Resources and Programs from the NYSED, Office of Cultural Education – NYS Archives, NYS Library and NYS Museum about Women in New York State
New York State Archives www.archives.nysed.gov
Archives Education Programs/Resources: firstname.lastname@example.org
Archives Reference Services: email@example.com
Archives Digital Collections: http://digitalcollections.archives.nysed.gov/
New York State Archives Education Documents and Learning Activities Related to Women
New York Archives Magazine Educator Guide for article on Susan B. Anthony
Access Points: to Begin Research on New York Women:
1. Online name index. The Archives is constantly adding new data sets, which can be as diverse as colonial land records and 20th century prisons.
2. Factory Investigating Commission records. Go to the Finding Aids search page
Enter Factory Investigating Commission in the Creator field. If any records from the series have been digitized, there will be a link to “Browse Items Online” in the left hand menu, example: Wage Investigation Planning and Research Files
Or, go to the Digital Collections and enter “Factory Investigating Commission” in the search box.
3. Wills - The online index includes a small collection of wills. More indexes to wills in Ancestry New York portal. As a New York resident, set up a free Ancestry account to access this data.
4. World War I photographs, and military service records are available on the State Archives’ Digital Collections and on the Ancestry New York portal, including service cards for nurses.
5. Court records: Court of Chancery records provide insight on women seeking justice or equity through the legal system. Court of Chancery In re papers, 1800-1847 [Series Number: J0057] includes cases on matters of incompetency (i.e., people who could not represent themselves, such as lunatics (this is the term used in the papers), infants, drunkards); the administration of estates; and insolvent corporate bodies. The In re papers include many cases concerning dower rights of women upon remarriage. A bride’s dowry was absorbed into her husband’s estate following marriage. If she were widowed, the guardians of her children (often her husband’s family) might consider that her dowry was part of the deceased husband’s estate which belonged to his children not his widow. If she re-married, she might be denied access to her former wealth and possessions and even her children.
6. Divorce records: From 1847 to the present-day divorce records are filed in the county clerk's office in the county where the divorce proceeding occurred. Between 1823 and 1847 the Chancellor could hear marital proceedings in the Court of Chancery, and those records are at the State Archives. The records are a goldmine of accusations and eye-witness accounts. Until the Divorce Reform Law of 1966, adultery was the only grounds for divorce in New York, so the accounts can be quite lurid. The State Archives has indexes. To access the records, enter party’s names, the county where they lived, and the year.
New York State Library www.nysl.nysed.gov
State Library Reference Services: firstname.lastname@example.org
State Library Manuscripts and Special Collections: email@example.com
Online Catalog- www.nysl.nysed.gov – Click on the CATALOG link. IF there is a digital image related to that item/collection, you will see a URL in the record.
Selected Women’s History Collections - http://www.nysl.nysed.gov/msscfa/women.htm
Commemorating Women’s History Week: A Resource Guide, NYSED, 1983 (PDF Attached)
Commemorating Women Born in New York State: A Guide for Integrating Women into the Curriculum, NYSED, 1984 (PDF Attached)
New York State Senate publications
Women of Distinction: A Celebration to Observe the Enormous Contributions Made by the Women of New York State (Albany, N.Y.: New York State Senate, -2008)
New York State Library call number: D LEG 795.8-3 WOMDI 20524
The New York State Senate has been identifying "women of distinction" since 1998. Paper and PDF copies of the annual publication are available for 1998 -2008. Since 2011, the senate has been putting the names on its website with a link from the name of each honoree to a photograph and biographical information. Each of the state’s 63 senators may nominate one or more women. (20 years x a minimum of 60 names per issue = over 1,000 names of women from all over the state.) The 2011-2019 lists are available at https://www.nysenate.gov/women-of-distinction.To find the name your own senator, go to https://www.nysenate.gov/find-my-senator
New York State Assembly publications
Many of the 150 members of the New York State Assembly also have honored “women of distinction” in their districts. Doing a search on an assembly member’s name and the phrase “women of distinction” should pull up the names of women the assembly member has nominated. One of the more prolific is Assembly Member Didi Barrett (Assembly District 106), who, in 2019, published the sixth volume of Women’s History in the Hudson Valley: Ten Stories from Columbia and Dutchess Counties. To find the name of one’s assembly member, go to https://nyassembly.gov/mem/
Association of Public Historians of New York State (APHNYS)
For names of women who have not yet come to the attention of state senators and assembly members, contact your county and/or municipal historian, whose job is to keep tabs on all things historical in their communities. A list of the historians and their contact information can be found at http://www.aphnys.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/All-Regions-2019-12-16.pdf
Other local people who know women who "have had a social, cultural and/or political impact on women's rights issues" are the editor or a reporter of the local newspaper, your mayor/supervisor, your county executive, heads of religious organizations, the head of the local food pantry, members of the local Legal Aid Society, the local chapter of League of Women Voters, the police chief, etc.
Bergman, Edward F. Great Women of New York: A Guide to Where They Lived and Worked ([New York]: Edward F. Bregman, 2009) New York State Library call number: A 305.40974 qB499 210-1612
This typescript consists of biographical sketches on 733 women who have lived in New York State, arranged geographically. An alphabetical list of the women is at the end of the manuscript. In the introduction, the author writes “This not a book about ‘the first woman’ to do this or that. It is about people who accomplished great things, and the people happened to be women.”
Engel, Helen Butterfield. Remarkable Women in New York State History (Charleston, S.C.: History Press, 2013)New York State Library call number: C 920.72 R384 213-2509. A list of 307 names of women researched by members of the American Association of University Women in New York State. Includes relatively long biographies.
