On 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, NYPL releases feminism reading list

August 18, 2020

Courtesy of NYPL

On August 18, 1920, the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, giving some women the right to vote under federal law. In celebration of the milestone’s centennial, the New York Public Library on Tuesday released a list of over 100 non-fiction titles about feminism, with a mix of current and historic materials. The “Essential Reads on Feminism,” offers diverse perspectives on the fight for gender equality as well as reflects the limitations of the early suffrage movement, especially for women of color.

The reading list, put together by experts across the library system, features a wide range of literature, from memoirs to historical essays. The library hopes the list serves as a starting point for those looking to learn about the feminism movement’s history and connect it to the present-day.

Titles highlighted by the NYPL include Because of Sex by Gillian Thomas, The Woman’s Hour by Elaine Weiss, Song in a weary throat: Memoir of an American pilgrimage by Pauli Murray, and A Colored Woman in a White World by Mary Church Terrell.

See the full Essential Reads on Feminism list here.

“This list offers readers the tools they need to better understand today’s issues, and to appreciate their historical context,” Susan Kriete, one of the list’s curators and a librarian in NYPL’s U.S. History, Local History and Genealogy Division, said in a press release. “Our hope is that readers of all backgrounds will discover titles that not only deepen their understanding of the feminist movement but inspire them to help achieve its goals.”

The library also released reading lists for children and teens, each with over 30 books related to feminism and gender equality. Books on the lists can be borrowed through the NYPL’s digital collections via its e-reader app, SimplyE, and as well as by picking up physical copies of the books at branches currently open for grab-and-go services.

In June, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture released a list of 95 books about black history and culture. The “Black Liberation Reading List,” curated by Schomburg staff, features scholarly works about racial justice, fiction, memoirs, essays, and photographs.


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