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Manuscript Division


Understanding Manuscripts: A Basic Introduction
Manuscript Catalog Records
Finding Aids
arrow graphicWomen's History Guides and Access Tools





Women's History Guides and Access Tools

Supplementing the Manuscript Division's catalog records and finding aids are several guides and articles relating specifically to the division's women's history holdings. These include:

Women's History Sources: A Guide to Archives and Manuscript Collections in the United States (New York: R. R. Bowker Company, 1979; Z7964.U49 W64), edited by Andrea Hinding. Through the help of various field-workers, Hinding compiled a two-volume guide comparable in format to the more general National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections (Washington: Library of Congress, 1959-93; Z6620.U5 N3; available online7) in that it provides brief catalog descriptions of women's history collections located in archival repositories throughout the country. Hinding's guide is arranged geographically by state and city and then alphabetically by name of repository within each city. The entries for each repository are further arranged alphabetically by name of collection. A cumulative index permits subject and name searches across repositories. The fieldworker who surveyed the Manuscript Division's catalogs, finding aids, and some actual collections in the mid-1970s identified 506 collections relating to women's history.

“Women's History Sources in the Library of Congress Manuscript Division” (unpublished guide, Library of Congress, 1985). In 1983-84, division reference librarian Marianne L. Roos conducted a survey of the division's catalogs and indexes and prepared a 276-page unpublished guide to women's history sources in the division. Embracing a broad view of women's history, Roos identified more than fourteen hundred collections containing papers written by or about women. Accompanying her guide are two appendixes that sort the collections by occupation of the men and women represented, and a third appendix that indicates which collections contain correspondence and which include diaries or journals. Roos's draft guide is available for use in the reading room. It lacks an index, but patient readers will be rewarded with revealing references to women in collections not usually considered prime sources for women's history.8

The Progressive Era and World War I, 1896-1920: A Bibliography of Manuscript Sources Selected from the Library of Congress Collections (Washington: Catholic University of America, 1972; Z1244.T47), compiled by Roy R. Thomas, describes more than seven hundred division collections, including seventy collections of women's personal papers, organizational records, and family papers. The full guide is available in the General Collections. An unpublished copy of the women's history subset is in the Manuscript Division.

"The Feminine Presence: Women's Papers in the Manuscript Division," Quarterly Journal of the Library of Congress 32 (October 1975): 348-65. In this special women's history issue of the Library's quarterly journal, Manuscript Division staff member Anita Lonnes Nolen briefly described the most important women's history collections acquired up to that time. Although they are too numerous to list here, other articles about individual manuscript collections appeared in many issues of the Quarterly Journal of the Library of Congress, 1943-83 (before 1964 titled Quarterly Journal of Current Acquisitions) during its long publication run.

Library of Congress Acquisitions: Manuscript Division (1979-95) included essays on selected collections each year and listed and summarized all annual receipts. This serial publication may be available in the collections of larger local or academic libraries, or specific issues may be requested from the Library of Congress via interlibrary loan. To obtain photocopies of specific essays, please contact the Manuscript Division. Individual essays were written about the following women's history-related collections acquired during the year indicated in parentheses.

  • Ruby A. Black Papers (1984)
  • Martha Dodd Papers (1991)
  • ERAmerica Records (1982)
  • Janet Flanner-Natalia Danesi Murray Papers (1994-95)
  • Patricia Roberts Harris Papers (1985)
  • Shirley Jackson Papers (1991)
  • Margaret Mead Papers (1982)
  • Jeanne S. Mintz Papers (1994-95)
  • National Council of Jewish Women Records (1985)
  • Alla Nazimova Papers (1991)
  • Winn Newman Papers (1993)
  • Maud Wood Park Papers (1979)
  • Ethel L. Payne Papers (1991)
  • Pierce-Aiken Family Papers (1983 and 1991)
  • Ayn Rand Papers (1991)
  • Alice M. Rivlin Papers (1989)
  • Muriel Rukeyser Papers (1981)
  • Hugh H. and Mabel M. Smythe Papers (1994-95)
  • Society of Woman Geographers Records (1988)
  • Hannah G. Solomon Papers (1993)
  • Horace and Anne Montgomery Traubel Papers (1980)
  • Clara A. Whitney Papers (1985)
  • Mabel Walker Willebrandt Papers (1980)

Other divisional guides containing references to women's papers are cited elsewhere in this chapter, and a separate guide to women's diaries is under way. Researchers interested in diaries should consult with the division's reference staff.

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