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Research Quick Start Guides

Women in History

Encyclopedias |Biography | Bibliographies | Indexes |Statistics | Timetables | Primary Sources | Other Libraries | Internet Resources | Other Guides

Encyclopedias and Dictionaries

Encyclopedias and dictionaries can provide useful descriptions, overviews, and lists of recommended reading on a topic.

Women's Studies Encyclopedia, revised and expanded edition (Green Information Center HQ1115.W645 1999)

The Encyclopedia of Women's History in America (Green Information Center HQ1410 .C85 2000) has entries of varying lengths with short bibliographies of suggested further reading.

The ABC-CLIO Companion to Women's Progress in America (Green Information Center HQ1410.F76 1994) has brief entries, plus a chronology, bibliography, and index.

Encyclopedia of American Social History (Green Information Center HN57.E58 1992) "Social history prods us to ask questions about the identities that unite and divide us according to such overlapping categories as gender, race, ethnicity, religion, social class, and sexual and political orientation." Contains lengthy essays with bibliographies.

Handbook of American Women's History (Green Information Center HQ1410.H36 1990) short introductory essays with lists of references.

"Nineteenth Century Women's Diaries" in vol. 48, pp. 308-54 of Nineteenth Century Literary Criticism (Green Information Center PN761.N5) looks at women's diaries as "valuable tools to understanding fully the nineteenth century." Includes an overview and essays from various sources.

Black Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia (Green Information Center & HASRC E185.86.B542 1993) has articles on general topics and many biographies, and includes bibliographies.

Women and Sports

The Women's Sports Encyclopedia (Green Information Center GV709.W589 1997) "Each sports section includes past and present information about the sport, biographies of prominent athletes, and records for the major competitions. Index.

Encyclopedia of Women and Sports (Green Information Center GV709.S44 1996) provides an overview of the history of women in sports followed by articles (with references) on individuals, organizations, sports, and issues. Includes timeline, bibliography, and an index.

Encyclopedia of World Sport: From Ancient Times to the Present (Green Information Center GV567.E56 1996) Volume three contains overviews of women's sports in Europe and North American, but women are represented throughout the encyclopedia.

American Women's Track and Field: A History, 1895 through 1980 (Green Information Center GV1060.8.T75 1996)


For other biographical resources try Finding Biographical Information.

Larousse Dictionary of Women (Green Library Ref. HQ1115/L376 1996) "provides concise biographies of the women commonly perceived to be 'famous' as well as hundreds who seem to have been marginalized until now and deserve to be brought to attention."

Notable American Women, 1607-1950; A Biographical Dictionary (Green Information Center CT3260.N57) covers women who died before 1950.
Notable American Women: The Modern Period (Green Library Ref. CT3260.N573) covers women who died 1951-1975.

Native American Women: A Biographical Dictionary (Green Information Center E98.W8B38 1992)

Notable Black American Women (Green Information Center E185.96.N68 1992) & Book II (1996)

Notable Hispanic American Women (Green Information Center E184.S75 N68 1993)

An Annotated Index of Medieval Women (Green Information Center CT3220.A56 1992)

Women Film Directors: An International Bio-Critical Dictionary (Green Information Center PN1998.2.F67 1995) entries include "biographical information, critical essay, selected filmography, and selected bibliographic information."

Women of Mathematics: A Biobibliographic Sourcebook (Green Information Center QA28.W66 1987)

Women Philosophers: A Bio-critical Source Book (Green Information Center B105.W6K47 1989) and Women Philosophers (Green Library Ref. B105.W6W64 1996)

Women in Psychology: A Bio-bibliographic Sourcebook (Green Information Center BF109.A1W65 1990)

Women in Science--Antiquity through the Nineteenth Century: A Biographical Dictionary with Annotated Bibliography (Green Information Center Q141.O34 1986)

Women in Sociology: A Bio-Bibliographical Sourcebook (Green Information Center HM19.W59 1991)


Bibliographies can help you identify books and articles on a subject. Many of the following include short descriptions called annotations.

Immigrant Women in the United States: A Selectively Annotated Multidisciplinary Bibliography (Green Information Center & Stacks Z7164.I3G33 1989)

The Female Experience in Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century America: A Guide to the History of American Women (Green Information Center Z7961.C64 1982)

Journal of Women's History Guide to Periodical Literature (Green Information Center Z7962.F57 1992)

United States Government Documents on Women, 1800-1990 : A Comprehensive Bibliography (Green Information Center Z7964.H85 1993)

The Women's Movement: References and Resources (Green Information Center Z7963.S9R93 1996) focuses on movements in the United States.

