Women and Social Movements in the United States,1600-2000

  1. About Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1600-2000
  2. Technical Support
  3. Admin Alert: Our Platforms Are Now Updated with HTTPS
  4. FAQ
  5. How to Cite Sources from WASM
  6. Submission Guidelines
  7. About the Women's Commission Database
  8. Editorial Policy
  9. Editorial Board
  10. Project Staff
  11. Project Contributors
  12. History of the Website
  13. Reviews
  14. Permissions
  15. About the Center for the Historical Study of Women and Gender
  16. Errata
  17. Subscription and Free Trial Information
  18. Copyright
  19. Archiving
  20. Sensitivity Statement and Takedown Policy



  1. About Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1600-2000

ISSN 2164-5361

This website is intended to serve as a resource for students and scholars of U.S. history and U.S. women's history. Organized around the history of women in social movements in the U.S. between 1600 and 2000, the site seeks to advance scholarly debates and understanding of U.S. history at the same time that it makes the insights of women's history accessible to teachers and students at universities, colleges, and high schools. We are an online journal and publish new issues twice a year, in March and September. The site is available to academic libraries by subscription or purchase.

Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1600-2000 contains the following resources:

  • 125 document projects and document archives that interpret and present documents, most of which are not otherwise available online. Each document project poses an interpretive question and provides a collection of documents that address the question. Altogether these document projects and archives provide about 5,200 documents, 1,400 images, and 1,130 links to other websites. They demonstrate that historical analysis is an interpretive process based on documents. Viewers of the site are encouraged to participate in that interpretive process. We add four new document projects or additions to existing projects annually. We are always interested in considering submissions of proposals for new document projects or archives for online publication.
  • About 4,700 publications with 85,000 pages of Primary Source Collections pertaining to Women and Social Movements in the United States. These materials have been selected by the Editors for their relevance to the focus of the website. We add about 5,000 additional pages of new sources annually. For a listing of Primary Source Collections, go to the All Works Browse, click on the Primary Source Set facet on the left, and check the primary source set you would like to view.
  • A dictionary of social movements and organizations.
  • A chronology of U.S. Women's History.
  • Teaching Tools with lesson ideas and document-based questions related to the website's document projects.
  • Book and web site reviews published twice annually.
  • Regularly-published news from the archives about primary sources in U.S. Women's History.
  • A digital archive, consisting of 90,000 pages of publications of federal, state, and local Commissions on the Status of Women between 1961 and 2005.
  • An online edition of the five-volume biographical dictionary, Notable American Women (1971-2004).


  1. Technical Support

Email: support@alexanderstreet.com

Telephone: 1-800-889-5937

When reporting a problem please include your customer name, e-mail address, phone number, domain name or IP address and that of your web proxy server if used.

  1. Admin Alert: Our Platforms Are Now Updated with HTTPS

Alexander Street now supports HTTPS on its platforms (in addition to HTTP) to strengthen security and privacy of your information.

On January 2, 2018, all Alexander Street platforms permanently transitioned from HTTP to HTTPS. Existing HTTP links now redirect to HTTPS. Organizations that use proxies to access Alexander Street platforms will need to update links and certificates to support HTTPS.

This support article shows how to complete changes in proxy servers and provides answers to common questions. Even if you don't use proxies, you'll want to review and convert links to their HTTPS versions. (Note: Access to your Alexander Street content has not been impacted even if you have not yet made the switch.)

Links will redirect from HTTP to HTTPS for some time to come, but we encourage you to do this important work today if you haven't already.

Need help? Contact us at support@alexanderstreet.com today.

  1. FAQ

How much content is in the database?

The latest number of pages included is listed on the homepage. You can also view "All Works" browse to see a full list of all titles available.

Can you print out pages from the database?

Yes, each page has a printer icon that will allow you to print a limited amount of text for educational research and classroom use. In some cases you will see links to PDF versions of the original text, which you may print. Please note that printing is limited by U.S. Fair Use Provisions and international copyright law.

