Women's Voices, Women's Lives: Documents in Early American History

by Carol Berkin (Editor)

Other authorsLeslie Horowitz (Editor)
Paperback, 1998




Northeastern University Press (1998), Edition: annotated edition, 224 pages


Containing A Wealth Of primary sources, this reader offers a rich sampling of women's experiences in colonial America. Carol Berkin and Leslie Horowitz gather together a broad spectrum of documents that crosscuts race, class, and region, presenting the voices of African American, European, and Native American women, the rich and poor, and women in the south, the middle colonies, and New England. The editors draw on diaries, letters, essays, court documents, sermons, wills, plantation records, newspapers, fiction, and advice manuals to reconstruct women's lives and roles during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. In addition to sources that convey women's experiences in their own words, the work includes prescriptive and proscriptive materials, most written by men, to further illuminate women's behavior and attitudes. The book is divided into six thematic chapters: sex and reproduction, marriage and family, women's work, religion, politics and the law, and a new gender ideology. Introductory essays by the editors place each section within historical, cultural, and social context, and each source is annotated with information about the document's author and insightful interpretation of its typicality or its special circumstances. This enriching collection fills a major gap in the study of early American women, and it is sure to stimulate further discussions about both the common and diverse aspects of their lives.… (more)


(1 rating; 4)

User reviews

LibraryThing member empress8411
This book appeared in the bibliography of every single book I've read on women in colonial America. I figured, I should read it. I'm glad I did. Organized by subjects, each chapter each chapter beings with a short exposition of the subject and the general overview. It's followed by reprints of a
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variety of documents, each with a short explanation. This makes it easy to understand what you are reading, as colonial English can be a bit challenging to the modern reader. I enjoyed Berkin and Horowitz opinions, and the way they attempted to included everyone, not just the white elite. They were honest about the lack of documents from Native American and Negro sources, doing their best to include what they had. I recommend this book as a good starting point for study about colonial females.
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Original language


Physical description

224 p.; 9.02 inches


1555533507 / 9781555533502
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