In this essay's focus on types of materials, especially primary sources, you must not forget that the General Collections contain numerous secondary sources.
Women's history surveys such as Born for Liberty: A History of Women in America,
by Sara M. Evans (New York: The Free Press, 1989; HQ1410.E83 1989)
[catalog record] and Eleanor Flexnor's Century of Struggle: The Woman's Rights Movement in the United States (enlarged ed. by Eleanor Flexner and Ellen Fitzpatrick; Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1996;
HQ1410.F6 1996 MRR Alc)
[catalog record] mingle on the shelves with much more narrowly focused titles such as Félix V. Matos Rodríguez, Women and Urban Change in San Juan, Puerto Rico, 1820-1868 (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1999; HQ1525.S26 M38 1999)
[catalog record] and Katherine Osburn, Southern Ute Women: Autonomy and Assimilation on the Reservation, 1887-1934 (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1998; E99.U8 O83 1998) [catalog record].
Pee-a-rat and baby, c1899. Prints and Photographs Division. LC-USZ62-111572 (b&w film copy neg)
Works such as these and the thousands of others in the General Collections are the fruit of historians' hard toil to uncover,
analyze, and synthesize evidence in an effort to understand and explain how women have lived. Such texts are valuable for
their depictions of women's lives in other times and places
reminding readers of the variety of women's experiences
models to reconstruct women's roles
showing the significance of gender as a category for historical analysis
presenting different research methodologies
quoting primary sources that are not easily available
providing notes and bibliographies that lead to other works
Secondary sources are indispensable to historical research and make up a major portion of the General Collections.