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Research Guides

History: 4780, Gender in America

HIST 4780

Beginning Research on Gender in America

Starting your research

Where do I start?

Before one contributes to history it is best to become familiar with what has already been written and what sources are available.  This guide introduces readers to major publicly available sources.

  • Learn to search Library of Congress Subject Headings in library catalogues.  The full contents may be found in the six-volume headings list, available on the second floor (Z695 .Z8 L5226 2005). You are welcome to browse, but your librarian would be thrilled to teach you how they work.
  • Wander the shelves:  Library of Congress classification system

Class E  United States (by period; roughly chronological)

660-738 Late nineteenth century 

740-837 Twentieth century (to 1961)

838-889 Late twentieth century (1961-2000)

891-  Twenty-first century

Class F   United States. British, French, Latin America

1-975  United States (by state, region)


Subclass HQ  The family. Marriage. Women

75-77  Homosexuality. Lesbianism. Transexualism.

559-1064  The family. Marriage. Home.

1088-1090  Men.

1101-2044  Women.

  • If you can find one book on a subject, the classification system locates others on similar subjects to either side.
  • Look at the notes and bibliography of secondary scholarship to see what other authors cite.

Explore background sources like encyclopedias, dictionaries.  You won't cite these, but they can help you get a picture of events, consequences, factors, and personalities involved--targets for further research

Secondary Sources (Gender)

Much manuscript material from individual participants has been published in scholarly editions and is now available through library catalogues.  Links to some of the major collections are listed below.  Most published material can be acquired through Interlibrary Loan.

Primary Sources--Print (Gender)

Before digital or photographic technology made it possible to duplicate images of a page, publication was the only way to disseminate primary sources.  Gender is represented in articles, stories, and advertisements. Today they provide a window into the way daily life and roles were experienced and understood.

Primary Sources--Census (Gender)

The Constitution mandates a census every ten years, but not every census is available

Primary Sources--Graphic (Gender)

Photographs, prints, and drawings provide some of the most significant records of gender and the perceptions surrounding it

Your librarian

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Richard Saunders
Office hours:
Sherratt Library 303f