By Brenna Riedy, Library Assistant
August 10, 2023
Although Women’s History Month is not until March (and we’ve still got over 200 days until March 2024!), learning about women and their role in the history of our nation and world does not have to be held off until then! We can take the time to research women throughout history at any point in the year. One of my personal favorite ways to do so is to find a book about a specific woman, often written by another woman somewhere else in history, to see the world through their eyes. Sometimes this book is about a specific case in history, such as The Radium Girls, and other times it’s more general and expansive, such as No Small Courage. Either way, these books connect me to the bigger story of history through the unique and familiar lens of womanhood.
I’ve chosen to leave out books from this list that are autobiographical or written by the woman the book is about. This is my personal taste because I find that often having a secondary woman involved, the writer, gives so much more character to the story since the writer can have a third-person perspective on the story. These writers are often also given the advantage of time, the ability to look back on a historical event or person and see things in 20/20 vision since they have the perspective of hindsight. This gives the writer the unique ability to see the entire story, or even other contributing factors around that story, to make the book more whole and complete, in my opinion.
If you finish everything on this list, or you prefer to read autobiographies, feel free to branch out from the list and check out some other finds from our collection here at WPL! These 15 books are by no means an exhaustive list. I always suggest trying different search terms in our catalog to find different books. You could try "Women Autobiographies" (there are at least 5 pages of results for that) or "African American Women" if you’re looking for more specific titles. Using the filters towards the left side of the page in our catalog, you can also select search filters like "Tween Collection" or "Children’s Collection" if you’re looking for different age or reading level books. You could even look up "Women’s History" with a filter for DVDs! We have a few relevant documentary films about related subjects. If you have any questions about how our public catalog website works, or want help finding anything related to this topic, feel free to drop by the front desk of the library. We’re always there to help, and the kiosk devices located there conveniently have access to our catalog to do all your searching! Or access the catalog HERE through our website.
From one of the preeminent cultural critics of her generation, a radiant weave of memoir, criticism, and biography that tells the story of black women in music--from the Dixie Cups to Gladys Knight to Janet, Whitney, and Mariah--as the foundational story of American pop.
The complex story of Jewish women in America--from colonial-era matriarch Grace Nathan and her great-granddaughter, poet Emma Lazarus, to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Recounting how Jewish women have been at the forefront of social, economic, and political causes for centuries, Nadell shows them fighting for suffrage, labor unions, civil rights, feminism, and religious rights--shaping a distinctly Jewish American identity.
Out of the thrilling and tempestuous eighteenth century comes the sweeping family saga of beautiful Maria Theresa, a sovereign of uncommon strength and vision, the only woman ever to inherit and rule the vast Habsburg Empire in her own name, and three of her remarkable daughters: lovely, talented Maria Christina, governor-general of the Austrian Netherlands; spirited Maria Carolina, the resolute queen of Naples; and the youngest, Marie Antoinette, the glamorous, tragic queen of France, and perhaps the most famous princess in history.
Black women are beautiful, intelligent and capable --but mostly they embrace strong. Esteemed clinical psychologist, Dr. Inger Burnett-Zeigler, praises the strength of women, while exploring how trauma and adversity have led to deep emotional pain and shaped how they walk through the world. Combining the latest research with her personal story and those of family members and clients, the author reveals that a life of joy is possible and discusses outlets for support, including mental health treatment, the church, and spirituality.
How two pioneering sisters brought medicine to women--and women to medicine. Exploring the sisters' allies, enemies, and enduring partnership, Janice P. Nimura presents a story of trial and triumph. Together, the Blackwells founded the New York Infirmary for Indigent Women and Children, the first hospital staffed entirely by women. This richly researched new biography celebrates two complicated pioneers who exploded the limits of possibility for women in medicine.
Frankenstein was just the beginning: horror stories and other weird fiction wouldn't exist without the women who created it. From Gothic ghost stories to psychological horror to science fiction, women have been primary architects of speculative literature of all sorts. And their own life stories are as intriguing as their fiction.
The 100 revolutionary women highlighted in this gorgeously illustrated book were bad in the best sense of the word: they challenged the status quo and changed the rules for all who followed. From pirates to artists, warriors, daredevils, women in science, activists, and spies, the accomplishments of these incredible women who dared to push boundaries vary as much as the eras and places in which they effected change.
A significant retelling of the often-misunderstood tale of Lady Jane Grey's journey through her trial and execution--recalling the dangerous plots and web of deadly intrigue in which she became involuntarily tangled, and which ultimately led to a catastrophic conclusion.
For decades, Indigenous women and girls have gone missing or been found murdered along an isolated stretch of highway in northwestern British Columbia. The corridor is known as the Highway of Tears, and it has come to symbolize a national crisis. Journalist Jessica McDiarmid meticulously investigates the devastating effect these tragedies have had on the families of the victims and their communities and how systemic racism and indifference have created a climate in which Indigenous women and girls are overpoliced yet under-protected.
1917. As a war raged across the world, young American women flocked to work, painting watches, clocks and military dials with a special luminous substance made from radium. Drawing on previously unpublished sourcesincluding diaries, letters, and court transcripts, as well as original interviews with the women's relativesThe Radium Girls is an intimate narrative account of an unforgettable true story. It is the powerful tale of a group of ordinary women from the Roaring Twenties, who themselves learned how to roar.
The most concise and comprehensive one-volume history of American women—from the indigenous women of the 16th-century wilderness to the dual-role career women and mothers of contemporary times—this book brings American womanhood to center stage, exploring the lives of pioneers and slaves, immigrants and factory workers, executives and homemakers.
The fiftieth-anniversary edition of the essay that is now recognized as the first major work of feminist art theory--published together with author Linda Nochlin's reflections three decades later. Many scholars have called Linda Nochlin's seminal essay on women artists the first real attempt at a feminist history of art. In her revolutionary essay, Nochlin refused to answer the question of why there had been no "great women artists" on its own corrupted terms, and instead, she dismantled the very concept of greatness, unraveling the basic assumptions that created the male-centric genius in art.
Packed full of evocative images, this gloriously illustrated book reveals the key events in women's history--from early matriarchal societies through women's suffrage, the Suffragette movement, 20th-century feminism, and gender politics, to recent movements such as #MeToo and International Women's Day--and the key role women have had in shaping our past.
No Small Courage offers a lively chronicle of American experience, charting women's lives and experiences with fascinating immediacy from the precolonial era to the present. Individual stories and primary sources-including letters, diaries, and news reports-animate this history of the domestic, professional, and political efforts of American women.
Recounted with the insight and humor of an expert storyteller and drawing on personal correspondence, private journals, and other primary sources-many of them previously unpublished-Roberts brings to life the extraordinary accomplishments of women who laid the groundwork for a better society. Almost every quotation here is written by a woman, to a woman, or about a woman. From first ladies to freethinkers, educators to explorers, this exceptional group includes Abigail Adams, Margaret Bayard Smith, Martha Jefferson, Dolley Madison, Elizabeth Monroe, Louisa Catherine Adams, Eliza Hamilton, Theodosia Burr, Rebecca Gratz, Louisa Livingston, Rosalie Calvert, Sacajawea, and others.