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Women's History: Archives & Oral History

Use this guide to learn more about researching women's history.

Discovering Archives, Historical Information, and Oral Histories

Sarah Lawrence College Library Catalog:

The Library Catalog connects you to materials available through Sarah Lawrence College, and beyond. Use the Advanced Search to limit the format to Archival Materials to discover archival collections at Libraries Worldwide.


"ArchiveGrid includes over four million records describing archival materials, bringing together information about historical documents, personal papers, family histories, and more. With over 1,000 different archival institutions represented, ArchiveGrid helps researchers looking for primary source materials held in archives, libraries, museums and historical societies."

See below to search ArchivesGrid 

Search ArchiveGrid
Find archival collections and primary source materials

Librarian Tip:

Search for the individual library, special collection, or archive for more information about how to access collections, and to see if there are any restrictions on their use. Looking for coverage of an event, group, or area? Collections are not always described by the general information, sometimes you will need to parse out specifics and look for archives, papers, or coverage of that information. For instance, are you researching a group? Find out key people in the group and search for them (one of them might have donated their papers to an archive). 

Oral History - Books to Consider

Archival Collections at Sarah Lawrence College

The Sarah Lawrence College Archives collects, preserves, and makes accessible materials documenting the history of Sarah Lawrence College from its conception in 1924 to the present. The history of the college as a whole is tied to Women's History, which makes the entire College Archives a valuable resource! Learn more about the Sarah Lawrence College Archives, and their collections, here.

The College Archives is home to the Women's History Program Records (RG 3.5.4) as well as the following collections relating to Women's History:

  • Early History Collection* – documents the efforts to found the College including correspondence from the founder, William Van Duzer Lawrence, and his Letter of Instruction dictating what he wanted the College to represent.
  • National Women’s History Week Papers* – documentation from the women who spearheaded the creation of National Women’s History Week, later to become National Women’s History Month.
  • One Woman, One Vote Papers documentation from the U.S. women's suffrage movement collected by NEH-funded researchers (including Sarah Lawrence alumna Ruth Pollak) for the documentary One Woman, One Vote (1995).


*Please contact the College Archives for more information about these collections

Using the Archives: Vocabulary

Each archive and/or special collection is unique in nature, and so is the vocabulary you use to access those materials. Some of the key terms you may encounter include:

For more information about key archival terms, see the full glossary from The Society of American Archivists (SAA).

What to Know Before You Visit

Before you visit an archives and/or special collections...:

  • What do you want to see? Use the finding for the collection, or ask an archivist about the specific materials in the collection you are interested in researching
  • When can you visit? Check the hours of operation for the library and/or institution that has the collection
  • Can you make an appointment? If you're planning a visit to a small archives and/or collection, full-time archivists may not be readily available - you will want to check to see if you can schedule an appointment to view materials
  • Can you use all the material you want to see? Be sure to check if there are any access or copyright restrictions on the collection
  • Are there any special rules or regulations? Archives are home to rare and unique material, and certain rules - like using only pencil, not pen to take notes - may apply

Have questions about your research visit? Ask the archivist!