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Special Collections: Women's History Resources: Archival Material

This guide will help you navigate the women's history collections in the Department of Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation (RBSCP)
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Searching for Archival Material

Archival material includes unpublished records such as letters, diaries, financial records, and photographs. Information about our archival collections may be found online in the Subject Guide to the Collections. You can also browse the A-Z list of archival collections (the link is below). Our finding aids are processed at different levels. Some include item-by-item level descriptions and others are processed at the folder or box level. 

Archival Women's History Collections

Rare books and manuscripts by and about women run throughout all of RBSCP’s collections. It is hard to separate our “women’s” collections from our collections as a whole, as we hold material related to women in politics, education, the sciences, literature, philanthropy, activism, Victoriana, and many other subjects. Our collection strength lies in the number of areas in which we have material related to women. We have substantial holdings related to the American suffrage movement, 1848-1920. Much of this material relates to women’s activism work in the suffrage, abolition, and temperance reform movements. Our collections are also strong in material that demonstrates how the role of women and girls changed throughout the 19th century. We are currently adding more 20th and 21st century material to our collections, especially material that shows women entering the workplace, joining the military and other traditionally male fields, changing social customs, and changing models of motherhood.

Links to Finding Aids

This list represents just a few of our many manuscript collections related to women's history. 

Assistant Director, Department of Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation

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Autumn Haag

Areas of Expertise

  • 19th Century Social Justice and Activism
  • Black History and Culture
  • Rochester and Monroe County History
  • Women’s History
  • Political Collections - William Henry Seward, Thurlow Weed, and Midge Costanza
Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation
Rush Rhees Library
Room 225
755 Library Road
University of Rochester
Rochester, NY 14627