Celebrate Women’s History Month with Library resources!

March is Women’s History Month! A time for commemorating the achievements and contributions of women throughout history. Growing out of the first International Women’s Day on March 8, 1911, Women’s History Month was established when the National Women’s History Project successfully petitioned Congress in 1987 to designate March as a month to raise awareness of the full scope of often-overlooked women’s history. If you would like to dig more into women’s history, the Library has an abundance of resources to explore.

Library resources

Book titles of interest in the Library include:

Wake: The Hidden History of Women-led Slave Revolts” by Rebecca Hall and Hugo Martínez

(on reserve in Clemons Library)

A graphic novel illuminating the experiences of two historical Black women rebels on the slave ship The Unity. Carefully tracing centuries-old historical evidence and imaginatively reconstructing likely scenarios where the record is silent, the book is a transformative and transporting work. It brings to three-dimensional life Adono and Alele and their pasts as women warriors, illustrating the humanity of the enslaved, the reality of their lived experiences, and the complexity of the history that has been, till now, so thoroughly erased.

A Black Women’s History of the United States” by Daina Ramey Berry and Kali Nicole Gross

From the first African women to set foot on land that later became the United States to African American women of today, the authors have foregrounded history that is more often pushed into the shadows by white patriarchy. “A Black Women’s History of the United States” reaches far beyond a single narrative to showcase enslaved women, freedwomen, religious leaders, artists, queer women, activists, and women who lived outside the law.


New Women in the Old West: From Settlers to Suffragists, an Untold American Story” by Winifred Gallagher

(available in e-book format)

Little-known history of the first women who fought for and won the right to vote in the United States, and did so decades before the passage of the 19th amendment. Even as they helped dispossess Native and Hispanic people, these persistent women created homes on weather-wracked prairies and built communities out of boom towns and muddy mining camps while playing a vital, unrecognized role in forging America’s Suffragist movement.


The Secret History of Wonder Woman” by Jill Lepore.

A cultural history of DC comics superhero Wonder Woman traces her creation and enduring popularity, drawing on interviews and archival research to reveal the pivotal role of feminism in shaping her seven-decade story. Created by psychologist and writer William Moulton Marston in 1941, Wonder Woman was born amid a spirit of empowerment among working women during World War II, inspired by Marston’s own unconventional relationship with two powerful women in his life.

Celebrate Black history all year round with HistoryMakers Digital Archive

February 28 is the end of Black History Month but not Black history. You can find Black history all year round in the HistoryMakers Video Archive, the largest resource of oral African American history in existence. This fascinating resource contains 149,171 interviews and counting, telling the story of African Americans’ contributions in virtually every facet of American life and culture — in the arts, business, the legal and healthcare professions, politics, architecture, engineering, education, and more.

Close-up of the face of an young African American woman looking pensively off-camera. She wears a print bandanna on her head and hoops in her ears.

Ntozake Shange

You can see and hear playwright, poet, and novelist Ntozake Shange (1948-2018), born Paulette Williams in Trenton, N.J., tell how South African refugees gave her the Zulu names Ntozake, (meaning “she who comes with her own things”) and Shange (“who walks like a lion”); how she was accepted into a gifted student program in elementary school where white schoolmates shoved her and attacked her with racial slurs; how she graduated cum laude from Barnard College and earned an M.A. in American Studies at the University of Southern California; and how she invented a radically experimental new form combining drama, poetry, music, and dance for her acclaimed first play “For Colored Girls who have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow is Enuf” — telling the stories of seven Black women who have suffered oppression in a racist and sexist society.

Book cover art. Alt=""Shange’s struggles with undiagnosed bipolar disorder factored into the title of her play. “I was in one of those massive depressions when I was driving to work one day. And I saw a double rainbow. And when I saw the double rainbow and I drove through it, the depression just disappeared. And so I said to myself that’s the hope, that’s the future. And I put it in the title because that’s what happened to me …” She yearned for the spiritual experience she found “in the holy roller churches. I grounded myself in fiction and, and poetry because nothing else seemed to be close to the kind of uplifting that I thought religion should have.”

Shange lists influences as varied as Euripides, Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, Edna Ferber, Jean Racine, Charles Baudelaire, Andre Breton, Gunter Grass, and Karl Marx. “I liked black and white movies and I was inspired by movies like ‘It Happened One Night,’ ‘Imitation of Life,’ ‘Stormy Weather,’ … ‘It’s a Wonderful Life.’ I like Frank Capra movies and I like Barbara Stanwyck movies and, oh ‘Mildred Pierce’ and ‘Stella Dallas,’ influenced me.” In music, her influences included Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, and Gloria Lynne.

