Skip to Main Content
Chat With Us

Women in World History, 1400 to present


Primary Source Collections

What is a Primary Source?

Primary Sources are those documents and other material that allow you to come closest to answering your research question. If, for example, you are interested in understanding women's life in China during the 17th century (1600s), then you'll want to find sources Chinese women wrote about their lives during the Ming (lasted until 1644) or Qing (1644-1912) dynasties. 17th century male, Jesuit priests from Rome writing about those women offer useful material - but those sources are only primary if you can't get the texts written by Chinese women. 

To find relevant sources--particularly if language is an issue--it can be helpful to look for document collections (also called readers or anthologies) of texts on specific topics, temporal periods, and/or geographic spaces. Below, you'll find a few suggestions. If you have questions, contact the History Librarian Bee Lehman.

What's on This Page

This page has a lot on it. You can use the following anchors (links down the page) to jump straight to a relevant box.

    This is a select list. To see even more possibilities for material historians can use for studying women's history, see Women's History in Primary Sources in the Women's History Resource Guide.

    Conquest and Contact: European and Indigenous Women in the Americas

    Marriage and Family in Early Modern Europe and China

    The Enclosure of Women in Europe, China, and the Ottoman Empire

    Gendered Knowledge, Gendered Citizenship: The Enlightenment and Atlantic Revolutions

    Nationalism and Gender

    1850-1940 (includes material on the Right to Vote)

    Post-1945 (includes idea of Women's Rights)