Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Women's History Sources in Volunteer Voices

In honor of Women's History Month, here's just a sample of primary source material in the Volunteer Voices database.

African American Women

The photo at left, "Maxine A. Smith at downtown business boycott," is just one of many items from the Maxine A. Smith NAACP Collection at Memphis Public Library. Smith was executive secretary of the Memphis branch of the NAACP.

The database also includes collections of photographs of African-Americans from the Beck Cultural Exchange Center and the University of Tennessee Libraries.

Women's Suffrage

Febb E. Burn in Niota, Tennessee to Harry T. Burn in Nashville, Tennessee (Harry T. Burn Papers, C. M. McClung Historical Collection)
This is the famous letter written by Harry Burn's mother to her son in the Tennesse state legislature in which she urges him to vote for women's suffrage.

The collection also includes political cartoons, correspondence, and broadsides, both for and against women's suffrage.


"Memphis Conference Female Institute uniform" (Lambuth University).

Volunteer Voices offers photos of students at a number of schools and colleges, including the Athenaeum, Centenary College, Hiwassee College, Lambuth College, and Ward-Belmont College. Other highlights include pamphlets, such as Dormitory Rules and Regulations for Young Women at Middle Tennessee State Teacher's College (1932), Ward-Belmont College Dress Regulations (1928), and the 1909 yearbook of the Columbia Female Institute.

Women Workers

"Worker at machine" (Bemis Collection, Union University)

This is one of several images of women workers at the cotton mill in Bemis, Tennessee. Additional photos of women workers are available from the Englewood Textile Museum. Home demonstration work is documented in the Virginia Moore Collection. Moore, a native Tennessean, began a career as a home demonstration agent in 1909 and subsequently served in various positions related to home economics until 1946.

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