Guide to the Research Collections




This is a strong subject in the Research Libraries, with particular strengths in certain aspects. At present only the following topics are collected comprehensively: the history, bibliography, and biography of woman; anthropology; marriage; woman suffrage; and prostitution. The library's holdings document thoroughly the progress of the feminist movement from its beginnings, especially in this country, and include a number of important manuscript collections.

The Economic and Public Affairs Division and the General Research and Humanities Division share collecting responsibility: the history, bibliography, biography, and anatomy of woman are covered by the General Research and Humanities Division; economic, legal, and sociological aspects are the responsibility of the Economic and Public Affairs Division. There are some 12,000 entries under "Woman" in the Public Catalog, with many subheadings which identify works on women as authors, athletes, artists, mothers, spinsters, and widows; their role in the professions; and their place in the societies of various countries of the

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world, etc. The file has a chronological arrangement for general works and for those dealing with specific regions, for example, "Woman, to 1750," and "Woman--Great Britain, to 1500." Only Ancient Egypt, France, Germany, Great Britain, Russia, and the United States are chronologically subdivided.

Extensive files of general periodicals and journals are supplemented by those in such special fields as fashions. The indexing of periodical contributions on women are now largely restricted to biographical articles, although in former years the coverage was extensive. A feature of considerable interest is the large collection of publications issued by women's clubs and associations of various kinds. The library actively collects these materials, which relate both to sociology and to local history. Since 1961 the New York State Daughters of the American Revolution have deposited their publications concerning cemetery, town, and family records with the Local History and Genealogy Division.

Woman suffrage is represented by an unusually good collection of materials in the Research Libraries, not only of books and pamphlets but also of fugitive pieces. The library holds the office collections and correspondence of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, New York, of which Mrs. Carrie Chapman Catt was president. In 1947 the library received from the estate of Mrs. Catt 23 folders of manuscript materials and miscellaneous volumes, pamphlets, and scrapbooks, including a set of volumes 1 through 4 of The Revolution, the woman's rights paper published in New York from 1868 to 1872. The Stanton papers in the Manuscripts and Archives Division document the personality of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, another leader in the battle for the right of women to vote. The division has in addition a number of letters of Lucy Stone (Blackwell), remembered chiefly as a staunch advocate of a woman's right to retain her own name and legal identity in marriage.

The feminist, peace, and world government movements of modern times are substantially documented in manuscripts and in printed matter in the 1,777 boxes and 420 linear feet of shelved material of the Schwimmer-Lloyd collection of the Manuscripts and Archives Division, which includes the correspondence and papers of Rosika Schwimmer (1877-1948), Hungarian feminist and pacifist, and Lola Maverick Lloyd (1875-1944), American suffragist and pacifist. Access to the collection was restricted until January 1, 1974.12

The papers of other well-known women include those of Emma Catharine Embury, noted author; Helen Kendrick Johnson, author, editor, and lecturer; Elizabeth L. Van Lew, abolitionist and agent of the United States Secret Service at Richmond during the Civil War; Mary Hannah Hunt, educator and temperance reformer; Emma Goldman, noted American anarchist; Lilliam D. Wald, social worker; and others. Significant archives of manuscripts and books are in the Theatre Collection; the Dance Collection (including a superb collection on Isadora Duncan); and the Berg Collection (first editions, letters, and manuscripts, of such authors as Fanny Burney, the Brontė sisters, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Lady Gregory, and Virginia Woolf).


About 4,000 entries in the Public Catalog, refer to the subject of children. Although the collecting policy is selective, certain areas of the holdings are of considerable strength. The Economic and Public Affairs Division is building an extensive collection of materials on juvenile delinquency, containing books and pamphlets from all countries. Charity for children is another strong feature of the resources. A small group of materials devoted to the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and similar young people's organizations, is of interest. (Juvenile literature is discussed in a separate chapter.)

Among other holdings the following are notable:

Children's Asylums and Homes

Reports of institutions and societies which have local historical, as well as sociological, interest are included. Those for New York City organizations are particularly strong, although there is a good representation from other sections of this country and considerable material from abroad. Allied materials from religious asylums are classified under religion.

Child Labor

This subject is covered in depth, with supporting materials, in the official reports of various units of government in the public documents collection. Additional resources are to be found in the statutory law holdings.

Child Study

Adequate materials are supplemented by those classified under child training and the education of children.

Children's Games

The collection is adequate, although no effort is made to specialize in directed play activities and similar educational phases of the subject.

Children's Hospitals

The collection is particularly strong in reports and similar publications. The library does not collect material on the therapeutic aspects of the subject, or on children's diseases.

Public Care and Hygiene

Official publications issued by various units of government are a strong feature of this collection. Although the medical treatises are seldom acquired, the public health reports supply useful information.