Women, Gender, and Sexuality in the U.S. Research Guide


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Research Guide

Welcome! This page highlights key resources for conducting effective  research for the Women, Gender, and Sexuality in the U.S.

If you need assistance identifying additional resources, search terms or strategies, please schedule a research consultation.

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Personal Librarian:
Shannon O'Neill
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Click on the plus signs below to expand the content for each section.

I. General Search Tips:

The follow pertains directly to searching the Library Catalog (CLIO). Many of these tips may also apply to searching databases and digital collections; however, when it doubt look at the help guide, or “how to search” documentation, for a particular database.

● Use "quotation marks" to search for an exact phrase: "reproductive justice”
● Use * for truncation (to find variant spellings and endings of a word): wom*n will find woman, women, womyn; feminis* will find feminism, feminist, feminists, etc.

● For more complex search, use AND and OR:
     ○ AND finds records which have all the search terms you entered.
     ○ OR finds records which have one of the search terms you entered, as well as records which have more than one of the terms. OR finds MORE.
     ○ For more help with using AND and OR, check our guide to advanced Boolean keyword searching.

● Use parentheses to group terms: “domestic worker” AND (“union*” OR “labor movement”)
● Take notes about what you are searching. This will help you to remember what search terms were helpful to you and which search terms were less helpful. This will help you be strategic as your research develops.

II. Theorizing Women’s and Gender History -- Finding Books, Articles, Dissertations, Reports, Media and More:

Finding Books, Articles, Dissertations, Reports Media and More In the Library Catalog (CLIO):

● If you know exactly what book (journal, video, etc.) you are looking for, you can search by Title, Author, ISBN, etc.
● It can often be helpful to start with a more expansive search (i.e. fewer terms entered into the search box), and then use facets and sorting to narrow down your results.
● To find items about a specific topic, first try a keyword search in All Fields
● One strategy for finding books in CLIO is to start with keywords related to your research, then look at the subject headings that are listed in catalog records of search results. For example, if you're interested in investigating a feminist analysis of the suffrage movement, you might start by searching feminis* AND suffrag*
● From the list of results, click on a title and look at the other subject headings listed, and you might be lead to subject headings like Women > Suffrage > United States > History.
● Use the search facets on the left side of the results page to narrow down results by dates of publication, format, subject, location, and other features.

Finding Journal Articles, Reports, and Dissertations in Databases:

In addition to using the CLIO to find articles, databases are a great place to find journal articles. Most journal article databases allow you to limit by discipline or subject focus, a feature which is not supported by CLIO’s article search function. Here are a few that you may want to consider for this course:

Alternative Press Index and API Archive contains feminist and other alternative press publications from 1969-present

Contemporary women’s issues provides full-text journal and magazine articles, fact sheets, and reports about women in over 190 countries, from U.S. and international sources

Ethnic News Watch has a full-text collection of newspapers, magazines and journals from ethnic, minority and indigenous press.

Gender Equality Data and Statistics is data portal published by the World Bank, providing data from a variety of sources.

Gender Studies Database covers scholarship on gender and sexuality---including journal articles, book chapters, reports, conference papers, dissertations, websites and more---from both inside and outside academia.

GenderWatch offers access to a full-text collection of international journals, magazines, newsletters, regional publications, special reports and conference proceedings devoted to women's and gender issues.

JSTOR provides access to the core scholarly journals in the humanities and social sciences from the earliest issues to within a few years of current publication. Users may browse by journal title or discipline, or may search full-text or citations/abstracts.

LGBT Life provides indexing and abstracts of worldwide literature on gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender issues, as well as full text for more than 50 journals, magazines and regional newspapers and dozens of monographs

ProQuest Dissertations is searchable and browsable database of dissertations and theses from around the world, spanning from 1743 to the present day.

Project Muse has full-text versions of peer-reviewed journals from many of the world's leading university presses and scholarly societies, as well as thousands of e-books, with emphasis on humanities and social sciences.

