Women’s History Annotated Bibliography
Dr. Ava L. McCall
● Young Adult And Children’s Books
● Biographical Series
● Dear America Series
● Women’s World History Series
● Children’s Coloring Books
● Children’s Periodicals
● Children’s Plays
● Adult Resources: Books
● Adult Resources: Curriculum Guides
● General Resources For Women’s History
Young Adult And Children’s Books
Amstel, M. (2000). Sybil Ludington’s midnight ride. Minneapolis: Carolrhoda Books.
Picture book, elementary level. In the “author’s note” and “afterword,” the author
compares the differences between Paul Revere’s and Sybil Ludington’s ride during the
American Revolution. Sybil’s ride took place later in the war (1777), but was just as
important in readying colonial troops to resist a British attack. Sybil’s father was a
commander of troops, but he and his soldiers were all at their homes when the British
attacked nearby Danbury, Connecticut. Sybil was the only person who could ride her
horse and call all the soldiers to gather at Colonel Ludington’s home to prepare for battle.
The text contains a map of Sybil’s journey and a sketch of a statue dedicated to her in
Carmel, New York.
Bardhan-Quallen, S. (2008). Ballots for Belva: The true story of a woman’s race for the
presidency. New York: Abrams Books for Young Readers.
Upper elementary. The picture book portrays the efforts of Belva Lockwood to
accomplish very unusual tasks for women during the 19th century. Belva was the first
woman to graduate from the National University Law School, the first woman to practice
law in federal courts, and the first to argue a case before the Supreme Court of the U.S. In
1884, Belva was the first woman to run officially for president, representing the Equal
Rights Party, even though women could not yet vote. In 1872, Victoria Woodhull also
was a presidential candidate for the Equal Rights Party, but suspended her campaign
before Election Day. Despite many obstacles to her campaign, Belva won 4,711 votes,
although Grover Cleveland was elected president.
Bausum, A. (2004). With courage and cloth: Winning the fight for a woman’s right to vote.
Washington, DC: National Geographic.
Upper elementary/middle school level. The text is well-illustrated with many archival
photographs to portray the author’s focus on Alice Paul and other suffragists who
struggled to win voting rights for women from 1913-1920. Using parades, pickets and
“watch fires” in front of the White House, demonstrations, and lobbying state and federal
legislators, suffragists communicated their message. However, they often found that
police rarely protected them from opponents who harassed and attacked them during their
pickets. The pickets also faced arrest, deplorable conditions in jail, and forced feedings
when they went on hunger strikes. When the public became aware of this treatment, they
became more sympathetic toward the suffragists’ cause. The author includes sources for
each chapter, profiles of the women who led the fight for suffrage, and a timeline of the
struggle for women’s suffrage from 1788 when the Constitution is adopted for the U.S. to
1920 when the 19th amendment giving women the right to vote is ratified.
Blumberg, R. (1993). Bloomers! New York: Bradbury.
Picture book, elementary level. During the 19th century, the appropriate dress for
middle-class women was a corset, layers of petticoats, and a heavy, long dress which was
uncomfortable and constraining. This book portrays a few women such as Elizabeth
Cady Stanton, Amelia Bloomer, and Susan B. Anthony who challenged that style and
began wearing bloomers or ballooning, ankle-length trousers topped with a knee-length
dress. This style was easier for women to move around and carry things, including
children, but most people considered it scandalous that women would assume dress more
appropriate for men. The three women also began to engage in other activities deemed
unseemly for women including traveling together and speaking publicly about the
importance of women's rights, such as the right to vote. For this period of time, the
bloomers became a symbol of women's rights.
Bolden, T. (Ed.). (2002). 33 things every girl should know about women’s history: From
suffragettes to skirt lengths to the E.R.A. New York: Crown.
Middle school level and adult resource. The editor collected poems, essays, letters, diary
excerpts, fiction, timelines, a play, annotated bibliographies, and profiles of important
women to introduce girls to a chronological history of women in the U.S. The pieces
begin with letters between Abigail and John Adams discussing women’s rights through a
short play discussing the importance of the ERA Constitutional Amendment. One very
interesting selection includes three stories portraying Native American, European
American, and African American women settling in “Indian Territory” in the 19th century.
A brief history of women’s participation in politics through voting, running for office,
and serving in the U.S. Congress is included. Other interesting segments clarify changing
women’s fashions, definitions of beauty, reproductive and economic rights.
Brill, M. T. (2001). Margaret Knight: Girl inventor. Brookfield, CT: Millbrook.
Elementary level. In the introduction to the text, the author describes the circumstances
which led Margaret Knight and her family to work in Amoskeag Mills, a giant cotton
factory in Manchester, New Hampshire. After the father’s death, the entire family needs
to work to earn money, including Margaret. In 1848 at the age of 10, Margaret’s job in
the mill is removing thread-filled bobbins and replacing them with empty ones. However,
the cotton fibers in the air lodge in her lungs and Margaret stays home for months at a
time to clear them. Another hazard of working around the looms is when a thread breaks,
the fast-moving shuttle can hurt or kill the worker, who are often children. After
witnessing several deaths and injuries, Margaret decides to invent a safer shuttle. She first
studies the looms and the use of the shuttle, then makes several drawings of a safer
shuttle, and finally made a model. Despite the skepticism of many men that girls can
invent improvements in machines, Margaret’s invention is added to every loom in the
factory. However, Margaret never receives any monetary rewards for this invention.
Brown, D. P. (1985). Sybil rides for independence. Niles, IL: Albert Whitman.
Picture book, elementary level. The author portrays Sybil as a young woman who was
more interested in riding her horse and serving as a soldier for the colonies than doing
traditional women’s chores. However, this motivation is speculation. The text provides a
description of the known facts of Sybil Ludington’s ride to gather her father’s troops to
defend the area and prevent the British from doing more damage and taking territory. The
author describes General Washington’s visit with Sybil to thank her for her assistance
with defending the colonies. The additional information at the end of the text clarifies
which aspects of the text are fiction and which are factual.
Casey, S. (1997). Women invent! Two centuries of discoveries have shaped our world. Chicago:
Middle school level. The author reviews different motivations for women’s inventions,
including life’s necessities, health problems, national defense needs, career demands, and
educational concerns as well as inventions resulting from accidents. One significant
clarification is that although women have always invented, they have few patents in their
own name. She identifies three criteria in order for a product, process, or an improvement
to be considered an invention: (1) it must be new and different from what already exists;
(2) it must be useful and needed by some people; and (3) it must be unobvious. The
process of making one’s inventions known occurs by keeping a log or record of the
process of creating the invention, making a model, getting a patent (preventing others
from making, using, and selling an invention for a period of time) or trademark protection
(preventing others from using the same words, symbols, designs without revealing the
contents of the invention), manufacturing the product oneself or licensing or selling one’s
invention to another company to produce. The text also contains a list resources about
inventions and patents, internet sites, places to visit, invention camps, and invention
programs and contests.
Chang, I. (1991). A separate battle: Women and the Civil War. New York: Puffin.
Upper elementary and middle school level. The author focuses on women involved in
different roles during the Civil War period. She includes women as writers and speakers
against slavery; as producers of clothing and distributors of supplies for soldiers; as
nurses for wounded and ill soldiers; as soldiers and spies for both the Confederacy and
Union; as workers in factories and at home; as teachers for “contraband” or former slave
children; and as survivors of the war. The text provides not only a description of women’s
activities, but also their hardships and views regarding the war.
Cheney, L. (2003). A is for Abigail: An almanac of amazing American women. New York:
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.
Picture book, upper elementary. The text follows an alphabetical order format with very
detailed illustrations showing women who have made important contributions. It begins
with “A is for Abigail Adams, who knew that women should be heard” and focuses only
on Adams’ life. The following pages recognize individual women or groups of women
who wanted to heal, went west, were educators, wrote poetry or were writers, served as
First Ladies, wrote news, defended their beliefs, documented the past, became inventors
and entrepreneurs, “lifted others up,” made notable achievements as pilots, astronauts, or
artists, accomplished “firsts” in government, became performers or quiltmakers, served in
war, participated in feminism’s second wave, became trailblazers in different fields,
worked for suffrage, achieved in science and math, and became notable athletes.
Chin-Lee, C. (2005). Amelia to Zora: Twenty-six women who changed the world. Watertown,
Picture book, upper elementary. The author creates short biographies of 26 women she
admires with the goal of encouraging readers to further study each woman. Chin-Lee
focuses on each woman’s given name rather than her family name, which is often based
on her father’s or husband’s name. She includes women who are well known entertainers,
such as Lena Horne and Oprah Winfrey, famous athletes, such as Babe Didrikson
Zaharias and Kristi Yamaguchi, as well as less- known scientists, such as Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin, an astronomer and first woman professor at Harvard University, and Grace
Hopper, a computer scientist who helped make UNIVAC. The text also portrays political
activists, such as Nawal El Sadaawi who fought for equal rights for women in Egypt, Suu
Kyi who fought for democracy in Burma, Dolores Huerta who struggled for better
working conditions and wages for farmworkers, and Vijaya Lakshimi Pandi who
advocated for India’s freedom from Great Britain.
Christensen, B. (2003). The daring Nellie Bly: America’s star reporter. New York: Alfred A.
Picture book, elementary level. The text clarifies how Elizabeth Cochran obtained her
first position as a newspaper journalist and wrote under the pen name Nellie Bly. It details
her reports of the difficult lives of working girls and women, the lives and customs of
Mexican people, an expose of the inhumane conditions of the Women’s Lunatic Asylum,
and unfair and illegal practices affecting women. Some of her most notable
accomplishments include a record breaking trip around the world with reports about what
she saw during her travels, her position as the first woman journalist from the Eastern
Front during World War I, her inventions, and her efforts to gain rights for women, the
working class, and homes for orphans. The text also includes a timeline and additional
resources for investigating Bly’s life.
Corey, S. (2000). You forgot your skirt, Amelia Bloomer! New York: Scholastic.
Picture book, elementary level. The author bases her whimsical text on the life of Amelia
Bloomer, an early 19th century reformer dissatisfied with women’s rights, women’s work,
and women’s clothing. Amelia addressed these issues by advocating for women’s
suffrage, creating her own newspaper, and sewing a new style of clothing eventually
called “bloomers.” The pantaloons covered by a short skirt allowed women more freedom
of movement, but were severely criticized by others as “improper” dress for women. The
author’s note provides more background information on Amelia Bloomer’s life and her
activities promoting women’s rights.
Davis, L. (1998). Susan B. Anthony: A photo-illustrated biography. Mankato, MN: Bridgestone
Picture book, elementary level. The text is excellent for introducing readers to Susan B.
Anthony and the important contributions she made for equality for women and African
Americans. It illustrates Anthony’s early experiences in her family and as a teacher which
influenced her to fight for women’s equality. It depicts Susan’s work with Elizabeth Cady
Stanton in speaking, writing, and petitioning for women’s rights, women’s suffrage, and
the abolishment of slavery.
