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Research Quick Start Guides

Women Writers

Bibliographies & Guides | Biography | British | American |Diverse Groups | African American
Asian American |Chicana/Latina | Native American |Lesbian | Indexes | Internet Resources

See also Research Quick Start Guides on Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual Studies, African American Studies, Asian American Studies, Chicano/Latino Studies, Native American Studies, and Women in Society, plus the Feminist Studies Collections Web site.

Women writers are included in general reference works on literature. However, for information on a lesser-known woman writer, a feminist writer or perspective on a writer, or in-depth information on women writers, Green has specialized sources. Finding current information about lesser-known Asian American, African American, Hispanic American, and Native American women writers is more difficult. Since fewer specialized sources exist for these groups, try works on women writers and titles that examine the literature of minorities or a specific ethnic group.

General Bibliographies and Guides

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

Feminist Writers (Green Library Information Center Z5304.A8F46 1996 & Web as part of Biography Resource Center) covers 300 novelists, authors and writers of fiction and nonfiction with a feminist viewpoint. Some biographical information is given, with bibliographies and critical studies on each. The indexes are organized by title, subject and nationality of the woman writer.

Feminist Companion to Literature in English: Women Writers from the Middle Ages to the Present (Green Library Information Center PR111.F45 1990) short biographical/critical entries on women writers writing in English until 1985, including many lesser known writers. Also entries on topics related to women's writing.

An Annotated Bibliography of Twentieth-Century Critical Studies of Women and Literature, 1660-1800, 1977 (Green Library Information Center Z2012.B13) A selective bibliography on both women writers and on the treatment of women in eighteenth-century literature.

Articles on Women Writers, 1960-1975: a Bibliography (Green Library Information Center Z2013.5.W6S37) and Articles on Women Writers. Volume 2, 1976-1984: A Bibliography (Green Library Information Center Z2013.5.W6S37 v. 2) list criticism in periodicals and dissertations on over 600 women writers from the Middle Ages to 1984.

Bibliography of Women and Literature (Green Library Information Center & Stacks Z2014.W65B5 1989) is a selective bibliography of recent criticism (1974-1981) of literary works written in English, by and about women. Includes 10,000 entries from 300+ journals.

A Dictionary of British and American Women Writers, 1660-1800 (Green Library Information Center & Stacks PR113.D5 1985) covers a lengthy list of early British and American women writers. Some biographical information is given, but the emphasis is on the author's works and on her place in the culture of the time.

Feminist Literary Criticism: a Bibliography of Journal Articles, 1975-1981 (Green Library Information Center Z6514.C97F76 1988) indexes 400+ journals, including many "little" magazines and feminist journals.

Women and Literature: an Annotated Bibliography of Women Writers, 3rd. ed., 1976 (Green Library Information Center Z5917.W6.S46 1976) gives brief summaries of the most important books written by women. Author and broad subject indexes.

Women and the Literature of the 17th Century: an Annotated Bibliography Based on Wing's Short-Title Catalog (Green Library Information Center & Stacks Z2013.5 W6S6 1990) Part I identifies over 600 titles by women, and Part II over 1,000 titles for and about women.

Women in Literature: Criticism of the Seventies, 1976 (Green Library Information Center Z6514.C5W64) and More Women in Literature, 1979 (Green Library Information Center Z6514.C6.W6432) The first volume lists critical books, articles, and dissertations published between 1970 and 1975 on women characters in literature. The second volume includes writers from sixth century B.C. to 1977, giving it a longer time span than any other source.

"Women's Diaries," Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism (Green Library Information Center PN761.N5) Vol. 48, pp. 308-354. Critical essays on the importance of women's diaries to literature. Also includes a list of diaries as representative works and suggestions for further reading.

Women's Studies: a Recommended Core Bibliography, 1979 (Green Library Information Center Z7961.S75) and Women's Studies: a Recommended Core Bibliography, 1980-1985 (Green Library Information Center Z7963.F44L63 1987)

"Women Writers of the Seventeenth Century," Literature Criticism from 1400 to 1800 (Green Library Information Center & Stacks PN86.L53) Vol. 30, pp. 2-59. Historical and critical commentary on women's writing and feminist thought during the seventeenth century. Includes a list for further reading.

General Biographical Sources

Contemporary Authors (Green Library Information Center Z1224.C6 & Web as part of the Biography Resource Center) "a bio-bibliographical guide to current writers in fiction, general nonfiction, poetry, journalism, drama, motion pictures, television, and other fields."

Dictionary of Literary Biography series (Green Library Information Center PS129.D52) provides a more extended study of an author's life and works. Each volume examines a specific timeline, racial identity or genre in literature.

Contemporary Women Dramatists (Green Library Information Center PR736.C58 1994) A selective listing of current playwrights, or those who have died since 1950. Brief biographies, works published and a bibliography of critical studies on each woman.

Contemporary Women Poets (Green Library Information Center PS151.C67 1998 and on Web as part of Biography Resource Center) profiles of women poets from around the world, including lists of their works.


