Notable Women in American History: A Guide to Recommended Biographies and Autobiographies

Notable Women in American History: A Guide to Recommended Biographies and Autobiographies

Notable Women in American History: A Guide to Recommended Biographies and Autobiographies

Notable Women in American History: A Guide to Recommended Biographies and Autobiographies

Synopsis

This unique guide will enable students, librarians, teachers, and general readers to easily identify the best biographies and autobiographies of 500 of the most notable women in American history. Spanning from colonial America through 1998, the guide features entries on historical and contemporary women who have achieved recognition in more than 100 fields of endeavor. It annotates approximately 1350 recommended books published since 1970 about these women. The compilation of works selected here is unavailable in any other reference.

Excerpt

The best biographies leave their readers with a sense of having all but entered into a second life and of having come to know another human being in some ways better than [she] knew [herself]. Mary Cable in the New York Times, 1969

Women have often worked privately for the betterment of their world because society has too often disdained their public advocacy of a cause. One of the main ways that women have gained recognition is by their writing, an activity pursued in private, where no man could control their creativity. Yet some women could only hope for publication by masquerading behind a masculine pseudonym. Only after attracting a wide readership could they reveal themselves as women. Attitudes toward women as public figures in America have slowly changed since the mid-nineteenth century when Abby Kelley Foster and the Grimke sisters confronted charges of prostitution for lecturing on abolition to mixed crowds of men and women. In twentieth-century America, unlike much of the rest of the world in any century, women have had opportunities for careers other than writing or homemaking. But even in America, as feminist scholars will attest, only in recent decades have some, but not all, professions treated males and females equally in assessing their achievements. Fortunately, some of these women have now also become subjects for biographies.

The 500 women included here must fulfill three criteria. They must have lived in the United States or one of its territories, and if born abroad after 1900, be a naturalized American citizen; have enriched life for other Americans in some way; and have a full-length biography or autobiography for either adults or mature young adults published since 1970 which is available by . . .

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