III. Analyzing and Critiquing Empirical Evidence -- Finding Primary Sources:

Before you begin, you may want to read the Barnard Library’s Guide to Archival Research, which provides you with tips on how to get started, how to find archival repositories locally and elsewhere, recommendations for approaches to analyzing primary sources, and more!

Finding Primary Sources in the Library Catalog (CLIO):

If using the Library Catalog to find primary sources, make sure to include a date limit for the time period you are studying. Also, you could use the Subject (Genre) facet to narrow down to the kind of source you are looking for. Some examples:

● archives
● correspondence
● diaries
● interviews
● narratives
● memoirs
● sources

An example search: wom*n AND refugee AND memoir.

Finding Primary Sources in the Databases:

You can also search for primary sources in a number of databases. Here are a few to try:

Ad*Access contains cataloged, digitized print advertisements from the first half of the 20th century

African American Newspapers, 1827-1998 covers African American newspapers from the antebellum era to the late twentieth century, with a particularly strong representation of papers from the Midwestern and the Southern United States.

African Newspapers from the World Newspaper Archive includes newspapers published between 1800 and 1922 in Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.

Alt-Press Watch is a full-text database of selected newspapers, magazines, and journals of the alternative and independent press.

Black Studies Center combines Schomburg Studies on the Black Experience, The HistoryMakers Videos and full transcripts for interviews with 100 contemporary African Americans, International Index to Black Periodicals

Gerritsen Collection: Women's History Online, 1543-1945 is full-text collection of periodicals and books covering the history of women from 1543 to 1945.

ProQuest Historical Newspapers offers full-text and full-image articles from major American newspapers, including the New York Times.

The Sixties: Primary Documents and Personal Narratives 1960-1974 is a database that brings the 1960s alive through diaries, letters, autobiographies and other memoirs, written and oral histories, manifestos, government documents, memorabilia, and scholarly commentary.

Social and Cultural History: Letters and Diaries Online contains digitized letters, diaries, autobiographies, oral histories, and other personal narratives, some full-text searchable.

Television News Archive is a searchable archive of abstracts of news broadcasts from 1968 to present (ABC, CBS, NBC), 1995 to present (CNN), selected content from PBS and FOX News.

Women and Social Movements International collects published and manuscript sources documenting women's activism around the world, from the nineteenth century onward. Sources include letters, memoirs, conference proceedings, pamphlets, books, and journal articles, among others.

Women and Social Movements in the United States 1600-2000 includes 105 document projects and archives, along with over 53,000 pages of full text documents. Examples of movements covered: abolitionism, anti-war movements, civil rights, and reproductive justice.

IV. Suggested Collections from the Barnard Archives and Special Collections:

Below, find select collections from the Barnard Archives and Special Collections that you may want to utilize for your second assignment. The collections are organized according to topics from the syllabus; however, please know other collections from the Archives may be applicable to these as well. You need not limit yourself to the collections listed here. For a full list of collections in the Barnard Archives go to: https://archives.barnard.edu/finding-materials/collections-list

The majority of the Archives' collections are currently housed in off-site retrievable storage, for the duration of the construction of the new Teaching and Learning Center. In order to use off-site materials, please email staff at archives@barnard.edu at least a week in advance of any planned visits to the Archives, including in your message the collection and boxes you want to use. Advance notice is required as we recall materials on a weekly basis every Wednesday; materials must be requested by 11am on Wednesday to make it onto our list of weekly requests. Due to space constraints, we recall a maximum of 15 boxes per week per researcher.

Women, Education, and Social Reform

  • Barnard Chapter of the College Settlements Association Records
    This collection has newspaper clippings, a notebook with meeting minutes, the chapter constitution, and lists of members for the Barnard Chapter of the College Settlements Association, an organization which as part of the reformist social movement known as the settlement movement.

