Collection Description and Overview
Welcome to the Special Collections Women’s Studies page. In order to support the multidisciplinary field of Women’s Studies at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the Department of Special Collections at Golda Meir Library collects, preserves, and makes accessible published primary source materials that document women’s experience, feminism and women’s history. In cooperation with the library’s other collections, especially with the UWM Archives, the collecting area emphasizes social, political, economic, sexual, and civil rights struggles of women nationally and internationally. These materials also preserve the history of women’s creative and intellectual activity, from “character and life conduct” manuals in the mid-18th and early 19th centuries to American feminisms in the 1960s and 1980s.
Collection materials document diverse perspectives on a vast array of topics in American women’s history from the 18th century to present. From early women authors and prescriptive writing on the position of women in society, to female education, domesticity, and civic duty, women in the private sphere sought to shape and change gender relations. Suffragists of the “woman movement,” clubwomen, abolitionists and civic reformers sought to change public conditions for women and children throughout the 19th century. After the vote was won in 1920, women continued their political activism in peace and labor movements, Prohibition, prostitution and other Progressive-era reform on the status of women. The history of women’s social, educational and employment reform can be found in organizational publications, such as that of the Task Force on the Status of Women and the National Organization for Women. The so-called "second wave" of feminism in the 1960s and 1970s expanded publications by and for women exponentially, and our collection reflects this with a variety of periodicals, art, poetry, and women's liberation writing. Women of color and lesbian historical experience is documented from the 1960s to present.
History of American Nursing Collection
Historically a women's profession, this collection documents the history of the nursing field from its origins in the United States during the Civil War to present day. Areas of concentration include early technical skills and general nursing care; the legal and ethical aspects of nursing and its development; obstetrics and pediatrics; community health; nursing education; nursing and the military; Wisconsin and Milwaukee area history (particularly hospital nursing programs and the Lutheran Deaconess movement). The collection compliments nursing collections in the UWM Archives, including the Papers of Helen Creighton, Distinguished Professor of Nursing at UWM and a pioneer in nursing law, and the records of Milwaukee's St. Mary's School of Nursing, 1894-1969. The library also holds a complete microfilm set of the Adelaide Nutting Historical Nursing Collection. For information, see our online nursing exhibit or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fromkin Collection of Social Justice
Much of the historical materials by and about women before the modern period, approximately 1920, can be found in our Fromkin Collection as a part of the broader struggle for social justice. First-wave feminist issues such as abolition, coeducation, suffrage, child-labor, birth control, and "civic housekeeping" are represented, as well as the anti-suffragist and white-supremacist Klan backlash at the turn of the 20th century. After 1920, socialist and communist women's history, and the struggle for working women's rights, can be found in Fromkin. Socialist response to "The Woman Questions" came during a period when feminism was in "the doldrums," and radical women kept sexism and sexual discrimination on the forefront of party and movement agendas. For more information, please visit the Fromkin Collection website.
Accessing Our CollectionOur collection is non-circulating, but may be viewed in our secured reading area, Monday through Friday, 10:00am to 5:00pm. For more information about Special Collections, materials accessibility and use, visit our departmental homepage. The Women's Studies collection is developed through gift and purchase. Please see our collection development policy for more information.
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Last edited on Friday, Jan. 20, 2006.