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U.S. Women's History - Digital History

A course guide for Dr. Elaine Nelson's U.S. Women's History focused on digital history resources and primary sources.

Digital Scholarship

American Athena: Doing Women's History in the American Midwest
"I am Jenny Barker Devine, a historian of American women with a special interest in the American Midwest. My work considers how women living in rural spaces sustained their communities through formal institutions and informal social networks. More than fly-over country, I see the Midwest as a cultural borderlands with a vibrant and often turbulent past that offers fascinating glimpses into how Americans have negotiated social, political, and cultural expectations over time."

The Arabella Chapman Project
"What can we learn from two photo albums assembled by an African American woman and her family in the last decades of the nineteenth century? Their pages are filled with layers of family, community, and politics. Assembled in Albany, NY and North Adams, MA — tintype, carte-de-visite, and snap shot images — Arabella Chapman’s albums tell histories both intimate and epic."

Beyond a Reasonable Doubt
"This project applies data visualization and querying techniques (including Google APIs and PHP/MySql) to this data to help identify patterns in state-sanctioned executions of women. By using this database for exploratory research, broad questions regarding the volume, types, timing, and geography of capital cases involving women were answered. Out of over 15,000 records, only 365 cases involved women. My larger research focuses on how gender norms were used for or against women to either prove or provide "reasonable doubt" during the course of their trials. By using this database for my initial research, I obtained a better understanding of the number, types and locations of cases where women were not acquitted or pardoned."

The Celia Project: A Research Collaboration on the History of Slavery and Sexual Violence
"The Celia Project, a research, publication, and public history collaboration, explores The State of Missouri v. Celia, A Slave and its reverberations in American culture. Our questions are about the role of sexual violence under slavery and emancipation, and its legacy in memory. We are exploring new archival materials. We are engaged with the work of playwrights, artists, and teachers. We are collaborators with activists in Missouri and beyond. Our team of social and cultural historians, literary scholars, and legal analysts brings a expertise to these materials. Celia’s story has transfixed many who seek to explain the legacy of slavery."

Chick History
"At the core of Chick History is the belief that every great story has not been told, and more importantly, what we’ve been told isn’t the whole picture. Women’s history is all around us, we just have to dig it out and put it back in place . . . one story at a time."

Elia Peattie: An Uncommon Writer, An Uncommon Woman
"Elia Peattie: An Uncommon Writer, An Uncommon Woman is a digital archive based on the life and writings of Elia Peattie, an early Nebraska journalist, novelist, short story writer, poet and playwright. Included in the archive are many of Peattie's columns from the Omaha World-Herald, short stories with Western settings, ghost stories, short novels and other miscellaneous writings."

Fanny Fern in the New York Ledger
"Fanny Fern in The New York Ledger explores one of the most successful periods in the career of Fanny Fern, who in the mid-nineteenth century became the highest-paid newspaper columnist in the United States, writing for the widest-circulated publication of its day."

Her Hat Was In the Ring! U.S. Women who Ran for Political Office before 1920
"This web site identifies women candidates for elective office in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, giving biographical information for each woman, information about her campaign, party affiliation, photographs,and lists of selected resources. We estimate that women ran in well over 7,000 campaigns by 1920."

Mapping the Long Women's Movement
"Mapping the Long Women’s Movement is an experiment with indexing, using, and ultimately understanding oral history in new ways. The project began with the Southern Oral History Program’s work on the 'long civil rights movement,' an approach to civil rights scholarship that posits the movement as longer, broader, deeper, and more diverse than it is conventionally understood. That approach took researchers to eastern Tennessee, where over three years they conducted interviews with dozens of people who became grassroots and labor activists, blazed new trails for women, or simply took charge of their own lives in dramatic ways. As they worked in their communities—forming consciousness-raising groups, establishing health centers, opposing environmental degradation, and working for civil rights and gender equality—they joined networks of activists and created new spaces where women (and some men) could work for change."

Portland Women's History Trail
"The Portland Women's History Trail is divided into seven walks and introduces women from (mainly) two centuries in a variety of settings, activities, and backgrounds. The two downtown walks, Congress Street and State Street, can be joined into one walk or traveled separately. The three neighborhood walks are Munjoy Hill, the West End and Gorham’s Corner. You need to drive to the historic Stroudwater District on outer Congress Street but can walk that part of the trail. Likewise, you need to drive to the Stevens Avenue portion of the trail but can walk the area."

The Restoration of Nell Nelson: An Investigation of the Chicago Times' Series: "City Slave Girls"
"This project restores Nell Nelson's instrumental work exposing the cruel unsanitary working conditions of 19th-century Chicago’s manufacturing industry. A pioneer of investigative reporting, Nelson published the series, "City Slave Girls," in The Chicago Times. Focusing on the ill-effects of industrialization, she exposed the mistreatment of the women, children, and the impoverished. For more on the development of this project please visit our GitHub page."

Trans Rochester Speaks: A Dialogue in Community History
"By drawing together voices of trans activists and advocates, this project celebrates the history of Rochester’s transgender community."

Unghosting Apparitional Histories: Erasures of Black Lesbian Feminism
"In Unghosting Apparitional (Lesbian) Histories I explore the internet in search of one woman, the sort of person who doesn’t have papers in a named collection, but who appears scattered throughout resources that also are seldom in one physical location. The internet offers the tantalizing promise of rendering these physical and geographical restrictions moot, but how much of that promise is fulfilled?"

The Women's Culture Wars: From Women's Culture to Cultural Feminism
"The Women’s Culture Wars traces how the critique known as cultural feminism overtook women’s culture, in the process erasing the common ground it created, ignoring the important participation by many women of color, and discrediting the contributions grassroots theorists made to the flourishing fields of feminist 

Lectures on Women's and Gender History and Digital Humanities

Mandell, Laura. “Keynote Address: Feminist Critique vs. Feminist Production in Digital Humanities.” Women’s History in the Digital World, March 22, 2013. <>

Potter, Claire. “Putting the Humanities in Action: Why We Are All Digital Humanists, and Why That Needs to Be a Feminist Project.” Women’s History in the Digital World, May 21, 2015. <>


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Claire Du Laney
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