Review by Choice Review
Salem here presents a collection of biographies of women who are often omitted from standard sources. Serving as an introduction to the contributions made by these women, the entries are written in clear, understandable prose, and provide some analysis of each subject's work. The bibliographies are particularly strong, identifying, in a field in which published sources are often not available, archival materials, oral history projects, etc. Notable Black American Women, ed. by Jessie Carney Smith (CH, Jun'92) provides biographies for about 100 more women and has many more illustrations. Although there is little overlap (a sample of one section found 11 women unique to Salem, 22 to Smith), Notable Black American Women is more comprehensive, while Salem has more extensive bibliographies (although basic sources are listed for each entry in Smith). Libraries that can buy only one should acquire Smith, but comprehensive collections will need both. T. L. Wesley; Northern Kentucky University
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Booklist Review
Three hundred African American women who have "made significant contributions to social reform, politics, arts and entertainment, religion, business, education and the professions from colonial times to the present" are the subject of this volume. The signed entries are alphabetically arranged and vary in length from several paragraphs to eight pages. The articles discuss the woman's family, education, career background, and the significance of her achievements. An annotated bibliography follows each entry. Some of the women are little known, and information about them has come from oral histories, interviews, and manuscripts. The strength of this dictionary lies in its coverage of these lesser-known people. For example, there are entries for religious leader Lillian Coffey, social worker and physician Catharine Lealtad, and Sarah Walker, the first black woman millionaire. Historical figures are included, but the emphasis is on the achievements of twentieth-century women. The majority of the women are associated with civil rights activities, organizations (e.g., NAACP), education, the arts, and politics, but other areas such as sports, aviation, and union leadership are covered. All entries are organized by career category in a useful index. There is also a general index and an insert of black-and-white photographs. Even though approximately 200 of the women are also found in Notable Black American Women [RBB Ap 15 92], libraries building an African American or women's studies collection may want to consider this book as a supplement. It is also an alternative purchase for libraries that couldn't afford the two-volume Black Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia [RBB My 1 93], which provides biographies of 804 women. (Reviewed Feb. 15, 1992)
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.