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Women - Archives Dept.: Researching Women's History in the Archives Dept.

This guide provides information on using the Archives Department for your research on local women's history. It outlines the strengths of our collections, recommends a few sources, and offers tips on effective searching.


Recommended Women's History Collections

The Archives Department includes primary sources on Milwaukee-area women's history. Our collections are particularly strong on women's secondary, post-secondary, and avocational education; social and welfare leadership; art and literary persons; nursing history; the everyday experiences (diaries and family papers); lesbian issues; and feminist organizations.

A list of pertinent collections follows. We have many other collections on the general topic, which you may explore by using the search strategies described elsewhere in this guide, or by asking an archivist.


Search the library catalog to locate archival and manuscript collections which provide sources on local women's history.

Use the search box below, already limited to the Archives Dept.'s holdings. Note that these results will include some books on the subject, but more of them will describe archival or manuscript collections. Find more details by reading the complete catalog record for each hit, and if the catalog record offers you the option "View finding aid," click that for more detail.

Here are four examples of simple keyword searches.  Note that the boolean operator and is not necessary between key words.

1. women education

2. nursing

3. feminism

4. women politics


A general search hint: when reading any catalog record, follow the links found at "Subjects" to locate other material in the UWM Libraries on that same subject.

We write finding aids, or guides, for most of our collections. These guides explain the creator, contents and dates of the collection. This information is important to you when deciding if something is useful to your research. A finding aid also provides the information you will need to request and use a collection when you visit the Archives Dept.
All of our finding aids are included in Archival Resources in Wisconsin, a database of over 4,000 finding aids of collections held in seventeen repositories statewide.
Search our finding aids by using the search boxes below. Be sure to select an operator (and, or or not) as appropriate, and then click on "Search." Then explore the links in the grey band that appears with each result. Note: this search is limited to our holdings here at the Archives Department, UWM Libraries, which is also known as Milwaukee Area Research Center.

Use Archivegrid to find archives and collections in your geographic area.

The Library of Congress has a wealth of digital collections, which you can search right from their homepage.  

If you're not sure where to start, you can also browse their collections by topic.

Subject Guide