Women in early America : struggle, survival, and freedom in a new world /

Main Author: Mays, Dorothy A.
Format: Book
Language: English
Published: Santa Barbara, Calif. : ABC-CLIO, c2004.
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Review by Choice Review

Mays (librarian, Rollins College) offers in her fascinating encyclopedia insight into the lives of ordinary women, 1607-1812. She includes both biographies of prominent women and engagingly written topical articles on a wide range of issues of importance in personal lives (disease, birth control, diet, body image, aging, mental illness), religious concerns (witchcraft, Quaker women, Islamic women), social problems (employment, poverty, social reform, war), and many other topics that bring the world of these women to life. She carefully includes African American women, both free and enslaved. Native American women are covered as their lives intersected with those of the settlers (trade, interracial marriage). The volume is nicely illustrated, and many entries include boxed excerpts from primary documents. A number of primary documents are reproduced in the appendixes. All entries have bibliographies of resources that are scholarly but accessible. The articles are longer and have greater depth than those in Encyclopedia of Women in American History, ed. by Joyce Appleby et al. (CH, Jun'02, 39-5557). The book concludes with a 16-page annotated bibliography of books and online resources. It would be useful to undergraduates and their teachers. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. General and academic readers. N. Taylor Earlham College

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

Intended "for pre-collegiate as well as college-level researchers," this cross-disciplinary encyclopedia makes available the research on women in America from 1607 to 1812. Approximately 175 entries cover groups ( Aging women, Quaker women,0 Milliners and seamstresses0 ); activities ( Gardening, Quilt0 ing, Travel); and various other topics, such as Childbirth, Housing, Religion, 0 and Witchcraft.0 Around a quarter of the entries are biographical. In part because of the chronological limits, emphasis is on the eastern part of the territory that became the U.S and on women of European descent. Nevertheless, there are entries for African American and Native American women, among them Sally Hemmings, Pocahontas, and Phillis Wheatley, as well as for broader topics such as African American women and the American Revolution 0 and Indian women and leadership.0 African American and Native American women are also represented in entries such as Diet0 and Interracial marriage.0 A number of entries shed light on unexpected topics, such as depression and personal hygiene. Entries generally range in length from one to seven pages, and each includes a list of further readings. Numerous black-and-white illustrations and informative sidebars (for example, "Did Puritans Really Use Scarlet Letters?" and "Eighteenth-Century Cough Medicine") complement the text. The A-Z0 entries are followed by two appendixes, one describing common household chores of the period and the other containing 10 primary documents. The bibliography, organized into broad categories and annotated, is an extremely useful resource, listing historical fiction and online databases as well as primary and secondary sources. Navigational aids include -cross--references, a "Topic Finder" that lists entries by category, and a robust index. Though there is some overlap with other resources, especially in the biographical entries, the value of this work lies in the particular context it provides. It would be an excellent addition to academic and larger public libraries. --Mary Ellen Quinn Copyright 2005 Booklist

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

Gr 8 Up-Mays greatly expands the scope of Carol Berkin's First Generations: Women in Colonial America (Farrar, 1996) with this alphabetically arranged encyclopedia. Combining articles on several dozen individual women with both general ("Cooking," "Sport and Leisure") and more specific ("Widowhood," "Islamic Women," "Marriage and Family among Enslaved Women") topical studies, she draws heavily from both primary sources and modern scholarship to present clear overviews of the diversity, as well as the commonalities, of both immigrant and native women's experience between 1607 and the outbreak of the War of 1812. She enhances many narratives with boxed (and sourced) asides, and an occasional dark but usually relevant black-and-white illustration. Along with a documentary appendix, the author closes with an extensive annotated bibliography, plus some Web sites, to back up the bibliographies that close nearly every article. With entries linked by an analytical index, many "see" references, and topical and alphabetic tables of contents, this resource offers large doses of easily accessible, hard-to-find-elsewhere information. Collections of any size serving students of our country's past will find it a popular and worthwhile addition.-John Peters, New York Public Library (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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