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Women & Gender Studies: Primary Sources

Primary Sources for WGST

There are many different collections listed on this page related to Women & Gender Studies.

You can do a "ctrl + F" search to find your topic if you do not wish to scroll the whole page.

Looking specifically for Newspapers? Just click here!

If you notice any bad links or wish to recommend a free online primary source collection, please let me know:

Library Primary Sources Collections - Most (but not all) are restricted to current U of L students, staff & faculty

Additional Primary Sources - freely available on the internet

According to Baba: A Collaborative Oral History of Sudbury's Ukrainian Community - An insightful and deeply personal social history of Sudbury's Ukrainian community between 1901 and 1939 but also for truly collaborative oral history research and writing.

ArQuives's Digital Exhibitions - Explore highlights from the this large independent collection of LGBTQ2+ documentary heritage. Meet the people, places and organizations that have made a difference for LGBTQ2+ Canada.

AfroQueer Podcast - A podcast from AQ Studios telling the stories of Queer Africans from across the continent and diaspora.

Alberta Women’s Institutes Archive - Women’s organizational history and the history of rural Alberta. The site contains organizational documents, biographies of members, organizational and rural histories, scrapbooks, interviews, maps, photographs, short essays, and lists of resources.

Alberta Women's Memory Project - From Athabasca University Library's digital collections: Materials will be added on an ongoing basis, and will eventually include diaries, letters, artworks, video interviews, books, newsletters, and news clippings.

American Jewess - (1895-99) - An English-language periodical for American Jewish women. It discussed various topics like women's place in the synagogue, and whether women should ride bicycles. It also more broadly critiqued gender inequalities in Jewish communal life.

Anarchist Archive - From University of Victoria Library Digital Collections: Devoted to the study of anarchism, with a special focus on the history of the movement in Canada. Issues include Indigenous struggles, anti-war activism, ecological militancy, prison abolition, decolonization, feminism, queer politics, and radicalism in the arts.

Archives of Women's Political Participation - An online archives launched by the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics at Iowa State University devoted entirely to women's political speech.

Bachelors and China Dolls, Sex and Race in Postwar Toronto's Chinatown,1920-1970 - From Simon Fraser University Library's digitized collections: photos from a private collection and newspaper articles about Chinese Canadians and white women (Chinadolls) in Toronto’s Chinatown. It will also include interviews with individuals concerning everyday life in Toronto’s Chinatown and the experiences of mixed-race couples and children in Toronto’s Chinatown.

Blackfoot Digital Library - The outcome of documentary work that began more than a century ago, and which elaborates on a knowledge base that emerged through a continuity of many thousands of years living in kitawahsinnoon.

Canadiana Online: Full text online collection of books, periodicals, government publications, newspapers, annual reports, and pamphlets documenting written Canadian history for the past three and a half centuries. Particularly strong in literature, women's history, Indigenous studies, travel and exploration, and French Canada.

Canadian War Brides - Stories of love, war and the romances that led to 48,000 marriages between Canadian servicemen and British and European brides from 1940 to 1948.

CBC Digital Archives - CBC radio and television news clips, interviews, and more.

CelebrateDifferencePodcast - A podcast series as part of an independent studies in the Women + Gender Studies Department at the University of Lethbridge. This is the interview portion of the project.

Dig: A History Podcast - A narrative-driven, open access, and accessible digital history project bridging the worlds of popular and academic history with an explicitly feminist perspective.

Digital Feminist Archives - From Barnard College Center for Research on Women: feminist history in the 1960s and 1970s, the institutionalization of women’s centers and women’s studies as an academic discipline, and feminist struggles taking place at colleges and universities, in healthcare and social service centers, in political organizations and neighborhood meetings across America.

Digital Transgender Archive - The purpose of the Digital Transgender Archive (DTA) is to increase the accessibility of transgender history by providing an online hub for digitized historical materials, born-digital materials, and information on archival holdings throughout the world.

Discovering American Women's History Online - Provides access to digital collections primary sources (photos, letters, diaries, artifacts, etc.) that document the history of women in the U.S.

Emma Goldman Papers - University of California - A window not only into Goldman but also into social and cultural movements in late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century America, Europe, Asia and Latin America.

