Center for Women's History
Explore women's history through exhibitions, programs, scholarship, and immersive multimedia.
About the center
Our Center for Women’s History is the first of its kind in the nation within the walls of a major museum. At the Center, we explore the lives and legacies of women who have shaped and continue to shape the American experience. As a hub for scholarship and education, the Center demonstrates how women across the spectrum of race, class, and sexuality exercised power and effected change. Guided by a committee of distinguished historians and informed by the latest research, the Center features permanent installations, temporary exhibitions, and a vibrant array of talks and programs, enriching the cultural landscape of New York City and creating new opportunities for historical discovery.
"Miss Rose Bower of North Dakota" Woman playing trumpet, wearing "Votes for Women" sash. Gelatin Silver Photograph, New-York Historical Society.
Major funding for the Center for Women's History programs provided by
The Estate of Jean Dubinsky Appleton
Claudine and Fred Bacher
James Basker and Angela Vallot
Joyce B. Cowin
Diana and Joseph DiMenna
Robert and Mercedes Eichholz Foundation
The Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation
Richard Gilder and Lois Chiles
Susan and Roger Hertog
Susan and Robert Klein
The Leonard & Judy Lauder Fund
Diane and Adam E. Max
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
Jennifer and John Monsky
Amanda and Neal Moszkowski
Jean Margo Reid
Pam and Scott Schafler
Eric J. and Daria L. Wallach
Leah and Michael R. Weisberg
Public funding for the Center for Women’s History
The New York City Council
New York City Department of Cultural Affairs
Empire State Development and I Love New York under
Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Regional Development Council Initiative
Institute of Museum and Library Services
Finding Women in the Archive: Selected Collection Highlights
A diverse range of women’s stories can be found throughout the holdings of the New-York Historical Society Library. This guide represents a sampling of archival highlights, culled primarily from manuscript collections and centered on women’s experiences. Both thematically and chronologically, it provides some of the myriad routes for discovering the history of women. It is not a final survey of the library’s offerings, but rather a living document that will be augmented continuously. Also included are links to related items, as well as blog posts, exhibitions, and educational materials demonstrating how archives have been put into action at N-YHS. Collections are ordered by earliest date, though many extend years beyond the lifespans of the institutions and individuals for whom they have been included.
As much as these records highlight the breadth of women’s history to be found at New-York Historical, they also underscore that there are notable silences in the archive. There remain obstacles to locating women, including imprecise finding aids that have dismissed women’s presence – an issue discussed by the inaugural Mellon Predoctoral Fellow in Women's History Alisa Wade in a 2015 blog post. We acknowledge that decades of cultural biases and collecting practices—at this institution, as at others—have enabled some voices to be elevated and caused others to be stifled. The indigenous, the enslaved, the impoverished: these populations are among those most underrepresented. It is our intention that by featuring current holdings and recognizing the gaps, researchers can embark on fresh journeys that explore how the lives and legacies of all women have shaped the American experience.
We hope that this guide will prove valuable, and encourage further exploration through our robust online catalog, and in discussion with our library staff. Library hours and guidelines can be accessed here.