Are there URLs for each work that can be emailed to students/colleagues?

Yes, each page has a static URL that can be used to direct others to the work. Click the Embed/Link option located at the top the document viewer next to the playlist option.

How do we get stats?

Usage statistics can be obtained by emailing support@alexanderstreet.com. Please state the name of your institution and specify the time period for which you would like usage data.

How do we get MARC records?

We are currently in the process of updating and improving our MARC records for all databases. Once complete, MARC record sets will be posted and available for download at https://alexanderstreet.com/marc-records.

Can I use Boolean operators?

Yes, you can use Boolean operators in any search field.

The “AND” Operator

The AND operator retrieves all cases where words, phrases, and their variations appear in the same specified context (e.g., church AND state). As you enter more search terms, fewer results will be retrieved but each result will be of higher relevance.

The “OR” Operator

The OR operator retrieves all instances where individual words or phrases appear (e.g., avarice OR greed, holy ghost OR spirit).

The “NOT” Operator

The NOT operator retrieves instances where one chooses to exclude a word from a search (e.g., church NOT state).

Rules of thumb using Boolean Operators

1.             Entering more search terms into an 'AND' search will reduce the number of results and help you to focus in on the most relevant matches.

2.             Entering more search terms into an 'OR' search will increase the number of results and is particularly useful when you want to include synonyms of your main search term.

  1. How to Cite Sources from WASM

Because WASM is accessible through the servers of subscribing libraries, the URL (Uniform Resource Locator) will vary, depending on the library, and the URL citation will also vary depending on the library.

We therefore recommend that users include the following elements in their citations:

Women and Social Movements welcomes proposals for online document projects. Editors draw on a Board of Editors who referee submissions and offer support to prospective author/editors.

Prospective submissions should be built around primary sources addressing a concrete question concerning some aspect of women and social movements in the United States. Ideally the project question should address issues raised in relevant secondary literature. The project should include a brief introductory essay with endnotes and about 20-30 primary source documents (texts, images, audio or video) with headnotes that address the central question and annotations that identify obscure references within the documents. The project should also include a bibliography and a set of related WWW links. Author/editors of projects accepted for publication on the website will also need to secure permission for the publication of any copyrighted material. Staff of the Women and Social Movements website will provide support in this process.

In March 2009 we introduced a new format – the document archive. In document archives authors can present larger groups of documents relatively unmediated by interpretation. By publishing a blend of document projects and document archives, we hope to make available an even wider array of new interpretations and new documents in U.S. Women's History. Prospective authors should contact the editors at the outset of their work to discuss whether they would like to prepare a proposal for a document project or a document archive.

Because so much work is involved in preparing a web-based document project, and there are limited venues for publication of such work, we ask prospective contributors initially to submit a 3-5 page abstract noting the project's central question, its connection to relevant historiography, and the main primary sources to be employed. In addition we ask prospective authors to submit an annotated list of documents likely to be included in the project. Staff at the website and members of the editorial board will offer responses and assistance to prospective contributors. We send proposals and related lists of documents out for double-blind peer review. Based on reviewers’ comments, we will accept a proposal, urge the author to revise and resubmit the proposal, or decide not to move forward with the proposal.

Beginning in January 2019, Professors Judy Tzu-Chun Wu of UC Irvine and Rebecca Plant of UC San Diego will assume editorial responsibility for Women and Social Movements in the United States. We encourage prospective contributors to contact the new co-editors by email to j.wu@uci.edu or rjp@ucsd.edu to discuss their proposals before submitting them. All submissions must be electronic—preferably via email or email attachments. We find it helpful to have considerable email exchange during the proposal preparation process and during work on the project because of the unique demands of the document project genre.

