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 database of secondary sources on women's writing and labor. Primarily, our sources are in English, and non-English sources have a rough translation included. 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. Our database has an Anglo-American bias, which we are slowly complicating with more global sources (and are happy to take any suggestions for more).
Our project is meant to be descriptive of the field, not proscriptive. 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 that we list in the "Fields" option on the database. Since book historians has significant interest with digital methodologies, we specifically index sources working on gender in digital humanities. As a project of intersectional feminism, we also index sources by other relevant interests: critical race studies, postcolonialism, and LGBT+ and sexuality.
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 has completed a yearlong seminar at the Folger Shakespeare Library and held fellowships at the Newberry Library and the University of Chicago's Special Collections. In fall 2017, she defended 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. Her publications include reassessments of authorship on Delarivier Manley and Aphra Behn.
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.