Epstein, V. S. (1984). History of women for children. Denver, CO: Quality.
Picture book, upper elementary level. The text focuses on women in the history of
western culture, particularly the United States. It begins with early history when people
lived in caves, forests, and on the plains; women’s involvement in providing food and
clothing for their families; the development of patriarchal cultures in which men “owned”
women and children; the formation of hierarchical cultures in which a few men ruled and
controlled wealth; the erosion of women’s rights; and women’s work to gain rights to
vote and receive fair treatment in work.
Gleiter, J. & Thompson, K. (1985). Molly Pitcher. Nashville, TN: Ideals Publishing.
Picture book, elementary. The text introduces the contributions of Molly Hays who
accompanied her husband from camp to camp as he fought in the American Revolution.
Molly used a pitcher to carry water to fighting men during hot weather, which led to the
name Molly Pitcher. When her husband was overcome by the heat during battle, Molly
took his place at a cannon. The book celebrates the courage of the young woman who
became known as Molly Pitcher and her contributions to the American Revolution.
Gourley, C. (2003). Society’s sisters: Stories of women who fought for social justice in America.
Brookfield, CT: Twenty-First Century Books.
Upper elementary/middle school level. The text is embellished with photographs and
drawings of the women and issues portrayed during the 19th and early 20th centuries. It
addresses women’s challenges to their separate sphere; their concern with children’s
welfare and rights; women’s efforts to improve health care for low-income immigrants;
and women’s leadership in the temperance movement, the fight for racial equality,
women’s suffrage, and world peace. The author reveals differences among women in
their orientations to solving social problems. For example, she contrasts Carry Nation’s
violent approach to the abolition of alcohol with Frances Willard’s focus on women’s
rights as an avenue to abolish the sale of alcohol.
Harness, C. (2001). Remember the ladies: 100 great American women. New York:
Picture book, upper elementary level. The brief text and illustrations provide an overview
of women who have made significant accomplishments in U.S. history. The profiles of
each woman are arranged chronologically, beginning with Virginia Dare, the first English
child born in America, to Ruth Simmons, the President of Smith College. Women include
writers, educators, painters, soldiers, suffragists, congresswomen, medical doctors, and
social reformers. The text contains a timeline of important events in U.S. history and a list
of the 100 women portrayed in the book.
Harness, C. (2003). Rabble rousers: 20 women who made a difference. New York: Dutton.
Picture book, upper elementary level. The text briefly describes 20 women who tried to
make the world better during 200 years of U.S. history. It begins with Ann Lee, founder
of the Shaker community, who advocated for religious choice, and ended with Doris
“Granny D: Haddock, who walked across the country to awaken interest in campaign
reform. Other rabble rousers fought for suffrage, women’s education, temperance, labor
rights, abolition of slavery, civil rights, and women’s control of their bodies. The text also
includes timelines for the abolitionist, women’s, labor, and civil rights movements; social
action suggestions, resources, and places to visit for readers to learn more about social
change movements and what they can do to make a difference in the world.
Hoose, P. (2001). We were there, too! Young people in U.S. history. New York: Melanie Kroupa
Upper elementary, middle school level, and adult resource. Although the text does not
exclusively focus on girls and young women, nearly half the stories portray young female
contributions to U.S. history. The first section deals with the encounter of Europeans and
Native Americans and includes the activities of Taino girls and boys. In the second
section, “Strangers in Paradise: The British Colonies” readers consider the stories of
Pocahontas, Salem girls considered “witches,” a young girl captured by the Mohawks, a
female indigo planter, and Phillis Wheatley, poet. Within the section on the American
Revolution are stories about girls who spun their own cloth rather than use English
imports, young female spies, and the contributions of Sybil Ludington and Deborah
Sampson during the war. The fourth section deals with becoming a nation and focuses on
two sisters who scared away a British ship during the War of 1812, a young girl who
helped sew the large flag which inspired the song “The Star Spangled Banner,” mill girl
workers and strike leaders, and a determined young slave who escaped to Canada. Section
five focuses on the Civil War and portrays an African American teacher, a European
American girl’s experience during the burning of Atlanta, and Vinnie Ream’s talent in
creating Abraham Lincoln’s statue. Stories of Sacajewa and a young girl who traveled
with her family to Salt Lake City, Utah are included in “The West” section. The “New
Century” section focuses on young women sweatshop workers, strike leaders, and
suffragists. Section eight concentrates on “Wars, Depression, and Dust” and includes
portrayals of young women and the sacrifices and conflicts they experienced during
World War I, teen girls who “rode the rails” during the Great Depression, and a young
Japanese American girl whose family was sent to an internment camp during World War
II. The final section provides stories of girls participating in the civil rights movement,
integrating racially segregated Little Rock, Arkansas schools, becoming a United Farm
Workers organizer, becoming a championship girls’ basketball team, and becoming an
Igus, T. (Ed.). (1997). Book of Black heroes, volume two: Great women in the struggle. East
Orange, NJ: Just Us Books.
Upper elementary and middle school level. The editor includes a photograph or drawing
of each African or African American woman and a one-page description of her notable
contributions. Forty-six women are included who distinguished themselves as freedom
fighters, educators, writers, fine or performing artists, athletes, entrepreneurs, lawyers and
policy makers, scientists, and healers.
Jones, B. (2002). Learning about equal rights from the life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. New York:
Picture book, elementary level. The author briefly profiles Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the
second woman to serve on the Supreme Court, and explains how her life was influenced
by the lack of equal rights. The text emphasizes that the U.S. Constitution, the basis of
U.S. laws, was written by 55 men who did not include equal rights for women. Ginsburg
was one of only nine women out of 500 students at Harvard Law School in the 1950s;
was denied a job interview with one Supreme Court justice because she was a woman;
and was only the second woman to teach at Rutgers University School of Law. These
experiences contributed to her dedication to fighting for equal rights for women.
Keenan, S. (2002). Scholastic encyclopedia of women in the United States. New York:
Upper elementary, middle school level, and adult resource. The author highlights women
from different fields who made significant contributions to U.S. History during different
eras: first American women 1500s-1700s, growth and conflict 1800-1880s, rights of
women 1890s through 1920s, hard times, tough choices 1930s and 1940s, American
dream 1950s and 1960s, and woman power 1970s through 2000s. Authors to actors are
included in the arts/entertainment field while entrepreneurs to labor leaders are
highlighted from business/labor. Teachers to college presidents are portrayed in the field
of education while print to television journalists are included from media. Women who
served as soldiers to spies are depicted as members of the military while historians to
suffragists to senators are included as representatives of politics/law. Temperance leaders
to social workers are included as members of the reform/social service field while
spiritual leaders represent religion. Biologists to physicians reflect science/math while
different types of athletes are highlighted from sports. The author includes a helpful
topical and author index to help readers quickly find women from different fields.
Knight, A. S. (1993). The way West: Journal of a pioneer woman. New York: Aladdin
Picture book, elementary level. The text contains the journal of Amelia Stewart Knight as
she, her husband, and seven children travel from Iowa to the Oregon Territory in 1853.
Readers learn of illnesses, accidents, the effects of the weather on traveling in covered
wagons, interactions with Native Americans, and the challenges of crossing rivers. Most
entries reflect the difficulties of the journey. Native people, for the most part, were
helpful to pioneers by trading or selling food and assisting in crossing rivers, for a fee.
Kramer, B. (2003). Mahalia Jackson: The voice of gospel and civil rights. Berkeley Heights, NJ:
Upper elementary/middle school level. This biography of Mahalia Jackson illustrates the
importance of music in her life from childhood on. Growing up in poverty in segregated
New Orleans, Jackson sang in the Baptist church choir, but listened to the Pentecostal
Church music and blues and jazz which influenced her singing throughout her life. She
focused on singing gospel music, and made records, toured nationally and internationally,
performed for Presidents Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson, and won awards
for her music. When Jackson met Martin Luther King, Jr., she became involved in the
civil rights movement, often singing for events or to raise money. Because of her own
experiences with racism in racially segregated schools and trains, the refusal of service in
hotels and restaurants, and the struggle to purchase a house, Jackson understood the
importance of racial equality. She believed her music was an avenue to diminish hate and
fear between Whites and Blacks.
Krull, K. (2004). A woman for president: The story of Victoria Woodhull. New York: Walker.
Picture book, upper elementary level. The text portrays the unconventional life of
Victoria Claflin Woodhull, who grew up poor, made a living as a fortune teller and
healer, earned and lost wealth, married three times and divorced twice, and accomplished
many notable feats for women in the 19th century. She and her sister Tennessee formed
the first female-owned American company which bought and sold stocks and founded
their own newspaper. Victoria was the first woman in history to address Congress and
spoke about the Constitutional right for women to vote. She was the first to run for
President in 1872, although she was not allowed to vote.
Lasky, K. (2003). A voice of her own: The story of Phillis Wheatley, slave poet. Cambridge, MA:
Picture book, elementary level. The text portrays the life of Phillis Wheatley from her
capture on the west coast of Africa in 1761 and her travel to Boston on a slave ship until
her freedom in 1774. Although it was not done in the North, Phillis’ owner, Susannah
Wheatley, taught Phillis to read and write. Phillis’s success in reading the Bible led to her
study of other subjects, a contrast to the very limited education for most White colonial
girls and women. The text describes experiences and events which prompted Phillis to
write poetry about them and includes excerpts of the poems. Although Phillis remained
Mrs. Wheatley’s slave until after Mrs. Wheatley’s death, she supported Phillis’ writing.
She took Phillis to people’s homes to read her poems and sent her to England to get her
poems published after all the Boston printers refused to publish the poetry of an African
American. The author emphasizes slavery’s dehumanization through enforcing silence
and the importance of Phillis Wheatley’s voice in becoming free.
Leon, V. (1998). Outrageous women of ancient times. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
Upper elementary and middle school level. In the introduction, the author explains her
purpose is to tell the stories of women from long ago (2300 B.C. to 300 A.D.) who were
usually not included in history texts. She devotes several pages to each woman and
describes her life and daring contributions based on library and archeological research.
Each chapter is illustrated with photographs and drawings. Leon portrays women from
five different regions of the world: Rome; Greece and Turkey; Egypt and Northern
Africa; the Middle East, and the Far East and includes a map of the region at the time
these women lived.
Leon, V. (1998). Outrageous women of the middle ages. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
Upper elementary and middle school level. In the introduction, the author sketches in the
historical context for the 15 women she portrays from the middle ages (500 - 1350 A.D.),
including the major political, religious, and social changes as well as lists the evidence on
which the descriptions are based (church documents, court records, city archives, and
archaeological evidence). Leon describes the lives and accomplishments of women from
four different regions of the world: British Isles, France and Scandinavia; Germany and
Italy; Middle East and North Africa; and the Far East and includes maps of the regions,
photographs, and sketches to embellish the narrative.