Women’s Labor Organizing

  • Helene Gans Collection
    Helene P. Gans was an early leader in civic, consumer, and labor movements during the first half of the twentieth century. Gans was involved with various organizations that were invested in the Depression's impact on unemployment and living costs. Working with the National Women's Trade Union League, she wrote a study called "Cut-Rate Wages" in 1932, which encouraged the New York State Legislature to enact its first minimum-wage law.
  • Overbury Collection of American Women Authors' Letters, Manuscripts, and Books
    The Overbury Collection dates from 1777 to 1963. Materials consist of nineteen hundred rare book editions and nearly one thousand letters and manuscripts by American authors, primarily American women authors. It includes correspondence from Ida Tarbell, a muckraker journalist who wrote an exposé of the oil industry, and Lola Ridge, an anarchist poet who wrote about capitalism and immigration.
  • Barnard College Summer School for Women Workers in Industry Collection
    Established in 1927 as a part of the Affiliated Summer Schools for Women Workers in Industry, the Summer School for Women Workers in Industry was intent was to aid female industrial workers, many of whom were recent immigrants, in their quest for self-improvement with a humanist, practical educational experience so that these women might continue to lead and organize fellow workers once they returned to the factory.

Suffrage Movement

  • Florence G. (Sammet) Rothschild Scrapbook
    This scrapbook chronicles Rothschild’s time at Barnard in the year 1908. Amongst other documents, it includes articles describing a talk given by Socialist advocate, Mrs. Rose Pastor Phelps-Stokes, and visits from Suffragists hoping to recruit Barnard women to the cause.
  • Stella Hanau (Bloch) Scrapbook and Notebooks
    Among other activities, Stella Hanau was the secretary-treasurer for the Barnard chapter of the Collegiate Equal Suffrage League of New York State. The scrapbook contains a variety of documents including information relating to the Women’s Liberation front and a broadside advertising mass meeting in honor of Emmeline Pankhurst.

Women and WWII

  • War Service - World War II Records
    Barnard students joined many branches of the armed services during World War II including the WAVES, WACS, SPARS, WASPS and the American Red Cross. This collection is comprised of newspaper clippings, flyers, booklets, publications, record books, meeting minutes, reports, brochures, articles, petitions, correspondence, posters, ephemera, and photographs documenting war service and attitudes toward the war.

The Women’s Movement

  • Connections Project/ Conexus Exhibition Documentation and Artwork
    Connections Project/ Conexus was a collaborative exhibition organized by Sabra Moore and Josely Carvalho. The exhibition brought together sixteen pairs of women artists from North and South America. These thirty two artists produced large-scale artworks responding to themes including birth, body, shelter, race, food, environment, spirit, and war/death.
  • East End Women's Alliance Records
    The East End Women's Alliance (EEWA) formed in 1970, as somewhat of a geographical response to the feminist organizing that was taking place in New York City. EEWA was aligned with many of the ideological concerns of the Second Wave feminist movement, including consciousness raising, supporting and empowering women to hold political office or undertake political campaigns, and advocating for the Equal Rights Amendment and pro-choice abortion politics.
  • Sabra Moore NYC Women's Art Movement Collection
    This collection documents Sabra Moore’s involvement in the Women’s Art Movement, Women’s Caucus for Art, Women Artists in Revolution, Heresies Collective, and other feminist artist groups based in New York City from the 1970s to the mid-1990s. The collection consists of flyers, publications, artwork, t-shirts, correspondence, photographs, and protest ephemera conceived of, and created by, Moore and her artist colleagues.
  • Freda Leinwand Collection
    This collection consists of photographs, posters, books, and t-shirts of photographer, Freda Leinwand. Many of the photographs depict the Women's Liberation Movement and Women's Literary Salons that took place in New York City in the 1970s and 1980s. The Women's Literary Salon was founded in 1975 by Marilyn Coffey, Erica Duncan, Karen Malpede, and Gloria Orenstein. In addition to the aforementioned Salon founders, many notable figures are depicted in Leinwand's photographs. These women include Judy Chicago, Barbara Deming, Audre Lorde, Meridel Le Sueur, Adrienne Rich, Susan Schwalb, Merlin Stone, Carole Rosenthal, Alida Walsh, Nina Yankowitz, and Susan Yankowitz.
  • Class of 1971 Oral History Collection
    The Class of 1971 Oral History Collection contains 39 oral histories of individuals who were part of Barnard College's class of 1971. Included in the collection are transcripts, audio recordings, and video recording of interviews. The oral histories discuss the experiences of students at Barnard contextualized within the social and cultural history of the time period. Narratives here may also be applicable to the topics of “Abortion and Reproductive Rights,” and “Sexual Liberation.”

