A Companion to American Women's History / Edition 1

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This collection of twenty-four original essays by leading scholars in American women's history highlights the most recent important scholarship on the key debates and future directions of this popular and contemporary field.

  • Covers the breadth of American Women's history, including the colonial family, marriage, health, sexuality, education, immigration, work, consumer culture, and feminism.
  • Surveys and evaluates the best scholarship on every important era and topic.
  • Includes expanded bibliography of titles to guide further research.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Hewitt has collected introductory yet well rounded essays that provide a diversity of scholarly interpretations of American women's history. Each contributor thoroughly synopsizes germane works while incorporating issues such as race, class, and religion. Highly recommended as an introductory examination of American women's history." Choice

“It is impossible to overstate the value of Nancy Hewitt’s Companion to American Women’s History. It guides us, with tremendous authority, into the vast world of American women’s history, as it has developed and as it stands at the beginning of the 21st century. But it is also a powerful intervention. Cutting across conventional categories and divisions, it recasts the field, raising provocative new questions, suggesting new approaches, and opening fresh paths to the future. I can’t imagine teaching or writing women’s history in the future without this Companion by my side.” Jacquelyn Hall, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

“The original essays in this volume, based on broad-ranging historiography, will be useful and provocative to both the beginning student and the seasoned scholar.” Nancy F. Cott, Harvard University

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Nancy A. Hewitt is Professor of History and Women’s Studies at Rutgers University. She is the author of Women's Activism and Social Change (1984) and Southern Discomfort: Women’s Activism in Tampa, Florida, 1880s-1920s (2001), Women's Activism and Social Change (2001), the editor of Women, Families, and Communities (1990), and co-editor of Visible Women: New Essays on American Activism (1993), and Talking Gender: Public Images, Personal Journeys, and Political Critiques (1996).

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Table of Contents

About the Contributors ix

Introduction xii


1 The Imperial Gaze: Native American, African American, and Colonial Women in European Eyes 3
Kirsten Fischer

2 Slavery and the Slave Trade 20
Jennifer L. Morgan

3 Contact and Conquest in Colonial North America 35
Gwenn A. Miller

4 Building Colonies, Defining Families 49
Ann M. Little

5 Sinners and Saints: Women and Religion in Colonial America 66
Susan Juster


6 A Revolution for Whom? Women in the Era of the American Revolution 83
Jem E. Lewis

7 Gender and Class Formations in the Antebellum North 100
Catherine Kelly

8 Religion, Reform, and Radicalism in the Antebellum Era 117
Nancy A. Hewitt

9 Conflicts and Cultures in the West 132
Lisbeth Haas

10 Rural Women 150
Marli F. Weiner

11 The Civil War Era 167
Thavolia Glymph

12 Marriage, Property, and Class 193
Amy Dru Stanley

13 Health, Sciences, and Sexualities in Victorian America 206
Louise Michele Newman


14 Education and the Professions 227
Lynn D. Gordon

15 Wage-earning Women 250
Annelise Orleck

16 Consumer Cultures 274
Susan Porter Benson

17 Urban Spaces and Popular Cultures, 1890-1930 295
Nan Enstad

18 Women on the Move: Migration and Immigration 312
Ardis Cameron

19 Women's Movements, 1880s-1920s 328
Kirsten Delegard

20 Medicine, Law, and the State: The History of Reproduction 348
Leslie J. Reagan

21 The Great Depression and World War II 366
Karen Anderson

22 Rewriting Postwar Women's History, 1945-1960 382
Joanne Meyerowitz

23 Civil Rights and Black Liberation 397
Steven F. Lawson

24 Second-wave Feminism 414
Rosalyn Baxandall and Linda Gordon

Bibliography: Selected Secondary Sources 433
Compiled by April de Stefano

Index 481

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