This project promotes ongoing work in women's book history by providing a hub where scholarship and resources on women's writing and labor is made visible. Often major book history companions and readers do not explicitly discuss women's work, but this is not due to a lack of scholarship. This bibliography ameliorates the absence of mainstream attention by providing a venue where the breadth and depth of scholarship on women's lives and labor can be explored.
How It Works
The bibliography is a resource that lists secondary sources on women’s writing and participation in the book trades. Primarily, our sources are in English. The list is not meant to be an exhaustive list of all sources that refer to women or discuss women, but instead a thorough snapshot of studies that take women as their primary subjects. Due to our own scholarly interests, we have naturally emphasized the Early Modern period in England, roughly 1500-1800, with some additional clustering of sources in the United States. We intend to build out into other time periods, geographical locations, and languages through collaboration with other scholars and encourage contributions in these areas from our readers.
We define book history in the same terms as Leslie Howsam in Old Books and New Histories: the intersection of history, literary studies, and bibliography. As such, our list clusters around the overlaps between these subfields. In particular, we are interested in:
- Publishers and the Book Trade;
- Reading and Consumption;
- Professional Writing;
- Manuscript and Letters;
- Theory and meta-analyses of the field;
- With some emphasis on individual authors and publishers.
This list is a growing organism, and we are always open to adding new sources. Please contact us with suggestions for new additions.
Cait Coker is a doctoral candidate in English literature at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. She has an MLS from University of Maryland, College Park, and has worked as an archivist and special collections librarian. Currently, she is working on her dissertation titled "Liminal Ladies: Reconstructing the Place of Women in Seventeenth-Century English Book Production," which does important recovery work on women's labor in the book trades from seventeenth century England to zines and fan fiction.
Kate Ozment is a doctoral candidate in English literature at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. She recently completed a fellowship at the Newberry Library and the Researching the Archive seminar at the Folger Shakespeare Library. She is currently working on her dissertation titled "The Author and the Agent: Women's Writing and Commercial Publishing in Early Modern England," which rewrites book history's origins from a feminist perspective in order to imagine a gendered model of book production.
We are very grateful for the startup and maintenance funding for this project, which was provided by the Elizabeth Greenwade Qualls '89 Endowed Fellowship through the English Department at Texas A&M University. Our database was built through a generous grant from the Initiative for Digital Humanities, Media, and Culture. Our biggest thanks go to Laura Mandell, Bryan Tarpley, and the IDHMC staff.
Conceptually, the bibliography would not be possible without the pioneering work of Maureen Bell, Michelle Levy, Lisa Maruca, Paula McDowell, and Helen Smith. In particular, we want to thank Margaret J. M. Ezell for her mentorship and unfailing support and encouragement on this and other projects.
Lastly, we would like to thank our contributors, who have helped us grow the bibliography substantially.