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Gerritsen Collection: Historic and Primary Sources in Women's History

Nov 09, 2012 by Chrissa Godbout

historical photos of women
What was "women's work" in the early 19th century?  View the complete "Woman's Encyclopedia" from 1800.  What were women in the mid-1800's in other countries writing about suffrage?  Read The claim of Englishwomen to the suffrage constitutionally considered from 1867. Our new subscription to The Gerritsen Collection gives full text access to thousands of publications as far back as 1543 about women's history including suffrage, women's movements, feminism and women's rights. 

In the late 1800's, Dutch physician and feminist Aletta Jacobs and her husband C.V. Gerritsen began collecting books, pamphlets and periodicals reflecting the revolution of a feminist consciousness and the movement for women's rights. By the time their successors finished their work in 1945, the Gerritsen Collection was the greatest single source for the study of women's history in the world, with materials spanning four centuries and 15 languages.

The Gerritsen curators gathered more than 4,700 publications from continental Europe, the U.S., the United Kingdom, Canada, and New Zealand, dating from 1543-1945. The anti-feminist case is presented as well as the pro-feminist; many other titles present a purely objective record of the condition of women at a given time.

The broad scope of the collection allows scholars to trace the evolution of feminism within a single country, as well as the impact of one country's movement on those of the others. In many cases, it also provides easy access to primary sources otherwise available only in a few rare book rooms.

 Go explore!


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