American Women Speak: An Encyclopedia and Document Collection of Women's Oratory

2 vols. ABC-CLIO. Oct. 2016. 827p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781440837845. $189; ebk. ISBN 9781440837852. REF
Using biographical information and primary resources, humanities, English, and Latin teacher Snodgrass sheds light on a side of American history that is left out by many textbooks, covering 184 women from all backgrounds, ethnic groups, and occupations (from a file clerk and a prostitute to an astrophysicist and a state governor) and spanning from 1637 to 2015. Many viewpoints on important women's issues—rights wanted, social problems affecting women and society, and politics of the day—are given. Each entry begins with a short biography and ends with references. More than 100 pieces contain either whole speeches or excerpts of longer ones. While some speeches are famous, most will be unfamiliar to laypeople. This accessible book offers multiple ways to obtain the information (a 49-page index, a chronological list, and a "Guide to Related Topics"). Suzanne O'Deo Schenken's From Suffrage to Senate, Encyclopedia of American Women in Politics discusses many of the same individuals, though it leaves out women who weren't involved in politics. James Daley's Great Speeches by American Women has only 21 full speeches. Snodgrass's volume answers the need for primary sources and presents an avenue for quickly finding material that is missing from most high school and college textbooks.
VERDICT An excellent option for libraries supporting high school or undergraduate students studying American history.
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