Levinson, N. S. (1983). The first women who spoke out. Minneapolis: Dillon.
Middle school level and adult resource. The author concentrates on six women from the
19th century who were actively involved in the abolitionist and the women’s rights
movements. The Grimke sisters were the first female abolitionist agents in the U.S. while
Sarah Grimke also wrote about women’s rights. Lucretia Mott, a Quaker minister, was
considered the “soul and spirit” behind the women’s movement. Sojourner Truth became
a well-known abolitionist and women’s rights speaker. Elizabeth Cady Stanton was the
first woman to run for Congress and the first president of the National Women’s Suffrage
Association. Lucy Stone helped organize the first national woman’s rights convention and
the American Woman Suffrage Association.
Levinson, N. S. (1997). She’s been working on the railroad. New York: Lodestar.
Upper elementary/middle school level. This text provides valuable background
knowledge on a gap in most people’s understanding of railroad workers in the 19th and
20th centuries. The author’s purpose is to inform readers of women’s participation in the
railroad industry despite the sexism they encountered in lower pay and resistance from
male workers. Many women began working on railroads in the late 19th century as
telegraph operators who controlled train traffic and also sold tickets and dispatched trains.
During World War I and World War II, women were recruited to replace men who served
in the armed forces. At this time women worked as clerks, machinists, dispatchers,
flaggers, drawbridge tenders, welders, brakers, and freight handlers. It wasn’t until the
1970s and the passage of the Civil Rights Act and the establishment of the Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission that women were able to become engineers.
However, a woman has yet to become president of a major railroad.
McGovern, A. (1975). The secret soldier: The story of Deborah Sampson. New York: Scholastic.
Upper elementary/middle school level. The text clarifies the limited options for women
during the revolutionary era. Women usually had little or no education in the academic
subjects, were expected to marry young and raise a large family, and could not own
property or make decisions about what happened to their children. Deborah Sampson
came from a poor family whose mother could not afford to raise all her children. Deborah
was sent from her home and worked for 10 years for a family in exchange for a place to
live. Once she was free, she decided to become a soldier rather than accept women’s
traditional role. Deborah disguised herself as a male and became a continental soldier,
Robert Shurtliff. She discovered war was not the adventure she expected. Deborah saw
the injuries and death from battle and was wounded herself. After nearly dying from a
fever, her female identity was discovered and Deborah received an honorable discharge
from the army. She served for one and one-half years. Later, she married a farmer and
raised a family, but also traveled to different cities and gave talks about her experiences
as a soldier. Deborah Sampson was one of the first women to travel alone and earn money
from public speaking.
Miller, B. M. (1995). Buffalo gals: Women of the old West. Minneapolis: Lerner.
Upper elementary and middle school level. The author includes women from different
cultural backgrounds and provides descriptions of women who emigrated west and
endured the challenges of cooking, crossing rivers, and giving birth on the journey. Once
African American and European American arrived at their destination, they struggled to
build homes and endure the isolation they often felt. Women also worked as teachers,
writers, cooks, maids, farmers, ranchers, miners, and prostitutes to earn money as well as
care for their families in the West. Picnics, quilting bees, harvest parties, church socials,
and the theater provided necessary social outlets for women. Although women had few
rights during the 19th century, the importance of women’s contributions to the survival of
families in the West opened the door to greater rights, such as suffrage. The author closes
the text by focusing on the clash of cultures among European Americans, Native
Americans, and Mexican Americans.
National Women’s History Project. (1998). Las Mujeres: Mexican American/Chicana women.
Windsor, CA: Author.
Upper elementary and middle school level. The text is written in English and Spanish and
contains photographs or sketches of 17 Mexican American women from the 1770s to the
present. The women worked in early missions in the northern frontier of Mexico or were
ranchers, journalists, civil rights advocates, civic leaders, union organizers,
businesswomen, artists, historians, or attorneys. Readers are introduced to the greater
legal rights of Spanish/Mexican women during the 18th and 19th centuries than Anglo
women in the United States. These included the right to retain their property when they
married, one-half interest in property obtained during marriage, operate their own
business, buy and sell anything they produced, enter into contracts in their own names,
and bring suit or testify in court.
Peavy, L. & Smith, U. (1985). Dreams into deeds: Nine women who dared. New York: Charles
Middle school level and adult resource. The author profiles women who entered diverse
fields changing the lives of others and opening opportunities for succeeding generations
of women. Jane Addams was a social reformer and advocate for the poor; Elizabeth Cady
Stanton worked for women’s equality; Alice Hamilton was an advocate for workers’
safety; and Mary Harris Jones was a labor reformer concerned about workers’
exploitation and child labor. In science, Rachel Carson endeavored to protect the
environment while Margaret Mead cultivated deeper understandings of women’s and
men’s roles in different cultures. Juliette Gordon Low brought scouting to girls while
Marian Anderson sang in different settings previously closed to African Americans. Babe
Didrikson Zaharis endeavored to live the life of an athlete before professional sports were
open to women.
Plourde, L. (2008). Margaret Chase Smith: A woman for president. Watertown, PA:
Picture book, elementary level. The text is a biography of the life of Margaret Chase
Smith, the first woman to become elected to both houses of Congress and the first woman
from a major political party (Republican) to run for president. Although Chase Smith was
not elected president, she was a very conscientious Representative and Senator, never
missing a roll-call vote in the Senate for 13 years. Chase Smith was first elected to the
House of Representatives in 1940 to take over her partner’s seat when he died suddenly.
The text portrays Chase Smith’s family’s economic struggles and challenges, the various
jobs she held and organizations she was involved with following high school, and her
commitment to helping women in the military and promoting flight and space exploration
as a member of Congress. She was also willing to confront Senator Joseph McCarthy
about his unjust accusations that many people were communists. The text also contains
valuable timelines which document when different groups achieved voting rights, the
percentages of women working outside the home during different eras, women who
served in U.S. Congress, and women in U.S. politics. A timeline of Margaret Chase
Smith’s life is also included.
Rappaport, D. (1988). The Boston coffee party. New York: Harper & Row.
Picture book, lower elementary. This simple text is historical fiction. The story is
fictional, but it is based on an incident in which colonial women forcefully took a Boston
merchant’s coffee supply hidden in his warehouse. They spoiled his plan to hoard coffee,
one of the British products in short supply, until no other merchant had it, then sell his
own stock at exorbitant prices. It illustrates an action women took to protest the
merchant’s focus on self-gain rather than support for the colonists’ boycott of British
products, including coffee. The text also portrays women sewing shirts for the colonial
soldiers as one of their contributions to the patriot cause.
Redmond, S. R. (2004). Patriots in petticoats: Heroines of the American Revolution. New York:
Upper elementary and middle school level. The author briefly profiles 24 women who
fought in different ways for freedom during the American Revolution. She includes
women writers, such as Phillis Wheatley, Mercy Otis Warren, and Mary Katharine
Goddard, who wrote letters or poems or published a newspaper publishing the
Declaration of Independence. Redmond describes women who supported the patriot cause
through sewing, nursing, defending their homes, serving as spies and messengers, and
warning soldiers of dangers, such as Dicey Langston and Sybil Ludington. Women who
served in the American Revolution are also portrayed, including Deborah Samson,
Margaret Cochran Corbin, and Mary Hays. The text lists the states where each woman
lived and a timeline for the women’s activities.
Rockwell, A. (2002). They called her Molly Pitcher. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.
Picture book, elementary level. In the author’s note, readers discover the integration of
facts about Mary Hays McCauly (also known as Molly Pitcher) and the legend of Molly
Pitcher at the Battle of Monmouth. The text and detailed illustrations portray how Molly
Pitcher, like many women who followed male relatives to Valley Forge, continued to trail
her husband William Hays to the Battle of Monmouth in 1778. During the battle she
carried water in a pitcher for soldiers to drink. When her husband became wounded,
Molly Pitcher continued to fire his cannon. General Washington designed Molly Pitcher
as a sergeant in the Continental Army for her bravery. No evidence exists that Molly
Pitcher fought in any subsequent Revolutionary War battles.
Rynbach, I. V. & Shea, P. D. (2010). The taxing case of the cows: A true story about suffrage.
Boston: Clarion Books.
Elementary level. The text is historical fiction based on events in the lives of Abby and
Julie Smith who lived in Glastonbury, Connecticut in the 19th century. The author lists
sources for the text. The Smith sisters protested the town leaders’ decision to tax single
female landowners more than other landowners, especially since they and other women
had no voice or vote in this decision. The sisters were not allowed to speak at town
meetings when they demanded the right to vote. The sisters refused to pay the additional
tax at first, then they paid a portion of it, a practice allowed for male landowners.
However, the tax collector took their seven cows as payment for the tax. When the tax
collector attempted to auction the cows to pay the tax, no one bid more than a few dollars
for the cows, which allowed the sisters to purchase them for the amount of the tax bill.
When the sisters continued to refuse to pay the additional tax, they fought the tax
collector’s attempt to take some of their land as payment, in violation of the law. The
Smith sisters eventually won their case and toured the U.S. speaking about women’s
rights. Neither lived to see women achieve the right to vote.
Savage, C. (2001). Born to be a cowgirl: A spirited ride through the old West. Berkeley, CA:
Upper elementary/middle school level and adult resource. The text is liberally illustrated
with historical photographs and posters and focuses on cowgirls who rode across the
prairies of western Canada and the U.S. beginning in the mid-19th century. The author
provides readers with very interesting portrayals of individual cowgirls, how they learned
to ride horses so well, the equipment they used, the clothing they wore for riding, diverse
chores they completed as part of ranching, and how “ranch sports” led to the creation of
rodeos in the late 19th century. Although few women ride broncs and bulls at rodeos
today, most rodeo cowgirls concentrate on barrel racing or racing their horses around
barrels in loops and different patterns.
Sigerman, H. (2001). Elizabeth Cady Stanton: The right is ours. New York: Oxford.
Upper elementary/middle school level and adult resource. The author traces Stanton’s
early awareness of women’s inequality through experiences in her family, schools, anti-slavery and temperance organizations, and the influences of other women’s rights leaders.
Unlike many suffragists, Stanton did not focus solely on gaining the right to vote for
women, but fought for women’s rights to keep their own property and wages and their
legal rights to sign contracts, divorce their spouses on more favorable terms, keep their
children after a divorce, have a voice in making laws, and controlling their own bodies.
Stanton also called for greater educational and employment opportunities for women.
Much to the author’s credit, readers are introduced to Stanton’s limited understanding of
working women’s lives and the racism and classism of her views that educated European
American women deserved the vote before uneducated immigrant and African American
men. The text portrays Stanton as a human, but visionary leader.
Silcox-Jarrett, D. (1998). Heroines of the American Revolution: America’s founding mothers.
Chapel Hill, NC: Green Angel.