Abortion and Reproductive Rights

  • Sabra Moore NYC Women's Art Movement Collection
    In the early 1970s, Sabra Moore was a counselor at Women's Services, the first legal abortion clinic in NY. Her records document the clinic workers’ process of organizing a labor union and letters from clinic patients to Moore.
  • Kathryn Kolbert Planned Parenthood v. Casey Records
    In 1992, Kathryn Kolbert argued Planned Parenthood v. Casey 505 U.S. 833 (1992) before the United States Supreme Court. The case challenged the constitutionality of abortion regulations introduced by Pennsylvania’s Abortion Control Act. The bulk of this collection is comprised of court documents and research files created by Kolbert as she prepared her arguments for Planned Parenthood v. Casey. These records include court transcripts, correspondence and memoranda, and documentation of related court cases. A number of periodicals appear throughout the collection, most notably several volumes of Reproductive Freedom News.

Sexual Liberation

  • Linda LeClair Collection
    Linda LeClair was a Barnard sophomore who was ultimately expelled from the College after receiving disciplinary action for living off campus with her boyfriend. This collection contains newspaper clippings from the media’s vast reporting on the story, judicial committee records, College correspondence, and correspondence from the public denouncing LeClair’s activities.

Women and Radical Politics

  • Take Back the Night
    This collection contains meeting notes, fliers, budget information, pamphlets, newspaper clippings, articles, and programs relating to Take Back the Night. Take Back the Night organizes marches, vigils, rallies and utilizes other direct action strategies to confront and dismantle sexual violence in all forms.
  • Barnard Organization of Soul Sisters (B.O.S.S.)
    In the autumn of 1968, a group of students gathered in the dorm room of Frances Sadler ‘72 to share their experiences and concerns as Black women at a predominantly white women’s college. They called themselves B.O.S.S (Barnard Organization of Soul Sisters). On February 24, 1969, B.O.S.S. issued a list of ten demands to the Barnard College Administration. These demands included an interdepartmental Afro-American studies major implemented by a committee of students and faculty; flexible and transparent financial aid policies for black students; a targeted nationwide recruitment program driven by black students and working towards increased enrollment of black women at Barnard; and more. President Peterson’s reply, issued at the March 3, 1969 convocation, met with mixed response from students and faculty. On March 4, 1969, the day following the convocation, B.O.S.S. issued a formal rejection of President Peterson’s reply to their demands. B.O.S.S.’s list of demands achieved concrete outcomes within the semester. Throughout the years, B.O.S.S. has pressed the administration to address issues, including racism and sexism, which affect students of color at Barnard. In B.O.S.S.’s more recent history, the organization has coordinated campus-wide events such as the Celebration of Black Womanhood.
  • Ntozake Shange Papers
    Among Shange's best known works is the 1975 piece, first published as a chapbook by Shameless Hussy Press, for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf, a mix of music, dance, drama, and poetry conceptualized by Shange as a choreopoem. It was produced as an Off-Broadway theatre production, but quickly moved to the Booth Theater on Broadway and was the recipient of numerous awards including the Obie Award and the Outer Critics Circle Award. The contents of the Ntozake Shange Papers include literary manuscripts in typescript, computer printout, and handwritten forms; diaries and agendas; correspondence; teaching documents; personal and professional photographs; flyers, clippings, and posters; highlights from her library; personal objects including collectables and artwork; and digital materials.
  • Barnard Center for Research on Women Records
    The Barnard Women's Center was founded in 1971 and described in a 1972 brochure as "a new program for an old need: the dignity, autonomy, and equality of women. More than a place, more than a project, it symbolizes the way in which a college may gather its energies on behalf of women." Renamed the Barnard Center for Research on Women (BCRW) in 1987, the Center has throughout its existence supported programming, resources, and publications related to feminist scholarship and activism. Select records related to the founding of BCRW are available on the Archives’ digital collections.
  • Why We Strike

