Digital Library of the Week: Women’s History Month

This week, let’s take a look at women in the visual arts. A great place to start is the National Museum of Women in the Arts, located in Washington, D.C. The museum’s library and research center has created CLARA, an online database detailing the lives and work of 18,000 women visual artists. Women from all time periods and nationalities are included. The museum also has a terrific blog, Broad Stokes, that will keep you up to date on all the latest news and happenings related to women artists.

The UArts Libraries has many books published by the National Museum of Women in the Arts. You can see a listing by searching for the Museum in the catalog as an author.

The Brooklyn Museum’s Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art is also dedicated to supporting and showcasing women artists. A recent exhibition was our own Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery’s Seductive Subversion: Women Pop Artists, 1958-1968!  The Center also has an online database of women artists’ works, Feminist Art Base. Each entry provides a biography, artist’s work images, and related websites.

Janine Antoni's sculpture Lick & Lather (1993)
Janine Antoni's sculpture Lick & Lather (1993)

Two other sites document specific women artists’ and activism. The first is WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution which documents artmaking and women’s civil rights actions between 1965-1980. A 2007 exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, WACK! maintains a collection of audio tours and podcasts of this historic collection. Check out the exhibition catalog in the UArts Libraries‘ collection too; it’s in the Greenfield Open Stacks, call number 704.042 W115m.

Finally, we can’t let Women’s History Month go by without mentioning The Guerrilla Girls. In 1985, a group of women artists created the group that is still going strong today. Each woman in the group assumes the name of a dead woman artist and wears a gorilla mask in public so that the focus is on the issues they are tackling, rather than the woman herself.

A Guerrilla Girls' poster
A Guerrilla Girls' poster

The Guerrilla Girls use performance, posters, and writing to raise awareness of women in the arts – read their FAQ page for more details on this dynamic group. You can also follow them on Facebook for the latest on how they are “reinventing the f-word – feminism.”

Also check out Confessions of the Guerrilla Girls (Greenfield Open Stacks, call number 709.04 G936c) and Guerrilla Girls : Troubler le Repos = Disturbing the Peace (Greenfield Open Stacks, call number 709.22 G936g) in the UArts Libraries.

Library staff recommendation: Seven Samurai

Seven Samuari

Seven Samurai

Director: Akira Kurosawa

GD63 & GD963 (Blu-Ray) Greenfield DVD


One of Akira Kurosawa’s best and most influential films, Seven Samurai tells the story of seven wayward samurai who are hired by a small, poor, village to protect it from a group of murderous bandits. Each character has his own demons and flaws to fight, but in the end is able to achieve honor and heroism for himself and the village. Thrilling and epic, this movie is not only a must-see, but is required viewing for all.

And if the plot sounds familiar, you may have seen the Western remake of this film, The Magnificent Seven, starring Yul Brenner and Steve McQueen.

If you’d like to read more about the making of this Kurosawa film, check out the book Seven Samurai by Joan Mellen in the Greenfield Open Stacks, call number 791.437 Se82m.

Recommended by Mike Sgier, Greenfield Library Circulation Assistant.

Mike Sgier

Digital Library of the Week: Women’s History Month

a properly set table from John Henry Walsh's A Manual of Domestic Economy, 1874
a properly set table from John Henry Walsh's A Manual of Domestic Economy, 1874

“Home is woman’s world, as well as her empire” (Daniel Wise, author of  The Young Ladies Counsellor: Or, Outlines and Illustrations of the Sphere, the Duties, and Dangers of Young Women, 1855). This was a popular sentiment about the duties of women for many generations! This week, let’s look at some digital collections that focus on women as homemakers.

The Smithsonian has a terrific online exhibition called The Making of a Homemaker. Focused on housekeeping of the late nineteenth century, featured items include The House and Home: A Practical Book (2 volumes!) and an Encyclopedia of Domestic Economy (learn how to choose a proper teapot).

Cornell University has created HEARTH – Home Economics Archive: Research, Tradition, History. HEARTH is an extremely informative collection of books and journals from the early twentieth century about home economic topics. Subjects explored include Applied Arts and Design, Child Care, and Hygiene.

From Things Girls Like to Do - Hemming
From Things Girls Like to Do - Hemming

Little girls were always well-prepared to become homemakers. Playing House: Homemaking for Children, from the University of Wisconsin Digital Collections, provides 5 full-text books on just this training! One of these is Things Girls Like to Do by Elizabeth Hale Gilman. Included in the section on housekeeping is “upstairs work” which means “making beds, tidying bedrooms, and caring for washstands and bedrooms.” How fun…

The UArts Libraries subscribes to the online resource Daily Life through History the details life from ancient times to modern day. To learn more about domestic life in cultures all over the world, select an era and then click on Domestic Life to learn about family life and children. (Note: if you are off-campus, you will have to log-in with your name and library barcode). Also search the UArts Libraries’ catalog for home economics as a subject.