Picture book, upper elementary level. The author focuses on 24 women who participated
in different ways in the American Revolution. She includes women who spoke out about
freedom with their husbands, those who boycotted English tea and cloth, women who
made warm clothing for Patriot soldiers, those who spied or carried messages to Patriot
soldiers, women who directly attacked British soldiers, and women who participated in
battle. Most women are European American except for Nancy Ward, a Cherokee, and
Phillis Wheatley, and African American.
Stevens, B. (1984). Deborah Sampson goes to war. Minneapolis, MN: Carolrhoda Books.
Picture book, lower elementary level. The simple text portrays the life of Deborah
Sampson, who grew up in a poor family, but was able to attend school because she lived
with and worked for another family. Deborah supported the patriot cause and challenged
traditional gender roles by active participation in the American Revolution at age 21.
Since only men could fight, she disguised herself as a man and joined the army as Robert
Shurtleff. After being wounded in battle, she tried to remove the musket ball from her
own leg rather than risk a doctor discovering her female identity. Deborah continued to
serve in the army, but a doctor treating her for another illness learned of her true identity,
a surprise to her commanding officer! The author’s note clarifies that Deborah Sampson
was honorably discharged from the army in 1783, and later became the first woman
lecturer in the U.S. Deborah Sampson traveled to different cities telling about her
experiences in the Revolutionary War.
Thimmesh, C. (2000). Girls think of everything: Stories of ingenious inventions by women.
Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
Picture book, upper elementary level. After reviewing a brief history of women’s
inventions and the different motivations and circumstances leading to them, the author
portrays 10 women inventors. The women invented such diverse products as chocolate
chip cookies, windshield wipers, Kevlar fiber, liquid paper, Scotchgard fabric protector,
Snugli baby carriers, paper bag folding machines, illusion transmitters, and space shields.
Young girls who invented paper which glows in the dark and a no-spill feeding bowl are
also described. She closes the text with advice on how readers might protect their
inventions through patents.
Thimmesh, C. (2004). Madam President: The extraordinary, true (and evolving) story of women
in politics. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
Picture book, upper elementary level. The text reviews women’s political roles in U.S.
history as a response to one girl’s desire to be president of the United States. She reviews
notable first ladies, such as Abigail Adams, Edith Bolling Wilson, Eleanor Roosevelt,
Lady Bird Johnson, Rosalyn Carter, and Hillary Rodham Clinton. Women who worked
bravely to win the right to vote are portrayed, including Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Charlotte
Woodward, Susan B. Anthony, Sara Bard Field, and Mrs. J. L. Burn. Another aspect of
women’s political participation was serving in Congress, such as Jeannette Rankin,
Margaret Chase Smith, and Nancy Pelosi. Women also were appointed to significant
positions in the federal government, such as Frances Perkins as secretary of labor,
Madeline Albright as secretary of state, Sandra Day O’Connor as a Supreme Court
justice, and Condoleezza Rice as national security advisor. Although no woman has ever
been elected to the office of president of the U.S., around the world there have been many
women leaders in Sri Lanka, Iceland, Great Britain, and Pakistan. Nothing in the
Constitution prevents a woman from being elected president, which opens the discussion
about the possibilities of women serving as president.
Thomas, J. C. (1998). I have heard of a land. New York: Joanna Cotler Books.
Picture book, elementary level. Written in verse, the author describes the possibilities for
women and African Americans to obtain land in Oklahoma during the late 19th century.
Building on family stories of her African American great-grandparents move to
Oklahoma, the author focuses on one African American woman pioneer who plants
crops, grows all the food she eats, sleeps in a sod hut, and builds a log cabin with the help
of her neighbors. The Oklahoma Territory was one of the few places in the U.S. where a
woman could own land in her own name. The text celebrates the possibilities for a better
life in Oklahoma for women and African Americans.
Wallner, A. (1994). Betsy Ross. New York: Holiday House.
Picture book, elementary level. The author also illustrated the text briefly describing
Betsy Ross’ life. In the author’s note, Wallner explains the lack of historical evidence that
Ross sewed the first American flag. However, Ross’ family and friends passed down the
story of George Washington commissioning Ross to sew the flag and Ross’ suggestions
to modify Washington’s design. It was possible that Ross met with Washington regarding
the flag design because Washington was in Philadelphia where Ross ran her upholstery
shop at the time she claimed they met. The text could be used to discuss conflicting
evidence and interpretations of historical events and people.
White, L. A. (2005). I could do that! Esther Morris gets women the vote. New York: Melanie
Picture book, elementary level. The author acknowledges in the author’s note the limited
facts known about Esther Morris’s early life and the specific actions she took which led
women to gain the right to vote in the Wyoming Territory in 1869. Although some
aspects of the text are fictional, the book is an engaging account of Esther Morris’s sense
of independence and desire to challenge conventions. She owned a millinery business to
help support her family, advocated for women’s suffrage, and became a justice of the
peace, the first woman to hold political office in the U.S. She was able to vote in local
elections beginning in 1870, but never voted for president.
Winnick, K. (2000). Sybil’s night ride. Honesdale, PA: Boyds Mills Press.
Picture book, elementary level. The author portrays the historical figure Sybil Ludington,
daughter of a colonel in the Revolutionary War. When Sybil’s family learns that the
British were coming, Sybil volunteers to ride her horse 40 miles through the rainy night to
call the militia to prepare for battle. Because of Sybil’s efforts, Colonel Ludington’s
regiment joined with other regiments to resist the British advances and pushed them back
to New York City. The author’s note provides additional background information on
Sybil Ludington’s contributions to history.
Zeinert, K. (2001). The extraordinary women of World War I. Brookfield, CT: Millbrook.
Upper elementary, middle school level and adult resource. The author first describes the
events leading to World War I, the different countries involved in the war, and their
alignment with either the Central Powers or Allied Powers. In order to provide a more
complete context for women’s participation in World War I, the author traces the history
of women’s involvement in paid labor outside their homes, from the Civil War until
World War I. The text concentrates on women’s involvement in the war, from serving as
activists for peace, to working in nontraditional manufacturing positions (operating drills,
milling machines, grinders, and welding tools), to traditional jobs in garment and textile
mills, to serving in noncombat positions such as clerical workers and telephone operators
in the armed forces (Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and Army Signal Corps), to
working in health care as nurses, doctors, physical or occupational therapists, or as
sculptors who made portrait masks for soldiers with facial wounds, to serving as war
correspondents, to serving as Red Cross, YMCA , and Salvation Army volunteers.
However, readers are introduced to the sexism and strong resistance to women’s
participation in the war and the divisions among women due to social class and race at
this time. While women were forced to return to traditional jobs following World War I,
the author links women’s participation in the “Great War” to the passage of the 19th
amendment allowing women to vote.
Childhood of Famous Americans is a series of books published by Aladdin Books dealing only
with the childhood of well-known women and men in the U.S. The texts are suitable for
elementary age students. The following books focus on women:
Monsell, H. A. (1960). Susan B. Anthony: Champion of women’s rights.
Stevenson, A. (1962). Clara Barton: Founder of the American Red Cross.
Stevenson, A. (1983). Molly Pitcher: Young patriot.
Wilson, E. (1962). Annie Oakley: Young markswoman..
Women of Our Time is a series of the lives of 20th century women published by Puffin Books
suitable for upper elementary students and includes:
Giff, P. R. (1986). Mother Teresa: Sister to the poor.
Knudson, R. R. (1985). Babe Didrikson: Athlete of the century.
Meltzer, M. (1985). Betty Friedan: A voice for women’s rights.
Meltzer, M. (1986). Winnie Mandela: The soul of South Africa.
Meltzer, M. (1987). Mary McLeod Bethune: Voice of Black hope.
Saunders, S. (1987). Margaret Mead: The world was her family.
Troll Associates publishes biographies of famous American women suitable for elementary
Bains, R. (1982). Clara Barton: Angel of the battlefield.
Bains, R. (1982). Harriet Tubman: The road to freedom.
Brandt, K. (1983). Marie Curie: Brave scientist.
Sabin, F. (1982). Elizabeth Blackwell: The first woman doctor.
Sabin, F. (1982). The courage of Helen Keller.
Sabin, F. (1982). Narcissa Whitman: Brave pioneer.
Sabin, F. (1983). Amelia Earhart: Adventure in the sky.
Santrey, L. (1986). Louisa May Alcott: Young writer.
Dear America Series
Dear America Series published by Scholastic is a series of historical fiction focusing on the
diaries of young girls who lived during different eras in U.S. history. The reading level is suitable
for upper elementary level. The diaries are fictional, but are based on historical research. Some
books have been criticized for their lack of authenticity (especially those dealing with Native
American girls), but the following books appear consistent with other research regarding the
perspectives they portray:
Denenberg, B. (1996). When this cruel war be over? The Civil War diary of Emma
Denenberg, B. (1997). So far from home: The diary of Mary Driscoll, an Irish mill girl.
Lasky, K. (1996). A journey to the new world: The diary of Remember Patience Whipple.
Lasky, K. (1996). A journey to the new world: The diary of Remember Patience Whipple.
Lasky, K. (2001). A time for courage: The suffragette diary of Kathleen Bowen.
Hansen, J. (1997). I thought my soul would rise and fly: The diary of Patsy, a freed girl.
McKissack, P. C. (1997). A picture of freedom: The diary of Clotee, a slave girl.
Women’s World History Series
Women in History is a series of books looking at the part women have played in the past, using
an evidenced-based approach published by Cambridge University Press. These texts are suitable
for middle school students and older and as an adult resource. Examples of such texts include:
Adams, C., Bartley, P., Bourdillon, H. & Loxton, C. (1990). From workshop to warfare:
The lives of medieval women.
Atkinson, D. (1988). Votes for women.
Bourdillon, H. (1988). Women as healers: A history of women and medicine.
Porter, C. (1987). Women in revolutionary Russia.
Children’s Coloring Books
Canon, J. (1990). Civil war heroines. Santa Barbara, CA: Bellerophon Books.
Upper elementary level and adult resource. This coloring book contains sketches and
several paragraphs of background information on mostly “unknown” women who played
an active role in the Civil War, including: Ella Bishop, Harriet Tubman, Captain Sally
Tompkins, Mary Ann Bickerdyke, Mary Jane Safford, Dr. Mary Walker, Belle Boyd,
Julia Ward Howe, Susie King Taylor, Laura Ratcliffe, Loretta Velazquez, and Clara
Canon, J. (1995). Heroines of the American Revolution. Santa Barbara, CA: Bellerophon Books.
Upper elementary level and adult resource. This coloring book contains one-page
descriptions and sketches of the activities of women who were involved in the
Revolutionary War, but are often omitted from textbooks. Some of the more well-known
women are profiled, such as Deborah Sampson Gannett, Sybil Ludington, Molly Pitcher
(Mary Ludwig Hays), and Mercy Otis Warren as well as relatively unknown women,
including Margaret Whetten, Elizabeth Zane, Sally Townsend, Jane Thomas, Mary
Slocumb, and Dicey Langston.
Tomb, U. (1990). Cowgirls. Santa Barbara, CA: Bellerophon Books.