This collection contains the publication Why We Strike, which was organized and distributed by the Barnard Strike Coalition, following the National Student Strike of 1970. Why We Strike contains a chronology of events surrounding the strike at Barnard, as well as letters in support from Barnard College faculty, the Third World Coalition, and Barnard Strike members, among others. It is also available on the Archives’ digital collections. Why We Strike is also available on the Archives’ digital collections.

  • Black Heights
    Black Heights was a magazine created by Black students from Columbia and Barnard. Black Heights contained articles about Black art and culture, politics, and original poetry and prose. the magazine's content was not exclusively related to art. Volume 6 from 1985 was titled "Apartheid... at Home?" and contained articles about union organizing efforts at Columbia, political commentary, and photographs from student activism on National Divestment Rally Day, an action in support of divestment from the apartheid of South Africa. Issues of Black Heights are also available on the Archives’ digital collections.
  • Soul Sister
    This collection consists of one issue of Soul Sister, a journal of creative writing and non-fiction, published by the Barnard Organization of Black Women, later known as the Barnard Organization of Soul Sister (B.O.S.S.). Volume 1, Issue 1 (from 1992) of Soul Sister contains writing on political issues specific to Black women, such as beauty politics, as well as profiles on spaces at Barnard that are relevant to Black women, such as the Barnard Center for Research on Women and various Black female faculty and staff. Soul Sister is also available on the Archives’ digital collections.
  • Sherry Suttles Papers
    At Barnard she pursued a degree in Government. Suttles' time at Barnard was divided between her courses, student organizations and being a socially active community member. She showed interest in the Community Schools program which worked towards the development of schools in Harlem, as well as the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. In 1968 Sherry went on a trip to the Ivory Coast in Africa with the Africa Crossroads program. She also spent time with the Student Afro-American Society and within her last year at Barnard she was a member of the newly formed Barnard Organization of Soul Sisters (B.O.S.S.). After graduation in 1969, Suttles went on to participate in New York’s Urban Fellowship Program. Suttles completed a Master’s in Public Policy from the University of Michigan and held several positions within city government across the United States including becoming the first female African American city manager of Oberlin, Ohio.
  • Calendula: A Barnard Feminist Publication
    This collection consists of five issues of Calendula: A Barnard Feminist Publication, which featured everything from opinion pieces to a directory of feminist campus groups to events listings, as well as articles, reviews, poetry, etc. The publication came as a result of a group of Barnard students who desired a stronger network of women's groups on campus, and as a vehicle to exchange information and ideas. Issues of Calendula are also available on the Archives’ digital collections.

The Third Wave, Queer Theory and Transnational Feminism

  • Lesbians and Bisexuals in Action (LABIA)
    This collection contains meeting minutes, posters, events materials, and budget materials relating to Lesbians and Bisexuals in Action (LABIA).
  • Qzine
    This collection contains one issue of Qzine, a student publication sponsored by Q, Barnard College Queer Collective. The Q group's mission is to build and support the queer community on campus through a community orientated and activist based approach. For this issue of Qzine, editors selected submissions highlighting various portrayals of "queerness," including prose, poetry, comics, and photography. Qzine is also available on the Archives’ digital collections.