Epistolae: Medieval Women's Letters - To and from women in the Middle Ages, from the 4th to the 13th century. The letters, written in Latin, are linked to the names of the women involved, with English translations and, where available, biographical sketches of the women and some description of the subject matter or the historic context of the letter.

Europeana - We give you access to millions of cultural heritage items from institutions across Europe. Discover artworks, books, music, and videos on art, newspapers, archaeology, fashion, science, sport, and much more.

Feminist Poster Project - Wishes to support feminist poster making by offering a space where feminist posters are collected and archived. All posters on this website are available for downloading in pdf and can be printed easily.

The Fight's Not Over - "This podcast explores the 1970 Abortion Caravan on its 51st anniversary, in the midst of a global pandemic, including its history and its implications for today."

Gender and Sexuality Digital Collections from the University of Saskatchewan University Archives and Special Collections.

GLBT Historical Society Online Resources - Founded in 1985, the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender (GLBT) Historical Society is recognized internationally as a leader in the field of LGBTQ public history. 

Great Canadian Speeches (Feminist Category) - To look for a speech, use the Search or Categories functions.

Independent Voices - An open access digital collection of alternative press newspapers, magazines and journals, drawn from the special collections of participating libraries. These periodicals were produced by feminists, dissident GIs, campus radicals, Native Americans, anti-war activists, Black Power advocates, Hispanics, LGBT activists, the extreme right-wing press and alternative literary magazines during the latter half of the 20th century.

Italian Canadian Women Oral History Collection - From Simon Fraser University Library's digitized collections: Interviews collected in the 1970s and 1980s documenting the experiences of Italian women who immigrated to Canada throughout the first three quarters of the twentieth century.

Italian Canadian Women Photograph Collection - From Simon Fraser University Library's digitized collections: Archival images dating from 1950 to 1975 celebrating the contributions of Italian women immigrants to Canadian history and culture.

Internet Archives - Non-profit library of millions of free books, movies, software, music, websites, and more.

Lesbian Herstory Archives - Digital Collections - A large collection of materials by and about Lesbians and their communities, some of which has been digitized and can be viewed online. Materials include personal papers, audio recordings, t-shirts, buttons, photos, periodicals, and more.

LGBTQ Oral History Digital Collaboratory - Connects archives across Canada and the U.S. to produce a digital history hub for the research and study of gay, lesbian, queer, and trans oral histories.

Library of Congress Digital Collections: Women's History - Collections of primary source materials (personal papers, photographs, newspapers, etc.) related to women's history, including suffrage, politics, and activism.

Looking Back to Look Forward: Resources Exploring Black Prairie Experiences - part of the Black on the Prairies project, a collection of articles, personal essays, images and more, exploring the past, present and future of Black life in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Enter the Black On The Prairies project here.

Making Gay History: The Podcast - Eric Marcus’s decades-old audio archive of rare interviews—conducted for his award-winning oral history of the LGBTQ civil rights movement—to create intimate, personal portraits of both known and long-forgotten champions, heroes, and witnesses to history.

Margaret Sanger Papers Project - New York University - The Project was formed by Dr. Esther Katz in 1985 to locate, arrange, edit, research, and publish the papers of the noted birth control pioneer.

mediaINDIGENA - Interactive Indigenous Insight - A weekly Indigenous current affairs podcast. Our website also features Aboriginal news, views and creative expression.

Montreal Health Press: First Birth Control Handbooks (1968/69) - From the University of Ottawa's Archives & Special Collection. The title link includes discussion/context and here is the full-text of the 2nd edition.

ONE Archives at the USC Libraries - Primarily national (U.S.A.) in scope, with special focus on LGBTQ histories in the Los Angeles region. The archives also include a number of international materials, such as books, periodicals, and posters. - Includes timelines, biographies, essays, and primary sources. Founded in 2008 by Jonathan Ned Katz. This site is a place of active community participation in the process of discovering and writing LGBTQ histories.

Protest Songs & Lyrics: Historical, Social Justice & Human Rights Songs - The purpose of this website is to make available, (as the pages get coded), song lyrics for students, teachers, historians, labour unions, activists or anybody with an interest in the history of social movements' protest songs, their origins and their uses in various political, human rights and social justice movements.

QMUNITY's Stories of Older Queers - Video interviews chronicling the experiences of older lesbian-gay-bisexual-transfolk conducted as part of a project called "Stories of Older Queers: Videography and Archives of Queer Elder Experiences."

