Women and Social Movements 1830-1930, co-directed by Thomas Dublin and Kathryn Kish Sklar, introduces students to a rich collection of primary documents related to women and social movements in the United States between 1830 and 1930. The site is organized around editorial projects completed by undergraduate and graduate students at the State University of New York at Binghamton. Each project poses a question and provides 15-20 documents that address the question. Projects range from "African-American Women at the Chicago World's Fair, 1893" to "Lobbying for Passage of the National Suffrage Amendment, 1917-1920." Currently there are nine projects on-line with more coming.
One of the most important social movements in U.S. history, and one in which women played especially important roles, was the century-long campaign for Temperance and Prohibition. Professor K. Austin Kerr of Ohio State University has created a site which brings together much fascinating and relevant information. There are, for example, materials dealing with the Women's Crusade of 1873-74 and with the campaign for Prohibition in Ohio in 1918. There is also a rich supply of cartoons and other visual materials. There are no formal lesson plans, but Professor Kerr has provided very useful introductory materials and some excellent links. One is to Westerville, Ohio Public Library's on-line exhibition on the Anti-Saloon League where there is a page of suggested classroom activities.
Mary Hanlon has created a Women In America, 1830-1842 site, part of the University of Virginia's immense Democracy in America project. Hanlon has collected relevant passages from Tocqueville, Dickens, and other visitors to the U.S. along with others from several American writers on a wide variety of topics. You can access the materials either by author or by topic. This site does not contain lesson plans or other teaching suggestions.
The History Department at the University of Rochester maintains a site devoted to Godey's Lady's Book, one of the first and easily the most popular publications for women in the nineteenth century. Here you can find the full text, including fashion plates and other illustrations, of several issues from 1850. This site does not contain lesson plans, but I have used the following with considerable success in my undergraduate course: visit "Godey's Lady's Book Online" and read "FURNISHING; OR, TWO WAYS OF COMMENCING LIFE" by Alice B. Neal in the November 1850 issue. Write a brief assessment (300 words) of Neal's tale: What is the moral of the story? What does that say about the roles of women in American society? Revisit "Godey's Lady's Book Online" and choose one poem and one illustration which, in your judgment best illustrate conventional notions of "woman's sphere" in antebellum American society. Write two paragraphs discussing the relevance of poem and illustration chosen. Consider these questions: For whom was the "woman's sphere" designed? Could "factory girls" qualify for inclusion? Could domestic servants? Farm wives? What sort of education was considered appropriate for women?
Professor Edward Ayers has put together the richest single on-line resource dealing with American history, The Valley of the Shadow: Two Communities in the American Civil War. It is organized in two archives, the first dealing with the years leading up to the war and the second with the war years. Each contain letters and diaries, many by women, along with newspaper records, census returns, maps of various kinds, military and church records, and a host of other materials. One could easily generate a year's worth of seminar and/or research projects from the collections gathered here. The War Years Archives contains several student projects appropriate for advanced high school or college students.
Also very useful is the Duke University Library site devoted to resources concerning Civil War Women. Duke also has a very useful archive devoted to African-American women. Neither contains lesson plans so the instructor needs to be willing to devote a fair amount of time to exploring these sites. Fortunately the richness of the materials they contain make this more than worthwhile.
The Library of Congress's American Memory site contains the National American Woman Suffrage Association [NAWSA] Collection which "consists of 167 books, pamphlets and other artifacts documenting the suffrage campaign. They are a subset of the Library's larger collection donated by Carrie Chapman Catt, longtime president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, in November of 1938. The collection includes works from the libraries of other members and officers of the organization including: Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Lucy Stone, Alice Stone Blackwell, Julia Ward Howe, Elizabeth Smith Miller, Mary A. Livermore." I have used the following assignment with success in my undergraduate course: Visit the Votes for Women site at the Library of Congress's American Memory site and go to the subject index. Browse around and select ONE resource to supplement our classroom discussion. In 250 words explain WHAT one might learn from this source and WHY it is significant.
The National Archives' Electronic Classroom project contains a unit on the Woman's Suffrage Movement and the Nineteenth Amendment which features primary materials, such as this poster comparing President Wilson to the German Kaiser, along with detailed lesson plans.
Lucia Knoles has created an "electronic archive for the study of 19tth century American literature" which includes a diverse collection of resources and links, grouped by author and topic. It also links to her course page.