Women in Power: Leaning In

  • Virginia Crocheron Gildersleeve, Dean of Barnard College
    Virginia Crocheron Gildersleeve was born in 1877 to Judge Henry Alger Gildersleeve and Virginia Crocheron. She attended the Brearly School and - later - Barnard College, from which she graduated in 1899. Upon graduating from Barnard College, she was offered a graduate fellowship at Columbia University, where she received her Master's degree in History in 1900 and a Ph.D. in English in 1908. In 1910 she became a professor of English at Barnard and in 1911 became the Dean of Barnard College and Adviser to Women Graduate Students at Columbia. She served as the Dean of Barnard College from 1911-1947. She was the only female US delegate to the April, 1945 San Francisco United Nations Conference on International Organization - during which the UN Charter was negotiated - and was the recipient of France's Legion of Honor. Though she never publicly identified herself as a lesbian, Gildersleeve lived for several decades with her longtime companion, Professor Caroline Spurgeon, and, later, Barnard English Professor Elizabeth Reynard. Reynard and Gildersleeve are buried together at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Churchyard in Bedford, New York. Records in the Dean’s Office records document Gildersleeve’s participation in the eugenics movement.
  • Millicent Carey McIntosh, Dean and President of Barnard College
    Millicent Carey McIntosh was Dean of Barnard from 1947-1952. The title was changed to President in that year and she served as President from 1952-1962. Married to pediatrician Dr. Rustin McIntosh and mother of four sons and one daughter, McIntosh was the first Dean of the Seven Sisters Colleges to be both a wife and a mother. A graduate and later a teacher and Acting Dean of Bryn Mawr, McIntosh received her PhD in English from Johns Hopkins and served as the head of the Brearly School for Girls for 17 years from 1930 to 1947. In her tenure at Barnard, she took on the monumental task of procuring greater funding so that Barnard could renovate and increase space and salaries. She initiated Operation Bootstrap, a development fund campaign that, with help from donors like John D. Rockefeller and Barnard alumnae, raised $1.7 million for the remodeling of Milbank Hall, which included the addition of the Minor Latham Playhouse in 1953; the building of Lehman Hall in 1959, with its library and classrooms; and the construction of Reid Hall in September 1961. McIntosh was also instrumental in centralizing all gifts to Barnard though The Barnard Fund and in forming the first long-range development plans of the College. She worked well with successive Columbia presidents Dwight Eisenhower and Grayson Kirk, and advocated strongly for greater cooperation with Columbia in a way that allowed Barnard to maintain its integrity and independence. Documentation of McIntosh’s policies as an administrator may also be found in the Dean’s Office records.

VI. Other Resources and Collections to Consider:

  • Civil Rights Digital Library - Gathers primary sources on the US Civil Rights Movement from libraries, archives, museums, broadcasters, and others.
  • The Digital Public Library of America - A portal to the digitized collections of various institutions across the nation, including millions of photographs, documents, books, audio materials, and moving images, which can be searched, browsed, or visualized on a timeline or map. Heavier on visual materials.
  • Library of Congress Digital Collections - Access the online collections of the Library Congress, including maps, photographs, letters, diaries, newspapers, sound recordings, and films.
  • The New York Public Library Digital Collections - Digitized materials from NYPL's archival collections.
  • South Asian American Digital Archive (SAADA) - An independent national non-profit organization working to create a more inclusive society by giving voice to South Asian Americans through documenting, preserving, and sharing stories that represent their unique and diverse experiences.
  • Travel Writing, Spectacle, and World History - Brings together hundreds of accounts by women of their travels across the globe from the early 19th century to the late 20th century.
  • Umbra - A freely available portal that brings together the most extensive digital collection dedicated to African American history and culture from US archives, museums, and cultural heritage institutions.

VII. Writing, Citing, and Publishing:

Academic Commons collects, preserves, and makes accessible the scholarship and research of the faculty, staff, and students of Columbia University. Contribute your scholarship here!

Chicago Manual of Style Online

CiteSource offers guidelines and templates for citing your research in a variety of citation styles, including MLA, APA, and Chicago Manual of Style. The site also offers resources on copyright, intellectual property, and how the Web shapes information use. A publication of the Trinity College Library.

OWL: Purdue University Online Writing Lab provides general and subject specific writing tips and techniques, along with research advice and detailed citation and formatting standards for the APA, MLA, and Chicago styles.

Zotero is a free, open source program that allows you to quickly save, organize, format, and share your bibliographic citations.


Guide last updated September 17, 2017 by Shannon O'Neill.

Section on "CLIO Catalog Search Tips" developed by: Jennie Correia, Social Sciences Librarian.