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A History of Women in the United States: State-by-State Reference

Each state history begins with a brief excerpt of a novel written by a woman and set in that state. Alabama, the first alphabetically, for example, features a quote from Harper Lee’s important TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD.

Next follows a key paragraph pointing out something unique about the state: Arizona, for example, had women in all of its top elective offices at the millennium. A map for each state features the cities and towns that will be discussed in the narrative.

Also highly visible on the first page for each state is a “box score” of comparative information, such as the date when women won full suffrage and the current percentage of women in its legislature. (The Wyoming Territory was the first to grant the vote, in 1869, and Washington currently is the state with the highest percentage of female legislators).

The sections that follow within each state were written by others. Prominent Women features biographies of women who made that state their home, and the complete work of 1,680 pages contains some 800 of these. Next is a section on Prominent Sites related to women in that state. Florida, for example, lists the home of Pulitzer-winning writer Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings.

The last section within each state is Resources, which includes an exhaustive bibliography of books by and about women in the state, brief information about organizations and institutions related to its women, as well as websites of particular interest.

Some 250 sidebars are included in the work, many of which quote from women’s writings. There are approximately another 150 primary documents connected with state and national history, as well as some 300 illustrations. Each state also has a timeline of its history, and the encyclopedia is rounded out with thematic essays by other experts in the history of American women.