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About the National American Woman Suffrage Association Collection

This American Memory collection is a 167-item subset of the larger National American Woman Suffrage Association Collection.

The complete National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) Collection is a library of 700-800 titles collected between 1890 and 1938 by members of NAWSA and donated to the Rare Books Division of the Library of Congress on November 1, 1938. The bulk of the collection is derived from the library of Carrie Chapman Catt, president of NAWSA from 1900-1904, and again from 1915-1920. Additional materials were donated to the NAWSA Collection from the libraries of other members and officers, including Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Lucy Stone, Alice Stone Blackwell, Julia Ward Howe, Elizabeth Smith Miller, and Mary A. Livermore.

The complete collection consists of a variety of materials--newspapers, books, pamphlets, memorials, scrapbooks, and proceedings from the meetings of various women's organizations--documenting the suffrage fight. When the Library of Congress acquired the collection from Carrie Chapman Catt in 1938, it was divided into sixteen sections, with individual items being assigned both an accession number and an item number within its particular section. The sixteen sections are as follows:

  1. Reliable Sources on the Woman Movement
  2. Brief Biographies
  3. Woman and Work
  4. Women and War
  5. Sociology and Ethics concerning Women
  6. The Evolution of Woman
  7. The Woman Suffrage Campaign
  8. Biographies of Women
  9. Women and the Law
  10. Parenthood and Related Subjects
  11. Prostitution
  12. Women and Costumology
  13. Women and Clubs
  14. Letters, Poems, Novels, Humor
  15. Opposition to Woman Suffrage
  16. Scrapbooks

The Rare Book Division has maintained the collection according to NAWSA's original organization, and researchers can request items by using the same numbers assigned in the Deed of Gift. When the cataloging of the collection began, it was renamed from its original title of the Carrie Chapman Collection to its current name as the NAWSA Collection--a title that more accurately identifies the collection's contents.

The materials in the collection amount to 65,683 pages and can be broken down as follows:

Books . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37,382
Memorials . . . . . . . . . . . . 278
Pamphlets . . . . . . . . . . . 4,165
Proceedings/Reports . . . 2,058
Serials . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21,800
TOTAL . . . . . . . . . . . 65,683

The full collection contains a significant number of works about women's movements in Europe, especially Great Britain.

American Memory, partly because of cost considerations, sought to identify about 10,000 pages for digitization. The selection process required the editor to seek the best balance between the following considerations:

The selection was made by E. Susan Barber. The project benefited from contributions by Library of Congress staff member Sheridan Harvey, assisted by contract worker Mara Mrvos. Historians Anne Firor Scott and Robyn Muncy provided guidance as selection proceeded.

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