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Pre Readings and Viewings

We encourage you to prepare as many readings and viewings as possible prior to the institute to prevent you from having homework to prepare each evening. These links will bring you to a invitation only shared google drive to which  NEH Women Making Change Scholars have been invited. If you, as an NEH Scholar are having difficulty connecting to the links please email Penni Martorell, the project director.

Links are to files shared via Google Drive. In order to respect copyright, this is a private shared drive that you have been invited to join via previous email. Or you can go to this URL and ask to be added as a 2017 NEH Scholar for Women Making Change. (

Pre Readings and Advance Viewings in order of priority

These readings are provided to orient scholars to the time period and historical content we will be studying – the field of women’s history, learning history from the landscape, and the power of history to shape our present.

  1. Hymowitz, Carol, and Michaele Weissman. A History of Women in America. Toronto: Bantam Books, 1981.
    Although this is a very old book (1978) it is a classic in many US Women’s History courses. Short and very readable chapters provide a more in-depth analysis of women’s experiences and how working conditions became progressively worse over time from the “rosy days” of the first New England born mill girls, who were replaced by Irish immigrants after 1850. Thus, it would provide good background.

    Chapter  8 “On the Loom: The First Factory Women” pp 122 – 137
    Good background on the roots of industrialization and women’s role.
    Chapter 14 “Bread and Roses” pp 234 – 263 Women, Work & Labor Activism, 1890-1920
  1. Morales, Sylvia, Jacob Atlas, Heidi Schulman, Kyra Thompson, and Jane Fonda. A Century of Women: Part 1. New York: Ambrose Video [distributor, 1994.]
    Partial recording of discussion of 1911 Triangle Factory Fire & 1912 Lawrence MA textile strike
  2. Bauman, Suzanne and Rita Heller. The Women of Summer: An Unknown Chapter of American Social History. Filmakers Library. Released 1986. 57 minutes.
    (Note: Reading Hymowitz prior to watching this video will lend you more insight.) This National Endowment for the Humanities documentary captures an historic moment when feminists, unionists, and educators came together to pursue a common social ideal. The Women of Summer is their emotionally riveting and previously untold story. From 1921 to 1938, seventeen hundred blue collar women participated in a controversial and inspired educational experiment know as The Bryn Mawr Summer School for Women Workers. The program forever changed their lives and has left a legacy meriting public awareness.

Or you can download two mp4 files at
Part 1:
Part 2:

  1. Glassberg, David. Sense of History: The Place of the Past in American Life. Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press, 2001.
    The first chapter of this book will orient participants to the ways that our historical landscapes can inform and affect communities in the present.

Chapter 1 “Sense of History” pp 3-22.

  1. Green, James R. Taking History to Heart: the Power of the Past in Building Social Movements. Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press, 2000.
    As an activist, historian, and educator Green’s focus on both giving voice to activists from the past and “tell[ing] movement stories in public” as a way to inspire today’s social activists will provide an accessible gateway between the content of the past in this institute and the work of the teachers/relevancy to the lives of their students today.

Prologue: Making Movement History

6. Kilborne, Sarah S. Book TV “American Phoenix” C-Span2

Readings to Prepare for Monday

  1. Hewitt, Nancy, Ed. No Permanent Waves: Recasting Histories of S. Feminism. Piscataway, NJ: Rutgers University Press. 2010
    Chapter 1 “From Seneca Falls to Suffrage? Reimagining a ‘Master’ Narrative in U.S. Women’s History.”
    pp. 15-38
  2. Navarra Thibodeau, Kate. Destination Holyoke. Holyoke, MA: Wistariahurst Museum, 2006.
    This book by former Holyoke City Historian, provides a readable and high-level overview of the industrialization of Holyoke, the demographics of the mill workers, and basic information regarding class distinctions and gender roles at this time and place.
    Holyoke’s Neighborhoods” pp. 19-30.
    Laboring in Holyoke’s Industries” pp. 31-76

Readings to Prepare for Tuesday

  1. Addams, Jane. Twenty Years at Hull House. Bedford/St. Martin’s Press, 1999.
    Gives some historical and national context to the Skinner Coffee House and philanthropy of Belle and Katharine Skinner. Readers will also benefit from Addam’s first person account of her motivations and contemporary observations.