Professor Jay Kleinberg of Brunel University has written an article describing her experience preparing a document project for WASM and has kindly permitted us to mount the piece here for prospective contributors. You may find her discussion helpful if you are anticipating preparing your own document project

  1. About the Women's Commission Database

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

These federal, state, and local commissions have produced a wealth of primary materials documenting conditions in the lives of American women over the second half of the twentieth century. Reports and publications issued by these commissions provide information at a level of depth that is not common in other primary materials available for this time period. However, these publications have not been widely accessible, and never before have they been indexed and made searchable. Our goal with the Women's Commission Reports is to compile in one place, for the first time, the complete text of virtually every report on the status of women issued by these bodies during this time period. Since its completion in September 2009, the database has provided 90,000 pages of materials documenting women's issues over more than four decades in all fifty states, Washington, D.C,.and a number of territories.

The database also includes the full text of the Status of Women in the States reports published by the Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR). Between 1996 and 2004, the IWPR published reports documenting the status of women in each of the fifty states. Individual copies of these reports are also available from the IWPR directly. More information can be found on the IWPR's website: http://www.iwpr.org.

We have also published eight essays to help users understand the context for the emergence of state and local commissions, the construction of the database, and interpretive uses to which these resources can be put. The following essays are accessible here:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In addition to providing the full text of these materials, Alexander Street's Semantic Indexing allows the information contained in the reports to be accessed and analyzed in ways never before possible. Subjects indexed include affirmative action, crime and violence, education, economics, housing, childcare, health services, abortion, pornography, language, jobs, maternity leave, politics, law, disability, minority rights, and the image of women, among many others. Some of the most valuable information in the collection is statistical and is captured in charts, graphs, and tables, and users can search the information contained therein by x- and y-axes. Moreover, reports can be searched across geography and time, allowing users to compare data at different points in time or across different states.

  1. Editorial Policy

A note on transcription:

To prepare our key-entered transcriptions of documents we begin with photocopies of the original documents, whether archival manuscripts or published works. We transcribe originals as they appear and do not correct errors in spelling or non-standard punctuation except in the case of typographical errors in printed sources or insignificant errors in manuscript sources. Errors have not been noted with "[sic]" except in cases where recognition of the error illuminates the document. We have only added words occasionally to clarify the meaning of an obscure passage and have always used brackets [ ] on such occasions. We have always used ellipses to indicate places where we have excerpted portions from a longer document. Where we have deleted a paragraph or more, we have inserted asterisks to mark this editing. We have also added signatures in brackets if the original document was an internal copy of a letter and as such did not have a signature.

We add 5,000 pages of new full-text sources annually. For the first three years these documents included books, pamphlets, and other publications focusing on "One Hundred Years of the Struggle for Woman Suffrage, 1830-1930." In 2007 we completed a run of the minutes of the annual national meetings of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union. In September 2009 we completed a selection of 8,000 pages of publications of the League of Women Voters, 1920-2000. In 2014-2017, we added more than 16,000 pages of the writings of Black woman suffragists. In 2016-17, we posted some 4,000 pages of documents of the National Consumers’ League, and now in 2018, we are beginning posting more than three decades of issues of the journal of the National Woman’s Party, Equal Rights, amounting to about 6,500 pages in all.

