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American women historians, 1700s-1990s : a biographical dictionary /

Main Author: Scanlon, Jennifer, 1958-
Other Authors: Cosner, Shaaron.
Format: Book
Language: English
Published: Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 1996
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Review by Choice Review

Scanlon (author of Inarticulate Longings: The Ladies' Home Journal, Gender, and the Promise of Consumer Culture, CH, May'96) and Cosner provide articles concerning 200 historians, living and dead. Most entries follow a standard narrative--parents, education, career, writings, service to the professions, and personal information--and conclude with a bibliography of the subject's books and of sources of biographical information. Most living historians completed a questionnaire, which lends currency to the information, although details about the subjects' hobbies seem unnecessary. Students will regret that the authors rarely analyze the historians' ideas within the larger historiographic context. Criteria for selection include publications, significance within a field of study, and cross-disciplinary work, but entries are heavily weighted toward American history, which means researchers will not find entries for such important Europeanists as Lynn Hunt and Claudia Koonz. The index classifies historians by field, so readers can quickly identify, for example, all the historians of medicine. Suitable for college and university reference collections. M. C. Schaus Haverford College

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Booklist Review

Another in Greenwood's series of biographical dictionaries on women, this book details the lives of roughly 200 historians. Not all of them are academic historians; some are biographers (Catherine Drinker Bowen, Fawn Brodie) and others writers of popular history (Barbara Tuchman). While most of the women are deceased, many contemporary historians, such as Natalie Zeman Davis, Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, Gerda Lerner, Joan Wallach Scott, and Darlene Hine, are profiled. Since historians who are best known as administrators, such as Jill Ker Conway and Mary Frances Berry, are included, it is odd that there is no biography of Hannah Gray. Many of the subjects specialize in women's history, but there is a good distribution of scholars from all fields, from ancient history to modern U.S. and European history. The detailed index has entries for fields, so it is possible to find African or Asian historians, for example. Each entry is a page or two in length, and identifies the woman's field and her professional contributions. Apparently some of the living historians responded to a questionnaire from the editors, and their entries often contain personal information about spouses, children, and hobbies. Each entry concludes with a list of additional sources about the woman; some have a list of books by the woman. There is an insert of black-and-white portraits of 30 of the subjects. An interesting contribution to collections in history and women's studies. --Sandy Whiteley

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.