The Library of Congress > American Memory
banner image
return to home page table of contents about the guide abbreviations search banner image

Rare Book and Special Collections Division



The Domestic Sphere
Religion and Spirituality
Reform Efforts
Women's Rights Newpapers
Susan B. Anthony Collection
NAWSA Collection
Women's Education
arrow graphicPamphlet Collections
Printed Ephemera
Working Women
Women in Popular Culture
Collections Formed by Women
Literary Works



Pamphlet Collections

The pamphlet collections collectively are a rich source of information on women's history, women's movements, and issues affecting women's lives. Nineteenth-century reform movements, including contemporary writings on suffrage, abolition, education for women, prison reform, and temperance, are documented in them. These primary sources will allow the reader to follow the arguments on these and other issues, both pro and con.

More than thirty thousand pamphlets are found in such groupings as the YA Pamphlet Collection, the Daniel Murray Pamphlet Collection, the African American Pamphlet Collection, the Radical Pamphlet Collection, and the bound pamphlet collections. Although most pamphlets have individual bibliographic records online, they do not have individual classification numbers. This accession-type numbering means that pamphlets on one subject or by one author will be scattered throughout the collections. Pursuing online access to them by subject heading or author and title is most efficient.

see caption below

Mary Church Terrell. President of the National Association of Colored Women. From The Progress of Colored Women, [1898]. Daniel Murray Pamphlet Collection; E449 .D16 vol. A, no. 13. Rare Book and Special Collections Division.

full item

The YA Pamphlet Collection, a huge, miscellaneous nineteenth-century pamphlet collection, includes speeches by Victoria Woodhull (1838-1927) and other early feminists as well as works by and about Maria Mitchell (1818-1889), the first American woman astronomer and an advocate of higher education for women.

The Daniel Murray Pamphlet Collection and the African American Pamphlet Collection include significant material by African American women authors and activists, particularly during the last quarter of the nineteenth century. The Murray Pamphlet collection includes several works by noted abolitionist and suffragist Frances E. Watkins Harper (1825-1911), including her speech Enlightened Motherhood (Brooklyn: The Society, 1892; E449.D16 19:6 Murray Pam) [full item] given before the Brooklyn Literary Society, and some of the anti-lynching writings of journalist and lecturer Ida B. Wells-Barnett (1862-1931).

In The Progress of Colored Women (Washington: Smith Brothers; E449.D16 A:13 Murray Pam) , a speech Mary Church Terrell (1863-1954) delivered before the Fiftieth Anniversary Convention of the National American Woman's Suffrage Association in 1898, she calls for the end of racial injustice and gender bias in education and employment.

The Murray collection of nearly 350 pamphlets has been digitized as an American Memory collection entitled “African American Perspectives”. The African American Pamphlet Collection, which numbers nearly four hundred works published between 1824 and 1909 and includes works related to women's education and social conditions, is also available in American Memory as “From Slavery to Freedom: The African-American Pamphlet Collection”.

The Radical Pamphlet Collection of approximately four thousand items is organized as a group, with the call number HX81.A53 1870 . The pamphlets are arranged alphabetically by author, organization, or title, and a container list is available in the Rare Book Reading Room. Pamphlets by Emma Goldman (1869-1940) are here, including Marriage and Love and Anarchism, What It Really Stands For, both published in 1914. Works on women and communism by Elizabeth Gurley Flynn (1890-1964), member of the National Board of the Communist Party, U.S.A., and Olive Johnson's (1872-1954) pamphlets on women and the Socialist movement are also in this collection.

see caption below

“Emma Goldman.” Frontispiece illustration. From Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays (New York: Mother Earth Publishing Association, 1910; HX844.G6 1910 Avrich). Rare Book and Special Collections Division.

full caption
| bibliographic record

The division holds five more special collections of radical literature, representing the ideologies and activities of groups across the political spectrum. The Anarchism Collection (1850-1970) includes foreign-language titles intended for urban immigrant communities in the United States, such as works by Emma Goldman and the Yiddish- language newspaper of an anarchist group of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. The Anarchism Pamphlet Collection consists of approximately eight hundred pamphlets, broadsides, and posters printed between 1895 and 1972 and is strong in materials relating to anarcho-syndicalism as well as anarchism. Finding aids are available in the reading room.

The Paul Avrich Collection of nearly twenty thousand, twentieth-century American and European anarchist publications and manuscripts was donated to the Library by Dr. Paul Avrich, its collector. It features much material concerning Emma Goldman, including a number of rare pamphlets and extensive correspondence. Materials related to Mollie Steimer (1897-1980), a participant in the controversial Abrams case concerning American civil liberties and free speech, and extensive correspondence with Clara Larsen are notable.

Contributions of women to the development of anarchist colonies and schools, especially Stelton Modern School, can be traced in the correspondence of Elizabeth Ferm (1867- 1944) and Nellie Dick. Also significant is correspondence of Jo Ann Burbank, Minna Lowensohn, Dora Keyser, and Pauline Turkel. Significant serials holdings include several issues of Association of Libertarian Feminists News (Revere, Mass., 1979-85) and Rebel Woman (Portland, Ore., 1973-74). Manuscript material is arranged alphabetically by individual or organization; pamphlets are arranged alphabetically by author. A finding aid is available in the reading room and catalog records for books in the Avrich Collection are available online.

The House UnAmerican Activities Committee Collection includes four thousand pamphlets that were produced by those under committee review and collected by the committee. The wide range of topics they address includes labor, communism, socialism, fascism, and black power. Access to this collection is available through a finding aid in the reading room or the Chadwyck-Healey microfiche publication Radical Pamphlets in American Collections (MicRR).

The M & S Collection of ten thousand, twentieth- century radical books, pamphlets, newspapers, magazines, broadsides, and printed ephemera represents many little-known and short-lived groups that generated publications between 1950 and 1981. Publications are arranged by format and then alphabetically by group. Included are scattered issues of the newspapers Women and Revolution and Women United; the magazines Freewoman and Minute Woman; and broadsides by Female Liberation, National Organization for Women, Women's Committee against Genocide, and Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, as well as many pamphlets related to abortion and other topics relevant to women. A finding aid is available in the reading room.

see caption below

Margaret Sanger, The Fight for Birth Control (New York: Max Maisel, 1916; HQ763.P3 pamphlet 47). Rare Book and Special Collections Division.

full caption
| full item

The division's holdings on birth control, family planning, and the birth control movement are classified in HQ, along with books on sex and marriage. Two volumes labeled “Pamphlets on contraception” (HQ763 .P3 and HQ763.P33) contain seventy-two pamphlets, many of which were given to the Library by Margaret Sanger (1879-1966), a pioneering advocate of birth control, in December 1931. The pamphlets, most of which were published in the 1920s, cover the history of the movement, include two editions of Sanger's Family Limitation, as well as her lecture leaflet, the Fight for Birth Control [full item] and present arguments both for and against birth control. (Sanger's personal papers are held in the Manuscript Division.)

The division holds several treatises on abortion at HQ767 and a pamphlet describing the activities and court trials of the New York abortionist Anna Trow Lohman in Restell's Secret Life (Philadelphia: Old Franklin Publishing House, 1884; HV6534.N5 A6 1884) . Stories based on court cases and police reports dealing with various “wrongs afflicted on young women,” including deception, domestic violence, and murder, are found under HV6534.N5 A6 1869-1886.

red line
Home Table of Contents About the Guide Abbreviations Search
The Library of Congress> > American Memory