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Major Problems in American Women's History 5th Edition

Sharon Block, Ruth M. Alexander, Mary Beth Norton

  • Published
  • Previous Editions 2007, 2003, 1996
  • 592 Pages


Designed to encourage critical thinking about history, the Major Problems in American History series introduces students to both primary sources and analytical essays on important topics in U.S. history. Major Problems in American Women's History is the leading reader for courses on the history of American women, covering the subject's entire chronological span. While attentive to the roles of women and the details of women's lives, the authors are especially concerned with issues of historical interpretation and historiography.

Sharon Block, University of California, Irvine

Sharon Block is Associate Professor of History at the University of California, Irvine. She received an M.A./A.B. from the University of Pennsylvania and a Ph.D. from Princeton University before taking up a postdoctoral fellowship at the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture at the College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia. Her writing on race and rape has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, and her book, RAPE AND SEXUAL POWER IN EARLY AMERICA, was published in 2006. She has been at the forefront of data mining for humanities research, including a published analysis of more than half a million historical abstracts. Her second monograph explores eighteenth-century constructions of gender and race in colonists' descriptions of the people around them. Professor Block teaches courses on the histories of early America, sexuality, race, colonialism and crime.

Ruth M. Alexander, Colorado State University

Ruth M. Alexander is Professor of History at Colorado State University and an Affiliate Faculty member with the CSU Public Lands History Center. She received her B.A. from the City College of New York and her Ph.D. from Cornell University. Professor Alexander is the author of THE "GIRL PROBLEM": FEMALE SEXUAL DELINQUENCY IN NEW YORK, 1900-1935 (1998). She has won research awards from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Schlesinger Library, New York State Library, and Western Association of Women Historians. Her scholarly interests center on modernity's distortion of the natural in the 1960s writings of Jane Jacobs, Rachel Carson, and Betty Friedan. She teaches courses in women's history and environmental history.

