Women's Firsts: Milestones in Women's History

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Cross-disciplinary references related to women's issues are few and far between. Now Gale fills that gap with Women's Firsts, a new resource that utilizes history, sociology and literature to identify first-time accomplishments, honors and other landmark "firsts' of women throughout the world.

Coverage includes achievements in all fields of endeavor from ancient times to the present, with special emphasis on the 19th and 20th centuries. Ranging from 25 to 100 words in length, entries identify the breakthrough or achievement, describe it and summarize its context. In addition to brief biographies on notable individuals, Women's Firsts also provides readers with additional sources for further study.

Entries in chronological order present women involved in important moments in the arts, business, social activism, government, religion, sports, and other areas.

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Joyce W. Yen
Women's Firsts attempts to catalog some of the milestones of women's history in the fields of activism, the arts, business, education, government, media, professions, religion, science and technology, and sports. Each of these categories is further divided into sub-topics under which the names are organized. For each sub-topic, the women are listed in the chronological order of their achievements. Many entries are quite brief. The editors draw on existing resources to build this reference book and cite a source for each listing. Perhaps as a result of this methodology, the editors have created a highly Euro-centric reference book since currently existing material on women's history also tends to be Euro-centric. In addition, because this is a book on "firsts," students will not get an accurate or complete picture of the depth of women's history. Nevertheless, this reference book may be good exposure for interested readers because it will introduce them to a host of topics and a long list of people. The glossary is rather incomplete. It is unclear why some words are defined, and other repeatedly used words are left out. For example, words from the activist section such as "philanthropist, " "pacifist," and "militant" should also be defined. Most of the career words which get defined are words for a special kind of scientist. The editors do adequately define terms in the context of the entries, but many of these should also be added to the glossary. Many interesting entries in this book make it fun to browse. The section on inventors is particularly fascinating, as it illustrates how people find creative solutions to everyday problems as well as how people investigate the unknown. Melitta Bentz's solution for bitter coffee gave us the modern coffee filter, and who would have guessed that Ruth Graves Wakefield would make the first batch of chocolate chip cookies, now an American tradition, completely by accident! In general, this book provides readers with one concise resource on women's history and covers a wide variety of topics, but it is far from complete and should be used with that liability in mind. Women's Firsts does provide a good general overview and would serve as a decent starting point for further research. The editors obviously did a lot of work and took great care in preparing the book, however, in trying to cover such a wide variety of topics, depth was exchanged for breadth. Nevertheless, this is a good addition to a general reference section. Two volumes. Glossary. Index. Illus. Photos. Source Notes. Chronology.
Library Journal
Wider in scope than the earlier Book of Women's Firsts (LJ 11/1/92), this book records nearly 2500 achievements of women worldwide. Editor Zilboorg (Richard Aldington & H.D., Indiana Univ., 1992) has arranged the firsts in 15 subject areas, including activism, the arts, education, health, military, religion, and science. Within these subjects, events are arranged by year and sometimes by country. The general index is supplemented by a time line and indexes by day and by year. While some firsts refer to minor public officesthe entry for Beatrix Potter celebrates her as the first female president of the Herdwick Sheep Breeders Associationmost entries have more substance, and each entry is documented with one or more sources. Suitable for school and public libraries and for women's studies collections.Patricia A. Beaber, Trenton State Coll. Lib., N.J.
School Library Journal
Gr 6-10Brief paragraphs introduce women of achievement in 10 areas: activism, the arts, business, education, government, media, a miscellaneous mix of professions (architecture, law enforcement, law, medicine and health, and the military), religion, science and technology, and sports. The broad fields are broken into specific categories (e.g., business includes banking, business management, entrepreneurship, and inventors) and the entries are arranged chronologically within each category. Each "first" is summarized and a few biographical facts about the pioneer involved are provided. The events are mostly from the 20th century, but some older milestones are included. Many nationalities are represented, but the majority of the women are American. Because the focus is on firsts, this book looks at some interesting but somewhat obscure figures, gathering together Polish actresses, French authors, Indonesian politicians, and American entrepreneurs. However, children will not find popular report subjects such as Mother Jones, Harriet Tubman, or Annie Oakley. Each entry has a source note; however, the sources are sometimes suspect. The note for Arachne, for example, cites Judy Chicago's The Dinner Party (Anchor, 1979), which is a fascinating art book, but hardly the definitive source for Greek mythology. A glossary, time line, and cumulative index are included, and black-and-white photos and reproductions appear throughout.Rebecca O'Connell, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, PA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780787601515
  • Publisher: Cengage Gale
  • Publication date: 11/28/1996
  • Series: Women's Reference Library Series
  • Pages: 564
  • Product dimensions: 7.65 (w) x 9.57 (h) x 1.66 (d)

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