WASHINGTON, D.C. – The newest publication by the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) is an authoritative guide to women’s and girls’ lives in the era of the American Revolution. America’s Women in the Revolutionary Era 1760-1790: A History Through Bibliography is a comprehensive collection in three volumes of published resources on the subject, organized to assist researchers interested in specific topics or time periods. It will be an indispensable resource for libraries and other research centers, especially those with special history or women’s issues collections.
DAR Library researchers made an effort to locate every relevant published resource about Revolutionary women possible, including books, articles, dissertations and online documents, in order to aid researchers, understand existing literature and illuminate gaps to encourage future research. This encyclopedic bibliography is sorted in several ways to make it as useful as possible, including by topic, geography and a chronology that shows how historians’ understanding of these women and girls has developed over time.
The idea that eventually became America’s Women in the Revolutionary Era originated in 1989, when DAR Library Director Eric G. Grundset, the book’s editor, prepared a small pamphlet about available resources for a presentation on the topic of Revolutionary women to the Oregon State Society of the DAR. It quickly became apparent that the topic merited greater attention, and it has been a special research subject in the DAR Library, ebbing and flowing around other projects, for 22 years before culminating in this book.
“It was important to us to discover what was out there,” said Mr. Grundset, “Because so much of what we know about these women is really mythology and folklore. The explosion of scholarship in recent years has taught us a great deal more about what women’s and girls’ lives were really like.”
The book documents sources about America’s women from the famous to the obscure. Researchers discovered references to some unique women, such as one woman who lived as a hermit in a cave on the border of Connecticut and Massachusetts, along with documentation about famous, influential women and, most importantly, a great wealth of resources describing the daily lives of regular women of different races and classes. This focus on “average” women was a driving force of the research behind the book, which aims to find resources that paint a holistic picture of life in the revolutionary era.
Providing the outline for this broad picture are 30 chapters on specific subjects, including overviews of women’s and girls’ lives; the unique experiences of African American and Native American women; religion; sickness and health; work both in and outside of the home; poetry and literature; and many more. These chapters include references for specific women whose individual lives illuminate each topic more fully. Genealogy, the subject for which the DAR Library is best known, is covered more briefly in this publication, with information about how and why to research female ancestors.
The three-volume set America’s Women in the Revolutionary Era 1760-1790: A History Through Bibliography is now available for $195 including shipping from The DAR Store, by phone at 1-888-673-2732 or online at www.dar.org/darstore. Learn more at www.dar.org/library. Check to make sure your local library has a copy today!
The DAR Library is one of the largest genealogical research centers in the United States. Since its founding in 1896, the library has grown into a specialized collection of American genealogical and historical manuscripts and publications and recently addedpowerful on-site ancestry databases to its collection. The DAR Library collection contains over 185,000 books, 300,000 research files, thousands of manuscript items, and special collections on Native American, African American and women’s history, genealogy and culture. Nearly 30,000 family histories and genealogies comprise a major portion of the book collection, many of which are unique or available in only a few libraries in the country. The DAR Library, located at 1776 D St. NW, is open to the public for a $6 research fee Monday – Friday 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 pm and Saturday 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. The DAR Library is closed Sundays, Federal holidays, and for one week during the DAR annual meeting during the summer. For more information on the DAR Library, visit www.dar.org/libraryor call (202) 879-3229.