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Encyclopedia of women social reformers /

Main Author: Rappaport, Helen.
Format: Book
Language: English
Published: Santa Barbara, Calif. : ABC-CLIO, 2001
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Review by Choice Review

Beginning with the French Revolution, and extending to their efforts to protect human rights in the 21st century, women have been responsible for much modern progressive reform. In the last few decades, scholars have documented the work of such women, but a comprehensive encyclopedia that chronicles modern women's reform efforts in all countries has been lacking. Rappaport (an independent writer, researcher, and author of Josef Stalin: A Biographical Companion, 1999, and other reference works) single-handedly undertakes this daunting task, offering a work that describes female efforts to effect social reform over the last 300 years both in the West and in Third World countries. Following an introduction by Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children's Defense Fund, the encyclopedia includes more than 400 well-written entries of 1,000 or more words each with bibliographic entries, an extensive general bibliography, and informative appendixes. Its readability and inclusiveness make it useful for general undergraduate libraries, though not as comprehensive (or expensive) as the massive Women in World History: A Biographical Encyclopedia, ed. by Annie Commire (CH, Apr'00). T. McDevitt Indiana University of Pennsylvania

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

Women have been in the forefront of social reform and often made their mark in history in their efforts to improve society. This encyclopedia includes over 400 reformers from the French Revolution until the present, from 64 countries. In order to include a number of women from different nationalities and ethnic backgrounds, the author took a very liberal view of "reformer," encompassing writers and philanthropists. Even so, the majority of the women included are American or British. Among them are many names one would expect to find such, as Mother Teresa, Princess Diana, Eleanor Roosevelt, and the three Pankhursts; but also many less familiar individuals, such as Mehrangiz Kar of Iran and Lee Tai-Young of Korea. There is a wonderful entry on Afghan women social reformers, who are mostly anonymous. Women engaged in violent activities such as armed conflict and destruction of property (except for some of the major suffragists) were excluded. The encyclopedia is arranged alphabetically by last name. Lists of women by country and by cause as well as by name introduce the work. The articles generally vary in length from one to five pages, and many are accompanied by black-and-white illustrations. Cross references to entries for women who shared similar concerns are included along with up-to-date and often extensive references and further reading. The work concludes with an appendix of the organizations cited most often in the book, giving their founding dates and names in original language other than English; a chronology from 1789-2001; and a 44-page bibliography. Since many of these women can be found in other biographical resources, the true value of this work lies in the emphasis on women in the role of reformers. It is a valuable addition to any collection on women, social welfare, or reform movements. The selected bibliography is an excellent collection development tool. Recommended for public and academic libraries.

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

In this generously illustrated reference, Rappaport (Joseph Stalin: A Biographical Companion; Queen Victoria: A Biographical Companion) profiles more than 400 women social reformers, many of whom have never before been profiled. About half are from the United Kingdom or the United States, and the rest come from more than 60 other countries. With a few contemporary exceptions, most of these women were active between the late 18th century and the 1970s in a variety of causes (e.g., abolition, education, child welfare, labor issues, prison reform, peace movements, reproductive rights, and many others). There are even sketches of a few women who were antisuffrage or anti-equal rights. Besides a general index, a chronology, and a bibliography, there are references at the end of each article and separate indexes of women listed by cause and by country. Based on a sample, over 25 percent of the women are not included in the much larger, 15-volume set Women in World History (LJ 1/00), edited by Anne Commire. Worldwide coverage and useful indexes make this set a convenient, worthy addition to high school and academic libraries as well as women's studies collections in public libraries. Patricia A. Beaber, Coll. of New Jersey Lib., Ewing (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.