    “The Subjective Necessity for Social Settlements” pp 113 – 128
  2. Garside, Patricia. The Economic History Review, New Series Vol 53, No 4 (Nov., 2000)“The Impact of Philanthropy: Housing Provision and the Sutton Model Dwellings Trust, 1900-1939. pp 742-766
  3. Schneiderhan, Erik. “Pragmatism and Empirical Sociology: The Case of Jane Addams and Hull-house, 1889-1895”. Theory and Society 40 (6). Springer: 589–617.
  4. United Neighborhood Houses of New York. The Enduring Advantage of Settlement Houses.
    United Neightborhood Houses, October 2011.

Selected Papers from the Sophia Smith Collection at Smith College.
To familiarize yourself with these collections, and see what content is available to you.

Jane Addams Papers
Dorothy Kenyon Papers
Ellen Gates Starr Papers
Mary van Kleeck Papers
Employment Collection
Settlements Collection
Suffrage Collection
Women’s Rights Collection

Readings to Prepare for Wednesday:

  1. Davis, Clark. “An Era and Generation of Civic Engagement: The Friday Morning Club in Los Angeles, 1891-1931.” Southern California Quarterly, 84, No. 2 (Summer 2002). University of California Press. pp 135-168
  2. Gover, Tzivia. “Mrs. Elizabeth Towne : Pioneering Woman in Publishing and Politics (1865 – 1960).” Historical Journal of Massachusetts, Vol. 37 (1) Spring 2009. Institute for Massachusetts Studies, Westfield State pp 48 – 63
  3. Nutter, Kathleen Banks. “Women Reformers and the Limitations of Labor Politics in Massachusetts, 1874-1912.” Historical Journal of Massachusetts, 41 (2), Summer 2013. Institute for Massachusetts Studies, Westfield State College. pp 72-99

Readings to Prepare for Thursday:

  1. Hymowitz, Carol, and Michaele Weissman. “Chapter 17 Don’t Steal a Job from a ” A History of Women in America. Toronto: Bantam Books, 1981. pp 303 – 311
  2. O’Farrell, Brigid. “She Was One of Us: Eleanor Roosevelt and the American Worker.” Wurf Memorial Lecture. Cabridge, MA: Harvard Law School, 2012. pp 9-27 required – the rest is optional
  3. Dodge, Mara. “Anna B. Sullivan, 1903-83: The Formative Years of a Textile Mill Union Organizer (Holyoke, Massachusetts).” Historical Journal of Massachusetts, Vol. 36 (2), Summer 2008. Institute for Massachusetts Studies, Westfield State pp 184 – 218
  4. Cobble, Dorothy Sue. “The Missing Wave.” The Other Women’s Movement: Workplace Justice and Social Rights in Modern America. Princeton University Press, 2004. pp 1-10.
    Cobble will illustrate the major role that women union organizers played in the women’s movement, including some of the tensions between their perspective and goals and other feminist activists.
  5. Curran, Mary Doyle, The Parish and the Hill. New York: The Feminist Press at the City University of New York: 2002.
    The first chapter of Doyle’s 1948 novel provides a realistic and gripping account of coming to Holyoke in search of a better life and instead entering into the drudgery and dangers of a life in the mills.

Chapter 1, “Irish Parish and Money Hole Hill.” Pp 1 – 19.
Chapter 4, “Maggies Boy.” Pp 87 – 115.

Optional Additional Readings

Holyoke History

Green, Constance McLaughlin. Holyoke Massachusetts: A Case History of the Industrial Revolution in America. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1939

Hartford, William F., “Paper City: Class Development in Holyoke, Massachusetts, 1850-1920.” Ph.D. diss., University of Massachusetts Amherst, 1983.

Pedulla, Marianne. “Labor in a City of Immigrants: Holyoke, 1882-1888.” Historical Journal of Massachusetts 13 (1985): 147-161.