Mary Beth Norton, Brandeis University

Mary Beth Norton, the Mary Donlon Alger Professor of American History at Cornell University, received her B.A. from the University of Michigan and her Ph.D. from Harvard University. She teaches courses in the history of exploration, early America, women’s history, Atlantic world, and American Revolution. Her many books have won prizes from the Society of American Historians, Berkshire Conference of Women Historians, and English-Speaking Union. Her book, FOUNDING MOTHERS & FATHERS (1996), was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. In 2011 her book SEPARATED BY THEIR SEX: WOMEN IN PUBLIC AND PRIVATE IN THE COLONIAL ATLANTIC WORLD was published. She was Pitt Professor of American History at the University of Cambridge in 2005-2006. The Rockefeller Foundation, Guggenheim Foundation, and Huntington Library, among others, have awarded her fellowships. Professor Norton has served on the National Council for the Humanities and is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She has appeared on Book TV, the History and Discovery Channels, PBS, and NBC as a commentator on Early American history.
  • Fully updated essay selections reflect new directions in scholarship, and give students accessible insight into pressing issues in women's history.
  • Increased attention to racial and class diversity: Every chapter integrates a multiplicity of women's experiences and pays close attention to cultural interactions with added documents and essays on African American, Chicana/Latina, Native American, and Asian American women's lives.
  • Every chapter includes new documents, carefully edited to allow students to see the breadth of women's history without increasing the volume's overall length. New primary sources emphasize women's self-presentations and voices.
  • An entirely new first chapter, "Doing Women's History," presents three generations of historians (including Estelle B. Freedman, Vicki L. Ruiz, Mia Bay) who reflect on the field of women's history, the relation of history to feminism and activism; and the ongoing struggles and rewards of being a women's historian.
  • Increased attention to regional diversity and interconnections with transnational histories: Multiple chapters set U.S. women's history in a global context, address cultural and physical borders, and make connections between gender and colonial/imperial expansion.
  • Increased attention to women's everyday lives, including how their personal relationships helped to shape U.S. History: The text includes a new chapter on "Marriage, Sexuality and Family in Colonial America" and multiple revised chapters that better tie women's activism and political participation to varied lived experiences and choices.
  • The combination of primary sources and scholarly essays presents students with the best and most accessible scholarship in their field of study.
  • Headnotes provide clear context and concise questions that will help students analyze historical issues, see the relationships among women's varied experiences in documents and essays, and understand the connections between women's history and other histories.
Essays. Estelle B. Freedman—A Personal History of Women''s History. Vicki L. Ruiz and Leisa D. Meyer—"Ongoing Missionary Labor": A Conversation on Chicana Studies/History. Mia Bay—Black Women Historians and Black Women''s History. Sharon Block—Taking Over or Just Undertaking?: A Quantitative Overview of American Women''s History.
Documents. The French Explorer Samuel de Champlain Describes the Lives of Huron Women and Men in the Great Lakes Region, 1616. Father Geronimo Boscana Describes San Juan Capistrano Indian Women''s Lives, 1832. Mary Musgrove Seeks Aid from Georgia in Return for Past Service and Losses, 1747. Elizabeth Hanson Describes Aspects of Her Captivity by Native Americans in 1724. Essays. Nancy Shoemaker—Kateri Tekakwitha: Native American Women and Christianity. Michele Gillespie—Mary Musgrove and the Sexual Politics of Race and Gender in Georgia. Ann Little, Indian Captivity and Family Life in Colonial New England.
Documents. Apprenticeships of Euro-American, Native American and African American Women, New York, c. 1700. Elizabeth Sandwith Drinker, a Wealthy Philadelphian, Describes Her Work, 1758–1780. Chart of Huron Indians'' Seasonal and Gendered Labor Cycle. Mary Prince Describes Her Work as an Enslaved Salt Raker. Eulalia Pérez Recalls Her Work in a Mission in Spanish California in the Early Nineteenth Century, 1877. Essays.
Karin Wulf—Women''s Work in Colonial Philadelphia. Judith Carney—African Women''s Influence on Rice Cultivation. Virginia Marie Bouvier—Women''s Work in California''s Spanish Missions.
