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Women and Gender Studies: A Research Guide

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Primary Sources

The following links have been suggested by Alana Kumbier, Research & Instruction Librarian, Wellesley College:


Primary sources are original, uninterpreted information, such as firsthand accounts of events in letters, diaries, interviews, or historical news reportage.

  • Gerritsen Collection
    Premier international collection of digitized material (1543-1988) on the evolution of a feminist consciousness and the movement for women's rights.
    Digital collections of primary sources (photos, letters, diaries, artifacts, etc.) that document the history of women in the United States. Collections range from Ancestral Pueblo pottery to interviews with women engineers from the 1970s.
  • North American Women's Letters and Diaries
    Searchable database of 150,000 pages of letters and diaries, drawn from journal articles, pamphlets, newsletters, monographs, and conference proceedings.
  • North American Slave Narratives
    UNC Library
  • Twentieth Century Advice Literature
    A fulltext collection of advice manuals covering all aspects of social, political, cultural and professional life in the United States.
  • American Memory
    American Memory provides free and open access through the Internet to written and spoken words, sound recordings, still and moving images, prints, maps, and sheet music that document the American experience.
  • Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1600-2000
    Books, images, documents, scholarly essays, commentaries, and bibliographies, documenting the multiplicity of women’s reform activities
  • Women Working,1800-1930
    Part of the Open Collections Program at Harvard University Library, this is a great place to look for primary sources of women working in the late eighteenth, early nineteenth century. The digitized collection includes: books, pamphlets, images and some manuscripts. It is easy to browse or search the collection.
  • Grrrl Zine Network
    Grrrl, lady, queer, and trans folk zines, distros and Do-It-Yourself projects from all over the world.
  • Queer Zine Archive Project
    The mission of the Queer Zine Archive Project (QZAP) is to establish a "living history" archive of past and present queer zines and to encourage current and emerging zine publishers to continue to create. In curating such a unique aspect of culture, we value a collectivist approach that respects the diversity of experiences that fall under the heading "queer."
  • Digital Collections from the Sallie Bingham Center at Duke
    Collections of materials on the Women's Liberation Movement, African American women's experiences under slavery, and Civil War women. The Sallie Bingham Center for Women's History and Culture acquires, preserves and makes available to a large population of researchers published and unpublished materials that reflect the public and private lives of women, past and present.