An Encyclopedia of British Women Writers (Green Library Information Center PR111.E54 1998) gives brief biographical essays on women from all periods of British literary history. Essays include assessment of author's significance and accomplishment. Includes list of works and brief secondary bibliography.

Oxford Guide to British Women Writers (Green Library Information Center PR111.S48 1993) gives biographies of over 400 women writers from a variety of genres. Includes women living outside England. Aimed at the general researcher.

Dictionary of British Women Authors (Green Library Information Center PR115.D5 1989) has a list of writers, with brief biographies, list of works and other references.

Women Playwrights in England, Ireland and Scotland: 1660-1823 (Green Library Information Center PR635.W6 M36 1996) Brief biographical essays on each woman, with further reference to other bibliographies and reference works on a variety of topics.


American Women Writers: a Critical Reference Guide from Colonial Times to the Present (Green Library Information Center PS147.A42 2000) v.1-4. This comprehensive reference work includes 1000 American women writers from Colonial time to the present. Each author receives a critical assessment, a complete list of works, a selected list of criticism, and biographical information. The final volume includes an index.

A to Z of American Women Writers (Green Library Information Center PS147.K67 2000) attempts "to include notable women writers who spanned America's rich and varied history...and who represented a panoply of geographic, cultural, and socio-economic backgrounds."

Oxford Companion to Women's Writing in the United States (Green Library Information Center PS147.094 1995) more than 400 biographies of American women authors writing in a variety of genres and in a variety of fields. Index, timelines, and bibliography are included.

American Women Dramatists of the Twentieth Century: a Bibliography (Green Library Information Center Z1231.D7.C68 1982) Includes listings of critical works and theatre reviews.

American Women Writers: Bibliographic Essays (Green Library Information Center Z1229.W8A44 1983) These bibliographic essays by various critics cover 24 major American women authors. Includes information on editions and manuscripts.

Notable American Women, 1607-1950: a Biographical Dictionary, 1971 v. 1-3 and Vol. 4. The Modern Period, 1980 (Green Library Information Center & Stacks & HASRC Lane Room CT3260.N57 and CT3260.N573) provides long, scholarly articles on American women of various fields. Volume 4 covers women who died between 1951 and 1975.

Diverse Groups

This Bridge Called My Back: Writings By Radical Women of Color, 3rd edition. (Green Library Stacks PS509.F44T5 2002) focuses on literature by third world women in the U.S. Writers are denoted by ethnic group, with lesbian writers being given a special category.

Jewish American Women Writers: a Bio-bibliographical and Critical Sourcebook (Green Library Information Center PS153.J4J48 1994) A selection of Jewish American women writers with biographical essays. These essays include critical studies and bibliographies.

Women of Color in the United States: a Guide to the Literature (Green Library Information Center Z7964.U49R4 1989) Sections on "Literature" cite books, scholarly articles from journals, chapters in books and dissertations on Afro-American, Hispanic American, and Native American women writers. Although general titles about Asian American women appear, there is no special "Literature" section.


African American women writers in the Biography Resource Center

Afro-American Women Writers 1746-1933: an Anthology and Critical Guide (Green Library Information Center PS508.N3A36 1988) gives historical overview of African American women writers, including chronologies of the writings of each period, biographical sketches, and lists of further readings on the subject.

The Dictionary of Literary Biography series (Green Library Information Center PS129.D52) provides a more extended study of an author's life and works. The following titles contain both men and women writers:

  • Vol. 33 Afro-American Fiction Writers After 1955
  • Vol. 38 Afro-American Writers After 1955: Dramatists and Prose Writers
  • Vol. 41 Afro-American Poets Since 1955
  • Vol. 50 Afro-American Writers Before the Harlem Renaissance
  • Vol. 51 Afro-American Writers From the Harlem Renaissance to 1940
  • Vol. 76 Afro-American Writers, 1940-1955

American Black Women in the Arts and Social Sciences: a Bibliographic Survey, 1978 (Green Library Information Center Z1361.N39W56) includes a number of works by or about African American women writers, including non-print materials. Individual authors such as Ann Petry and Gwendolyn Brooks are highlighted. Includes some feminist, lesbian and lesser-known writers.

Bibliographical Guide to African-American Women Writers (Green Library Information Center Z1229.N39J67 1993) a comprehensive bibliography of African American women in creative literature.

Black American Women in Literature: a Bibliography, 1976-1987 (Green Library Information Center Z1229.N39G57 1989) a multi-genre bibliography of approximately 300 African American women writers whose work appeared between 1976-1987. Both original titles and criticism/interviews are cited. Major, as well as, less-established writers are included.

Harlem Renaissance and Beyond: Literary Biographies of 100 Black Women Writers, 1900-1945 (Green Library Information Center PS153.N5R65 1990) gives brief literary biographies and bibliographies of selected primary and secondary sources. Includes many little-known writers and some photographs.

Index to Poetry by Black American Women (Green Library Information Center Z1229.N39C45 1986) indexes books by individual women poets, as well as 83 African American poetry anthologies. Over 4,000 poems by more than 400 female poets are included.

