Women's Studies Section

Association of College & Research Libraries / American Library Association
Lincoln/Net: Abraham Lincoln Historical Digitization Project
Primary Source Types for Women's Studies  TEXT
Diaries / Letters / Personal Papers
Song Lyrics
Art Images / Drawings / Paintings
Musical Scores
Statistical Data
Subjects for Women's Studies Advice Literature
African American Women
Family Studies
Frontier and Pioneer Life
Gender Roles
Labor / Employment
Law / Legal Status / Public Policy
Literature - Fiction
Literature - Poems
Native American Women
Personal Narratives
Politics and Government
United States
Collections See list of participating institutions
Coverage Dates


Archive is Ongoing / Completed Completed 
Publisher Abraham Lincoln Historical Digitization Project
URL http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/
Date Searched January 2007


The Abraham Lincoln Historical Digitization Project, based at Northern Illinois University, involves a number of Illinois libraries and historical societies. Lincoln/Net is made up of a rich array of primary source material drawn from the collections of these contributing institutions. The site reveals much about the social, cultural, and political issues of a period in American history using resources from Illinois' early years of statehood (1818-1929) and Lincoln's Illinois years leading up to his presidency (1830-1861). The site is organized into eight historical themes:

  • African-Americans' Experience and American Racial Attitudes
  • Economic Development and Labor
  • Frontier Settlement
  • Law and Society
  • Native American Relations
  • Politics
  • Religion and Culture
  • Women's Experience and Gender Roles
In addition to the primary source materials, Lincoln/Net includes scholarly essays on the historical themes and interpretive materials designed to help users formulate historical questions they then may test using the primary source data. With a "Teacher's Parlor" as well, Lincoln/Net is an excellent resource for teaching and learning about history using primary source materials. The scope of Lincoln/Net extends beyond this though, with numerous primary source materials that will be of interest to researchers.

Women's Studies Content

Lincoln/net offers a wealth of information for women's studies. Challenges women faced in moving to the frontier were formidable - the transition from urban to rural living, additional physical work associated with farm life, conflicted relations with Native Americans, creating a home in the wilderness or sparcely populated areas. As settlers established themselves, women joined together to promote religion, culture, education, and political causes.

Most primary sources for women's studies are text or image. Examples of text sources are women's stories of pioneer life, a former slave narrative, a speech at a female anti-slavery society meeting, and Advice to Young Ladies, an 1848 publication of Timothy Shay Arthur. Photographs are portraits of various members of the Lincoln or Hanks families along with notable women such as Sojourner Truth. Other images depict women in the home, in society, and at work. There are a number of colored paintings of individual Native American women along with two images depicting the abduction of women by "savages."

Lincoln/Net has two maps showing the ratio of white males to white females throughout the United States (1850 and 1860). Also included are the musical score and lyrics for King Alcohol and Let Us All Speak Our Minds If We Die For It!. The lyrics for the latter song, written by two men, are strongly rebellious to the idea of wifely submission.


Lincoln/Net allows searching and browsing of both text and images. There are options to limit by theme and genre with drop-down menus for both. To browse sources for women's studies within either the text or image bibliographic search, select "Women and Gender" from the theme menu, then select an option from the "Genre" menu for text or an option from the "Type" menu for image, then the "Search" button.

Truncation yes (*)
Boolean yes (AND, OR - see help for instructions)
Phrase Searching yes
Help Screens/Quality yes / extensive
Controlled Vocabulary no
Keywords in Context yes

Archive Review:
Marcia Barrett
The University of Alabama

Last updated: January 15, 2007

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