Kelly, Marcella R. Behind Eternity: Holyoke Women Who Made a Difference 1873-1973. Published for the Holyoke Centennial, 1973.

Industrial Revolution

Laurie, Bruce. Artisans into Workers: Labor in Nineteenth-century America. University of Illinois Press, 1989.

Rosenzweig, Roy. Eight Hours for What We Will: Workers and Leisure in an Industrial City, 1870-1920. Cambridge University Press, 1983.

Women Working in the Mills

Boydston, Jeanne. Home and Work: Housework, Wages and the Ideology of Labor in the Early Republic. Oxford University Press, 1990.

Blewett, Mary H. Men, Women and Work: Class, Gender, and Protest in the New England Shoe Industry 1790-1910. University of Illinois Press, 1990

Brody, David. Workers in Industrial America. Oxford University Press, 1993.

Dublin, Thomas. “Women, Work, and Protest in the Early Lowell Mills: ‘The Oppressing Hand of Avarice Would Enslave Us.’” Labor History 16 (1975): 99-116.

Dublin, Thomas. “Lowell Millhands.” Transforming Women’s Work: New England Lives in the Industrial Revolution. Ithaca, N.Y: Cornell University Press, 1995. pp 77–118

Friedman, Lawrence J. and Mark D. McGarvie, editors. Robert A Gross, “Giving in America: From Charity to Philanthropy” Charity, Philanthropy, and Civility in American History. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press: 2003. pp 29-48

Lerner, Gerda. The Majority Finds Its Past: Placing Women in History. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press, 1979.
Lerner offers a concise summary of women, work, and class during the time period of the American Industrial Revolution, providing the context for the considerable cultural changes that occurred when women went to work in the mills prior to the events covered in the institute

Ranta, Judith A. Women and Children of the Mills: An Annotated Guide to Nineteenth-Century American Textile Factory Literature. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1999.

Oral History

Feldstein, Mark. “Kissing Cousins: Journalism and Oral History” The Oral History Review, Vol. 31, No. 1 (Winter – Spring, 2004), pp. 1-22.

Gluck, Sherna. “What’s so Special about Women? Women’s Oral History.” Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies. Vol. 2, No. 2, Women’s Oral History (Summer, 1977), pp. 3-17

Women’s History and Social Movements

Cobble, Dorothy Sue. The Other Women’s Movement: Workplace Justice and Social Rights in Modern America. (Princeton University Press, 2004).

Cott, Nancy. The Bonds of Womanhood: “Women’s Sphere” in New England 1780-1835, Yale University Press. 1997.

Greaves, William. American Experience: Ida B. Wells: A Passion for Justice. , 2015. Internet resource.  Accessed 6/12/2017.

Green, James. Taking History to Heart: The Power of the Past in Building Social Movements. Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press. 2000.

Chapter 5 Place and Placelessness in American History p 109 – 127
Chapter 6 Rethinking New England Town Character p 129 – 163

Hewitt, Nancy. Women’s Activism and Social Change: Rochester, NY 1822-1872. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University, 1984

Kerber, Linda K. No Constitutional Right to be Ladies: Women and the Obligation of Citizenship. New York: Hill and Wang, 1998.

Kessler-Harris, Alice. Out To Work: A History of Wage-Earning Women in the United States. New York: Oxford University Press, 1982.
Selected readings from Kessler-Harris will introduce the concept of “Gendered Imagination” and how it affected the development of our workplaces and economic systems. Kessler-Harris’s introduction gives a good look at the ways that the development of employment during industrialization affected the ability of women to support and sustain themselves and their families. Selections from her Chapter “What’s Fair” will help to establish the language and goals of the women’s rights movement of the early 20th century.

Kessler-Harris, Alice. In Pursuit of Equity: Women, Men, and the Quest for Economic Citizenship in 20th-Century America. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2001.

Orleck, Annelise. Common Sense and A Little Fire: Women and Working-Class Politics in the United States, 1900-1965. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press. 1995

Ulrich, Laurel Thatcher. The Age of Homespun: Objects and stories in the Creation of an American Myth. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2001

The Women Making Change Teachers Institute has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed on this website, do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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