Grand Old Women and Modern Girls: Generational and Racial Conflict in the US Women's Rights Movement, 1870–1920

History/Gender Studies

I seek a student partner to help with archival research for a book examining the intertwined roots of generational and racial segregation in the US woman suffrage movement from 1870 to 1920.

Your research will focus on the collections of the Schlesinger Library where you will help identify relevant material in the personal papers of suffrage leaders, including Carrie Chapman Catt, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and Alice Paul. You will also search online databases of newspaper articles, photographs, and correspondence, as well as explore cultural artifacts such as birthday cards, “anti-aging” products, and clothing marketed to girls and older women. You will help to identify sources that I could not find on my own and, through our discussions, contribute to interpretation and analysis.

Through this work, you will gain a basic familiarity with primary source research in history and cultural studies. By pursuing a research topic that is not easily searched in indexes or online, you will develop skills for working around the limitations of archival collections and database algorithms. This will leave you with the expertise and competence to tackle other challenging research questions, whether historical or contemporary. As we discuss how to use this primary source material, you will gain a nuanced understanding of women’s history at the turn of the 20th century and learn about interpretive strategies from feminist theory, critical race studies, and cultural gerontology. With your input, we will explore avenues through which you could present or publish your research, either in collaboration with me or by developing your own findings from the wide range of material you will identify.