women's history 2: the role of women in the 19th century   

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   Agnes Tapley sailed with her husband aboard the bark Saint James during the late 19th century. Some women like her learned navigation from their husbands while at sea.  casahistoria - web site for students of modern history!

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Browse down the page or just click one of these sections.... 
1. Position in Great Britain
            Social position | Work |
            Emancipation movements
2. Position in the USA
            Work | Emancipation movements
3. African-American Women in the USA
4. Men's views on women
5. General Sites
6. Researching Women's History

Our other core Women's History sub-sites:
 Pre industrial Revolution
Researching Women's history | Medieval Women | 17th & 18th century | Witches & Witchcraft
Suffrage Movement in Gt Britain
Suffrage Movement in the USA
Women in Totalitarian States:
Stalin's Russia | Nazi Germany | Fascist Italy Communist China
20th century: the impact
Women & Modern War | Women in Art & Science | Women in the Developing World | Women's Issues | Girls and Education



casahistoria is recommended by many sites including:




1. The Position in Great Britain    
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Social position


  • Social and Economic Status: Class and Occupation  Links to an interesting, and rare, collection of sites to do with female employment/occupations. From Spartacus. Outlines and documentary support:
  • Woman, Economic Instability and Poverty a study by Ann Marie Huysman (1998), exploring the relationship between gender and poverty. This article is posted as an example of a very good student term paper
  • The Plight of Women's Work Early Industrial Revolution in England and Wales Part of the Classroom lesson series from womeninworldhistory. Concise but with good witness support - includes testimony to Parliamentary commissions, illustrations, workforce chart.
  • Women's Work By Professor Pat Hudson who argues that sometimes the earning power of women contributed to their independence and to their profile in the public arena, but most often it merely added to their already heavy domestic burdens.
  • Women Miners in the English Coal Pits An 1842 Parliamentary Paper describing women's work in the coal mines of Yorkshire. Includes testimony of two women miners. From Modern History Source Book
  • Match Girls BBC audio report (about 10mins)  "Pale, thin, undersized" and "ragged", the match girls were unlikely heroines of labour militancy. In 1888, a group of women workers went on strike and sparked the birth of the modern trade union movement.
  • The Greenwich Time Lady BBC audio report (about 10mins). In 1892 Ruth Belville took over the role of the Greenwich Time Lady from her mother. Each week she would visit the Royal Observatory with her Arnold chronometer to have it checked and would then go to businesses around London so they could set their clocks. Kristen Lippincott and David Rooney from the Royal Observatory talk about The Greenwich Time Lady – her life and how, despite opposition, she managed to continue her service into the 1930s.

Emancipation Movements


Women’s suffrage in Great Britain Go to casahistoria page for extensive links to suffrage campaigns in Britain (see also theWomen's Suffrage in the USA page).



2. The Position in the United States of America

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European Immigration into the USA See also this casahistoria page for links to the life of immigrant woman at this time


  • Women and Work in Early America From the late colonial period through the American Revolution, women's work usually centred on the home, but romanticizing this role as the Domestic Sphere came in the early 19th century. An article by Jone Johnson Lewis, Women's History Guide
  • Women in America: Occupations Travellers to America in 1820-1842 describe women's occupations, providing insight into the status and roles of women.
  • Women and Finance in the Early National U.S. An extensive survey by Robert E. Wright, U. of Virginia, on women as business owners, loan recipients, investors or otherwise involved in financial issues and the workforce in the United States in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. §
  • Woman's right to labor, or, Low wages and hard work Caroline Wells Healey Dall's 1859 lectures on women and work. Graphic original facsimile format for the pages. Requires patience to load!
  • Hearth A novel site with much of domestic interest . This is a core electronic collection of books and journals in Home Economics and related disciplines. Titles published between 1850 and 1950 were selected and ranked by teams of scholars for their great historical importance. The first phase of this project focused on books published between 1850 and 1925 and a small number of journals.


Women and the frontier Go to this section in the casahistoria European Immigration into the USA site


Early Political Emancipation Movements


Women's Suffrage in the USA Go to casahistoria page for extensive links to suffrage campaigns in the USA (see also the Suffrage in Great Britain page).


3. African-American Women in the USA

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  • Two useful sites with many links from History about.com:
    • Notable Women in Black History A good place to start, biographies and links to many sites on African American women's history
    • African American Women's History Links to sites and articles on the history of black women in America, from slavery through Reconstruction, Harlem Renaissance and civil rights. Biographies, organizations, events and movements.
  • Multi-Racial Movement in the Baltimore YWCA 1883-1926 YWCAs developed to address problems of working class women in large cities. This site shows, through an overview with accompanying source documents, how the YWCA in one city, Baltimore, worked to address such issues across racial lines.
  • Admissions 1860-1920 This site focuses on the history of higher education for African American women. §
  • The black woman of the South : her neglects and her needs by Dr Alexander Crummell. Crummell, pastor of St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Washington, DC, from 1879-1898, spoke out for black liberation, and founded the Negro Academy. This speech focuses on the status of African American women in slavery, which Crummell says was worse than for men because women were more isolated. To improve the lot of black women within the present generation, Crummell proposes that "sisterhoods" be sent into the rural South to train and teach black women and that industrial schools be established for them in the South as well.
Slavery Click to go to young casahistoria page

