Veronica’s Women’s History Tour: a reading list!

Hello history explorers! Here are a few of my favorite sources for learning about women in U.S. history. Please note: if you purchase the books using the links I’ve listed here for Better World Books or Amazon, I will receive a small referral fee for everything you buy. This is a nice way to support my work while also checking out some of my favorite books. Speaking of checking out, I’ve also included public library links—one of my favorite sources for checking out new books!

A few of my favorites:

Marriage, a History: How Love Conquered Marriage, by Stephanie Coontz
[Better World Books | Amazon | public library]
I love this book! (And Coontz’s work in general.) Turns out that the history of marriage is the history of economics, family relationships, lineages, and more. Chapter 2 is not to be missed: an overview of what marriage looks like in cultures quite different from our own, and includes the one culture in the world (!) that doesn’t have marriage of any kind.

Liberty’s Daughters, by Mary Beth Norton
[Better World Books | Amazon | public library]
Statistics on childbearing; attitudes about love; courtship, marriage, sex; women in the public sphere. Lots of poignant and hilarious quotes from letters:

“I set down cooly and calmly to reason with you upon our late melancholy & distressing loss…O my poor dear little Polly—never to see her again! Never to see her dance Nansy Dawson again—I can’t bear the thoughts. This letter you will see is wet with my tears.”
—William Palfrey to his wife, following the death of their 7-year-old daughter Polly

“If I should now be called, it seems as if I had not time to die.”
—mother of 6 from Maine

Daughters of Light: Quaker Women Preaching and Prophesying in the Colonies and Abroad, 1700-1775, by Rebecca Larson
[Better World Books | Amazon | public library]
About the Quaker women of the 18th century who felt called to become traveling ministers or “Public Friends”. So many beautiful quotations that let you into the hearts and minds of these women:

“[I feel] in love with the whole creation of God…so everything began to preach to me; the very fragrant herbs, and beautiful innocent flowers had a speaking voice in them to my soul.”

I’ve Not Yet Read, But Eagerly Look Forward To:

The Invention of Wings, by Sue Monk Kidd [Amazon | public library] A novel about the Grimke sisters, Sarah and Angelina. Apparently people love this book; I’m looking forward to reading it myself!

To Believe In Women, by Lillian Faderman [Better World Books | Amazon | public library] I’ve read the first chapter, and it was fascinating! This is where I found out what Susan B. Anthony had to say about her lovers.

I’ve seen Louise Knight speak about Angelina Grimke, and I look forward to her book on the Grimke sisters once it’s published!

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