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Women's America

Refocusing the Past

Ninth Edition

Edited by Linda K. Kerber, Jane Sherron De Hart, Cornelia Hughes Dayton, and Karissa Haugeberg

Publication Date - 16 September 2019

ISBN: 9780190945756

688 pages
7 x 10 inches

In Stock

The most authoritative writing on gender and women's history by leading voices in the discipline


Featuring a streamlined single-volume format, Women's America: Refocusing the Past is more teachable, accessible, and affordable than ever before. The ninth edition incorporates insights from new coeditor Karissa Haugeberg and appears at a time of anxiety about the meaning of equality in the twenty-first century. Some of the inequalities with which women have long struggled have been eliminated, while others have emerged or reemerged. Coinciding with the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, Women's America is an indispensable text for the study of US women's history.

Digital Learning Tools to Enrich Your Course

All print and electronic versions of Women's America: Refocusing the Past come with access to a full suite of engaging digital learning tools that work with the text to bring content to life and build critical skills.

Podcasts, web based research, books and journal articles, and films provide additional resources for students to further their understanding of the text.

Interactive timelines summarize the important events covered in the text.

New to this Edition

  • New "In Brief" sections provide short treatments of fascinating topics or people, including an eighteenth-century entrepreneur, a nineteenth-century astronomer, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg
  • New documents and document essays include a colonial woman's divorce petition, a list of the property a South Carolina widow owned at her death, and the voices of women like Gloria Steinem on their experiences with abortion in the twentieth century
  • Six new scholarly essays include Miroslava Chávez-Garcia's examination of a murder trial in Los Angeles when it was part of Mexico, Linda Gordon on the women who were central to the renewed Ku Klux Klan of the 1920s, and Heather M. Stur's study of U.S. women who served in the Vietnam War
  • A new, streamlined single-volume format and a reduced part structure (four instead of five) make the text more teachable and accessible
  • A Companion Website includes additional sources; an interactive timeline of U.S. women's history; film, podcast, and website suggestions; assignment prompts; and much more


  • Presents an in-depth and comprehensive picture of women's experiences in American history
  • Encourages students to grapple with complex questions of activism, sexuality, work, and family across time and space
  • Primary and secondary sources have been carefully selected by a leading team of scholars, including new coeditor Karissa Haugeberg of Tulane University
  • Selections in each part are organized into thematic clusters
  • Focuses on six main themes: family/household/sexuality, labor/economy/class, race/ethnicity/religion, law and citizenship, and the global context of US women's history
  • The introduction focuses on key approaches and concepts in US women's history and invites students to "do history"

About the Author(s)

Linda K. Kerber is May Brodbeck Professor in the Liberal Arts, Professor of History Emerita, and Lecturer in Law at the University of Iowa.

Jane Sherron De Hart is Professor Emerita of History at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Cornelia Hughes Dayton is Professor of History at the University of Connecticut.

Karissa Haugeberg is Assistant Professor of History at Tulane University.


"Women's America is exceptional at providing a variety of perspectives, experiences, and knowledge about women's economic, social, cultural, political, and sexual lives throughout a broad expanse of time and geography."--Sandra Slater, College of Charleston

"I have not been able to find a text that presents the information for my Women in US History course better than Women's America does."--Robert Bergman, Central Arizona College

"Women's America is the most complete text currently on the market. It covers a diverse range of topics, but does so in a way that does not seem rushed. In addition, the primary documents included in the text are ideal companions to the articles and great sources to elicit in-class discussion."--Brady L. Holley, Middle Tennessee State University

"The articles in Women's America are thoughtfully edited; each preserves the document's argument, leaving enough evidentiary information to allow readers to see how the argument is supported."--Susan Yohn, Hofstra University