Reconciliation Rising Podcast - Seeks to promote acts of healing and reconciliation between Native and non-Native people.

Residential School Survivor Stories - Drawn from the Our Stories…Our Strength video collection, from the Legacy of Hope Foundation.

Rise Up! A Digital Archive of Feminist Activism - Rise Up! is a digital archive of feminist activism in Canada from the 1970s to the 1990s. We were part of a worldwide wave of liberation and anti-oppression movements that won some victories, changed some attitudes, and radically altered the gendered and political landscape.

Rosa Parks Papers - From the U.S. Library of Congress: The papers span the years 1866-2006. They contains approximately 7,500 items in the Manuscript Division, as well as 2,500 photographs in the Prints and Photographs Division, documents many aspects of Parks's private life and public activism on behalf of civil rights for African Americans.

Sallie Bingham Center for Women's History & Culture - Duke University Library: Online archive collections include primary source materials from the Women's Liberation Movement, African-American Women, and Civil War Women.

Secret Feminist Agenda Podcast  (2017 to 2020) - From Simon Fraser University Library's digitized collections: A  podcast about the insidious, nefarious, insurgent, and mundane ways we enact our feminism in our daily lives, hosted by academic and podcaster Hannah McGregor.

Sexting History Podcasts - A podcast about how the history of sexuality shapes our present.

Shirley Petten Collection - Correspondence, newspaper clippings and other materials related to Petten's landmark ruling on same-sex survivor benefit rights from the BC Worker's Compensation Board in 1992.

Spare Rib - Archived content from the British Library - Spare Rib was an active part of the emerging Women’s Liberation Movement in the late 20th century. Running from 1972-93, this now iconic magazine challenged the stereotyping and exploitation of women, while supporting collective, realistic solutions to the hurdles women faced.

Studies in Scarlet: Marriage and Sexuality in the U.S. & U.K., 1815-1914 - Drawn from the Harvard Law School Library’s extensive trial collections, Studies in Scarlet features over 420 trial narratives involving the crimes and passions of both renowned and ordinary people.

Unarchiving the Margins Collection - From Simon Fraser University Library's digitized collections: Brings to life almost 80 tapes of literary audio from the fonds of a diverse set of writers from equity deserving groups.It amplifies voices of women, queer writers, and writers of colour who have been historically left out of the archive and thus not highlighted in many digitizing projects.

Women and the Constitution - This exhibit examines how women came to the forefront during Canada’s patriation of the Constitution to enshrine one facet of citizen rights within the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. University of Ottawa Archives and Special Collections.

Women and the War on the Home Front - Canadian Newspapers and The Second World War (Canadian War Museum)

Women's Archives Online Exhibit - Discover key events in the Canadian women's movement, from 1960-2000, using archival documents from the University of Ottawa Archives and Special Collections. 

Women's Liberation Movement Print Culture (Duke University) - Manifestos, speeches, essays, and other materials documenting various aspects of the Women's Movement in the United States in the 1960s and 1970s.

Women Working 1800-1930 (Harvard University) - Books, trade catalogs, archives, manuscripts, and photographs that document women's impact on the economic life of the U.S. between 1800 and the Great Depression.

Zine Web Library - From the U.S. Library of Congress: The independent nature of zines allows for an unprecedented freedom of expression. Collection priorities include zines by people of color, women, immigrants, and LGBTQ+ and transgender and gender non-conforming individuals and organizations.


Your WGST Librarian

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Emma Scott
Office L1150

Books on Primary Sources

Keywords for Primary Sources Searching

  • advertising
  • archives
  • artifacts
  • artworks = architecture, bumper stickers, crafts, decorative arts, design, drawing, graphic arts, illustration, murals, paintings, photographs, political cartoons, posters, sculptures
  • autobiographies
  • correspondence, letters
  • diaries
  • ephemera = bumper stickers, political leaflets, posters, theatre programs, ticket stubs
  • eyewitness
  • government reports
  • interviews
  • manuscripts
  • maps
  • memoirs
  • minutes
  • narratives
  • newspapers
  • oral histories
  • pamphlets
  • podcasts
  • sources (this is a good catch-all keyword for general primary sources)
  • sourcebook
  • speeches
  • Twitter tweets
  • YouTube videos and comments