Chatfield, Jennifer. New Yorkers in Notable American Women, 1607-1950 ([Albany, N.Y.]: New York State Library, ) New York State Library call number: RT 396.09 qC492 73-7547.This 23-page compilation has about 10 names per page for a total of about 230 names. Each entry has an abbreviated version of a much larger entry in the three-volume Notable American Women, 1607-1950. The selections were based on three criteria: (1) birth in New York State and/or (2) educated in New York State, and/or (3) a significant portion of her career activities occurred in New York State.
James, Edward T. Notable American Women, 1607-1950 (Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1971). 3 volumesNew York State Library call number: C 396.09 An8
Lynn, Peggy. Breaking Trail: Remarkable Women of the Adirondacks (Fleischmanns, N.Y.: Purple Mountain Press, 2004)New York State Library call number: C 305.40974 L989 206-1832.25 names, including that of Grace Hudowalski, Forty-sixer #9!
Naylor, Natalie A. Long Island Women: Activists and Innovators (Interlaken, N.Y.: Empire State Books, 1998) New York State Library call number: C 305.40974 L848 200-11863
New York (State). Governor’s Commission Honoring the Achievements of Women, 1848-1998. The Legacy of New York Women, 1848-1998: Commemorating the Governor's Commission Honoring the Achievements of Women. ([New York: The Commission, 1999?])New York State Library call number: D GOV 213.5-4 LEGNY 202-3695 “This book celebrates the struggle for freedom and dignity that has been fought by women from New York State. It presents articles on the history of women's social and legal role in America as well as short biographies on famous women of the feminist movement who are or were New Yorkers since both past and current figures are covered.” The “Historical Markers of Honor” section features one woman from each county nominated by the county as someone who contributed to the community and deserves recognition.
Petrash, Antonia. More Than Petticoats: Remarkable New York Women (Guilford, Conn.: TwoDot, 2002)
New York State Library call number: C 920.72097 P493 205-8815
University of the State of New York. Division of Civil Rights and Intercultural Relations. Commemorating Women Born in New York State: A Guide for Integrating Women into the Curriculum. (Albany, N.Y.: The Division, 1984) PDF attached.
New York State Library call number: D UNI146-4 COMWB 92-35155.The guide includes 25 “suggested classroom activities,” such as creating puzzles and matching games and researching events around the arrest and trial of Susan B. Anthony for illegally voting in the 1872 presidential election.
University of the State of New York. Division of Civil Rights and Intercultural Relations. Commemorating Women’s History Week: A Resource Guide (Albany, N.Y.: The Division, 1983). PDF attached
New York State Library call number: D UNI 146-4 COMWH 92-35157.Though somewhat dated, the activities suggested for students includes a set of eight questions for students to ask in “social history interviews” of women in their families or communities.
Researching women in hometown newspapers http://www.nysl.nysed.gov/nysnp/online.htm
Searchable online newspaper databases for items. In addition to online newspaper databases, the New York State Library also has hundreds of New York State newspapers on microfilm. The microfilm may be borrowed via interlibrary loan for use at your local library.
The New York State Library’s Manuscripts and Special Collections unit has many collections of one-of-a-kind collections (letters, diaries, etc.) created by women dating back to the 1600s and donated to the library. To see what’s available for in-depth research, go to http://www.nysl.nysed.gov/msscfa/ and scroll down to and click on the Women’s History link.
Check with a local library
and local historical societies
. They will have artifacts, paintings, photographs, letters, diaries, newspaper clipping files, periodicals, books and more. To find local organizations near you: https://findnyculture.org/
New York State Museum www.nysm.nysed.gov
State Museum Contacts: Education: Kathryn.firstname.lastname@example.org, or, Kathleen.Morehouse@nysed.gov
Women’s history page:http://www.nysm.nysed.gov/research-collections/history/social-history/collections/womens-history
Exhibitions – online:
Votes for Women: Celebrating New York’s Suffrage Centennial
Educator’s Guide and Graphic Organizer: http://www.nysm.nysed.gov/exhibitions/votes-for-women
Spirit of Sacrifice: New York State in the First World War
Shakers: America’s Quiet Revolutionaries http://exhibitions.nysm.nysed.gov/shakers/
Represent: Contemporary Native American Art http://exhibitions.nysm.nysed.gov/represent/
Teacher’s Guide: http://exhibitions.nysm.nysed.gov/represent/RepresentGuide.pdf
NYS Museum - Additional Resources:
Dutchess County Historical Society: Women’s Voices and Talents Theme 2020 http://www.nysm.nysed.gov/research-collections/state-history/news/dchs-announces-womens-voices-talents-theme-2020
A New York Minute in History: The Women’s Rights Movement: From Seneca Falls to Today – Office of State History - podcast
Falling Forward, article by Carol Kammen, Tompkins County Historian
Schuyler Flatts Burial Ground – Africans Diana and Maria
How-to Research in and Use Historical Records in the Classroom
Consider the Source: Historical Records in the Classroom (How-to manual with NY records, some related to women) http://www.archives.nysed.gov/common/archives/files/ed_consider.pdf
New York Heritage - https://nyheritage.org/
PBS Learning Media - https://ny.pbslearningmedia.org/
Digital Public Library of America - https://dp.la/
Student Research Awards
National History Day
New York State History Day
New York State Regional National History Day
New York Council for History Education
Help Find Suffragists Buried in New York State