Selected and edited by renowned women's historian Carol Berkin, these brief, affordably priced biographies are designed for use in undergraduate courses. Rather than taking a comprehensive approach, each biography focuses instead on a particular aspect of a women's life that is emblematic of her time or made her a pivotal figure in her era. The emphasis is on a "good read," featuring accessible writing and compelling narratives, without sacrificing sound scholarship and academic integrity. Primary sources are included at the end of each biography, alongside study questions and an annotated bibliography, which support the student reader.
Dorothea Lange, Documentary Photography, and Twentieth-Century America: Reinventing Self and Nation
Mary Pickford: Hollywood and the New Woman
Barbara Egger Lennon: Teacher, Mother, Activist
Shirley Chisholm: Catalyst for Change
Betsy Mix Cowles: Champion of Equality
June 07, 2019
Julia Lathrop was a social servant, government activist, and social scientist who expanded notions of women's proper roles in public life during the early 1900s. Appointed as chief of the U.S. Children's Bureau, created in 1912 to promote child welfare, she was the first woman to head a United...
March 01, 2019
Dorothea Lange, Documentary Photography, and Twentieth-Century America charts the life of Dorothea Lange (1895–1965), whose life was radically altered by the Depression, and whose photography helped transform the nation. The book begins with her childhood in immigrant, metropolitan New York,...
Kathleen A. Feeley
February 23, 2016
On screen and off, movie star Mary Pickford personified the 'New Woman' of the early 1900s, a moniker given to women who began to demand more autonomy inside and outside the home. Well educated and career-minded, these women also embraced the new mass culture in which consumption and leisure were...
January 27, 2015
In 1906, fifteen-year old Elizabeth Gurley Flynn mounted a soapbox in Times Square to denounce capitalism and proclaim a new era for women's freedom. Quickly recognized as an outstanding public speaker and formidable organizer, she devoted her life to creating a socialist America, "free from...
Tina Stewart Brakebill
January 13, 2015
Facets of Barbara Egger Lennon's life depict an ordinary white Midwestern woman of her time: teacher, wife, mother. Her work as a union organizer and political activist, however, complicate that picture. The way in which Egger Lennon balanced these roles illustrates how many women of her time...
November 01, 2013
A staunch proponent of breaking down racial and gender barriers, Shirley Chisholm had the esteemed privilege of being a pioneer in many aspects of her life. She was the first African American woman from Brooklyn elected to the New York State legislature and the first African American woman elected...
Stacey M Robertson
November 01, 2013
Betsy Mix Cowles (a champion of equality whose circle of acquaintances included Frederick Douglass, Abby Kelley, and William Lloyd Garrison) is a brilliant example of what an educated and independent woman can accomplish. A staunch defender of abolitionism, Cowles also took up the cause of women's...
August 06, 2013
Rebecca Dickinson's powerful voice, captured through excerpts from the pages of her journal, allows colonial and revolutionary-era New England to come alive. Dickinson's life illustrates the dilemmas faced by many Americans in the decades before, during, and after the American Revolution, as well...
November 06, 2012
Alice Paul: Equality for Women shows the dominant and unwavering role Paul played in the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment, granting the vote to American women. The dramatic details of Paul's imprisonment and solitary confinement, hunger strike, and force-feeding at the hands of the U.S....
Julie Des Jardins
September 25, 2012
Lillian Gilbreth is a stunning example of female ingenuity in the early twentieth century. At a time when women were standard fixtures in the home and barely accepted in many professions, Gilbreth excelled in both spheres, concurrently winning honors as 'Engineer of the Year' and 'Mother of the...
September 25, 2012
First Lady of the United States and America's "Queen of Hearts," Dolley Madison fashioned an unofficial role for herself in the new administration of the United States, helping to answer the nation's need for ceremony and leaving footprints for centuries of presidential wives to follow. Assisting...