Introduced in March 2007, Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1600-2000: Scholar's Edition is available as an upgrade to the Basic Edition. In addition to the features of the Basic Edition, Scholar's Edition subscribers enjoy access to the landmark five-volume reference work, Notable American Women: A Biographical Dictionary from Harvard University Press, available for the first time in electronic form, and all publications by Commissions on the Status of Women in the U.S., 1963-2005.  The Commissions database includes 90,000 pages of publications by federal, state, and local Commissions on the Status of Women. The Commissions publications, Notable, and all the regular WASM resources are accessible in a single, integrated database with extensive full-text searching and indexing capabilities.


Commissions on the Status of Women

In December 1961, President John F. Kennedy appointed Eleanor Roosevelt to chair the President's Commission on the Status of Women, a bipartisan organization whose goal was to examine discrimination against women in the United States and to study and make recommendations on policies designed to enable women to fulfill their potential in American life. When the President's Commission completed its work in 1963, it issued a series of final reports documenting, among other topics, labor policies and practices relating to women, educational opportunities available to women, and the legal status of American women. In addition, the commission recommended that states and localities establish their own commissions on the status of women to continue research and advocacy to promote the equality of women in all aspects of American social and political life. Today, there are approximately 270 state and local women's commissions around the United States.

These federal, state, and local commissions have produced a wealth of primary materials documenting conditions in the lives of American women over the last four decades of the twentieth century. Collectively, these reports and publications provide in-depth information that is unmatched by other primary materials from this time period. Not previously accessible as a collection and never before indexed, these materials are now fully searchable. Our goal with the Women's Commission Reports has been to compile in one place, for the first time, the complete text of every report on the status of women issued by these bodies during this time period. The collection provides 90,000 pages of materials documenting women's issues over more than four decades in all fifty states and territories of the United States.

Complementing the Commissions collection are scholarly essays that describe the assembling of the collection and explore the research possibilities of the publications.  As of March 2009, the following essays are accessible through the Scholar's Edition:

Thomas Dublin, "Constructing the Database of Commissions on the Status of Women."

Kathleen Laughlin, "Introduction to the Women and Social Movements State Commissions Database."

 Dorothy Sue Cobble, "The Labor Feminist Origins of the U.S. Commissions on the Status of Women."

Marjorie Spruill, "The Conservative Challenge to Feminist Influence on State Commissions on the Status of Women."

Cynthia Harrison, "State Commissions and Economic Security for Women."

Carrie Baker, "How Are Issues Related to Sexuality Treated in Publications of Commissions on the Status of Women?"

Gerda Lerner, "Midwestern Leaders of the Modern Women's Movement."

Keisha Blain and Kathryn Kish Sklar, "How Did the President's Commission on the Status of Women and Subsequent State and Local Commissions Address Issues Related to Race, 1963-1980?"


Notable American Women

Between 1971 and 2004, Harvard University Press published Notable American Women, a five-volume biographical dictionary that has become a leading reference work in the history of women in the United States.  In more than 3,500 pages, leading scholars in the field offer 2,284 biographical sketches that span four hundred years.  In publishing these essays as part of the WASM Scholar's Edition, we take advantage of the online medium's capability of tracing hyperlinks between the document projects, full-text sources, and the biographies.  The Browse People function permits a user to look up any individual found in the database and to link seamlessly to all documents written by or about the individual.


Last updated January 2018

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