Upper elementary level and adult resource. This coloring book provides background
information and sketches focusing on such topics as women in western fiction, women in
wild west shows and rodeos, cowgirls in the movies, and cowgirls at work. Descriptive
text and sketches of individual women such as Dale Evans, Annie Oakley, Calamity Jane,
and Belle Star are also included.
Chorlian, M. (Ed.). (1995, March). Emily Dickinson: American poet. Cobblestone, 16.
Elementary level. This issue focuses on Emily Dickinson’s years growing up in Amherst,
Massachusetts; her attendance at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary from 1847-1848; the
significance of Dickinson’s correspondence with others; the sources of inspiration for her
poetry; the efforts of Dickinson’s sister to have her poetry published after her death; and a
short play about Dickinson’s life.
Chorlian, M. (Ed.). (1999, March). Jane Addams: 1860-1935. Cobblestone, 20.
Elementary level. Articles concentrate on Jane Addams early years; reasons for opening
Hull House; the importance of the arts at Hull House; Addams’ efforts to make positive
changes in Chicago; her activities promoting world peace; and her involvement in child
Chorlian, M. (Ed.). (2000, March). Elizabeth Cady Stanton: The fight for women’s rights.
Elementary level. The issue reviews Stanton’s years growing up with traditional
expectations, which she exceeded; the conventional and unconventional aspects of her
marriage; her connections with abolitionists and suffragists; and some of her writings and
work in organizing for women’s rights.
Chorlian, M. (Ed.). (2001, March). The mill girls: From farm to factory. Cobblestone, 22.
Elementary level. Articles review the development of the Lowell textile factories, the
motivations which led farm women to leave their families and work in the mills, some of
the women’s experiences and different jobs they had in the mills, the hazardous working
conditions leading to injuries and death, women leaders who fought for better working
conditions, and the creation of a literary magazine describing women mill workers’
Chorlian, M. (Ed.). (2002, March). Literary ladies of the 19th century. Cobblestone, 23.
Elementary level. Articles summarize women’s participation in the publishing industry as
low-paid printers and as writers. Most articles review different women writers who
published children’s and adult books, newspapers, and magazines for adults and children.
Readers learn about women whose writing especially influenced the public’s view on
issues of slavery and Native American rights.
Chorlian, M. (Ed.). (2003, March). Elizabeth Blackwell: First woman doctor. Cobblestone, 24.
Elementary level. Articles review the historical context for women’s participation in
medicine from the Middle Ages through the 19th century, which prevented women from
becoming physicians, although they were midwives, healers, and nurses. However,
Elizabeth Blackwell was part of a family who advocated for equality in education and
rights for girls. After applying to 29 medical colleges, she was admitted as a joke to New
York’s Medical College. She graduated first in her class, but continued to struggle to find
a hospital that would allow her to practice and patients who trusted her to treat them.
Blackwell taught patients to care for their health with cleanliness and healthy ways of
living. During her lifetime, Blackwell started a successful medical practice, founded a
women’s hospital staffed by female physicians only, and established a medical school.
Chorlian, M. (Ed.). (2003, November). Anne Hutchinson: Puritan rebel. Cobblestone, 24.
Elementary level. The issue provides some background on Anne Marbury Hutchinson,
including her family origins in England which allowed Hutchinson to learn to read and
understand the Bible during the late 1500s and early 1600s and her marriage to William
Hutchinson which was based on equality and respect. Articles also clarify the origins of
the Puritans, the Hutchinson family’s move from England to Massachusetts, and
Hutchinson’s talents in medicinal herbs, midwifery, and religion. However, Hutchinson’s
willingness to criticize Puritan beliefs and religious leaders, a bold action for women at
the time, led to her trial and forced move to Rhode Island and eventually New
Chorlian, M. (Ed.). (2005, February). Women in the Civil War. Cobblestone, 26.
Elementary level. Articles focus on descriptions of women who served as nurses, secret
soldiers, spies, and volunteers for the Union and Confederacy during the Civil War. One
article concentrates on Mary Todd Lincoln and Varina Howell Davis, first ladies of the
Union and Confederacy, during the war while another article portrays a young female
Civil War reenactor who explains children’s lives to audiences during this period.
Chorlian, M. (Ed.). (2006, March). The Great War: Women Join the Fight. Cobblestone, 27.
Elementary level. The issue contains articles focusing on women’s participation in World
War I. Women served as nurses, pilots, as charity workers, as “yeomanettes” who
performed clerical work in the Navy, and as telephone operators. The articles portray the
difficulties for women to transcend traditional gender boundaries in order to participate in
the war. First Lady Edith Wilson’s contributions to the war are portrayed as well as peace
activists Jane Addams and Jeannette Rankin and women entertainers. The irony of the
country’s fight for democracy in the world is contrasted with women’s lack of suffrage in
the U.S. in one article.
Chorlian, M. (Ed.). (2007, February). Not so Little Woman: Louisa May Alcott. Cobblestone, 28.
Elementary level. The issue provides background information on Louisa May Alcott’s
parents as well as her literary and social reform efforts. The articles explain the
connections between her novel Little Women and Alcott’s own family, her nursing
experiences during the Civil War, and her support of the abolitionist, temperance, and
women’s rights movements. Given the time period in which Alcott lived, she is notable
for supporting her family economically through her writing.
Chorlian, M. (Ed.). (2009, March). Women want the vote! Cobblestone, 30.
Elementary level. The issue focuses on individuals, organizations, and actions taken to
gain women’s right to vote. Articles explain the roots of the suffrage movement in the
abolitionist and temperance movements, leaders in the suffrage movement, African
American women’s contributions and racist experiences in the movement, men who
supported women’s rights, the leadership of Wyoming and other western states in giving
women the right to vote, reasons for denying women’s voting rights, and actions taken to
gain suffrage, including conventions, a parade, cross-country automobile and train travel,
and White House pickets. The articles demonstrate that not all women supported suffrage
and even suffragists did not agree on strategies.
Chorlian, M. (Ed.). (2011, March). The importance of being Eleanor. Cobblestone, 32.
Elementary level. The issue provides background information on Eleanor Roosevelt’s
years growing up in her family and at Allenswood Academy, a boarding school in
England, and their effects on Eleanor’s development. Following her marriage to Franklin
Delano Roosevelt and the birth of their five children, the articles focus on people who
encouraged and guided Eleanor in becoming a public figure during Franklin’s political
career, including her years as the First Lady. Eleanor took on social justice issues, such as
child labor, labor conditions, women’s rights, African Americans’ rights, and world
peace. She traveled around the country to learn about these issues firsthand and to see the
effects of the New Deal on people’s lives. She communicated with people through
speeches, press conferences (with women-only reporters), newspaper and magazine
columns, and personal letters. Following Eleanor’s years as an equal partner to President
Franklin Roosevelt, she served for seven years as a member of the American delegation
to the United Nations and chaired the Commission on Human Rights. Her last official
position was chair of the Commission on the Status of Women in 1961.
Kanetzke, H. (Ed.). (1979, September). Wisconsin women. Badger History, 33.
Elementary level. This issue of Badger History focuses on several women who
contributed to Wisconsin history, including Jane Fisher Rolette Dousman and Elizabeth
Therese Fisher Baird who lived during the early years when Europeans moved into
Wisconsin; several Mears women who were writers, artists, and sculptors; Cordelia
Harvey who led the effort to have a hospital in Wisconsin for Civil War veterans; Ada
James who fought for women’s suffrage; and writer Edna Ferber.
Nankin, F. (Ed.). (1980, December). Willa Cather: 1873-1947. Cobblestone, 1.
Elementary level. This issue provides background information on Willa Cather’s
contributions in documenting through writing life on Nebraska’s prairies during the late
19th century when European Americans were moving west. One of Cather’s short stories
for children is included.
Yoder, C. P. (Ed.). (1985, March). Susan B. Anthony and the women’s movement. Cobblestone,
Elementary level. The spotlight of this issue is women’s rights, especially the right to
speak in public and vote. It concentrates on leaders in the anti-slavery movement and the
suffrage movement, including the Grimke sisters, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady
Stanton, and groups who opposed women’s suffrage.
Yoder, C. P. (Ed.). (1986, November). Eleanor Roosevelt: First lady of the world. Cobblestone,
Elementary level. The articles in this issue provide readers with background information
on Eleanor Roosevelt’s childhood which motivated her to serve the poor, her teaching as
a young adult, her growing involvement in politics through her marriage to Franklin
Delano Roosevelt, her world wide human rights activities during Roosevelt’s presidency,
and her work at the United Nations after her husband’s death.
Yoder, C. P. (Ed.). (1988, December). Louisa May Alcott. Cobblestone, 9.
Elementary level. In order to provide background information to readers on the writer
Louisa May Alcott, articles describe Alcott’s parents; a chronology of significant events
in her life; the year Alcott’s family lived in a communal society; her experiences as an
army nurse during the Civil War; her little-known writing of “blood-and-thunders”
dramatic tales; and the background to the creation of Little Women.
Yoder, C. P. (Ed.). (1990, July). Amelia Earhart: Heroine of the skies. Cobblestone, 11.
Elementary level. This issue contains a collection of articles about Earhart’s childhood;
her first flight across the Atlantic as a passenger and her subsequent solo flight; her
involvement in the women’s air derby; her unconventional marriage; her disappearance
during an around-the-world flight; and the continuing search for Earhart’s remains and
Yoder, C. P. (Ed.). (1991, January). Annie Oakley and the wild west. Cobblestone, 12.
Elementary level. As part of the focus on Annie Oakley, articles concentrate on Oakley’s
childhood; her marriage to Frank Butler, a sharpshooter, and their subsequent
sharpshooting act; background information on Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show which
established stereotypes of Native American-cowboy relationships; and Oakley’s later
years participating in shooting exhibitions and raising money for charities.
Yoder, C. P. (Ed.). (1992, March). First ladies. Cobblestone, 13.
Elementary level. Articles review some of the duties of First Ladies; Lou Hoover’s
involvement in the Girl Scouts; public receptions held at the White House hosted by
presidents and First Ladies; First Ladies’(such as Edith Roosevelt and Jacqueline
Kennedy) efforts to restore the White House; Edith Wilson’s role as surrogate president
due to her husband’s illness; and Rosalynn Carter’s perspective on the role of First Lady.
Yoder, C. P. (Ed.). (1994, June). Women inventors. Cobblestone, 15.
Elementary level. One of the articles in this issue addresses the problem of women’s
contributions to inventions not being credited to them, but men they worked with.
Another describes the racism African American women inventors faced. Others focus on
Margaret Knight’s 22 “machine shop” inventions; Rose O’Neill’s invention of the
Kewpie doll; women’s inventions for the changes during World War I; and Gertrude
Elion’s inventions of four major drugs.
Burges, L. (1991). American women making history. San Francisco, CA: Author.