Table of Contents


    PART I. EARLY AMERICA, 1600-1800
    Gender Frontiers
    Kathleen M. Brown, The Anglo-Indian Gender Frontier
    Jennifer L. Morgan, "Some Could Suckle over Their Shoulder": Male Travelers, Female Bodies
    In Brief: Childbirth Practices among North American Indigenous Women (by Ann Marie Plane)
    Gender and Labor
    Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, Three Inventories, Three Households
    Mary Beth Norton, An Indentured Servant Identifies as "Both Man and Woeman": Jamestown, 1629
    Judith A. Carney, Toiling in the Carolina Rice Fields
    Founding Documents: Black and White Women Defined in Law
    Virginia Establishes a Double Standard in Tax Law
    Virginia's 1662 Law Defining Race-Based Enslavement
    A Massachusetts Minister's Slave Marriage Vows
    English Jurist William Blackstone Defines Coverture
    Mary Collin's Probate Inventory
    An Early Divorce Law and Sarah Welsher's Petition
    Disorderly Women
    Carol F. Karlsen, Inheriting Women and Witchcraft Accusations
    The Trial of Anne Hutchinson, 1637
    Two Eighteenth-Century Lives in Brief
    Esther Wheelwright Becomes an Ursuline Nun (by Ann M. Little)
    Abigail Stoneman, Entrepreneur (by Ellen Hartigan-O'Connor)
    Revolutionary Legacies
    Philadelphia Women Raise Money Door to Door
    Sarah Osborn, Woman of the Army
    Deborah Sampson Gannett, Soldier
    Grace Growden Galloway, Loyalist
    Rachel Wells, "I have Don as much to Carrey on the War as maney . . ."
    Linda K. Kerber, Republican Mothers and Women Citizens
    Annette Gordon-Reed, The Hemings-Jefferson Treaty: Paris, 1789
    PART II. MANY FRONTIERS, 1800-1880
    Jeanne Boydston, The Pastoralization of Housework
    Sharon Block, Sexual Coercion in the Early Republic
    Eliza R. Hemmingway and Sarah Bagley Testify on Working Conditions in Early Factories, 1845
    Slaveowning Households
    Stephanie E. Jones-Rogers, Mistresses in the Making
    Thavolia Glymph, Women in Slavery: The Gender of Violence
    Maria Perkins, Writes to Her Husband on the Eve of Being Sold, 1852
    Intimacy, Birth Control, and Abortion
    Carroll Smith-Rosenberg, The Female World of Love and Ritual
    James C. Mohr, The Abortion Landscape, 1800-1880
    Activists and Reform
    Gerda Lerner, The Meanings of Seneca Falls
    Rose Stremlau, "I Know What an Indian Woman Can Do": Sarah Winnemucca Writes about the Northern Paiute Frontier
    The Grimké Sisters Talk Truth to Power
    Keziah Kendall Protests Coverture
    Declaration of Sentiments, 1848
    Married Women's Property Acts, New York State, 1848 and 1860
    Sojourner Truth's Visiting Card, 1864
    Nineteenth-Century Frontiers
    Miroslava Chávez-García, The Murder Trial of Guadeloupe Trujillo: Los Angeles, 1843
    In Brief: Maria Mitchell, Astronomer and College Professor (by Helen Knight et al.)
    Photo Essay: Women in Public
    Civil War and Its Aftermaths
    Stephanie McCurry, Women Numerous and Armed: Politics and Policy on the Confederate Home Front
    Leslie A. Schwalm, Enslaved Mothers: Claiming Freedom and Risking Death
    Tera W. Hunter, Reconstruction and the Meanings of Freedom
    A. S. Hitchcock, I Would Treat Them as Vagabonds
    Reconstruction Amendments, 1865, 1868, 1870
    Supreme Court Test Cases: Bradwell v. Illinois and Minor v. Happersett
    Gender and the Jim Crow South
    Glenda Gilmore, Forging Interracial Links in the Jim Crow South
    Ida B. Wells, Southern Horrors (with an introduction by Patricia A. Schechter)
    Mary McLeod Bethune, "How the Bethune-Cookman College Campus Started"
    Women in the West
    Peggy Pascoe, Ophelia Paquet, a Tillamook of Oregon, Challenges Miscegenation Laws
    Judy Yung, Unbound Feet: From China to San Francisco's Chinatown
    Zitkála-Sá, The Americanization of Native American Children
    Change Agents
    Kathryn Kish Sklar, Florence Kelley and Women's Activism in the Progressive Era
    Annelise Orleck, From the Russian Pale to Labor Organizing in New York City
    Pauline Newman, Life in the Garment District
    Crystal Eastman, Now We Can Begin
    Suffrage and Citizenship
    Leila J. Rupp, Sexuality and Politics in the Early Twentieth-Century International Women's Movement
    Chinese Exclusion: The Page Act and Its Aftermath
    Mackenzie v. Hare, 1915
    Equal Suffrage (Nineteenth) Amendment, 1920
    Jazz Age Opportunities and Limits
    Vicki L. Ruiz, The Flapper and the Chaperone: Mexican American Teenagers in the Southwest
    Joan Jacobs Brumberg, Fasting Girls: The Emerging Ideal of Slenderness
    Linda Gordon, Women and the KKK in the 1920s
    Equal Rights Amendment, 1921, 1923
    Photo Essay: Adorning the Body
    Great Depression
    Leslie J. Reagan, When Abortion Was a Crime
    Blanche Wiesen Cook, Storms on Every Front: Eleanor Roosevelt and Human Rights
    Comstock Act
    Emma Goldman's Mug Shot, 1901
    Margaret Sanger, Contraception for all Women
    Pauli Murray and the Making of Jane Crow
    Women and War
    Beth Bailey and David Farber, The Women of Hotel Street during World War II
    Alice Kessler-Harris, Rethinking Women's Work during World War II
    The Forced Removal of Japanese Americans
    Women's Cold War Activism
    Daniel Horowitz, Betty Friedan and the Origins of Feminism in Cold War America
    Michelle M. Nickerson, Politically Desperate Housewives
    Betty Friedan, "The Problem That Has No Name"
    Phyllis Schlafly, Difference, Not Equality
    Sexuality at Midcentury
    Susan K. Cahn, Lesbians and Homophobia in U.S. Women's Sports
    Joanne Meyerowitz, Christine Jorgensen and the Story of How Sex Changed
    Women and Movements against Injustice
    Danielle L. McGuire, Sexual Violence and the Long Civil Rights Movement
    In Brief: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Making of a Feminist Advocate (by Jane Sherron DeHart)
    Hoyt v. Florida, 1961, and Taylor v. Louisiana, 1975
    Civil Rights Act, Title VII, 1964
    Loving v. Virginia, 1967
    Reinvigorated Feminisms
    Heather M. Stur, "We Weren't Called Soldiers": WACs and Nurses in Vietnam
    Rosalyn Baxandall and Linda Gordon, The Women's Liberation Movement
    Poster, "Girls Say Yes to Boys Who Say No"
    Equal Rights Amendment, 1972
    Title IX, Education Amendments of 1972
    Frontiero v. Richardson, 1973
    Carol Sanger, "The Law from Roe Forward"
    In Brief: Women's Experience with Abortion before and after Roe v. Wade (by Karissa Haugeberg)
    Claims for Dignity
    Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo, Domésticas Demand Dignity
    Ashraf Zahedi, Muslim American Women after 9/11
    In Brief: How History Matters in Obergefell v. Hodges, 2015 (by Nancy F. Cott)
    Meritor Savings Bank v. Mechelle Vinson et al., 1986
    Anita Hill's Testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, 1991
    Violence Against Women Act, 1994
    Women's March, 2017