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Exhibit Highlights

burns library

The Women's Studies Collection of Janet Wilson James

Original Exhibit Spring 1998

This exhibit displays representative books from the collection of Janet Wilson James. Totaling well over 200 volumes, most of them 19th century imprints, the collection offers substantial material to scholars working in the disciplines of women's studies.

Professor Janet James (1918-1987), a pioneer in the field of women's history, joined the Boston College community as Professor of History in 1971. She served on the faculty here until her death from cancer in June of 1987. A native of New York City, she grew up in Dallas, Texas. Graduating from Smith College in 1939, she received her master's degree in history from Bryn Mawr College and studied at Radcliffe under the direction of Arthur M. Schlesinger, Sr. In 1945, she married Edward James, and they taught at Mills College in California. She received her doctorate from Harvard in 1954 and then taught at Wellesley College for a year. From 1965 to 1969 she also served as director of Harvard University's Schlesinger Library, a major research repository on the history of American women. She worked with her husband on Notable American Women, 1607-1950, a major biographical dictionary published in three volumes in 1971. Other publications include Notable American Women, 1607-1950; and two edited works, Notable American Women, 1607-1950, and A Lavinia Dock Reader.

The books on exhibit reflect Professor James' special interest in the history of nursing and women's medicine and in the religious experience of American women, particularly in the 19th century. In addition, the exhibit contains works on women and education, the suffrage movement, belles lettres, and women as workers in trades and professions outside the home. Charlotte Perkins Gilman's Concerning Children was published in 1900. Gilman, who was born in Hartford in 1860, was a social reformer and lecturer.

For Further Study: The Janet Wilson James Collection is complemented in the Burns Library by the Mary Pekarski Nursing Archives, which consists of various collections focusing on the History of Nursing and Nursing Ethics. For more information on any of these materials please contact the Senior Reference Librarian.

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