Upper elementary and middle school level. This play includes a chorus, different voices,
and specific characters in U.S. History. It moves chronologically from colonial days, to
the American Revolution, moving West, the Civil War, women fighting for their rights,
the age of reform, through World War II. It emphasizes the challenges, activities, and
contributions of ordinary women as well as more famous women. Available from the
National Women’s History Project.
Burges, L. (1995). Rhyme time: A living time line of remarkable American women. San
Francisco, CA: Author.
Upper elementary and middle school level. This play opens and closes with a chorus
about American women, and includes a series of rhyming poems about Sacagawea, Maria
Mitchell, Harriet Tubman, Susan B. Anthony, Mary Harris Jones, Nellie Bly, Laura
Ingalls Wilder, Helen Keller, Dorothea Lange, Rachel Carson, Babe Didrikson Zaharias,
Fannie Lou Hamer, Dian Fossey, and Dolores Fernandez Huerta. Available from the
National Women’s History Project.
Stevens & Shea. (1975). Susan B. Anthony. Stockton, CA: Author.
Upper elementary and middle school level. This three-scene play has parts for 15 actors
and deals with Anthony and a group of women’s experiences in registering to vote, voting
in an election, being arrested and tried for voting illegally.
Stevens & Shea. (1989). Harriet Tubman. Stockton, CA: Author.
Upper elementary and middle school level. This play describes the head injury Tubman
incurred while helping a slave escape, her escape from slavery, and her activities as a
conductor on the Underground Railroad. The play includes parts for 15 actors.
Adult Resources: Books
Bletzinger, A. & Short, A. (Eds.). (1982). Wisconsin women: A gifted heritage. Madison, WI:
Wisconsin State Division AAUW.
This text contains brief profiles of well-known and “ordinary” Wisconsin women who
made contributions in education, health care, government, business, science, art, music,
architecture, literature, dance, the temperance and women’s suffrage movements.
Brackman, B. (2000). Civil War women: Their quilts, their roles, activities for re-enactors.
Lafayette, CA: C & T Publishing.
The author describes different women and their roles during the Civil War and matches
each to a quilt she might have made. She provides patterns for making each quilt, such as
“Kansas Troubles,” “Free State Album,” “Seven Sisters,” and “Jeff Davis’s Daughter”
and suggests activities for Civil War women re-enactors, such as giving speeches, holding
quilting parties, and collecting signatures for an album quilt. Examples of women’s roles
include lecturers, freedwomen, newspaper correspondents, refugees, nurses, spies,
plantation owners, government clerks, and soldiers’ wives.
Brown, V. (1975). Uncommon lives of common women: The missing half of Wisconsin history.
Madison, WI: Wisconsin Feminist Project Fund.
The author briefly describes the contributions many “ordinary” women made to the state
of Wisconsin during different periods: the frontier era, the Civil War era, the Progressive
Era, and the 1920s and beyond.
Buel, J. D. & Buel, R. (1984). The way of duty: A woman and her family in revolutionary
America. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.
This biography focuses on Mary Fish and her accounts of her life and family during the
1700s. The authors used primary sources, including letters between Mary and family
members, her journal, and her final written reminiscences about her life. They also used
letters written by other members of Mary’s family, public records for 18th century
Connecticut, and knowledge about important public events of the era, including the Great
Awakening, the American Revolution, the westward movement, Jeffersonian democracy,
and the Industrial Revolution. The biography primarily revealed how these historical
events affected Mary and her family. Mary’s religious faith seemed most powerful
throughout her life through her formative years, her three marriages, and her seven
children and the growth of their own families. As Mary faced various family tragedies
and difficulties, her religious faith helped her cope with these events.
Chick, K. A. (2008). Teaching women’s history through literature: Standards-based lesson plans
for grades K-12. Silver Spring, MD: National Council for the Social Studies.
The author provides an overview of the importance of history, especially women’s history
in social studies, including how to engage boys’ and girls’ interest in women’s history.
She then explains the rationale for teaching women’s history through literature in primary
and intermediate grades in elementary school as well as middle school and high school.
The text is divided into sections focusing on each grade level and introducing children’s
or young adult literature to teach about historical topics such as slavery, immigration,
school integration, equal rights, the American Revolution, the Civil War, the Great
Depression, and World War II. Each literature selection is used to teach specific social
studies standards and develop language arts skills through the teacher and students
reading and discussing the text and completing a follow-up activity. The author offers a
wide variety of literature and activities teachers may use to teach women’s history at
various grade levels.
Clark, J. I. (1956). Wisconsin women fight for suffrage. Madison, WI: The State Historical
Society of Wisconsin.
This brief text contains a description of the struggle Wisconsin women engaged in to gain
the right to vote during the 19th and 20th centuries and groups opposed to women’s
DuBois, E. C. & Dumenil, L. (2005). Through women’s eyes: An American history with
documents. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s.
The authors concentrate on women’s perspectives and experiences during American
historical events from Native women living in the United States before European
settlement to current feminism. The indepth text portrays the diversity among women due
to class, race, and ideology during various eras. The authors provide rich portrayals of
women’s experiences and points of view during the colonial period, the Revolutionary
War, the beginning of the industrial era and expansion of slavery, the Civil War era,
changes in women’s lives following the Civil War, westward expansion and immigration
during the 19th century, the Progressive Era, the Great Depression and World War I and
II, the civil rights era, and modern feminism. The authors also include documents and
visual sources for each chapter for discussion and analysis. The text overall provides
readers with a very substantive view of women in United States history.
De Pauw, L. G. (1975). Founding mothers: Women in America in the Revolutionary era. Boston:
The author focuses on women, half of the population living during the period of the
American Revolution, but are often omitted from textbooks. She highlights the greater
freedom women of the 17th century had than women in the 18th century which allowed
them to participate in social, economic, political, and military activities. The author
focuses on the work women did both in their homes and for money; the lives of Native
American and African American women; women who identified themselves as
“loyalists” and those who claimed to be “Daughters of Liberty;” women’s activities
during the war; and women’s roles and rights of this era.
Evans, S. M. (1989). Born for liberty: A history of women in America. New York: The Free
The author provides a correction to the focus on men’s activities in U.S. History by
concentrating on the lives of women from different cultures in our country’s history. She
begins with Native women who lived on this continent first; the immigration of European
American and African American women to North America; and continues with women’s
activities during the Revolutionary era; their involvement in associations in the early 19th
century; during the Civil War; in building organizations to meet women’s needs
following the Civil War; in addressing social issues affecting women at the turn of the
century; in dealing with greater freedom and opportunities for women during the 1920s;
in coping with the Great Depression and World War II; addressing the changes of the
1950s Cold War era; through women’s involvement in the Civil Rights movement and
contemporary women’s movement.
Forbes, M. (1990). Women who made a difference. New York: Simon and Schuster.
The author provides brief descriptions of 100 women who made significant achievements
in history. Examples include Catherine Greene who was the co-inventor of the cotton gin;
Rosalind Franklin who co-discovered DNA; Mary Ellen Pleasant who may have financed
John Brown’s raid; and Rose O’Neal Greenhow who was a Confederate spy.
Giddings, P. (1984). When and where I enter: The impact of Black women on race and sex in
America. New York: Bantam Books.
The author provides a comprehensive description of African American women’s history
from the 17th century until the 1980s. She makes a connection between sexism and racism
which African American women endured while White feminists often demonstrated
racism and African American male civil rights leaders often exhibited sexism. African
American women were frequently marginalized in both the feminist movement at
different times in history and the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. Giddings
also explains how African American women overcame both racism and sexism by
striving for education and entering the professions, although many were relegated to
domestic work, were underpaid, or faced unemployment. The author asserts that African
American women are crucial to transforming society and eliminating sexism and racism.
Harris-Perry, M. V. (2011). Sister citizen: Shame, stereotypes, and black women in America.
New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
The author focuses on portraying the experiences of African American women for
understanding democratic citizenship. She claims that African American women as
citizens of the U.S. have endured slavery, Jim Crow, urban segregation, racism, and
patriarchy, which have affected their identity and thus their citizenship. African American
women also have less education, and higher rates of unemployment, poverty, disease, and
isolation than White women citizens in the U.S. African American women have been
stereotyped as: (1) the strong Black woman who handles all of life’s challenges, including
her family and people in the broader community, earns the income, and ignores her own
needs to care for others, but can be “emasculating” and brash; (2) the Mammy figure who
ignores the needs of her own family to become a devoted servant for White families and
concerns; and (3) the promiscuous and sexually immoral Jezebel who “asks” to be
sexually assaulted and have many children. These stereotypes create problems of
recognition for African American women. Citizens desire recognition of their humanity
and uniqueness as part of their contract with the state to obey rules/laws and contribute to
the common good in order to receive safety and services. The author cites Michelle
Obama as an ideal sister citizen who refutes the stereotypes of African American women
and has become a popular person.
Haven, K. (1995). Amazing American women: 40 fascinating 5-minute reads. Englewood, CO:
The author provides a detailed story about 40 distinct women who contributed to
women’s rights and civil rights, politics, sports, science, exploration, education,
medicine, military service, business, and the arts. Most women are European American,
but a few African American (Elizabeth Freeman, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Mary
Bethune, and Madame C. J. Walker) and Native American women (Sarah Winnemucca,
Pocahontas, Queen Liliuokalani, and Sacajawea) are included as well.
Heinemann, S. (1996). Timelines of American women’s history. New York: Roundtable
The text summarizes important historical events and accomplishments women from
different cultural backgrounds in the U.S. made to politics and equal rights; work and
entrepreneurship; social change; education; religion and spirituality; health and medical
care; science and invention; war and the military; exploration and adventure; sports;
journalism; literature and other writings; entertainment and performing arts; and visual
arts and design.
Hubalek, L. K. (1996). Thimble of soil: A woman’s quest for land. Lindsborg, KS: Butterfield
The author collected letters written by Margaret Ralston Kennedy which described her
emigration from Ohio to a new life in Kansas in 1855. At this time, Margaret was a 55-year-old widow with nine living children. Her move to Kansas was made with some of
her children and the letters describe the challenges of leaving her home and moving to a
new territory, building a new home and growing enough food to last through the winter
from 1855 through 1860. Most interesting are her descriptions of the conflicts between
pro-slavery groups and abolitionists in the Kansas territory at this time. Since the
Kennedy family support the abolishment of slavery, they are often the targets of attacks
and raids by pro-slavery groups. The male family members frequently hide to protect
themselves. The women carry on the daily work of growing, preserving, and preparing
food, caring for families, quilting, and surviving the extreme cold in winter and heat in
Hymnowitz, C. & Weissman, M. (1978). A history of women in America. New York: Bantam.
This was one of the first U.S. History texts to focus primarily on women’s activities and
roles. It has more of a European American women’s perspective and begins with the
movement of Europeans to the continent and the Revolutionary War; then moves to the
roles of women in the 19th century as slaves, “ladies,” reformers, and workers; continues
with women’s involvement in the Civil War era and movement west; follows with
women’s activities during the industrialization and urbanization of the country; and
concludes with the “modern” women who could vote, use birth control, and, at times,
work for wages outside the home.
