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"The materials in this on-line archival collection document various aspects of the Women's Liberation Movement in the United States, and focus specifically on the radical origins of this movement during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Items range from radical theoretical writings to humorous plays to the minutes of an actual grassroots group. The items in this on-line collection are scanned and transcribed from original documents held in Duke's Special Collections Library. We are making these documents available on-line in order to support current teaching and research interests related to this period in U.S. history."
This nice page, from the The Chicago Women's Liberation Union (CWLU) Herstory Website, provides a basic, browsable annotated list of a few primary documents. However, although the word "classic" appears in the title, all of these materials are from the 1960s and 1970s, so they are useful only in the study of the second wave. Note, too, that the group maintains files related to the "Jane" abortion activists. Click the Historical Archive link in the top frame to explore other web document options.
Starting with Mary Wollstonecraft and Harriet Taylor, this webpage provides "Selected writings of feminists of each of the “three waves” of feminist political activity. Intellectual Property laws prevent the Marxists Internet Archive from reproducing the works of most of the major feminist writers of recent decades. However, key chapters and articles have been reproduced for educational purposes only."
"For the first time, core feminist texts from the second wave of feminism in Europe have been made available to researchers in an easily accessible online database. The FRAGEN project brings together books, articles and pamphlets that were influential in the development of feminist ideas in 29 countries during the second half of the 20th century." Click Database in the top frame and then "Search Database" to explore the available writings.
The late Andrea Dworkin was one of the most articulate, passionate and controversial voices from the second wave of American feminism. This webpage excerpts sections from a variety of her writings. Click on the large button for "Andrea Dworkin Online Library" to read selections from Intercourse, Right-Wing Women, Pornography: Men Possessing Women, Our Blood:Prophecies and Discourses on Sexual Politics, Woman Hating, and Life and Death. The site also includes many memorial statements by other feminist leaders posted after her Spring 2005 death.
o Freeman is another feminist activist and scholar whose work has spanned the earliest days of the "women's movement" til today. This good-looking, well-organized website presents many of Ms. Freeman's writings, including several written under the pseudonym Joreen. (These classic pieces include "The BITCH Manifesto" and "The Tyranny of Structurelessness.")
Designed to support this book, which we have in both print and eBook, this webpage suggests other websites, recommends appropriate films, and even links to the full-text of few classic "Primary Source Documents from Feminist History."
Print and eBook Collections of Feminist Writings and Primary Documents
Included are more than forty selections, coveting 150 years of writings on women's struggle for freedom -- from the American Revolution to the first decades of the twentieth century. This updated, wide-ranging collection encompasses the crucial issues of women's oppression. Contains excerpts from books, essays, speeches, documents, letters, as well as poetry, drama, and fiction. Extensive commentaries by the editor help the reader see the historical context of each selection.
Here are just a few examples of the types of anthologies Sawyer Library owns that gather and reprint interesting journalism, essays and primary documents about women's lives and feminist activism.
LJ said "This anthology, which updates Schneir's previous collection, Feminism: The Essential Historical Writings (Random House, 1972), begins with an excerpt from Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex and ends with a section on ``Themes of the Eighties and Nineties.'' Including essays, excerpts from classic works (e.g., The Feminist Mystique, Sexual Politics), statements from organizations, poems, and fiction, Schneir's selections cover a wide variety of topics such as organization of the feminist movement, feminist theory, health, and discrimination against women. All major feminist authors are included, with African Americans and the lesbian perspective well represented."
"Here are, as Alice Rossi claims in her well-written preface, 'the essential works of feminism, ' published over a period of 200 years. Her introductions to each section are informative and written with nonpolemical grace." -- Doris Grumbach, New Republic
Contains a wide spectrum of U.S. writings. The earliest item is an excerpt from Anne Hutchinson's trial in 1636. And writings move through herstory up to essays by many notables of the second wave feminism, like Florence Howe, Dana Densmore and Robin Morgan.
LJ said "More than 50 women offer brief essays written specifically for this volume, among them such household names as Gloria Steinem, Andrea Dworkin, and Anita Hill, as well as many lesser-known but accomplished writers. They discuss everything from women in sports and aging to the Internet, and particular care is taken to represent a variety of ethnic, economic, and other backgrounds. Even the 14-year-old editors of New Moon magazine exude confidence and a great sense of purpose. More personal than scholarly, these essays will lead readers to explore further (each is followed by a suggested reading list and essays are cross-referenced)." And, yes, we also have Robin Morgan's earlier collections, Sisterhood is Powerful and Sisterhood is Global.
Booklist said "his lively anthology counters the notion that feminism is on the wane. Findlen, managing editor of Ms. magazine, offers a collection of essays by young feminists, part of a generation that wrestles with a broad range of issues from race and sexual orientation to maternity. These writers, including well-known feminist Rebecca Walker, don't speak in definitives but acknowledge the many options that women have or ought to have. The collection includes a range of viewpoints--a Jewish woman dissects the paternalism in her religious culture, an Asian laments the lack of representation of Asians in feminist groups, a deeply religious Baptist African American ponders the multiplicity of her identities. The book begins with girlhood recollections of feminist--and sexual--awakenings and then moves on to struggles with identity and the boiling issues facing women, including abortion and sexual violence."
Presenting a diverse collection of documents, Root of Bitterness reaches from the colonial era through the nineteenth century, focusing on six dominant themes: women's work, the power of gender, the physical body, women's collective efforts, diversity and conflict among women, and women's relation to state authority. This edition contains about twenty selections from the original volume and almost sixty new ones.
69 selections presented, but as the subtitle indicates, these entries consist of "primary documents" from letters and diaries. Some of the women represented are famous, but many are just ordinary women who left testament about their lives and their role in society.
"Containing a wealth Of primary sources, this reader offers a rich sampling of women's experiences in colonial America. Carol Berkin and Leslie Horowitz gather together a broad spectrum of documents that crosscuts race, class, and region, presenting the voices of African American, European, and Native American women, the rich and poor, and women in the south, the middle colonies, and New England.The editors draw on diaries, letters, essays, court documents, sermons, wills, plantation records, newspapers, fiction, and advice manuals to reconstruct women's lives and roles during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries."
From the SLJ Review: "This admirable offering includes a lively discussion of the history of the movement, the personalities involved, and the strategies used to finally obtain the vote. It opens with a list of "Important People, Places and Terms" and a chronology with page references, followed by a narrative overview, biographical sketches, and primary documents. There are some exceptional inclusions such as excerpts from Francis Parkman's booklet Some of the Reasons against Woman Suffrage and Rose Winslow's notes, spirited out of prison during her 1917 hunger strike."
Volume 1 is a Critical Study of Early Feminist Rhetoric. While Volume 2 presents a collection of key speeches by national leaders which provides "a vivid and accurate documentary history of American woman's rights and suffrage movement from its beginnings in the 1840s through 1920. Offering many rare and previously unpublished selections, it brings together the work of fifteen notable reformers who played central roles in shaping and directing the movement and in articulating the diverse issues and viewpoints that characterized it. The discourses reveal the strategies used by early woman's rights advocates in adapting their appeals to varied audiences, responding to opposition, and advancing their cause in the political arena."