As a teaching assistant at the University of Southern California, Shange taught the works of Samuel Ray Delany, Jr. “because I thought it was important for the students to know that there were Black people who wrote science fiction … I wanted my students to see the co-relation of how you can depict oppression as a Black person in many different ways and forms …” She also began one Literature class with translations of Aztec language love poems. “Because I thought that was so wonderful because we always think of Aztecs as people who, who drank blood and burned skulls and made sacrifices. And here was this beautiful collection of Aztec love poems that stood right in the face … of all the mythology about Native American people.”

You can learn more about Ntozake Shange by viewing her complete HistoryMakers interview. See how the far-right John Birch Society came to recruit her activist father at a Black civics club meeting, how she butted heads with Producer Tyler Perry over his 2010 film adaptation of “For Colored Girls,” and how she overcame a series of strokes in 2004, teaching herself to write all over again. You can find the HistoryMakers Digital Archive in the Library’s A-Z Databases list where Black history lives all year round!


Explore the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Environmental Science

Environmental Science, with its rich, interdisciplinary complexity, poses important questions for planet Earth: Where have efforts to respond to threats against the environment led? And how can government, science, and industry best ensure a sustainable relationship with local, national, and global environments?  To help navigate the many facets of these questions, the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Environmental Science (ORE) has drawn together a vast array of comprehensive, in-depth, overview articles that offer background and perspective to researchers delving into unfamiliar subjects.

Led by editor in chief Hank Shugart, W.W. Corcoran Professor of Environmental Sciences and the Director of the Center for Regional Environmental Studies at the University of Virginia, this dynamic, evolving resource incorporates the sciences and related disciplines, and combines cutting-edge, peer-reviewed scholarship with encyclopedic scope. Readers can access articles on topics that are regularly updated and linked to associated topics, themes, and resources — Physical sciences to health sciences, and social sciences to engineering, for example.

The content of ORE continually evolves with new developments in the field, strengthened by the contributions of authors, reviewers, and editors from the global scholarly community, directing readers to relevant resources — audio-visual materials,  data sets, pedagogical tools, and more.

You can browse by subject:

  • Agriculture and the environment
  • Chemistry and toxicology
  • Environment and human health
  • Environmental economics
  • Environmental ethics
  • Environmental history
  • Environmental sociology and psychology
  • Policy, governance, and law

Browse the most recent articles

Articles listed in descending order by month, beginning with “Economics of Renewable Energy: A Comparison of Electricity Production Costs Across Technologies” by Govinda R. Timilsina and Kalim U. Shah, and “Hydroeconomics” by Manuel Pulido-Velazquez and Amaury Tilmant, both published online January 28, 2022.

Browse forthcoming articles

Advanced summaries of articles in progress such as “Ancient and Traditional Agriculture in South America: Highlands” by Geoffrey L. Taylor, Katherine L. Chiou, about the enduring legacy of ancient Inca agricultural and environmental practices, or “Ecotourism” by Giles Jackson, about the need for responsible travel that conserves the natural environment and sustains the well-being of local people, scheduled to be published January-March 2022. Most summaries provide links to related published articles!

Browse special projects

Articles from special edited collections also published as stand-alone printed volumes. For instance, “The Oxford Encyclopedia of Agriculture and the Environment” is an extensive compilation of articles related to the Agriculture and the Environment subject field.

There is material in the ORE that will enliven research in multiple disciplines — History, Economics, Ethnography, Anthropology, Sociology, Psychology, Biology, Climatology and more. Visit the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Environmental Science and discover why Environmental Science may be the most important field of study in the world today. You can find ORE in the Library’s A-Z Databases list.

UVA Today features valentines from Special Collections Library

A heart-shaped image with old fashioned window in center decorated with lace and flowers,

Vintage valentine from the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, Photo by Sanjay Suchak

To celebrate Valentine’s Day, UVA Today is featuring a story on items drawn from Special Collections’ holdings of “delicate cards, miniature books and personal albums, all celebrating love.” Items pulled for UVA Today by Library exhibits coordinator Holly Robertson and Special Collections curator Krystal Appiah include:

  • An 1844 valentine in verse, sent by an unknown soldier to Mary Berdan, daughter of the first mayor of Toledo, Ohio.
  • A scrapbook from the 1940s belonging to Hampton Institute student Jessie Fuller, “a wonderful record of joy and social bonds” containing valentines, notes from friends, sorority mementos, and photos of her basketball team.
  • An illustrated miniature book, “A Valentine,” by Jeanne Goessling.