Jamakaya. (1998). Like our sisters before us: Women of Wisconsin labor. Milwaukee: The
Wisconsin Labor History Society.
This brief text features the life stories of ten women in Wisconsin who contributed to the
labor movement, including: Evelyn Donner Day, Alice Holz, Doris Thom, Evelyn
Gotzion, Nellie Wilson, Catherine Conroy, Helen Hensler, Florence Simons, Lee
Schmeling, and Joanne Bruch. They detail the challenges women faced in gaining respect
from employers and male union members. Main themes of the text include: union
organizing drives of the 1930s; the impact of World War II on working women; sexism
and racism in the workplace; major strikes and management’s anti-union strategies; the
opening of jobs previously restricted to men only; women’s “double day” (working at
home and on the job); de-industrialization; and the influence of the feminist movement in
changing laws and attitudes toward working women.
Kierner, C. A. (2012). Martha Jefferson Randolph: Daughter of Monticello. Chapel Hill, NC:
The University of North Carolina Press.
The author describes the life of Martha Jefferson Randolph, the oldest child of Thomas
Jefferson and Martha Wayles Skelton Jefferson. She was born and lived much of her life
at Monticello in Virginia, though she married and had 12 children. When Martha was
young, she accompanied her father to Paris and attended school. When Thomas Jefferson
was president, she interacted with “the best and brightest society,” and when he retired
from public life, she continued to entertain guests who visited Jefferson at Monticello.
However, Martha also suffered from the loss of her mother and five siblings, endured
scandals related to her inlaws and the consistent accusation that her father had a slave
mistress in Sally Hemings, which Jefferson and Martha constantly denied. Martha was
devoted to her family, including her father, husband and children, although her marriage
deteriorated over the years. Martha also anguished over her father’s and husband’s
financial difficulties and considered ways to pay family debts. By the end of her life,
Martha was homeless and widowed, but moved from place to place to live with her adult
children in Boston, Virginia, and Washington. Overall, the book shows how Martha
Jefferson Randolph negotiated the constraints on women of the time period, helped
maintain a positive, public image of her father, dealt with her conflicting views on the
evils of slavery but their importance as economic resources, and addressed the conflicting
obligations as daughter, wife, and mother. The author illustrates that Martha Jefferson
Randolph exerted considerable agency for a privileged woman of the 18th and 19th
McBride, G. G. (1993). On Wisconsin women: Working for their rights from settlement to
suffrage. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press.
This text contains a wealth of information regarding Wisconsin women’s work in the
abolitionist, temperance, and suffrage movements from 1848 through 1920. It documents
the efforts of mostly privileged, educated European American women in clubs and as
writers in gaining greater equality for all women.
McGrayne, S. B. (1998). Nobel prize women in science: Their lives, struggles and momentous
discoveries (2nd ed.). Secaucus, NJ: Carol Publishing Group.
The author describes fascinating accounts of 15 women who either won a Nobel Prize or
played a crucial role in a Nobel-Prize winning project. She focuses on the women
chronologically, beginning with Marie Curie who won a Nobel Prize in 1903 and another
in 1911 and concluding with Christiane Nusslein-Volhard who was honored with a Nobel
Prize in 1995. Other women include Lise Meitner, Emmy Noether, Gerty Radnitz Cori,
Irene Joliot-Curie, Barbara McClintock, Maria Goeppert Mayer, Rita Levi-Montalcini,
Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin, Chien-Shiung Wu, Gertrude Elion, Rosalind Franklin,
Rosalyn Sussman Yalow, and Jocelyn Bell Burnell. The author portrays each woman’s
passion for science, positive influences on their interest in science, and the discrimination
and barriers they had to overcome.
McHenry, R. (Ed.). (1980). Famous American women: A biographical dictionary from colonial
times to the present. New York: Dover.
The editor has collected brief biographies of over 1000 women who were abolitionists,
actresses, archeologists, artists, diplomats, editors, educators, feminists and suffragists,
physicians and dentists, poets, political organizers, public officials, reformers, religious
leaders, scientists, singers, social workers and welfare workers, and temperance leaders.
The index of categories and women’s names is a quick reference for identifying examples
of women from different fields.
Read, P. J. & Witlieb, B. L. (1992). The book of women’s firsts: Breakthrough achievements of
almost 1,000 American women. New York: Random House.
The authors have compiled brief sketches of the first women in U.S. history to achieve
something notable in such diverse areas as government, science, entertainment, the arts,
aviation, industry, education, exploration, labor, law, medicine, the military, sports, and
journalism. Beginning with the late 16th century to the present, the authors acknowledge
that the women included faced immense obstacles in breaking new ground. They also
note a European American bias due to the limited written records of the achievements of
Native American and African American women.
Smith, C. R. (2003). Extraordinary women from U.S. history: Readers theatre for grades 4-8.
Portsmouth, NH: Teacher Ideas Press.
The text contains warm-up theatre activities and readers theatre scripts for Sacagewa,
Susan B. Anthony, Harriet Tubman, Elizabeth Blackwell, Nellie Bly, Amelia Earhart,
Laura Ingalls Wilder, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Babe Didrikson Zaharias. Each script offers
background information, presentation suggestions, possible props, follow-up activities,
and additional resources. The scripts include at least 14 parts and as many as 31 which
can be photocopied for classroom use.
Springer, M. & Springer, H. (Eds.). (1988). Plains woman: The diary of Martha Farnsworth
1882-1922. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.
The editors condensed the 4,000 page diary of Martha Farnsworth into about 300 pages of
entries in which Martha Farnsworth described the everyday events of her life in Kansas,
beginning at the age of 14 until a year before her death. Martha Farnsworth was a
housewife, bereaved mother, young widow, and then remarried. She wrote about her
experiences as a wife and mother, Sunday School teacher, waitress, and live-in nurse. Her
first marriage was to an abusive husband and her second marriage, although happier, was
laced with financial problems. In addition, Martha was also actively involved in gaining
the right for women to vote.
Stewart, E. P. (1942). Letters of a woman homesteader. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
The text is a collection of 26 letters written by Elinore Pruitt Stewart over a four-year
period to her former employer in Colorado beginning when Elinore and her young
daughter moved to southwestern Wyoming in 1909. She remarried, had four more
children, raised all the food on the ranch, helped with every ranch job, and proved that
women could ranch and homestead.
Stratton, J. L. (1981). Pioneer women: Voices from the Kansas frontier. New York: Touchstone.
The text is based on the memoirs of 800 European American women who migrated to
Kansas between 1854 through 1890. They moved to Kansas for greater economic
opportunities, although most were unprepared for the difficulties of pioneer life. The
stories are categorized into such chapters as moving to Kansas, building their homesteads,
daily life, and the challenges of bad weather, loneliness, clashes with Native people, and
building schools, churches, and towns.
Adult Resources: Curriculum Guides
Aten, J. (1986). Women in history: Discovering America’s famous women through research-related activities. Carthage, IL: Good Apple.
Upper elementary and middle school level. The guide provides brief (one-page)
background information on 40 individual women from earlier periods and contemporary
times, discussion questions, and suggestions for students to complete additional research.
Examples of women who are profiled include: Abigail Adams, Jane Addams, Louisa May
Alcott, Marian Anderson, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Blackwell, Pearl Buck, Shirley
Chisholm, Amelia Earhart, Chris Evert, Geraldine Ferraro, Mahalia Jackson, Coretta
King, Sandra Day O’Connor, Sally Ride, Eleanor Roosevelt, Sacagewea, Gloria Steinem,
Harriet Tubman, and Frances Willard. A trivia game is included which reviews all 40
Cuevas, M., Morgan, B., MacGregor, M. M. & Ruthsdotter, M. (1985). Myself and women
heroes in my world: Kindergarten social studies. Windsor, CA: National Women’s History
Lower elementary level. This unit contains six lessons based on biographies of Amelia
Earhart, Queen Liliuokalani, Sonia Manzano, Maria Tallchief, and Sojourner Truth. It
contains a brief narrative about each woman’s life, flannel board figures which can be
used in telling and retelling the stories about each woman, additional activities to help
students deepen their understanding of the woman and her contributions to society, and
other resources for learning about these women. The curriculum encourages young
students to think of themselves as heroes.
Cuevas, M., Morgan, B., MacGregor, M. M. & Ruthsdotter, M. (1985). Women as members of
communities. Windsor, CA: National Women’s History Project.
Lower elementary level. This unit contains six lessons focused on the biographies of
women, past and present to represent the ways women work as members of, and leaders
for, their communities. For each woman: Abigail Adams, Sarah Winnemucca, March
Fong Eu, Shirley Chisholm, and Carmen Delgado Votaw, there is a two- or three-page
reading for students, a picture for coloring, a student worksheet to reinforce main ideas,
discussion questions, and suggestions for additional activities.
Cuevas, M., Morgan, B., MacGregor, M. M. & Ruthsdotter, M. (1985). Women as members of
groups. Windsor, CA: National Women’s History Project.Elementary level. This unit focuses on six different women from diverse groups:
Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Elizabeth Blackwell (European American), Annie Wauneka
(Navajo), Rosa Parks (African American), Dolores Huerta (Mexican American), and
Shirley Cachola (Filipino-American), includes a brief biography of each woman,
discussion questions, follow-up activities, a picture to color, and a student worksheet to
reinforce important ideas about each woman. The authors also provide a review of the six
women, a list of additional resources for investigating each woman, and an activity to
encourage students to see themselves as members of groups.
Cuevas, M., Morgan, B., MacGregor, M. M. & Ruthsdotter, M. (1985). Women at work, home,
and school. Windsor, CA: National Women’s History Project.
Lower elementary level. This curriculum contains six lessons based on the biographies of
women who have worked outside the home in the past and present. The women are from
different cultural backgrounds: Susan LaFlesche (Omaha), Mary McLeod Bethune
(African American), Nancy Lopez (Mexican American), Chien-Shiung Wu (Chinese
American), Rachel Carson and Dorothea Lange (European American). For each lesson,
there is a student reading, picture of the woman for coloring, discussion questions, and
additional activities. Students are encouraged to think about their career interests.
Eisenberg, B. (1989). Women in colonial and Revolutionary America 1607 - 1790. Washington,
DC: Mid-Atlantic Equity Center, The American University.
Upper elementary and middle school level. This curriculum provides general background
information on Native American, European, and African women in the U.S. colonies,
then focuses on specific women. Discussion questions follow the reading about each
woman and suggestions for classroom activities are given. European American women
focused on include: Abigail Adams, Mary Katherine Goddard, Anne Hutchinson, Mary
Jemison, and Eliza Pinckney; Native American women encompassed Mary Brant and
Weetamoo; African American women were Elizabeth Freeman, Tituba, and Phyllis
Eisenberg, B. (n.d.). Emma Lazarus & the Statue of Liberty. Windsor, CA: National Women’s
Upper elementary level. This unit introduces students to Emma Lazarus, a poet and social
activist, who wrote the poem inscribed on the Statue of Liberty’s base describing the hope
many immigrants had of finding a new life for themselves and their families in the U.S.