  1. Editorial Board
  • Anne-Marie Angelo (US-UK & South Africa--(U. of Sussex)
  • Marilyn Booth—(Arabic Cultures--University of Oxford
  • Eileen Boris (US in the World--UC SB)
  • Marilyn Boxer (Europe--San Francisco State)
  • Antoinette Burton (Empire—U. of Illinois)
  • Jo Butterfield—(League of Nations—U. of Iowa )
  • Jacqueline Castledine (US in the World--U. of Massachusetts, Amherst)
  • Nupur Chaudhuri (South Asia--Texas Southern U.)
  • Francisca de Haan—(Central Europe--Central European University)
  • Ellen DuBois (US in the World--UCLA)
  • Carolyn Eichner (France and French Empire--U of Wisconsin, Milwaukee)
  • Cynthia Enloe – (Empire--Clark Univ.)
  • Carol Faulkner ( US Women--Syracuse Univ.)
  • Jennifer Frost (U.S. Women, U of Auckland)
  • Julie Gallagher (US in the World--Penn State Univ., Brandywine)
  • Pat Grimshaw (New Zealand, Australia--University of Melbourne)
  • Ellen Hartigan-O’Connor(British Empire in North America--UC Davis)
  • Jane Hunter (US in the World--Lewis and Clark University)
  • Franca Iacovetta – (Italy in the World--Toronto)
  • Rui Kohiyama (US, Japan--Tokyo Women’s Christian University)
  • Kathleen Laughlin (US in the World--Metropolitan State U., Minneapolis)
  • Philippa Levine (Empire--UT Austin)
  • Lisa Materson (US in the World--UC Davis)
  • Kathleen McCarthy (US in the World--CUNY)
  • Annette Mevis (Women in the World--ATRIUM archives, Amsterdam)
  • Clare Midgley (British Empire--Sheffield Univ.)
  • Gail Minault (South Asia--UT Austin)
  • Michelle Moravec (US--Rosemont College)
  • Asha Islam Nayeem (Bangladesh--Univ. of Dhaka, Bangladesh)
  • Karen Offen—(Europe--Stanford)
  • Jocelyn Olcott (Mexico--Duke)
  • Annelise Orleck (US in the World--Dartmouth)
  • Fiona Paisley (Pacific Rim--Griffith University)
  • Rebecca Plant (US in the World--UC San Diego)
  • Jessica Pliley (US in the World --Texas State Univ.)
  • Claire Potter (US in the World--New School)
  • Jean Quataert (Europe in the World--SUNY Binghamton)
  • Barbara Reeves-Ellington (US in the World--Independent Scholar, UK)
  • Mary Renda (US in the World--Mt. Holyoke)
  • Leila Rupp (International Women’s Organizations--UCSB)
  • Rhonda Semple (South Asia--St. Francis Xavier, Canada)
  • Mrinalini Sinha (Empire--U of Michigan)
  • Glenda Sluga (Transnational--U of Sydney)
  • Marjorie Spruill (US in the World--Univ of South Carolina)
  • Landon Storrs (US in the World--Univ. of Iowa)
  • Shurlee Swain (Australia--Australian Catholic University )
  • Yuko Takahashi (Japan and US--Tsuda College)
  • Rosalyn Terborg-Penn (US in the World--Morgan State Univ.)
  • Jenny Thigpen (US in the World--Washington State U., Pullman)
  • Brandy Thomas Wells (US in the World—Ohio State Univ.)
  • Wang Zheng (China--Univ. of Michigan)
  • Judy Wu (US in the World--UC Irvine)

Special Editors

  • Book Review Editors:

Kathleen Laughlin, Metropolitan State University
Megan Threlkeld, Denison University

  • Digital Humanities Editor:

Michelle Moravec, Rosemont College

  • News from the Archives Editor:

Tanya Zanish-Belcher, Wake Forest University

  1. Project Staff

Kathryn Kish Sklar, co-editor of the web site, is Distinguished Professor of History Emerita at the State University of New York at Binghamton. In 2005-2006 she was the Harmsworth Professor of American History at the University of Oxford. She is the author of Florence Kelley and the Nation's Work: The Rise of Women's Political Culture, 1830-1900 (1995) and other books and articles on women and social movements. Her first book, Catharine Beecher: A Study in American Domesticity (1973), analyzed how women reshaped gender identities and gender relationships in the antebellum era. Both Catharine Beecher and Florence Kelley were awarded the Berkshire Prize. She is currently completing a study of women and social movements in the Progressive era, 1900-1930.

Thomas Dublin is co-editor of the web site. He serves as Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History and Co-Director of the Center for the Historical Study of Women and Gender at the State University of New York at Binghamton. He is the author or editor of eight books including Women at Work: The Transformation of Work and Community in Lowell, Massachusetts, 1826-1860 (1979), winner of the Bancroft Prize and the Merle Curti Award. His latest book, The Face of Decline: The Pennsylvania Anthracite Region in the Twentieth Century, co-authored with Walter Licht, received the 2006 Merle Curti Award for Social History and the Philip S. Klein Prize.

