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Women's History Month

Women's and Gender Studies: A Research Guide

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 5th Avenue?], Digital ID 733589f, New York Public LibraryWomen's Suffrage in New York City

March is Women's History Month. This year, the theme of Women's History Month is Women Inspiring Innovation Through Imagination: Celebrating Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. This blog post will explore how one can conduct research in women's and gender studies and history.

The research collections of The New York Public Library are one of the most important resource centers for Women's Studies in the United States. The collections consist of vast retrospective holdings relating to women, including manuscripts and archival materials, as well as a broad range of current Women's Studies materials reflecting new trends and thoughts on feminist theory and scholarship.

Special Days - Rural Women's Day - Lillian Gilbreth giving speech, Digital ID 1682437, New York Public LibrarySpecial Days - Rural Women's Day - Lillian Gilbreth giving speech

In the United States, Women’s Studies is an interdisciplinary academic field which explores politics, history, and society from women's perspectives. Gender Studies is also an interdisciplinary field, but it incorporates race, ethnicity, class, sexuality, and location within the study as well.

During the 1960s, the study itself was bolstered by the efforts of several political movements, such as the women’s liberation movement and second wave feminism. In the United States, San Diego State University established the first academic program in 1970 to address the patriarchal nature of society.

Women's Day in the mosque in Morocco., Digital ID 1999083, New York Public LibraryWomen's Day in the Mosque in Morocco (1892)Because of its interdisciplinary nature, Women's Studies material is not kept together as a separate collection in NYPL, but is housed within various units of the Research Libraries. Refer to the location field in the Online Catalog to determine where your material is held. Users will need to request these materials to be brought up to them for use in the Reading Rooms.

Although this blog post focuses on relatively current resources in Women's Studies, NYPL's retrospective collections provide a wonderful and unique source for scholars in many areas. Our holdings document the progress of the women's movement in this country from its beginnings, and include manuscript materials, books, pamphlets, newsletters, and periodicals.

If there is a particular women's history or woman you are researching, the quickest way is to browse the Library's catalog. You can search via NYPL's homepage as well, using the search box at the top of the page. Be sure to type in the keyword of your search (Examples: Phyllis Schlafly Biography, Gender in Islam, or Women's Suffrage). On the left hand side, you will notice several lists of titles, topics, and subjects that can help narrow down your research. You can also narrow your search results by Availability, Format, Audience or Acquired Time on the left side of the page. If you know the exact title of the book, switch keyword to title.

For an in-depth search, consider the Classic Catalog and search under subject (you can also change collection to a Library near you) and type in "women -- United States -- history" or "women -- country of your research -- history" or "women -- history" or "women -- country of your research -- biography."

If the results are still not close to your topic, you can also browse nearby subject terms in the results to get further resources that are classified differently. The location of the item will indicate where it can be requested and viewed. If you need further assistance with your research, please contact the General Research Division >>

Selected Primary Sources

Selected Secondary Sources

Selected Online Sites

[Women In Bathing Suits With Parasols, Ca. 1910s.], Digital ID 817683, New York Public LibraryWomen In Bathing Suits With Parasols, ca. 1910s

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