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No Small Courage

A History of Women in the United States

Edited by Nancy F. Cott

Publication Date - 08 April 2004

ISBN: 9780195173239

656 pages
6-1/2 x 9-1/4 inches

In Stock

The most comprehensive, authoritative illustrated history of American women available


Enriched by the wealth of new research into women's history, No Small Courage offers a lively chronicle of American experience, charting women's lives and experiences with fascinating immediacy from the precolonial era to the present. Individual stories and primary sources-including letters, diaries, and news reports-animate this history of the domestic, professional, and political efforts of American women.

John Demos begins the book with a discussion of Native American women confronting colonization. Leading historians illuminate subsequent eras of social and political change-including Jane Kamensky on women's lives in the colonial period, Karen Manners Smith on the rising tide of political activity by women in the Progressive Era, Sarah Jane Deutsch on the transition of 1920s optimism to the harsh realities of the Great Depression, Elaine Tyler May on the challenges to a gender-defined social order encouraged by World War II, and William H. Chafe on the women's movement and the struggle for political equality since the 1960s. The authors vividly relate such events as Anne Hutchinson's struggle for religious expression in Puritan Massachusetts, former slave Harriet Tubman's perilous efforts to free others in captivity, Rosa Parks's resistance to segregation in the South, and newfound opportunities for professional and personal self-determination available as a result of decades of protest. Dozens of archival illustrations add to the human dimensions of the authoritative text.

No Small Courage dynamically captures the variety and significance of American women's experience, demonstrating that the history of our nation cannot be fully understood without focusing on changes in women's lives.


  • A lively chronicle of American experience, charting women's lives and experiences with fascinating immediacy from the precolonial era to the present
  • Dynamically captures the variety and significance of American women's experience,

About the Author(s)

Nancy F. Cott is Jonathan Trumbull Professor of American History at Harvard University, and the director of the Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. She is the author of The Bonds of Womanhood: "Woman's Sphere" in New England, 1780-1835, The Grounding of Modern Feminism, and Public Vows: A History of Marriage and the Nation, among other books.


"Illuminating and lively personal narratives....Succeeds in giving a sense of how women have been 'active agents' in American history."--The New York Times Book Review

"Details a rich store of female accomplishment over several centuries."--The Baltimore Sun

"Significant additions to the history of women in the United States."--Dallas Morning News

"Thoughtful, broad ranging, and engagingly written. A significant addition to literature in women's history. Accessible and inclusive, it will undoubtedly be an enormously useful volume for years to come."--Florida Historical Quarterly

"Will no doubt be read enthusiastically by armchair historians."-- Publishers Weekly

Table of Contents

    1. The Tried and the True: Native American Women Confronting Colonization, John Demos
    2. The Colonial Mosaic: 1600-1760, Jane Kamensky
    3. The Limits of Independence: 1760-1800, Marylynn Salmon
    4. Breaking New Ground: 1800-1848, Michael Goldberg
    5. An Unfinished Battle: 1848-1865, Harriet Sigerman
    6. Laborers for Liberty: 1865-1890, Harriet Sigerman
    7. New Paths to Power: 1890-1920, Karen Manners Smith
    8. From Ballots to Breadlines: 1920-1940, Sarah Jane Deutsch
    9. Pushing the Limits: 1940-1961, Elaine Tyler May
    10. The Road to Equality: 1962-Today, William H. Chafe
    Picture Credits