Women: position and progress collection
Scope and Contents
About half the material in the collection dates from the nineteenth century. The bulk of material consists of articles, books, and pamphlets that reflect the widely divergent views about women's roles that made "the woman question" such a visible and contentious issue in this period. Prescriptive literature, such as advice books with titles such as How the Good Wife Taught Her Daughter, and The Young Bride's Book, and an assortment of printed lectures and sermons clearly illustrate the power and prevalence of traditional assumptions about women's "natural" maternalism and domesticity. Emerging arguments about the need for women's equality and women's rights are also well-represented in the older segment of the collection by articles from magazines and newspapers, pamphlets, and printed lectures. A few examples of personal letters, household bills, and lists of house rules for servants from a Worcester, Massachusetts home provide a small glimpse into the realities of daily life for upper- middle- and working-class women during the 1830s-80s.
The twentieth century material reflects a similar range of opinions about women's social, political, and economic roles, and documents the dramatic shifts in women's status over the last hundred years. Anti-feminist attitudes are primarily represented in a variety of articles and essays from both scholarly and popular publications. Feminist points of view as expressed in magazine and newspaper articles, scholarly essays, and speeches are far more evident in twentieth century material. Unusual items from the twentieth century includes a typewritten outline of the history of the women's movement in the U.S. compiled in 1944 by Mary Williams, a professor at Goucher College; a few personal letters; and a toy catalog which probably dates from the 1940s or 1950s.
Dates of Materials
Language of Materials
Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Use
4 boxes (3 linear feet (30 volumes))
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Additions to the Collection
- Etiquette for women
- Manners and customs -- Handbooks, manuals, etc
- Middle class women -- Attitudes
- Sophia Smith Collection of Women's History
- Women -- Conduct of life
- Women -- Periodicals
- Women -- Sexual behavior
- Women -- Social and moral questions
- Women's rights -- 19th century
- Women's rights -- 20th century
- Women: position and progress collection
- Finding Aid
- Finding aid prepared by mnsss.
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
- 07/26/2017: This resource was modified by the ArchivesSpace Preprocessor developed by the Harvard Library (https://github.com/harvard-library/archivesspace-preprocessor)
- 2005-09-23: mnsss119 converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02-5c.xsl (sy2003-10-15).
- 2017-07-26T17:48:10-04:00: This record was migrated from InMagic DB Textworks to ArchivesSpace.
Part of the Sophia Smith Collection of Women's History Repository
4 Tyler Drive
Northampton MA 01063