Women in Western European History, plus supplement (Green Information Center Z7961.F74 1982)

British Women's History: A Bibliographical Guide (Green Information Center Z7964.G7H36 1996)

Women in the Third World: A Historical Bibliography (Green Information Center Z7964.D44B96 1986)


Indexes can help you identify articles in scholarly journals and other resources. These include indexes in paper and electronic formats (i.e., CD- ROMs and databases on or through Folio)

Women Studies Abstracts (1972+ shelved at Green Information Center Z7962/W65; 1984+ also in Women's Studies International on the Web) indexes feminist and scholarly books and periodicals.

Women's Studies Index (1989+ shelved at Green Information Center HQ1180.W68; also on Web as Women's Studies on Disc) indexes a wide range of periodicals.

An Index to Women's Studies Anthologies: Research Across the Disciplines, 1980-1984 (Green Library IC HQ1180.B76 1994) indexes collections of articles on women's studies written between 1980 and 1984.

America: History and Life covers U.S. and Canadian history.

Historical Abstracts (1965+) covers world history except U.S. & Canada.

Chicano Database (1967+) includes some citations for earlier years.

Index to Black Periodicals (1984+ Green Library Ref. Z1361.N39I55; also 1989+ at Green Library IC CD-ROM Cluster as Black Studies on Disc) (Formerly: Index to Periodical Articles by and about Blacks 1950-69; 1971-83).

Humanities Index, 1974+ (Green Library IC AI3.H8) Author/subject index to periodicals in fields such as area studies, folklore, history, language, literature, philosophy, religion & theology.

PCI: Periodical Contents Index author/title index to over 2,000 periodicals in the humanities and social sciences from their first issues to 1991.


Statistical Abstract of the United States (Green Information Center Statistics Shelf & Desk HA202.A483) published annually, it gathers together a wealth of statistical information from a variety of governmental and non-governmental sources.

Historical Statistics of the United States, colonial times to 1970 (Green Information Center Statistics Shelf & Desk HA202.B87 1975) good introductions and tables that gather together a wide variety of historial statistics.

Timetables & Chronologies

The Timetables of Women's History (Green Information Center HQ1121.G74 1994)

The Women's Chronology (Green Information Center HQ1122.T73 1994)

Chronology of Women's History (Green Information Center HQ1121.O47 1994) "lists some of the landmarks in women's history from 20,000 B.C. to 1993."

Primary Sources

Primary Sources are the materials historians use to tell them about the past.

Gerritsen Collection - Women's History Online (1543-1945) fulltext database available to the Stanford community via the Web.

Women's Rights in the United States: A Documentary History (Green Information Center HQ1236.5.U6W68 1994 & Law Library DW AWV YJM) key documents with brief introductions to each section.

Women's Lives in Medieval Europe: A Sourcebook (Green Library ask at Loan Desk to have paged from West 7B HQ1143.W65 1993) "a collection of primary sources for the study of women's lives in Europe during the Middle Ages, from about 500 to about 1500 A.D.

Medieval Women and the Sources of Medieval History (Green Library HASRC. & Stacks HQ1143.M44 1990) "The papers in this collection go their own ways: some are case studies; some are surveys of sources; some are general examiniations of regions or chronological periods; some are examples of how new ways of reading can shed new light on familiar texts."

Selected Stanford Resources

Stanford University Libraries Department of Special Collections - Search Socrates Stanford's online catalog, or use finding aids developed by Special Collections.

British and Commonwealth Literary Studies: and American Literary Studies: Special Collections and Uncataloged Resources - describe a wealth of resources including:

  • History of Women -microfilm copies of books, pamphlets, periodicals, manuscripts, and photographs through 1920, predominately 19th century materials drawn from the collections of Smith and Radcliffe College.
  • Women Advising Women -microfilm of respresentative women's journals, almanacs, and advice books dating from 1625-1837, drawn from the collection of the Bodleian Library, Oxford.
  • Women, Education and Literature: the Papers of Maria Edgeworth, 1768-1849 - microfilm copies of literary manuscripts, correspondence, and miscellaneous papers of the author.

Other Stanford Libraries

In addition to the resources in Green Library, you may well want to use the resources of other libraries on campus, especially

Internet Resources

You can use the Internet to reach a wide array of information resources. In addition to those listed here, try Feminist Studies Collections: Women in History for more links.

Other Beginning Guides

See also Research Quick Start Guides on

Last modified: September 17, 2008

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