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ENGL379Z/WMST 498V: Special Topics in Literature; Women and Memory in Material and Digital Worlds

This guide will assist students of ENGL379Z/WMST 498V (Spring 2017, Professor Jessica Enoch) in finding information resources for their projects.

Project #2: Remembering Alice Paul's Unknown Sisters

Students will write a brief  biographical sketch (about 500-1,000 words) of currently unknown woman in the Militant Woman Suffragists Database which is part of the Alexander Street Press subscription database Women and Social Movements (WASM).  The biographical sketch should include a bibliography of at least 3 online, published, or archival sources the proved helpful in your research.  This section of the course guide will assist students in this assignment by directing them to research sources available at the UMD Libraries and the Washington, DC, Metro area.  Special thanks to WASM editor Tom Dublin and MWS database author Jill Zahniser who provided many of these hints on searching!

WASM Research: Step 1

Read the Introduction to the database and take a look at some of the example entries in the Militant Women Suffragists database in WASM. 

1. Click the direct link below to the Militant Women Suffragists database.  If the link does not work for some reason, go into WASM using the general link above and search for "Zahniser" (the author of the database). 

2. Read the Introduction, then go back and...

3. Click on the link for "Biographical Sketch of Edith Houghton Hooker" in order to get an idea for how you might want to construct a biographical sketch for your assignment.

WASM Research: Step 2

Search WASM (first link below) for your suffragist's name and variations of her name. 

  • There are several related document projects and texts in WASM where you might discover some information about your suffragist. 
  • The best ways to search within WASM are to simply use the Search Box at the top right of the page or to use the "Browse People" option. 
  • Some of these texts are also available as print or Ebooks via the UMD Libraries or through Interlibrary Loan.
  • Other books that are not available in WASM are listed separately.  

WASM Research: Step 3 - Suffrage Newspapers

Search the Digitized version of The Suffragist via Nineteenth Century Collections Online. 

  • The Suffragist was the official newspaper of the National Women's Party.
  • Make sure you use the "Search Within this Collection" Search Box.

WASM Research: Step 4 - Historical Newspapers

Search historical newspapers for references to your suffragists!  

WASM Research: Step 5 - Google!

Google Search!  Although you may have wanted to start with this step first, it's better to look at the sources in WASM first to get a better idea of how your suffragist may have contributed to the movement.  And, a Google search can be more challenging if your suffragist has a common name. Be cautious of sources that you find via Google.  Be sure to look at who created the site.  If you find information on your suffragist via Wikipedia, be sure to follow any citations and make sure the information presented is backed up by reliable sources.

  • A Google search may also alert you to archives that have material related to your suffragist.  If there is a collection of papers related to your person, you may be able to use a finding aid to gather general biographical information.  Also, you can try contacting a curator or archivist to find out more information or to request copies of biographical materials that might exist in the archive.
  • Searching directly in Google Books is also a good way to limit your search and find your person's name in a book that has been digitized. 
  • Another search you could try is Google Scholar. This is one way to find scholarly articles that mention your person.  

WASM Research Step 6: Genealogical Research

Genealogical research, especially census research, can help you track down or confirm family relationships, family origins, employment history, birth dates, and place of residence. One place to start with genealogical research in the HeritageQuest database available via the Enoch Pratt Free Library.  If you have a State of Maryland Library card, you can access these databases for free online.  Enoch Pratt also provides access to America's Obituaries and Death Notices as well as some other databases.

WASM Research: Step 7 - Worldcat

WorldCat Search!  A general WorldCat Search (the UMD Libraries online catalog) can lead you to books published by your suffragist or her name may appear as a keyword in a book or other resource. 

WASM Research: Step 8 - JSTOR

JSTOR Search!  This search may help you find references to your person in scholarly journal articles. Another databases to try is America History and Life.  See the direct links below to these research databases at the UMD Libraries.

WASM Research: Step 9 - Mircofilm

Search the National Women's Party Papers on microfilm. The UMD Libraries has copies of the National Women's Party Papers microfilm and two other publications that might be helpful to your search. Microfilm is located on the first floor in the Periodicals section of McKeldin Library. 

  • The National Women's Party Papers microfilm (60 Reels) contains correspondence of suffragists involved in the NWP.  The UMD Libraries has only one portion of the NWP microfilm. 
  • Before starting to look at this microfilm it is essential to consult the printed manual or guide (see call number and catalog link below).  The microfilm guides are currently on a small bookcase on the first floor of McKeldin Library immediately to the left as you enter the main entrance of the building (not near the Periodicals!).  When in doubt, ask for help in finding the guide. 
  • The most likely places to find information about your suffragist in the collection will be the correspondence (indexed by name in the back of the guide) and the biographical files (see pages 226-228 of the guide). 
  • To determine which reel of the correspondence files to consult: find the date of the correspondence and then figure out which reel it would appear on (see pages 222-226 of the guide).

WASM Research: Step 10 (Extra Credit)

Research your suffragist at a library or archives other than the UMD Libraries.  Some suggested instituions which have sources related to the women's suffrage movement are listed below.  Please be sure to do some research on the institution's website and contact a librarian or archivist BEFORE visiting.  This is very important so that you don't make a wasted research trip!  ArchiveGrid can assist you in finding collections at other institutions besides those listed.