Back to Women and Social Movements News

August 2006


Dear Colleague—

This newsletter brings you up-to-date on Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1600-2000 since our last update of April 2006. We’ve added a lot to the site since then.


At the OAH meeting in D.C. in April we announced the launching of The "Second Wave" and Beyond, a free online "scholarly community" of feminist thinkers to discuss and record the history of feminist activism since 1960. This new resource has freely avaialble for two months now, with an editorial board consisting of Judith Ezekiel, Stephanie Gilmore, and Kimberly Springer. Check it out and register to participate at

While this scholarly community is developing, we are also working on a second online community, "Teaching Women’s History," which we’ll launch in February. Look for this initiative next winter, under the direction of Nancy Page Fernandez and Laura Westhoff.


A preliminary version of a new online database edited by Kitty Sklar and Tom Dublin is now available. Primary Sources of the Women’s Movement, 1960 – Present: Publications on the Status of Women will provide a single, authoritative, searchable archive of primary materials documenting the history of changes in women's lives in the U.S. in the last third of the 20th century. It will include the full texts of all reports and publications of local, state, and federal commissions on the status of women. We are currently in the middle of a massive bibliographical project of identifying, selecting, and re-keying all commission publications for which we can secure photocopies. We have just published the first 25,000 pages of these documents in the preliminary release and expect the database to grow to 70,000 pages when our work is complete.

Because of its size, Primary Sources of the Women’s Movement, 1960 – Present: Publications on the Status of Women will be available separately from Women and Social Movements, either by one-time purchase or by annual subscription. It will be fully integrated with Women and Social Movements, so that researchers at institutions with access to both databases can conduct subject or full-text searches in both resources at the same time. This database will be marketed on a sliding scale similar to that for Women and Social Movements, the price depending on the size of your library budget.

It's not too soon to alert your acquisitions librarian to the availability of this new resource. For further information, you or your librarian can contact Eileen Lawrence at Alexander Street Press,, 800-889-5937 ext. 211 (U.S. and Canada) or 703-212-8520 ext. 211 (international). We trust that you'll be as excited as we are by the availability of this rich resource.


A consortium of thirty Canadian research universities has recently subscribed to Women and Social Movements. If you are in Canada please check with your reference or acquisitions librarians to see if your university is one of those institutions. With a group of Canadian scholars of Women’s History we are organizing a special quarterly issue with document projects and book and website reviews devoted to Canadian Women’s History. We hope that these and other future document projects will give the website a thoroughly North American perspective. In our next newsletter we will publish a more formal call for proposals for document projects and introduce the scholars who are coordinating this effort.


The two document projects in this issue explore the dynamics of cooperation among women across class and race in New York City in the first four decades of the twentieth century. These projects contain documents that permit us to analyze the strategies reformers used to achieve their goals and the extent to which those strategies were successful. They shed important new light on the history of progressive reform in one of its most productive venues.

In "How Did Settlement Workers at Greenwich House Promote the Arts as Integral to a Shared Social Life?" Kirsten Swinth shows how the art forms of music, dance, theater, and crafts expressed some of the deepest reform impulses of the settlement movement. Through them settlement activists sought to empower citizens and broaden the meaning of citizenship beyond basic political rights to include access to culture and self-expression. They also hoped to foster collective life and broaden the public sphere through the shared experience of making or watching works of art.

On February 1, 1930, Margaret Sanger opened a branch office of her New York City birth control clinic in the center of Harlem, at 2352 7th Avenue near 138th Street. Carole McCann, in "What Perspectives Did African American Advocates Bring to the Birth Control Movement and How Did Those Perspectives Shape the History of the Harlem Branch Birth Control Clinic?" offers a window on the views and actions of African American birth control advocates on the clinic's Advisory Council. Intertwined, and sometimes conflicting, elements of women's rights, economic security, and racial progress laid the ground for cooperation and conflict between the Advisory Council and Sanger and the white clinic staff. The Advisory Council's efforts reflected their commitment to racial justice based in equal opportunity through full integration.

Other features in this issue include News from the Archives edited by Tanya Zanish-Belcher, Associate Professor and Head of the Special Collections Department and University Archives at Iowa State University. We publish as well a special feature by S. J. Kleinberg of Brunel University, "Creating a Document Project for the Women and Social Movements Website: One Author's Perspective." Of particular interest to prospective contributors, this article explores the experience of preparing a document project for the website.

With this quarterly issue of the database, we continue to publish full-text sources related to the history of the women’s organizations in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. We are launching the publication of twenty-five years of the minutes and reports of the National Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, 1874-1898. This undertaking will take five issues of the journal, and at its conclusion in the summer of 2007, we expect to have published fully 6,000 pages of NWCTU annual reports from the Union’s first national convention through the close of Frances Willard’s period as president of the organization.

You can access a table of contents of the new issue of the journal at

FUTURE ISSUES: Future document projects in our pipeline focus on:

• Oral histories of Oregon nurses in the Twentieth Century
• the National Congress of Neighborhood Women, 1974- present
• Texas Woman Suffrage, 1918
• the March on Washington Movement during World War II
• the Transformation of Feminist Legal Strategy, 1960-1973
• Women's antislavery organizations, 1830-1870
• The Los Angeles Women’s Building, 1969-1991
• Female Academies, 1790-1830
• French traders, Jesuit missionaries and Illinois women, 1650-1750


We continue to solicit new proposals for document projects to be published on the website. In the past two years we have established a national editorial board and created a peer review system for evaluating prospective contributions and offering editorial support to author/editors. If you are interested in preparing a document project based on your research, we would be glad to exchange email with you about your work and the submission process. If your prospective document project concerns post-1960 feminism, please contact either Judith Ezekiel, Kimberly Springer, or Stephanie Gilmore. For a project idea concerning women in the colonial or early national period, contact Patricia Cleary. Finally, Carol Lasser at Oberlin College serves as the editor for our images initiative. If you would like to prepare a document project or analytic essay that explores some aspect of women and social movements from a visual perspective, please contact Carol. For other project possibilities, please contact Tom Dublin or Kitty Sklar.


With the publication of this issue of WASM we are making a transition. After working for the website and as Associate Director of the Center for the Historical Study of Women and Gender for seven years, Melissa Doak is departing to work full-time as a freelance editor. We will miss her professional guidance and energy and we thank her for her many contributions to the emergence of Women and Social Movements as a resource in U.S. Women’s History. As we look ahead to the next phase of WASM, we are fortunate to have been able to hire Kate Babbitt, a Ph.D. of the women’s history program at SUNY Binghamton, who will become the Managing Editor of WASM. Kate has been a freelance editor for many university presses for a decade and will continue that work as she moves into a half-time position with WASM.


Thanks for your continuing interest in Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1600-2000. As you look over the website, please share your reactions with us and let us know any ideas you may have about how we can better serve your needs and interests.

Best wishes,

Kitty Sklar

Tom Dublin

Kate Babbitt

If you received duplicates of this newsletter or would like to be removed from the mailing list, please contact us at

Back to Women and Social Movements News

| Documents Projects and Archives | Teacher's Corner | Scholar's Edition | Full-Text Sources | About Us | Contact Us |