The Pen is Ours: a Listing of Writings By and About African-American Women Before 1910 with Secondary Bibliography to the Present (Green Library Information Center Z1229. N39Y44 1991) A bibliography of African American women that includes published authors, and subjects of published writings from a variety of genres.

Asian American

Asian American women writers in the Biography Resource Center

Asian American Literature: an Annotated Bibliography (Green Library Information Center Z1229.A75C47 1988) The most comprehensive bibliography on Asian American writers to date. Women writers from South Asian, as well as Southeast and East Asian backgrounds are covered.

The Forbidden Stitch: an Asian American Women's Anthology (Green Library Stacks PS 153.A84F66 1988) includes an extensive "Bibliography of Work by Asian American Women," pp. 272-290.

Making Waves: an Anthology of Writings By and About Asian-American Women (Green Library Stacks E184.O6M24 1989) includes 35-page bibliography.


Hispanic American women writers in the Biography Resource Center

Biographical Dictionary of Hispanic Literature in the United States (Green Library Information Center PQ7420.2.K3 1989) focuses on Puerto Rican, Cuban American and other Hispanic writers.

Chicano Literature: a Reference Guide (Green Library Information Center & Stacks PS153.M4C46 1985) comprehensive guide to Chicano literature includes some Chicana writers and an article on "The Chicana in Chicano Literature."

Hispanic Writers (Green Library Information Center PQ7081.3.H58 1991) biographical sketches and critical assessments of 20th century Hispanic authors, including many lesser-known authors. Complete list of works by each author; selected bibliography of criticism on each author.

Latinas of the Americas: a Sourcebook (Green Library Information CenterZ7964.L3S76 1989) An introduction and bibliography on "Literature" includes Hispanic American women in the U.S., as well as in Latin America.

Literatura Chicana: Creative and Critical Writings Through 1984 (Green Library Information Center & Stacks Z1229.M48T78) comprehensive bibliography of over 700 titles. Includes non-print, as well as printed, materials.

"Chicana Writers and Critics in a Social Context: Towards a Contemporary Bibliography," Norma Alarcon in Third Woman vol. 4 (1989), pp. 169-78. (Green Library Stacks PS508.W7T432) Bibliography on Chicana writers.

Native American

Native American women writers in Biography Resource Center

Native American Literatures: An Encyclopedia of Works, Characters, Authors, and Themes (Green Library Information Center PS153.I52W47 1999) includes information on women authors. Includes summary and interpretive information.

Contemporary Native American Literature: a Selected and Partially Annotated Bibliography, 1977 (Green Library Information Center Z1229.I52.J32) lists works by Native American writers from 1960 to 1976. Published women authors, such as Leslie Silko, Paula Gunn Allen, and Wendy Rose, are included.

Native American Writers of the United States, Vol. 175 of the Dictionary of Literary Biography series (Green Library Information Center PS129.D52). Includes some women.

American Indian Women: a Guide to Research (Green Library Humanities and Area Studies Resource Center Z1209.2.N67B36 1991) This general reference tool has a section on "Literature and Criticism."

A Biobibliography of Native American Writers, 1772-1924, 1981, Supplement 1985. (Green Library Humanities and Area Studies Resource Center Z1209.2.U5L57) unannotated bibliography focuses on historical Native American writers, including some women.

That's What She Said: Contemporary Poetry and Fiction by Native American Women (Green Library Stacks PS508.I5T46 1984) See pages 318-322 for a bibliography of "Works By and About Native American Women Writers."


Contemporary Lesbian Writers of the United States: a bio-bibliographical critical sourcebook (Green Library Information Center and Humanities and Area Studies Resource Center PS153.L46C65 1993) Over 100 writers with biographical and critical essays, including bibliographies.

Black Lesbians: an Annotated Bibliography, 1981 (Green Library Information Center HQ75.6.U5R6) The chapter on "Literature and Criticism" includes fiction and poetry with black lesbian characters or by black lesbian authors, and criticism. Selective.

Homosexuality: a Research Guide (Green Library Information Center Z7164.S42D96 1987) Annotated bibliography with a section on "Literary Studies: Lesbian" which includes articles & books about lesbian literature, and biographies and critical essays on specific lesbian writers.

Indexes and Abstracts

MLA Bibliography, 1921+ (1963+ via Web; earlier vols.Green Library Information Center Z7006.M64)

Chicano Database 1967+ via Web

HAPI, Hispanic American Periodicals Index 1970+ via Web.

Black Studies on Disc SUNet ID required. (1988+ ) contains the Catalog of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and 1988+ of the Index to Black Periodicals (see information on print holdings below.) Contains information on materials by and about African Americans, Africa and peoples of African ancestry.

Expanded Academic ASAP general index to over 1500 magazines with some fulltext. (1980+) Click Proceed.

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

Gender Watch (1982+) fulltext articles, newsletters, reports focused on gender and women's issues.

Internet Resources

Some especially rich sites include:

Last modified: September 17, 2008

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