American Women's Diaries
First-hand accounts from several regions and time periods

Quick Facts

  • Offers first-hand accounts of the lives, contributions and innermost thoughts of women from the colonial period through the turn of the 20th century
  • Includes accounts from New England, the South and the West
  • Enables researchers to gain new perspectives on a myriad of topics

Overview

The American Women's Diaries collection offers first-hand accounts of the lives, contributions and innermost thoughts of women from the colonial period through the turn of the 20th century. Researchers gain new perspectives on a myriad of topics, including daily life and the struggle to survive, religion, childbirth and child rearing, education, social issues, war and peace and the personal strengths of women from diverse ethnic and social backgrounds. The collection is divided into three geographic segments, each supporting an important historical period.

New England Women’s Diaries
Through highly detailed autobiographic accounts, scholars can trace the lives of eight New England women over many decades. Topics addressed include: abolition, the Boxer Rebellion, the Civil War, the Constitution, the French Revolution, immigration, inventions, education, religion and daily life as relayed by women in established cities and towns.

  • Editor: The American Antiquarian Society (AAS)
  • Product: 8 diaries on 21 reels of 35mm silver halide microfilm
  • Source: The American Antiquarian Society

Southern Women’s Diaries 
Examine life in the South before, during and after the Civil War and leading up to World War I. Religion, education, careers, reactions to slavery and the Abolitionists are all reported on by women who experience them first-hand and kept detailed diaries. Lifestyles, customs and issues of the era are easily studied through these extensive autobiographical accounts.

  • Editor: Jane Begos, author and historian
  • Product: 32 diaries on 34 reels of 35mm silver halide microfilm
  • Sources: 12 southern universities and historical societies

Western Women's Diaries 
Sitting side by side on the wagon seat, men and women observed mutual experiences quite differently as they stared at the endless road that let to the West. This segment dramatically expands the number of diaries in the collection. Western Women’s Diaries include overland and settlement accounts of the westward movement, politics, daily life, the Civil War, relations with Native Americans and Native American accounts and religious life.

  • Editor: Dr. Lillian Schissel, author and Director of American Studies, Brooklyn College, CUNY
  • Product: Over 600 diaries on 35 reels of 35mm silver halide microfilm
  • Sources: Universities, private libraries and historical societies throughout the United States

Finding Guides
Individual softbound Finding Guides are available for each segment. Descriptive abstracts for each diary are provided, along with a detailed cross-referenced index.

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