Review by Booklist Review
The second edition of a title originally conceived and designed in 1990 "as a reference to assist students, teachers, and librarians who are new to the field of American Women's history" updates information but leaves the purpose unchanged. Featuring the 142 new entries and 93 new contributors, plus the addition of 69 illustrations, the volume contains 922 alphabetically arranged articles, varying in length from half a column to several pages. Coverage encompasses "events, organizations, concepts, and individuals that constitute a core of pertinent information regarding the basic materials and sources" in the field of American women's history. There are entries for Acquaintance/date rape and Family violence; African American domestic workers and Lowell Mill girls; Education and Marriage; Girl Scouts of America and National Council of Jewish Women; Industrial Revolution and Korean War; and Photography and Science, as well as for Bella Abzug, Dorothea Dix, Zelda Fitzgerald, Toni Morrison, Sacagawea, and numerous others. All entries include within the body of the readable, accurate text a concise definition establishing the historical significance of the subject under discussion. Appropriately weighted treatments (for example, several pages on the influence of Christianity but a bit more than a column on Joan Baez) follow the definition and in turn are followed by a basic bibliography, citing primary and secondary sources. Cross-references are given in italics at the end of each entry. A bibliography of general surveys and anthologies, reference works, and collections of periodical sources follows the introduction. A list of illustrations and a comprehensive index give further points of entry Well written and factually accurate, this timely update is more comprehensive than similar recent titles. Facts On File's Encyclopedia of Women's History in America (2d ed., 2000) and Houghton's Reader's Companion to U.S. Women's History (1998) have far fewer entries, and the latter contains no biographies. Handbook of American Women's History continues to be a recommended resource for academic, public, and high-school libraries.
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