Nature and Scope

Everyday Life & Women in America is a resource for the study of American social, cultural and popular history, providing access to rare primary source material from the Sallie Bingham Center for Women's History and Culture, Duke University and The New York Public Library.  The material largely reflects the dominant, white society of the time but can also be studied to find underrepresented voices. Read the Thematic Areas and the Searching Guide to learn more.

Everyday Life & Women in America comprises thousands of fully searchable images of monographs, pamphlets, periodicals and broadsides addressing a wide variety of nineteenth and early twentieth century issues. The collection is especially rich in conduct of life and domestic management literature, offering vivid insights into the daily lives of women and men, as well as emphasising contrasts in regional, urban and rural cultures.

Photograph from The Puritan captioned "An American Girl" © New York Public Library

Photograph captioned 'An American Girl' from 'The Puritan' . © New York Public Library.

Unique primary sources cover the following themes:  

  • Cookery
  • Education
  • Farming 
  • Fashion and Beauty
  • Marginalised Voices
  • Medicine
  • Political and Social issues
  • Periodicals
  • Popular Fiction and Sensational Literature
  • Racism and Representations of Race
  • Religion
  • Women's Advice Literature
  • Work

In Thematic Areas you can read short introductions to the major thematic areas of the collection. 

  • Thematic Areas showcasing some of the collection’s highlights
  • Introductory guide to Town Topics; the periodical Town Topics chronicled the New York social world during the height of the Gilded Age
  • Contextual Essays written by leading academics and collection specialists
  • An interactive chronology charting key dates in nineteenth and early twentieth century American history
  • Subjects Search Directory providing key subjects found within Everyday Life & Women in America