One of the many databases Van Wylen Library subscribes to is Women and Social Movements in the United States. This resource highlights the roles women have played in various social movements in the United States from the 1600s through 2000.
The database allows you to browse by various categories depending on what you have in mind for your research. For example, if there is a specific person you are interested in researching, the browse people function would be a good place to start. If you know what time period you would like to research but are not sure of the topic you would like to study, browse document projects is the place for you. With this function, you can select a decade and see various document projects that have been published by historians in one of the database’s twice-yearly issues. These document projects pose a question, such as “What were the origins of International Women’s Day, 1886-1920?” Clicking on this question will take you to the project, which begins with an introduction by a scholar specialist. This introduction will give you an overview of the research conducted by the historian and will provide you with links to the primary resources used by the historian, which can include articles, letters, pamphlets, and many other sources.
Jeanne Petit of the history department has a document project published in the most recent issue of the journal. Her project deals with Catholic women who worked in a community house in East St. Louis and the unique problems they faced.
“I had been doing research on national Catholic community houses when the editors of Women and Social Movements contacted me and asked me if I wanted to do a document project,” Petit said. “They were interested in Catholic women’s history especially, so that’s how I got involved.”
Petit’s project used 33 different primary resources, all of which can be found in the project. These resources, along with other primary resources included in the various document projects on the database, can be very helpful for your own research.
— Bethany Stripp, Library Student Blogger