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Women: position and progress collection

 Collection
Identifier: SSC-MS-00431

Scope and Contents

The Women: Position and Progress Collection contains manuscript and published material, including books dating from the early nineteenth century. It documents both dominant attitudes about middle- and upper-class women's roles and gender-conscious women's and men's efforts to expand and overturn those roles, and illustrates the impact of such efforts on women's status and position in Western societies. The collection consists primarily of published sources such as articles, printed lectures and sermons, newspaper clippings, and pamphlets; but also includes a significant amount of unusual and unique material such as household bills and inventories, letters, lists, and notes.

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

  • 1804-2001

Language of Materials

English.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open to research according to the regulations of the Sophia Smith Collection.

Conditions Governing Access

Until we move into New Neilson in early 2021, collections are stored in multiple locations and may take up to 48 hours to retrieve. Researchers are strongly encouraged to contact Special Collections (specialcollections@smith.edu) at least a week in advance of any planned visits so that boxes may be retrieved for them in a timely manner.

Conditions Governing Use

Material in this collection may be protected by copyright. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy all copyright holders. Permission to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use" must also be obtained from the Sophia Smith Collection as owners of the physical property.

Extent

4 boxes (3 linear feet (30 volumes))

Overview

Collection contains manuscripts and published material, including books dating from the early nineteenth century. The collection consists primarily of published sources such as lectures, sermons, and printed material; but also includes a significant amount of unusual and unique material such as household bills and inventories, letters, lists, and notes.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Materials in this "artificial" subject collection were either purchased or given to the Sophia Smith Collection by various donors. Some items may have been removed from other collections.

Additions to the Collection

Periodic additions to collection are expected.

Processing Information

Finding aid revised in 2010. Introductory text by Kate Weigand. Recent additions may not be reflected in the finding aid.
Title
Women: position and progress collection
Subtitle
Finding Aid
Author
Finding aid prepared by mnsss.
Date
2003
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Sponsor
Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Revision Statements

  • 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.

Repository Details

Part of the Sophia Smith Collection of Women's History Repository

Contact:
Young Library
4 Tyler Drive
Northampton MA 01063