of my dear dear household, you can throw off a load of care that will make you feel, fresh, boyant & young as ever.” (1862)8

These few words alone tell us about his feelings for his wife and his position in the home and more.

State historical-association journals supply details not easily found elsewhere. Excerpts from diaries, letters, obituaries, biographies of state residents, and reproductions of photographs give descriptions of daily life, games, holidays, homes, and travel. Many of these items may survive only in this published form. They are especially useful for information on genealogy, frontier life, early settlers, Native Americans, and for those examining a particular geographical area.

For examples of American Memory sites based on historical-society collections see

SEARCH TIPS: Since 1964, most state historical journals are indexed in America: History and Life (Z1236.A48 MRR Alc, online 1964-). For earlier years, consult the annual Writings on American History (1902-90, Z1236 .L331 MRR Alc, LH&G), although the references to women in it are not always easy to locate.

The subscription database Periodicals Contents Index, available at most Library of Congress terminals, gives tables of contents of many state historical-society journals; so you can rapidly scan the titles of articles and authors in each issue, but not the full text. Sometimes this is the best way to locate articles by and about women.


Directory of Historical Organizations in the United States and Canada. Biennial. E172.D5 MRR Ref Desk and other reading rooms. State historical associations can usually be found under the state's name in the index. The full entry lists each organization's publications.

SAMPLE LCSH: There is no single subject heading for state historical society publications. The best search is “[Name of state]—History—Periodicals,” but this produces many periodicals published by other groups. A keyword search for “[Name of state]” and “state historical” often yields good results.

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