Documents. Henry Laurens Buys Clothes and a "Wife" for His Slaves, 1764. Virginia Statute on Intermarriage and Bastardy, 1705. Testimony of Hannah Gother, Servant, on Becoming Pregnant with Her Master''s Child, Pennsylvania, 1734. Testimony of Phillis, African American Servant, on Becoming Pregnant with Her Master''s Child, Pennsylvania, 1780. Child Custody Petition by Antonia Lusgardia Hernández, Mulatto Woman, New Spain, 1735. Bawdy Humor on Marriage. A French Explorer Describes Native American-European Relations, 1713. Essays.
Cornelia Hughes Dayton—Abortion and Gender Relations in Eighteenth-Century New England. Kathleen DuVal—Indians'' Marital and Intercultural Relationships in Colonial Louisiana.
Documents. Wife of Virginia Political Candidate Helps Provide Food and Liquor to Voters, 1752. Providence Women Burn Tea, 1775. Abigail Adams, John Adams, and Mercy Otis Warren Discuss "Remembering the Ladies," 1776. Seneca Women and Chief Red Jacket Speak Women''s Words to U.S. Delegation, 1791. Mary Philips Describes Being Raped by a British Soldier for Her Assumed Patriot Allegiances. Soldiers'' Rape of Indian Women Contributes to Political Conflict, 1766. Petition of Belinda, an African Slave, to the Massachusetts legislature for Reparations for Slavery. Essays. John G. Kolp and Terri L. Snyder—Women, Property, and Voting Rights in 18th-century Virginia. Jacqueline Jones—The Mixed Legacy of the American Revolution for Black Women.
Documents. Keep Within The Compass: Illustrated Guide to Women''s Virtue. A Diarist Relates a Gentleman''s Seduction of a 14-Year-Old Girl to His Wife''s Novel Reading, Philadelphia, 1806. Summary of the Petition of Doña Eulalia Callis and Related Documents Regarding Her Husband''s Infidelity, California, 1780s. The American Female Moral Reform Society Warns Mothers About the "Solitary Vice," 1839. The Anti-Slavery Convention of American Women Meets in New York City, May 1837. The Seneca Falls Convention Issues a "Declaration of Sentiments," 1848. Essays. Karen V. Hansen—An Erotic Friendship between Two African American Women. Julie Roy Jeffrey—Ordinary Women in the Antislavery Movement.
Documents. Newspaper Advertisements for Runaway Enslaved Women, North Carolina. Elizabeth Recalls Life as a Slave and the Comfort of Christianity. Harriet Jacobs Recounts Sexual Dangers for Enslaved Girls and Women. Nancy, a Free Woman of Color Sues for Freedom Based on Native American heritage, 1848. Debate on Massachusetts Intermarriage Law, 1840. Essays. Stephanie M.H. Camp—Enslaved Women, Truancy and Everyday Resistance in the Plantation South. Tiya Miles—The Narrative of Nancy: A Cherokee Woman Reveals the Purposeful Malleability of Race. Martha Hodes—Eunice Connolly: A Transnational Family Story of Race and Womanhood
Documents. The Louisianan Sarah Morgan Proudly Proclaims Herself a Rebel, 1863. A Union Nurse, Cornelia Hancock, Describes the Aftermath of the Battle of Gettysburg, 1863. Ella Gertrude Clanton Thomas Describes Conditions in the Confederacy and Criticizes Northern Women, 1865. Woman''s Rights Advocates Submit a Petition for Universal Suffrage, 1866. Caroline Benson Testifies about Abuse by the Ku Klux Klan before a Joint Congressional Committee, 1871. Ida B. Wells-Barnett Shares a Letter from Frederick Douglass and Denounces Lynchings in the South, 1895. Harriet Tubman Petitions Congress, Requesting Payment for Services Rendered during the War, circa 1898. Essays.
Nina Silber—Domesticity Under Siege in Union States. Hannah Rosen—How Southern Black Women during Reconstruction Claimed Citizenship by Testifying to Violence.
Documents. A Citizen Protests the Rape of Indian Women in California, 1862. Letter from Mariana Day to Congress Requesting a Resolution to a Disputed Land Claim in California, 1870. Bills of Sale of Chinese Prostitutes, 1875-1876. Zitkala-Sa Travels to the Land of the Big Red Apples, 1884. Mrs. A.M. Green''s Account of Frontier Life in Colorado, 1887. Violet Cragg, Ex-Slave and Former Army Nurse, Requests an Army Pension, 1908. Three Accounts of Marriages between White Women and Indian Men, The New York Times, 1885–1891. Essays. Judy Yung—Chinese Women in Nineteenth-Century San Francisco. Cathleen D. Cahill—Native Men, White Women, and Marriage in the Indian Service.
Documents. Susan Lord Currier Comments on the Indians Who Work in Washington''s Hop Fields, 1898. Rose Cohen Describes Her First Job in New York City, 1892. Fannie Barrier Williams Describes the Problems of Employment for Negro Women, 1903. The U.S. Supreme Court Upholds a Maximum Hours Law for Working Women in Muller v. Oregon, 1908. The New York Times Reports on the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, 1911. The Survey Reports on a Protest of Unemployed Women in New York City, 1914. Three Photographs: Article I. Portraits of Beauty-Industry Entrepreneurs Madame C. J. Walker and Her Daughter A''Lelia Walker (undated); Article II: A Walker Beauty Parlor for African American Women: Beauty Operators with Clients in New York City (1915): Article III: The Elegant Waiting Room of Walker Beauty Parlor for African American Women in New York City (1915). Essays. Page Raibmon—Everyday Colonialism: Indigenous Women at Work in the Hop Fields and Tourist Industry of Puget Sound. Kate Dossett—Black Women and Work: A''Lelia Walker and the Madam C.J. Walker Manufacturing Company.
