Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1600 to 2000 | Alexander Street

Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1600 to 2000

Explore the multiplicity of women’s activism in American public life from Colonial times to the present. Women and Social Movements in the United States is one of the most heavily visited resources for women’s history and women’s studies on the Web, appealing to students and researchers at all levels.

About the collection

This database/journal brings together innovative scholarship, primary documents, books, images, essays, book and website reviews, teaching tools, and more. It combines the analytic power of a database with the new scholarly insights of a peer-reviewed journal. Published twice a year since 2004, the database/journal was edited by Kathryn Kish Sklar and Thomas Dublin from 2004 through Spring 2019. Since Fall 2019, Rebecca Jo Plant and Judy Tzu-Chun Wu of the University of California, San Diego, and the University of California, Irvine, respectively, have taken on editorship with input from an editorial board of leading scholars.

Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1600-2000 is organized around document projects, works of scholarship that link an interpretive essay to 30 or more related primary documents, leading users step by step from discovery to contextual understanding. Four new document projects are added every year. Recent examples include:

  • "Free Angela Davis and All Political Prisoners! A Transnational Campaign for Liberation”
  • “How Did Female Protestant Missionaries Respond to the Japanese American Incarceration Experience during World War II?”
  • “How and Why Did Women in SNCC (the Student Non- Violent Coordinating Committee) Author a Pathbreaking Feminist Manifesto, 1964–1965?”

The carefully curated and indexed primary source collections include: 

  • Publications by State and Local Commissions on the Status of Women, 1963-2000.
  • 16,000 pages of writings by and about Black Woman Suffragists, 1830-1960
  • Proceedings of the National Women’s Anti-Slavery Conventions in the 1830s.
  • Proceedings of Women’s Rights Conventions (1848–1869).
  • Proceedings of the National Conventions of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (1874–1898).
  • Publications of the League of Women Voters (1920–2000).
  • 50 state reports addressing gender bias in the courts.

We also are midway through posting a collection of the writings of 350 black women suffragists, totaling more than 2,000 items and more than 15,000 pages, with links to biographical sketches of these activists.

These primary source collections include rare and previously inaccessible materials. They are enhanced by scholarly essays from leading historians that illuminate key historical issues in those texts and provide entry points for accessing the collections.

Altogether, the database/journal includes more than 170,000 pages of documents written by more than 2,700 primary authors. Each issue adds new material, offering the latest historical scholarship and related primary materials.

A dictionary of social movements and a chronology of U.S. women’s history complement the primary sources and facilitate searching within the database.

By arrangement with Harvard University Press, Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1600 to 2000 includes all five volumes of Notable American Women: A Biographical Dictionary (1971–2004). Also included are previously inaccessible publications of local and state commissions on the status of women since 1963. State by state and year by year, these astonishing publications illustrate and track the full range of issues affecting the lives of American women since 1960. Commission reports are especially rich in statistical data and patrons can create their own charts using a customizable graph tool.


2020 releases of the journal will cover various topics including:

“Sexualities and Bodies”

  • The Spring issue, “Sexualities and Bodies,” features a very rich document project by Jamie Wagman entitled “Transgender in the Heartland: Transitioning and Seeking Community in Middle America." This project consists of oral history interviews, including both audio files and transcripts, of twenty transgender women and men who grew up or currently live in the Midwest, many in small towns and rural areas.
  • Also included is a roundtable, “Women, Gender, and Sexuality in the Archives,” featuring contributions from Morna Gerrard, archivist for Women and Gender Collections at Georgia State University Library; Jeff Snapp, formerly of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Project Archivist at ONE Archive; and Liana Zhou, Director of the Kinsey Institute Library and Special Collection.

“Women’s Citizenship and state power”

  • The Fall 2020 edition focuses on questions of women’s citizenship and state power in the mid-twentieth century U.S. It features two document projects that, in the broadest sense, show how different American constituencies grappled with the growing power of the federal government and the struggle to define the meaning of national citizenship in ways that accorded with their own understanding of their place within the national polity.
  • The first document project, by Mary Klann, focuses on Native American women’s opposition to termination — the policy approach pursued by the federal government beginning in the 1940s that, in the name of assimilation, aimed to “terminate” the government’s special relationship with Native American tribes.
  • A second document project, by David Dawson and Rebecca Jo Plant, explores congressional debates during World War II over whether to draft women for civilian work, as Britain did, in order to maximize its human resources

Introducing Judy Tzu-Chun Wu and Rebecca Jo Plant

Meet the new faculty editors who will oversee Women and Social Movements in the U.S. over the next five years. In a recent conversation with Judy Tzu-Chun Wu and Rebecca Jo Plant, they described the profound influence of Dublin and Sklar on women’s history and how the new editorial team will continue to grow and enhance this comprehensive, essential project which Dublin and Sklar began in 1997 and in partnership with Alexander Street since 2003. 

Wu and Plant look forward to bringing some new features and content to the collection, such as:

  • More multi-format content, including video for a more dynamic, immersive learning and research experience
  • Bi-annual e-journal publications/content updates organized according to theme
  • Examples of art as a form of social protest. Submissions of creative work that sparks intellectual and political reflection are welcome


Judy Tzu-Chun Wu is a professor of Asian American Studies at the University of California, Irvine and director of the Humanities Center. She received her Ph.D. in U.S. History from Stanford University and previously taught at Ohio State University. She authored Dr. Mom Chung of the Fair-Haired Bastards: the Life of a Wartime Celebrity (University of California Press, 2005) and Radicals on the Road: Internationalism, Orientalism, and Feminism during the Vietnam Era (Cornell University Press, 2013). Her current book project, a collaboration with political scientist Gwendolyn Mink, explores the political career of Patsy Takemoto Mink, the first woman of color U.S. congressional representative and the namesake for Title IX. Wu also is working on a book that focuses on Asian American and Pacific Islander women who attended the 1977 National Women’s Conference. She co-edited Women’s America: Refocusing the Past, 8th Edition (Oxford 2015), Gendering the Trans-Pacific World (Brill 2017), and Frontiers: A Journal of Women’s Studies (2012-2017).


Rebecca Jo Plant is an associate professor in History at the University of California, San Diego. The author of Mom: The Transformation of Motherhood in Modern America, and co-editor of Maternalism Reconsidered: Motherhood, Welfare, and Social Policies in the Twentieth Century, she has held major fellowships from the American Association of University Women, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the Australian Research Council. Along with Frances M. Clarke, she won the 2015 Letitia Woods Brown Memorial Prize and Berkshire Conference of Women Historians’ Prize for best article for “‘The Crowning Insult’: Federal Segregation and the Gold Star Mother and Widow Pilgrimages of the Early 1930s” (Journal of American History).



Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1600-2000, edited by Thomas Dublin and Kathryn Kish Sklar, is available for perpetual access purchase.

Women and Social in the United States, 1600-2000, edited by Rebecca Jo Plant and Judy Tzu-Chun Wu, is available for perpetual access through an annual purchase.

Combined editions are available for subscription.


Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1600-2000 is a key component of Women and Social Movements Library along with: 


Best Reference Database 2003" Winner!

Library Journal

Alexander Street scoops the electronic publishing world yet again with a powerhouse product... This is an exciting resource and an intriguing publishing model.

Library Journal

Outstanding Academic Title 2004" Winner!


Far more comprehensive than any other website in the field... Not only the biggest, but far and away the best, using a method of organization that benefits students, teachers, and scholars alike.

Women's History Review