March 5, 2008
Celebrating Chicago's Women
March is Women's History Month (International Women's Day is March 8th), and I would be remiss if I didn't provide resources on some of the great women in Chicago's history. Periodically during the month I'll be posting short biographies of some notable women. But, as an introduction, there is no better starting point than the outstanding reference book, Women Building Chicago 1790 - 1990, A Biographical Dictionary.
Women Building Chicago, published in 2001, was the brainchild of the Chicago Area Women's History Council, and their website provides a detailed look at the project's evolution. The 1088-page reference work contains 423 essays on women who have contributed to Chicago's meteoric rise and respected position in the world community. There is an introduction written by co-editor, Rima Lunin Schultz and a detailed index compiled by co-editor Adele Hast. The biographies are listed alphabetically, but there is also a list by date of birth which I found most helpful. The book can be ordered on their website.
The extensive "must read" introductory essay written by Dr. Schultz is generously available online at the Chicago Metro History Education Center History Fair site. Be sure to read this overview of the book's themes and topics.
While I prepare some future posts, investigate American Women's History: A Research Guide, one of the American Library Association's Best Free Reference Web Sites of 2004.