With the rise of events such as the Women’s Marches and the #MeToo movement, women’s voices are being heard loud and clear—and are being documented. As archivists collect protest posters and create new digital archives, now is an opportune time to reflect on the history of women’s archives and the struggle to achieve equal representation within the historical record.
Seizing the moment, the SAA Publications Board has selected Perspectives on Women’s Archives, edited by Tanya Zanish-Belcher and Anke Voss, for its One Book, One Profession reading initiative. The book features eighteen essays written by noted archivists and historians that illustrate the origins of a women-centered history, the urgent need to locate records that highlight the diverse experiences of women, and the effort to document women’s experiences. Deftly examining American culture and society over the past few centuries, the essays also expose the need for renewed collaboration between archivists and historians, the challenges related to the accessibility of women’s collections, and the development of community archives.
As one book reviewer noted: “Perspectives on Women’s Archives provides a useful summary of the development of the field of women’s history since the emergence of the discipline in the 1970s and of the growth of women’s archives from the earliest days of the republic. . . . It also offers stimulating prescriptions for the future direction of archives and raises urgent questions about the quality and equality of access in our overwhelmingly digital environment” (Christine Froechtenigt Harper, City of St. Louis, Archival Issues 36.1).
The One Book, One Profession edition includes a study guide (for the first edition, the discussion questions are also available here). This book is an excellent resource for thinking about the value of women’s and genderqueer archives and how to fill the gaps in our recordkeeping to move toward a more diverse and inclusive future.
Let’s read Perspectives on Women’s Archives—together!
Study Guide Questions: Host a book discussion within your institution, among archivists in your community, or at a regional meeting! Download study guide questions to further your conversation.
Related Reading & Resources: Browse a list of related articles from American Archivist and Archival Outlook.
ARCHIVES*RECORDS 2018 in Washington, DC
- August 15: Women Archivists Section Meeting
- August 15: Women’s Collections Section Meeting
- August 17: Brown bag lunch discussion sponsored by the SAA Publications Board
Tips for Leading a Lively Discussion
- Follow #OBOP18 on twitter for more updates and to join the conversation profession-wide
One Book, One Profession 2017 selection: Through the Archival Looking Glass: A Reader on Diversity and Inclusion
One Book, One Profession 2016 selection: Teaching with Primary Sources