March is Women’s History Month. Originally designated as Women’s History Week in 1981 (Public Law 97-28), in 1987 Congress passed a joint resolution extending this celebration of Women’s History through the entire month of March Public Law (Public Law 100-9). Since 1995, the President has issued annual proclamations reconfirming March as Women’s History Month.
Just in time for 2014’s Women’s History Month, HeinOnline has introduced a new library of historical works, “Women & the Law.” The archive contains over 800 fully searchable titles including books, government publications and reports, biographies, and scholarly articles relating to women’s relationship with the law over the centuries. Many of the works focus on the United States, but the collection also includes works regarding women from numerous other countries, including the united Kingdom, Germany, Russia, and Japan.
The collection includes documents from as early as the 17th century, like William Heale’s 1609 Apologie for Women. Or an Opposition to Mr. Dr. G. His Assertion. Who Held in the Act at Oxforde, Anno. 1608, That It Was Lawful for Husbands to Beate their Wives. The collection continues through the centuries to the present, including journal articles as recent as 2013. The works are divided into a few sections: Women & Education, Women & Employment, Abortion, Women & Society, Biographies, Feminism & Legal Theory Project, and Legal Rights & Suffrage.
Much of the collection is devoted to the laws defining women’s legal rights, especially with regard to marriage and marital property and the status of working women. Some of the most interesting works in the collection are the monographs written by both men and women concerning “the state of women” at the time. The few titles below may give you some ideas of the wide variety of materials available:
- Dorothy Thomas, Women Lawyers in the United States (1957)
- H. Harcourt Horne, Handbook of Law for Women (1929)
- Grace Duffield Goodwin, Anti-Suffrage: Ten Good Reasons (1912)
- Katherine Rachel Kibourn, Money-Making Occupations for Women (1901)
- William Parkes, Domestic Duties; or, Instructions to Young Married Ladies, on the Management of Their Households, and the Regulation of Their Conduct in the Various Relations and Duties of Married Life (1828)
If you are a member of the law center community, you can access HeinOnline by visiting the law library’s homepage, and selecting HeinOnline from the drop-down menu of databases. If you accessing HeinOnline while off campus, be sure you are connected to the Law Center VPN and running the Law Library VPN client. For VPN instructions, please visit http://law.uh.edu/lit/instructions/VPN/vpn.asp.