  • Ex-Slave Mary Fields in Montana Story of the life of "Black Mary," African American ex-slave who settled in Montana after the Civil War and earned the respect and devotion of most of the residents of the pioneer community of Cascade, Montana, before she died in 1914. By George Everett for Wild West Magazine. §
  • Frances Ellen Watkins Harper Left Legacy Worth Celebrating Once you can find this article amongst the many ads, read about Frances Ellen Watkins Harper who represented many causes and constituencies during an 85-year life. She was an activist for black empowerment, voting rights, feminism, spirituality, plus moral and ethical living. §
  • Elizabeth Johnson Harris Elizabeth Harris was born in Augusta, Georgia, in 1867, to parents who had been slaves. She married Jacob Walker Harris in 1883 at the age of 15 and was the mother of nine children. She lived until 1942, surviving her husband and two of her children. She was a deeply religious woman who spent much of her life in service to her church. She clearly valued education, both for herself and her children. She had several of her poems and vignettes published in various newspapers during her lifetime. She included these in the manuscript of her life story, which she started writing at the age of 55 in 1923. This is the scanned writings of Harris, here in both images and text. They give insight into the life of an African American woman in the late 19th - early 20th century.
  • Charlotte Ray (1850-1911) First African American woman lawyer in the US and first woman admitted to the bar in the District of Columbia. An about.com profile.
  • Susan Baker King Taylor: Reminiscences of Life with the 33d  An article by Kimberly J. Largent about Susan Baker King Taylor who was secretly schooled in her young years, who became a laundress while her husband enlisted in the Union army. She also served as a nurse, cleaned guns, and generally helped with the "colored" regiment's business, short of actual fighting.
  • Sojourner Truth from About Guide to Women's History. Concise bio with many links to other sites.
  • Harriet Tubman, Moses of Her People Fugitive slave, Underground Railroad conductor, Civil War nurse and soldier, women's rights advocate and social reformer An four-part in-depth biography by Jone Johnson Lewis, Women's History Guide. See also:





4. 19th century men on women

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  • John James Audubon and  Charles Dickens Their (separate) observations of women in America in the early 19th century (1808-1826). Useful excerpts from their writings.
  • Channing and Others, by Fuller Margaret Fuller, in Woman in the Nineteenth Century, writes of male voices who, in her view, were supportive of women. The essay is a reproduction, modified and expanded, of an article published in "The Dial," Boston, July, 1843, under the title of "The Great Lawsuit.--Man versus Men ; Woman versus Women."  This article excited a good deal of sympathy, and still more interest.
  • Who Was Frederick Douglass? Useful intro from US digital History. See also:
  • Hegel: Feminist Critique  Antoinette M. Stafford's article on Hegel's views on women and the family
  • Jefferson and His Daughters The story of Thomas Jefferson's relationship with his daughters illustrates 19th century American attitudes towards and education of women.
  • Mill: On the Subjection of Women Classic essay by John Stuart Mill (1869) in support of women's rights. Click here for Notes to help with the essay by Andrew Roberts
  • Mark Twain: "The Ladies" An 1872 humorous speech by Mark Twain looking at women in history...
  • Ezra H Heywood: Uncivil Liberty (1873): "An Essay to Show the Injustice and Impolicy of Ruling Woman Without Her Consent." Heywood attacks the legal inequality in the US of men over women.



5. General Sites to Women's History 

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6. Researching Women's History

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  • The Women's Library (previously Genesis) is a mapping initiative, funded by the UK Research Support Libraries Programme to identify and develop access to women's history sources in the British Isles. The database holds descriptions of women's history collections from libraries, archives and museums from around the British Isles. Search the database by using the search box on the opening page.
  • H-Women Discussion Group Scholarly discussion to communicate current research and teaching interests, to test new ideas and to share comments on current historiography.
  • WWW Virtual Library of Women's History This virtual library contains a very comprehensive list of women's history in institutions and organizations
  • Library Collections Library collections of original sources (letters, diaries, papers, etc.) on the topic of women's history.  From about.com



the casahistoria Women's History sub-sites:
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  Early Women's history: Pre industrial Revolution
 Researching Women's History | Medieval Women |
17th & 18th century | Witches and Witchcraft
  19c - Industrialisation & Emancipation
(a) Great Britain: Social position | Work | Emancipation movements
(b) USA: Work | Emancipation movements | African-american women
  Suffrage Movement in Gt Britain
  Suffrage Movement in the USA
  Women in Totalitarian States:
Stalin's Russia | Nazi Germany | Fascist Italy |  Communist China
  20th century: the impact
Women & Modern War | Women in Art & Science |
Women in the Developing World | Women's Issues | Girls and Education





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