Women's Studies 640 (Spring 2003)

Books, magazines, newsletters, pamphlets, etc., written by women's movement organizations and individual activists are primary sources for studying them. Books and articles published about the organizations and activists, as well as related historical, theoretical, biographical, and other contextual analyses are referred to as secondary sources. Search Madcat for both primary and secondary published material available in campus libraries, and microform copies of archival material. Archives collect (unpublished) papers of individuals and organizational records, such as minutes of meetings, internal memos, etc. We have two archives on campus: the Wisconsin Historical Society Archives Division, which has numerous collections of records of mostly U.S.-based activist women's organizations (some local or state branches, some national) and papers of individuals, and the UW Archives, which has institutional records for UW-Madison, UW-System, and the UW Colleges, as well as the papers of many individuals associated with the university. In addition, libraries and archives here and elsewhere have been digitizing items from their collections and mounting them on the Internet.

Finding Primary Sources Using Madcat

Finding Primary Sources in the Wisconsin Historical Society Archives

Use ArCat (catalog of the Wisconsin Historical Society's archival holdings that have thus far been catalogued):
Includes descriptions of the personal papers and organizational records held in the Historical Society Archives in Madison and in the Society's Area Research Centers around the state. Some mention more detailed finding aids, some of those are online and linked within the Arcat records. Women's History Resources at the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, by Mary Fiorenza and Michael Edmonds (5th ed., Madison: State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 1997; Historical Society Library Stacks Z7961 A1 W57 1997 and Memorial Library Reference Stacks Room 262 [non-circulating] HQ1426 S79 1997) describes the secondary literature that provides entrée to archival sources and describes in detail by subject (homes/households, work, wartime, reform movements, religion, and media) and by example the different types of material available (first-person accounts, periodicals, images, material culture, etc.) Diaries, correspondence, reminiscences, interviews, and other types of material are found in the collections.

Examples of collections (for more, try the keyword search feminis?)

Some Digitized Collections of Primary Documents Related to the Women's Movements since the 1960s


Transnational and National Movements, Non-U.S.

Finding Background Information (Secondary Literature) About Women's Movements

About Individuals

About Organizations, Movements, and Related Topics


The History and Future of Women's Health Seminar (1998) includes "Two Centuries of Women’s Health Activism," by Carol S. Weisman, "The Women’s Health Movement From the 1960s to the Present, and Beyond," by Sheryl Burt Ruzek, Ph.D., M.P.H., and a response by Judy Norsigian of the Boston Women's Health Book Collective (Our Bodies, Ourselves)

"Women's Movements and the Challenge of Transnationalism," by Amrita Basu



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Mounted December 19, 2002.