The unit contains a photograph of and background information on the Statue of Liberty; a
picture and reading about Lazarus; her poem “The New Colossus;” worksheets for
students to review main ideas about Lazarus and to explore their family’s migration to the
U.S.; and extension activities.
Eisenberg, B. (n.d.). Women’s suffrage movement: 1848 - 1920. Windsor, CA: National
Women’s History Project.
Upper elementary and middle school level. The author provides a brief overview of the
suffrage movement in the 19th and early 20th centuries. She describes the contributions of
individuals and groups to the movement and groups who opposed women’s suffrage.
Discussion questions and suggestions for further research are also provided.
Hinz-Junge, J. (Producer). (1985). Women of courage: Volume 1 [Book and Cassette Recording].
St. Paul, MN: Dog Day Records.
Elementary level. The text is written for elementary-age students, includes illustrations by
children about Sybil Ludington, Sally Ride, Mutsimiuna, Susan B. Anthony, Harriet
Tubman, and Gertrude Ederle, and suggests additional activities for readers to extend
their learning. The cassette recording tells the story in words and music of each woman.
Hurwitz, S. (Ed.). (n.d.). In search of our past: Units in women’s history, U.S. History. Newton,
MA: Education Development Center.
Middle school level. This curriculum contains three units, including: (1) Native American
women in pre-Columbian America; (2) southern women, 1820-1860; and (3) women in
struggle: immigration and labor, 1820-1940. Each unit has brief background information
for teachers, a bibliography of readings for completing additional research, instructions
for teaching the units, and reading materials for students. The first unit focuses on the
Zuni and includes a story about a Zuni girl, a Zuni legend, and readings on Zuni women
as leaders and as artists. The second unit concentrates on African American slave women,
southern European American women, and the resistance to slavery from slaves and
abolitionists. Students read a story about a slave girl, excerpts from a southern European
American woman’s diary, a story about Harriet Tubman, and letters between Sara Grimke
(an abolitionist) and her mother about slavery. The third unit focuses on immigrants’
identity and work and includes reading materials for students: poetry by immigrants, a
survey on women’s and men’s work, reasons for immigrants’ movement to the U.S.,
biographies by a Chinese and Hispanic women immigrants, and biographies of women
involved in the labor movement.
Hurwitz, S. (Ed.). (n.d.). In search of our past: Units in women’s history, world history. Newton,
MA: Education Development Center.
Middle school level. This curriculum contains three units, including: (1) women under
feudalism in western Europe and China; (2) women and the Industrial Revolution; and (3)
women in change: 20th century women in transition. Each unit has brief background
information for teachers, a bibliography of readings for completing additional research,
instructions for teaching the units, and reading materials for students. During the first
unit, students read excerpts from an historical novel about a woman from western Europe;
examine illustrations of women’s work during feudalism; read a legend about a woman
who fought for women’s equality during this era; read a story about a Chinese woman
who challenged women’s traditional role; read a legend about a Chinese woman warrior;
and read letters between mothers and daughters about becoming women. The second unit
contains readings about a woman coal miner; a young girl’s life as a maid; a Japanese
woman factory worker; middle-class women’s lives, and tensions which arose between
middle-class women and working women (as illustrated by the young maid’s employer).
During the third unit, students read stories about a woman’s resistance to traditional farm
women’s role; women’s resistance to apartheid in South Africa; women’s participation in
the Chinese Revolution; and women’s involvement in changing family life in Cuba. The
final reading for students contains information on the international women’s movement.
MacGregor, M. M. (n.d.). Women and the Constitution: A curriculum unit. Windsor, CA:
National Women’s History Project.
Middle school level and teacher resource. This unit contains a chronology of events
related to women and the Constitution, explanation of key concepts, background
information on the Revolutionary War, Patriot and Loyalist women, slavery, Native
Americans, the first Constitution, and the concept of “Republican Motherhood.” Several
documents are provided for reading aloud to students or for student independent reading
with discussion questions, including the Blackstone Commentaries on English common
law (which defined the legal status of women from colonial times to the 19th century);
communication between Abigail Adams and John Adams about limiting men’s power
over women; and an African American slave Elizabeth Freeman’s struggle to gain
freedom through the courts during the Revolutionary War period.
Phillips, E. (1987). Women in American history: An introductory teaching packet. Brooklyn, NY:
Organization for Equal Education of the Sexes.
This packet contains a poster of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, her daughter, and granddaughter
and a curriculum guide which begins with an overview of why teach women’s history and
approaches to women’s history. The first lesson suggests activities for students to realize
women are often excluded from history; the second lesson focuses on Stanton and her
efforts to gain rights for women; and the third lesson encourages students to write
biographies of women. The curriculum guide suggests women students might select to
research and resources for gathering additional information, such as: organizations,
curriculum guides and kits, books for teachers and students, films, filmstrips, and records.
Reese, L. (1990). Spindle stories: Three units on women’s world history book one. Berkeley, CA:
Women in World History Curriculum.
Middle school level. This curriculum contains the following three units: Nothing Lasts
Forever: Roman Pompeii, The Needle and the Brush: Renaissance Florence, and Gifts for
Queen Amina: African Songhay and Hausa Kingdoms. Each unit has a story about a
young girl or woman from that culture and time period, discussion questions, an
explanation of specific terms, a map of the region, follow-up activities, additional
background information on women’s status and roles in that culture and era, and a
bibliography of resources.
Reese, L. (1991). Spindle stories: Three units on women’s world history book two. Berkeley, CA:
Women in World History Curriculum.
Middle school level. The three units included in this collection are: The Bird of Destiny:
Ancient Egypt, The Garnet-Eyed Brooch: Anglo-Saxon England, and Samurai Sisters:
Early Feudal Japan. Each unit has a story about a young girl or woman from that culture
and time period, discussion questions, an explanation of specific terms, a map of the
region, follow-up activities, additional background information on women’s status and
roles in that culture and era, and a bibliography of resources.
Reese, L. (1993). Spindle stories: Three units on women’s world history book three. Berkeley,
CA: Women in World History Curriculum.
Middle school level. Fated to be Friends: Classical Athens, Weaving the heavens:
Precolumbian Guatemala, and A Message for the Sultan: Ottoman Turkey are three
different units contained within this curriculum. Each unit has a story about a young girl
or woman from that culture and time period, discussion questions, an explanation of
specific terms, a map of the region, follow-up activities, additional background
information on women’s status and roles in that culture and era, and a bibliography of
Reese, L. (1998). Women in the Muslim world: Personalities and perspectives from the past.
Berkeley, CA: Women in World History Curriculum.
Middle school level. The author provides background information and profiles of
individual Muslim women as she focuses on the main themes of the hajj (pilgrimage to
Mecca); rulers; jihad (personal or world struggle); the trades; religious leadership; the
veil; and singers, dancers, and poets. She includes maps, photographs and drawings,
discussion questions, examples of poetry, a glossary of terms, and a list of resources.
Reese, L. (1999). Women in the ancient Near East: Stories and primary sources from the
Sumerians through the early Israelites. Berkeley, CA: Women in World History Curriculum.
Middle school level. The curriculum unit contains the stories of women from Sumer, the
land of Akkad (area also known as Babylonia), Assyria, Persia, Anatolia, and from areas
now known as Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, and Israel. The author draws on such primary
sources as clay tablets, traditional texts, myths, and artifacts for the stories about women
rulers, goddesses and priestesses, and women from the Old Testament. Valuable teaching
resources are included such as background information on the time period and cultures, a
timeline and map, photographs of art and artifacts, excerpts from original sources,
instructional activities, readings and discussion questions for students, and a list of
Reese, L. (2001). Women in India: Lessons from the ancient Aryans through the early modern
Mughals. Berkeley, CA: Women in World History Curriculum.
Middle school level. The curriculum contains maps, photographs of art, readings, stories,
background information, questions, activities, a glossary of important terms, and a list of
resources to help students learn about different aspects of women’s lives in India from
1800-1900 B. C. (before Common Era) and 1658 C. E. (Common Era or A. D.). Topics
include: Hindu goddesses; two examples of heroines (Draupadi and Sita); how changing
lifestyles, such as the development of the caste system, and laws affected women’s lives;
Buddhist Nuns and Bhakti Saints, and Rajput warriors and Mughal rulers. The curriculum
provides additional insight into India’s religious, aesthetic, and intellectual traditions,
social systems, and influential people of the past.
Riley, J. (1990). Belle Case La Follette 1859 - 1931: A resource guide. Madison, WI: Her Own
Middle school level. The guide gives background information on Belle Case La Follette,
who along with her family were active in local, state, regional, and national politics. She
was active in women’s suffrage movement and led peace groups. The curriculum guide
provides excerpts from Belle’s writing, an article written about her, and a script for a
dramatic reading about Belle Case La Follette’s life.
Ruthsdotter, M. & Eisenberg, B. (Eds.). (n.d.). Women’s history: Curriculum guide. Windsor,
CA: National Women’s History Project.
Elementary level and middle school level. The authors suggest different activities (plays,
puppet plays, dramatic re-enactments, dioramas, games, music, mock trials, research, oral
histories, and discussions) to learn about Maria Tallchief, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth
Cady Stanton, Jade Snow Wong, Dolores Huerta, Mary McLeod Bethune, and Harriet
Tubman. The authors also encourage students to collect oral histories from women in
their families and communities.
Tomin, B. & Burgoa, C. (1983). Teaching women’s history in the elementary grades: A
biographical approach, unit 1 Susan B. Anthony. Santa Rosa, CA: Tomin-Burgoa Productions.
Elementary level. The authors provide background information on Susan B. Anthony, list
activities for teaching and learning about Anthony, a pre-test and post test about Anthony
and women’s roles at different times, and a booklet appropriate for elementary students to
read about Anthony’s life.
Tomin, B. & Burgoa, C. (1986). Multicultural women’s history: Curriculum unit for the
elementary grades. Windsor, CA: National Women’s History Project.
Elementary level. This unit focuses on five women: Ada Deer (Menominee), Felisa
Rincon DeGautier (Puerto Rican), Tye Leung Schulze (Chinese Americans), Mary Shadd
Cary (African American), and Frances Willard (European American). For each woman,
there is a reading and worksheet for students, key vocabulary and phrases, and extension
activities. The authors also suggest individual, small group, and whole class activities to
learn more about the five women and women’s history.
General Resources For Women’s History
National Women’s History Project, 7738 Bell Road, Windsor, CA, 95492, (707) 838-6000,
Women and World History Curriculum, 1030 Spruce Street, Berkeley, CA 94707, (510) 524-0304, www.womeninworldhistory.com
Annotated bibliography list