Wednesday, November 2, 2011

New on the Shelf : American Women in the Revolutionary Era

The National Society Daughters of the American Revolution(DAR), since its beginnings in 1890, has spearheaded among other things, the preservation of family history through its members’ documented lineages, a massive library collection, and the publication of countless books.

The most recent of their accomplishments is America’s Women in the Revolutionary Ear, 1760-1790 : a history through bibliography, compiled by Eric G. Grundset.  Work on the project began in 1989 and the large three-volume set (over 3,000 pages) was released earlier this year.

The first two volumes is broken up into 51 chapters.  Some sample chapters include:
  • Native American Women (Chapter 5)
  • Women's Rights and Legal Status (Chapter 12)
  • Women In and With the Military and Naval Forces (Chapter 26)

Then in Volume 2, the chapters are broken down by state and entitled for example:  “The Women of Vermont During the Revolutionary Ear.”  Within that chapter you can find the categories of:
  • Captivity Narratives
  • Historical Fiction
  • Homelife of Vermont Women
  • Girls in Vermont
  • discussion about specifically-named women

The third volume or Part 2 is entitled “Authors and Chronology of Publications,” offering first an alphabetical list of authors, followed by a chronological list of publications by date, all pertaining to the history of women during the years surrounding the American Revolution. Listings includes resources from books, periodicals, websites, and art, among other things.  

From the set's Introduction:  “The project staff and the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution salute the Revolutionary Era women and girls who helped found the United States of America, and who for far too long were relegated to the shadows and footnotes of historical literature.  This publication tells their stories through bibliography in hopes that future researchers and writers will continue to fill in the gaps and broaden our knowledge of the roles and lives of our female predecessors during the Revolutionary Era.”

Being a bibliography (defined as "A list of the books [materials] of a specific author or publisher, or on a specific subject"), one might not find an ancestor's name in the indexes, but then again you might.  You can certainly expect to be rewarded by lists of resources that could lead to a direct reference to your female ancestor, comment on her home, ancestry or trade, or at least place her into historical context...definitely a reference to add to your research checklist.

The set is available for viewing in the Local History department of the Van Buren District LibraryContact the library with any questions.  

Nameless Picture of the Day
 unknown woman
Photographer - H. S. Bigelow, Dowagiac

Can you identify the woman in this photo?  Are you familiar with the photographer's name?  Please contact us if you any information and we will publish it in a future blog.  Please include the photo's catalog number with your e-mail.