To learn more about these items, and to see what other treasures Robertson and Appiah shared with UVA Today, read the article “Celebrate the Day With Vintage Valentines From UVA Special Collections.”

UVA Library is hiring an Associate Dean for Inclusion, Diversity, Equity & Accessibility

The Library hopes anyone interested in this role will consider joining a webinar on March 4, 12 – 1 p.m., to learn more and ask questions. Anonymous participation is welcomed. Learn more and sign up now.

The UVA Library is hiring an Associate Dean for Inclusion, Diversity, Equity & Accessibility. Reporting to the University Librarian and Dean, and as a member of the Library’s Senior Leadership Team, the Associate Dean for Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility will be the University Library’s leader in this area and will work to advance the Library’s mission as well as the University’s 2030 goals for Inclusive Excellence.

The ideal candidate for this position will have a broad vision for the role of anti-racism and anti-discrimination of all forms in the future of research libraries and in the communities where the Library operates. We are looking for someone with a strong track record in managing change and building and supporting initiatives that promote inclusion, equity, diversity & accessibility. Additionally, we’re looking for a sophisticated understanding of anti-racism, intersectionality, and social justice, and how these concepts can be turned into action and accountability to create spaces where all individuals are welcomed and belong.

With strong support of the Library’s Senior Leadership Team, the Associate Dean will help synthesize, integrate, and further catalyze the Library’s inclusion, equity, diversity, and accessibility efforts across all aspects of the Library’s mission. This individual will join an active community of diversity, equity, and inclusion leaders across the University who work collaboratively and in partnership with UVA’s Vice President for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Community Partnerships.

If you are interested in this role, please consider joining a webinar on March 4 from 12 – 1 p.m., where University Librarian and Dean of Libraries, John Unsworth, and the search chair Elyse Girard, Executive Director of Communications and User Experience, will talk about this position, the Library’s DEI goals, and what qualities we’re looking for in this candidate. Also hear from AJ Davidson, Senior Search Consultant, who will talk about the search application process. You can attend anonymously, ask questions, and learn more.

Sign up for the webinar, or begin your application now.

Krystal Appiah appointed to new role as curator in the Small Special Collections Library

In December of 2021, the University Library announced the appointment of Krystal Appiah as curator in the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library where she will help develop a vision and strategy for growth in the library’s local, state, and regional holdings. Krystal joined the Library staff in 2017 as the Instruction Librarian in Special Collections; and although she has moved on from that position, she will continue to be involved in the Library’s instruction program. In announcing the appointment, Associate University Librarian for Special Collections and Preservation, Brenda Gunn said, “As the leader of this important effort, Krystal will have the opportunity to make a significant contribution to research and scholarship at the University through her selections and acquisitions and I’m excited to see how our collection is refined and grows under her stewardship.”

Recently, Krystal spoke with Library Communications about her new responsibilities and the impact she expects to have on the collection. 

In general, what does a curator of Special Collections do? How do you view your new role?

One of a curator’s main roles is collection development, acquiring materials related to a certain topic. I’ll be working with donors and vendors of materials relevant to Virginia history to determine if the Small Special Collections Library is the right place for those materials to be used and preserved. I’m also responsible for consulting with my colleagues who do the processing, digitization, and preservation of Virginia collections. A curator also highlights how collections might be used for research projects, commemorations, teaching, podcasts, and more. I can also provide specialized assistance for researchers trying to find materials about state or local history.

You will be overseeing the Small Library’s holdings of local, state, and regional history. Can you give us an idea of the scope of the material you will be working with?

Part of my job will be defining the parameters of the historical material we should acquire. I plan to focus on local history of Charlottesville, Albemarle County, and the surrounding counties in Central Virginia. I don’t want our collecting efforts to overlap or compete with other institutions’, so I’ll be reaching out to colleagues at institutions such as Virginia Tech, the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society, and James Madison University to talk about where their regional collecting ends and ours begins. In terms of Virginia history, we don’t collect materials on all areas of the commonwealth but focus more on collections that are relevant to the state as a whole.

What are some areas that Special Collections needs to strengthen to fill gaps in the historical narrative as it has been taught?