Documents. Mary Church Tyrell Praises the Club Work of Colored Women, 1901. Mary Church Terrell Describes Lynching from a Negro''s Point of View, 1904. The National American Woman Suffrage Association Explains Why Women in the Home Need the Vote, 1910. Southeastern Federation of Colored Women''s Clubs Enlists the Cooperation of Southern White Women, 1921. Elsie Hill and Florence Kelly Take Opposing Positions on a Proposed Woman''s Equal Rights Bill, 1922. White Women in Louisiana Explain Their Aims in Joining an Organization Similar to the Ku Klux Klan, 1923. Margaret Sanger Publishes Letters Documenting American Wives'' and Husbands'' Urgent Need for Legal Birth Control, 1928. Essays. Deborah Gray White—Black Women and Nation-Making. Kathleen Blee—Women in the 1920s Ku Klux Klan.
Documents. The New York Times Reports, "Destitute Women on Increase Here," 1932. Anne Marie Low Records Her Feelings About Life in the Dust Bowl, 1934. Dorothy Bromley Dunbar Comments on Birth Control and the Depression, 1934. White and Black Women in North Carolina Find Work with New Deal Agencies Making Rugs and Mattresses, 1934. The New York Times Reports on "Indignant" Women Who "Seize" City Hall in Pleasantville, New Jersey, 1936. Eleanor Roosevelt Applauds the Repeal of the Married Persons Clause of the Economy Act, 1937. Louise Mitchell Denounces the "Slave Markets" Where Domestics Are Hired in New York City, 1940. Luisa Moreno Calls for the Naturalization of Non-Citizen Mexican Americans, 1940. Essays. Andrea Tone—Women, Birth Control, and the Marketplace in the 1930s. Elna C. Green—The Tampa Sewing-Room Strike of 1937 and the Right to Welfare.
Documents. Hortense Johnson Describes Black Women and the War Effort, 1943. Mrs. Norma Yerger Queen Reports on the Problems of Employed Mothers in Utah, 1944. The Challenges of Maintaining the Health, Discipline, and Morale of the Women''s Army Corps in North Africa and the Mediterranean During World War II. 4.Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston, a Schoolgirl at Manzanar, 1940s. Frances Esquibel Tywoniak Recalls Her Early Adolescence in California during World War II. Essays. Megan Taylor Shockley—African American Women, Citizenship, and Workplace Democracy in Detroit during World War II. Valerie Matsumoto—Japanese American Women During World War II. Elizabeth R. Escobedo—Mexican American Young Women and the "Pachuca Panic" in World War II Los Angeles.
Documents. Psychiatrist Marynia F. Farnham and Sociologist Ferdinand Lundberg Denounce the Modern Woman as the "Lost Sex," 1947. African American Pauli Murray Explains "Why Negro Girls Stay Single," 1947. Joyce Johnson Recounts Her Experience in Obtaining an Illegal Abortion in New York City, 1955. Jesuita Aragon Recalls Life as a Single Mother, Midwife, and Factory Worker in New Mexico, 1950s. A Letter to the Editor of The Ladder from an African American Lesbian, 1957. Essays. Joanne Meyerowitz—Competing Images of Women in Postwar Mass Culture. Yvonne Keller—Lesbian Pulp Novels and U.S. Lesbian Identity, 1950-1965.
Documents. Ella Baker Describes the Goals of the Sit-in Movement, 1960. "Rachel Carson Answers Her Critics," 1963. Betty Friedan Reveals the "Problem that Has No Name," 1963. Radicalesbians Explore the Revolutionary Potential of Women-Identified Women. Frances Beale, "Double Jeopardy: To Be Black and Female," 1970. Mirta Vidal Reports on the Rising Consciousness of the Chicana About Her Special Oppression, 1971. Johnnie Tillmon Declares that Welfare Is a Women''s Issue, 1972. The Equal Rights Amendment, 1972. The Supreme Court Legalizes Abortion in Roe v. Wade, 1973. Phyllis Schlafly Declares, "Women''s Libbers Do Not Speak for Us," 1972. Essays. Leslie J. Reaga—Crossing the Border for Abortions in the 1960s. Anne M. Valk—Black Women, Motherhood, and Welfare Rights in Washington, D.C.
Documents. Anita Hill''s Testimony Before the Senate Judiciary Committee, 1991. Rebecca Walker Describes the Start of Third Wave Feminism, 1992. The Supreme Court Rules on Abortion Rights and State Regulation in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 1992. The Supreme Court Upholds a Federal Ban on Partial-Birth Abortions in Gonzales v. Carhart, 2007. Native Women Seek Federal Aid to Combat Sexual Violence, 2009. The Southern Poverty Law Center Reports on the Workplace Exploitation of Undocumented Immigrant Women, 2010. Researchers for the Guttmacher Institute Present Findings on Religious Affiliation and Use of Contraception, 2011. Seattle University Law Professor, Julie Shapiro, Says Parenting Helped Put Gay Men and Lesbians on the Path to Legal Marriage, 2012. The Service Women''s Action Network Describes Its Work for Women in the Military, 2012. Essays. R. Claire Snyder—What Is Third-Wave Feminism? Brenda E. Stevenson—Multicultural Female Violence and Justice on the Urban Frontier.