Digital Collections, Events, Library Resources, Research

Celebrating International Women’s Day 2022

by Tierney Gleason, Reference and Digital Humanities Librarian

Happy International Women’s Day & Women’s History Month!

Fordham University Libraries has a wide range of materials, from print books to electronic resources, to explore women’s history and activism. Whether you typically visit the library online or regularly visit our libraries in person, we hope the items curated below pique your interest. (Feel free to check out the resources we highlighted last year as well.)

The United Nations & International Resources

The theme of International Women’s Day this year is climate change. The United Nations (UN) offers a list of resources on women and climate change and UN Women has developed an interactive timeline exploring women’s history and activism globally.

Screen capture from “Women of the world, unite!”
Image credit: Screen capture from “Women of the world, unite!”, a timeline from UN Women.

In light of the Russia-Ukraine war, Fordham researchers can check out the work of UN Women in Ukraine and use the resources on the Humanitarian Studies Programs guide to dig deeper and learn more.

The History of National Women’s Day

While International Women’s Day was recognized by the United Nations in 1977, the first National Women’s Day in the U.S. was inspired by Theresa Serber Malkiel, a Ukrainian Jewish immigrant, and organized by Socialist Party of America on February 28, 1909. Various newspapers mentioned the events of that day, including the Mexico Missouri Message. You can read the full article through Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers via the Library of Congress.

Headline snipper from “Socialist Party Help the Women: Equal Suffrage Take Up By A Political Party As An Issue.”
Image credit: Headline snipper from “Socialist Party Help the Women: Equal Suffrage Take Up By A Political Party As An Issue.” Mexico Missouri Message (Mexico, MO), 4 March 1909.

Women & Digital Collections

Our next resources are influenced by recent news and events that foreground the importance of free, open access digital collections from libraries, archives, and research organizations to engage the public through history.

February 19, 2022 marked the 80th anniversary of President Franklin Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066 that led to the internment of 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II. Through digitized images, documents, and audiovisual materials, the Densho Digital Repository preserves the histories of those who were incarcerated under this order. Any researcher with access to the internet can search the collection by keyword, use the Topics index to find content relating to Japanese and Japanese American women, and listen to women’s oral histories during this time period.

Image credit: Screen capture from the video oral history of Sue K. Embrey via the Densho Visual History Collection

Of local interest, the Times Union of Albany reported last month that the New York State Archives had recently found documents detailing Sojourner Truth’s state supreme court case concerning her son Peter. Known as Isabella Van Wagenen before changing her name, Truth used the courts to fight for her son’s freedom from slavery in 1828. The Times Union article describes the discovery and the digitized documents are available to the public through the New York State Archives. This story is a great example of how much we have yet to learn about women’s lives through vast print archives. To learn more about Sojourner Truth and slavery in New York, check out our New York – Researching guide.

Snippet from documents showing Sojourner Truth’s X signature on her case, People v. Gedney, Supreme Court of Judicature
Image credit: Snippet from documents showing Sojourner Truth’s X signature on her case, People v. Gedney, Supreme Court of Judicature (Utica). Writs of Habeas Corpus, 1807-1832. J0029-82. Box 3. New York State Archives.

Researching Legislation

In the spirit of activism giving rise to International Women’s Day, we wanted to close with resources to promote civic engagement in the present. Librarians often field questions from students researching specific bills and legislation on the state level, as well as inquiries about Congress and Supreme Court decisions. Use our New York – Researching guide to research New York bills and legislation, the Law guide for Congressional and Supreme Court resources, and the Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies guide for digital tools from organizations tracking proposed and enacted legislation.

Bring Your Curiosity to the Library!

We will say it once again…there is so much more at the library! Whether it is about Women’s History Month or another topic altogether, Fordham librarians are here to help you connect with the materials–books, datasets, films, archival content, and so much more–to engage your curiosity and support your learning. Schedule a research consultation with your library liaison today to get individualized help with your research. We are available to meet in person or online.

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