African American history is an area where we have rich materials from some decades but relatively little from other eras. Locally, we have growing Latino, Asian, and refugee populations that aren’t represented at all in our collections. There are a few items related to LGBTQ people at UVA, but major gaps in the wider community. Working-class communities are also underrepresented in our collections, as they are in many archives.

How can Special Collections broaden outreach in the local community among people who have been excluded from the settler conquest version of history?

It’s important to listen to what communities want. Some may want their materials to be preserved and made accessible in the Small Library. Others may want to pursue a post-custodial model of stewardship which allows groups to retain their materials, and makes our staff available to assist with training in archival processing and preservation. There are many groups, such as rural communities, African American residents, and working-class people, who have either been deliberately excluded or not made welcome at UVA, and community and family historians are doing the work of passing down their histories from generation to generation. I’ll take my time building trust to learn how we can best work collectively to steward these materials. In addition to acquiring materials, I will reach out to provide orientations on archival research and will help community members to use materials already in our possession which are relevant to them.

Can you give us an example of forgotten history that you would like people to know about?

We have many, many collections and printed materials that document city and county planning efforts, and materials that show whose voices get heard and whose don’t. Local governments are constantly making decisions that impact affordable housing, road construction, and transit. It’s fascinating to see how the same issues continue to crop up. A researcher recently told me about “The Beam,” a newsletter published by the housekeeping labor union at the UVA Hospital in the 1940s. I can’t wait to see what topics they discussed!

The rise of industrialization and reform in “The Gilded Age and Progressive Era”

Technological innovation, the concentration of vast wealth in few hands, government corruption, anti-immigrant hysteria, and progressive proposals to combat social and economic disparities: These may seem like items pulled from today’s headlines, but they entered America’s consciousness more than a century ago in an era that took its name from Mark Twain’s satiric novel of greed and corruption, “The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today” (1873). Now you can find primary sources (business, legal, and personal papers) documenting the rise of American modernity in The Gilded Age and Progressive Era located in the Library’s A-Z Databases list.

Learn about the high-rise transformation of American cityscapes in the papers of the architectural firm McKim, Mead & White. Learn about personal and business dealings of the rich in the papers of John Jacob Astor and John D. Rockefeller as they built family dynasties from successes in real estate and oil. Learn the extent of government corruption in the papers of Chauncey Mitchell Depew, lawyer for Cornelius Vanderbilt’s New York Central Railroad, who bought his way into the United States Senate by favoring corporate interests. Learn how in the 1890s countervailing forces of progressive reform moved the nation’s economy from laissez-faire capitalism to regulation of monopolies and turned exploited immigrants into organized labor.

A Black man kneels beside the bodies of other slain Black people. His shirt is torn at the neck as he looks to the sky, his hands spread wide with tears streaming down his anguished face,

“IS THIS A REPUBLICAN FORM OF GOVERNMENT? IS THIS THE EQUAL PROTECTION OF THE LAWS?” Harper’s Weekly cartoon by Thomas Nast in 1876 following the Hamburg massacre of Black militiamen in South Carolina. The Gilded Age began with the withdrawal of federal troops from the defeated Confederate states. (Open image in a new tab to enlarge)

Although past histories have concentrated on the two percent of American households that controlled more than a third of the nation’s wealth, the database uncovers details about the bottom 40% who had no wealth at all, including African Americans left behind when workplace reform became a concern for the welfare of white workers only.

The daybooks of William O’Gorman, Overseer of the Poor in Newtown (now Elmhurst) in the New York borough of Queens, reveal how the poor fared while the rich played. Accounts and activities include descriptions of visits to formerly enslaved African Americans and immigrants in need, and the circumstances and history of individual cases.

A scrapbook in the McKim, Mead & White papers shows the harm perpetrated on Native people in the name of uplift. A clipped article on The Ramona Industrial School for Apache Girls in Santa Fe boasts of bringing “genuine Apaches” from three hundred miles away and transforming them from “unkempt girls in moccasins, buckskins, blankets and paint into eager pupils who are dressed and can read, count, write, draw, sing, sew and work like American white girls in our own home …” The goal was to train the girls “to become skilled cooks and housekeepers … in American households.”

Documents are tagged with at least one theme to help guide your study. Key themes include:

  • Architecture
  • Art and Literature
  • Business
  • Charity and Philanthropy
  • Industry
  • International Affairs
  • Labor Movement
  • Leisure and Entertainment
  • Material Culture
  • Politics and Corruption
  • Poverty and Inequality
  • Protests and Strikes
  • Reform
  • Society and Events
  • Urban Development