Denise Ireton is Managing Editor for Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1600-2000. She earned her Ph.D. at Binghamton University in 2015. She is an independent researcher and historical consultant with ten years’ experience in project management and teaching. Currently, she is revising a study on activist women and international citizenship during the period between the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893 and the start of World War II in 1939.

  1. Project Contributors

Click here for details of contributors.


  1. History of the Web Site

The website that appears here under the joint imprint of the Center for the Historical Study of Women and Gender at the State University of New York, Binghamton, and Alexander Street of Alexandria, Virginia, began in a senior seminar that Kathryn Sklar taught at the SUNY Binghamton in the Spring of 1997. The course was designed to introduce advanced undergraduates to the excitement of discovering, editing, and analyzing historical documents that focus on women and social movements in American history. The students produced portions of what became the website's first document projects in December 1997.

When the format of documentary projects proved extremely well matched to the new internet media, Thomas Dublin, her colleague at SUNY Binghamton, joined her to create an innovative website for the documentary projects, adding his knowledge of U.S. women's history and his experience with the use of computers in historical research. With support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, and later from Houghton Mifflin and ProQuest Information and Learning, the Women and Social Movements website grew rapidly. In 2001, with a second NEH grant, we began a collaboration with eleven faculty from other colleges and universities around the country. By the end of 2002 the website offered 43 documentary projects that interpreted about 1000 documents ranging from 1775 to 2000. The site attracted about 30,000 viewers a month from more than ninety countries. Yet two aspects of the website were not sustainable: the intensive labor needed to transform student work into authoritative scholarly analysis; and the initial sources of the site's funding.

This combination of success and challenges prompted us to reconceive the Women and Social Movements website in the Spring of 2002. Convinced that the technology and the format of the website were ideally matched to generate new knowledge in U.S. Women's History, we decided to encourage faculty and advanced graduate students to create document projects for the site. That effort was remarkably successful; for more than two years we published regular additions to the website from a wide range of scholars drawing on their specialized knowledge of women and social movements to create documentary projects for the site. We established an Editorial Board for the website as well as guidelines for submissions with blind peer review. In the Spring of 2002 we also began discussions with Stephen Rhind-Tutt of Alexander Street, which resulted in our decision to publish jointly with AS. This relationship has provided stability for the website and facilitated its expansion.

In March 2004 we became a quarterly online journal and for five years added new document projects quarterly, publishing on average eight new projects annually. Because each issue grew in size, in 2009 we changed to a semi-annual publication schedule to give ourselves time to prepare the extensive material that now flowed into WASM. In addition to document projects, with each issue we also publish digitized versions of books and pamphlets related to women and social movements in the U.S. expanding the site by about 5,000 pages a year. Initially these volumes focused on one hundred years of the woman suffrage movement, 1830-1930, including the six volumes of The History of Woman Suffrage (1881-1922) edited by Stanton, Anthony, and other leaders of the woman suffrage movement and all the proceedings of the three national conventions of anti-slavery women held in the 1830s and the national woman's rights conventions held between 1848 and 1869. Alexander Street has provided detailed semantic indexing and database searching for these and other resources on the site, greatly improving its scholarly utility. A Dictionary of Social Movements and a Chronology of U.S. Women's History, both especially prepared for the website, provide users unique subject access to both document projects and full-text sources on the site. We also publish book reviews under the editorial direction of Professor Jeanne Petit of Hope College and website reviews edited by Melanie Shell-Weiss of Johns Hopkins University.

In addition to the continuing publication of new document projects and digitization of additional sources, we are committed to expanding the Teaching Tools component of the website. Since January 2001 we have published lesson ideas and document-based questions drawing on the website's rich collection of document projects. These teaching tools—now numbering 46—are now fully indexed and searchable.

