September 2014


Editors : Kathryn Kish Sklar and Thomas Dublin
/ Published by Alexander Street Press and the
/ Center for the Historical Study of Women and Gender, SUNY Binghamton


We have a very full issue with a rich array of resources--a document archive, a document project, a supplement to an existing document project, scholarly essays, new teaching tools, book reviews, and the continuing publication of the Black Woman Suffragists database.

In August 1970 California issued a warrant for the arrest of political activist and scholar Angela Y. Davis and the FBI placed her on its Ten Most Wanted list. The police search and her arrest in New York City in October 1970 garnered national media attention and marked the beginning of a nearly two-year national and international campaign to free Angela Davis. This archive, "Free Angela Davis, And All Political Prisoners!": A Transnational Campaign for Liberation, edited and introduced by Dayo Gore, brings together personal letters, public statements and other documents that highlight key aspects of Angela Davis's case and the organizing campaign to secure her freedom. It illuminates the campaign's transnational reach and the ways Davis's case inspired individuals as well as an emerging movement that critically linked U.S. racism and its prison system.

In "How Did Female Protestant Missionaries Respond to the Japanese American Incarceration Experience during World War II?," Beth Hessel analyzes the work of female Protestant missionaries among Japanese Americans during World War II, primarily in the Japanese American incarceration camps, but also pre-evacuation, and post-war. While furloughed from Japan, some missionaries attempted to ameliorate the injustice of detention through a ministry of friendship and advocacy. These documents exhibit the tentative and improvisatory nature of female mission work during the war and suggest how these missionaries understood the incarceration experience and their role in it.

In addition, we offer a supplement to a document project, How Did Margaret Sanger's 1922 Tour of Japan Help Spread the Idea of Birth Control and Inspire the Formation of a Japanese Birth Control Movement?, originally published in March 2011. The editors of the Margaret Sanger Papers--Esther Katz, Cathy Moran Hajo, and Peter Engelman--have edited a collection of Japanese-language documents that speak to the response of Japanese government officials to the news of Sanger's 1922 visit to Japan. Japanese scholar, Kazuhiro Oharazeki, provided research support at the Diet Library and translated the documents for publication.

We continue in this issue with the second installment of the Black Woman Suffragists database. Based on the pioneering scholarship of Rosalyn Terborg-Penn, this collection has grown in recent months and now consists of almost 1,500 items totaling more than 15,000 pages. Tom Dublin and a team of students have assembled these published and unpublished writings of seventy Black woman suffragists first identified by Rosalyn Terborg-Penn, The writings are accompanied by an introduction by Terborg-Penn and eighteen additional essays that treat major authors in the group. We are publishing five scholarly essays with this installment and anticipate four additional installments between now and September 2016.

We are planning a new crowdsourcing initiative to accompany the publication of the Black Woman Suffragists database. If you are aware of significant writings by any of our author activists that we have not included in the database, please email Tom Dublin at tdublin@binghamton.edu and we will endeavor to publish the documents in later installments. Our goal is to make this database the most authoritative source for the published and unpublished writings of Black woman suffragists.

We round out this issue with other valuable resources, including twelve book reviews, a review essay, News from the Archives, and two Teaching Tools. If you are interested in reviewing books or have titles to recommend for review, please email our new book review editor, Kathleen Laughlin, of Metropolitan (MN) State University, with your suggestions. Please note as well the announcements in the News from the Archives section, assembled by Tanya Zanish-Belcher, of Wake Forest University. If you would like to make an archives-related announcement in a future issue, she can be reached at zanisht@wfu.edu.

Meanwhile, we hope readers have been able to access and explore our second, major online digital archive, "Women and Social Movements, International--1840 to Present." This online archive and database totals 150,000 pages of primary documents about international activism among women globally considered. It includes both published and manuscript materials generated by women's participation in international conferences and organizations over a period of 170 years, from missionary and abolitionist activities in the first half of the nineteenth century to women's NGO activism in the early twenty-first century. We have also posted on the site 25 secondary articles by scholars working in fields related to the archive, which place the primary materials within a broader interpretive context and offer suggestions on how best to make use of these online resources.

Later this year, Alexander Street Press will launch a new platform for Women and Social Movements in the United States and WASM International, known by the acronym LAZR. Users of our databases need not concern themselves with the platform's inner workings but it will enable for the first time joint searching of our two databases. If your library subscribes to both databases, you will be able to search comprehensively in the more than 300,000 pages of women's history documents we have assembled over seventeen years. The expanded search capability should make the databases even more valuable teaching and research tools. We expect to be able to share further information about this new resource by Spring 2015.

Alexander Street Press is marketing WASM International to libraries, offering both subscriptions or purchase plans. Your acquisitions librarian might be interested in either of these options. She or he can contact Eileen Lawrence at Alexander Street Press for subscription information and/or to request a free trial of this resource. We look forward to hearing your reactions to this major addition to Women and Social Movements.



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