This portfolio of work showcases learning in the Historian’s Craft class. Each paper demonstrates a different aspect of historical method, interpretation, or research skill. All three papers showcased my interest in women’s movements and public activism.
For my first Historian’s Craft paper, I analyzed the treatment of the women’s suffrage movement across various sources: a college-level textbook, a scholarly article from the Journal of American History about suffrage efforts in New Jersey in the 1910s, and a series of pamphlets issued by the National Women’s Party, obtained from a digital collection at the Library of Congress. I argued that while the textbook’s version was concise, it was also misleadingly triumphant, as the complications of suffrage strategy were largely ignored. Both the pamphlets and the scholarly article provide additional insight into the nonlinear, contingent way the suffrage movement unfolded.
“Gaining the Vote: Not as Easy as it Looked” (February 2017)
For my second paper, I approached the suffrage topic again, but from a totally different perspective. Based on our class’s exploration of government documents as historical resources, I researched official records of the arrest and incarceration of National Women’s Party activists during World War I and their hunger strike in the Occoquan female workhouse in northern Virginia. I found that the local officials were unsympathetic to the larger cause, but at the same time highly aware of the political significance of mistreating the women, both in terms of domestic politics and in the unfolding international conflict. I also learned about the difficulties of finding and interpreting judicial system records.
My final project for Historian’s Craft is an annotated bibliography about the links between the temperance movement (specifically, the Women’s Christian Temperance Union) and the mainstream National Association for Women’s Suffrage, in the last 2 decades of the 19th century. I identified key primary sources and relevant scholarship to answer this question: was temperance the proving ground for national suffrage leadership, or did temperance undermine the potential strength of women’s political authority by fracturing the movement along religious and ethnic lines? I anticipate studying this topic further with either an independent study class or future capstone research.