In March 2007 we introduced the new, expanded the site to include 90,000 pages of publications of state and local Commissions on the Status of Women and Harvard University Press's landmark five-volume Notable American Women: A Biographical Dictionary, available for the first time in electronic form.  We have also completed the major digital archive, "Women and Social Movements, International, 1840-Present," which contains 150,000 pages of published and manuscript resources generated by women's international activism since 1840. It also includes 26 scholarly essays.

Kathryn Sklar and Thomas Dublin will continue to serve as co-editors of the website and shape its content through January 2019, when the new editors, Professors Judy Tzu-Chun Wu of UC Irvine and Rebecca Plant of UC San Diego will assume editorial responsibility for Women and Social Movements in the United States.. Along with high scholarly standards, Alexander Street brings unique talents to the technical dimensions of the project. They have developed the site's new search engine, database, semantic (keyword) indexing and design.

Since March 2015 we have drawn on crowdsourcing to add new content to the website. With the March 2018 issue of WASM we have posted about 325 biographical sketches of women who pick-eted the White House for woman suffrage in the period 1917-1919. We have also crowdsourced about 160 brief biographies of Black women suffragists and another 400 for mainstream suffragists affiliated with the National American Woman Suffrage Association. Beginning in December 2018, we will be publishing installments of these sketches as part of a new Online Biographical Dictionary of the Woman Suffrage Movement in the United States. We continue to commission additional bio-graphical sketches for this project. If you would like to research and write a sketch, please contact Tom Dublin.

  1. Reviews

Click here for reviews about the database.

  1. Permissions

Click here for permissions granted for copyrighted materials used on the web site.

  1. About the Center for the Historical Study of Women and Gender

Click here to go to the web site of the Center where our editorial office is housed.

  1. Errata

Please report any errata to the editor at the address at the bottom of this document. There are no known errata at this time.

  1. Subscription and Free Trial Information

Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1600-2000 is available for one-time purchase of perpetual access, or as an annual subscription. Please contact us at sales@alexanderstreet.com if you wish to begin a subscription or to request a free 30-day trial.

  1. Copyright

All materials in Women and Social Movements are protected under U.S. and International Copyright Law. Fair use under the law permits reproduction of single copies for personal research and private use. Further transmission, reproduction, or presentation of protected items requires the written permission of the copyright owners.

  1. Archiving

Texts produced for Women and Social Movements are considered research materials and receive the same level of stewardship as books, paper documents, and photographs. Copies of the database are given to all purchasing institutions, thereby ensuring that the materials are available to subsequent generations.

  1. Sensitivity Statement and Takedown Policy

Materials contained on the Alexander Street platform include historical content that may contain offensive language, negative stereotypes or inaccurate representations. Alexander Street does not endorse the views expressed in such materials, but believes they should be made available in context to enable scholarly comparison, analysis and research.

In making material available online, Alexander Street and our content partners act in good faith. To the best of our knowledge, content contained within these collections has been cleared for publication by the appropriate rights holders and has not been placed under any restrictions for privacy, cultural or other sensitivities. If you have found material for which you believe you hold the copyright without proper attribution, which contravenes privacy laws, or which is a breach of the protocols determining accession provision for heritage materials which reflect indigenous history, culture, language or perspective, please contact us in writing at history@alexanderstreet.com. Please include with your query:

  1. Your full name
  2. Your contact information
  3. URL to the content in question
  4. The reason for your inquiry

Upon receipt of inquiries, the following steps will be undertaken:

  1. Inquirer will receive confirmation of receipt.
  2. Alexander Street will contact the holding source and/or any related copyright holder to notify of the inquiry.
  3. Alexander Street will make all possible efforts to resolve the takedown request quickly and to the satisfaction of all parties involved. Possible outcomes include: Access to content remains unchanged on the Alexander Street platform; Access to content is modified on the Alexander Street platform; Access to the content is removed from the Alexander Street platform.

Alexander Street strives to provide the broadest possible online access to content where permissions have been granted by the known rights holders and/or the content holding institution. Permanent access restrictions will be considered only as an exceptional response.