Gender: Identity and Social Change

Discover three centuries of primary source material documenting extensive developments in gender roles and relations.

From traditional constructions of femininity and masculinity, to the struggle for women’s rights and the emergence of the men’s movement, Gender: Identity and Social Change offers three centuries of primary source material for the exploration of gender history.

Explore records from men’s and women’s organisations, advice literature and etiquette books to reveal developing gender roles and relations. Gain an insight into changing societal expectations about gender roles through personal diaries and correspondence and explore the life and careers of key figures and pioneers in gender history.

In addition to the primary-source material, the Adam Matthew digital platform itself boasts a wealth of useful features – everything from an interactive time line of feminist history to a detailed multimedia tour of each section of content – all of which include accessibility options like plain text and transcripts […] Both dedicated gender scholars and more casual browsers will find useful information in this database.                        Stephen Ashley, Top Shelf Reference, December 2018


The papers of Arthur J. Munby (1828-1910), from Trinity College, Cambridge are included, enhanced with Handwritten Text Recognition (HTR). Munby’s fascination with the lives of working-class women are recorded meticulously through his collection of observations, interviews, diaries, photo albums and sketches, gathered from the streets of Victorian Britain. Read more about HTR or watch our demonstration video.

Key Data

Period Covered

  • 19th to 21st centuries


  • Documents relating to Doris Stevens and Martha Carey Thomas in their fight for suffrage, including letters to Emmeline Pankhurst
  • Papers from the collection of Betty Friedan, a leading figure in the feminist movement
  • A unique collection of newsletters representing the development of the men’s movement from the 1970s onwards
  • Reports and correspondence from organisations and groups such as the Manchester Men's League for Women's Suffrage, the Famous Five, the National Women’s Party and the Six Point Group
  • Material highlighting arguments surrounding the body, including sexuality and abortion
  • Late nineteenth-and early-twentieth century periodicals including The British Workman, The British Workwoman and The Lady’s Realm

Source Archives

  • Bryn Mawr College
  • Glenbow
  • Hagley Museum and Library
  • Mary Evans Picture Library
  • Michigan State University Libraries
  • Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
  • The John Rylands Library, University of Manchester
  • The University of Melbourne
  • Trinity College, Cambridge

Material Types

  • Newsletters
  • Periodicals
  • Records from men’s and women’s organisations
  • Diaries
  • Advice literature and etiquette books
  • Correspondence
  • Ephemera
  • Pamphlets
  • Posters
  • Photographs
  • Scrapbooks

Editorial Board

  • Caitriona Beaumont, London South Bank University
  • Peter I. Berg, Michigan State University Libraries
  • Katharine Cockin, University of Essex
  • Krista Cowman, University of Lincoln
  • Kathy E. Davis, VU University Amsterdam
  • Paul Deslandes, The University of Vermont
  • Sarah Edge, Ulster University
  • Alex Jones , Swansea University
  • Michael Kimmel, Stony Brook University
  • Clare Midgley, Sheffield Hallam University
  • James Rosenheim, College of Liberal Arts, Texas A&M University
  • Cara Snyder, University of Maryland


  • Women’s suffrage
  • Feminism
  • The men’s movement
  • Organisations, associations and societies
  • Employment and labour
  • Domesticity and the family
  • Conduct and politeness
  • Legislation and legal cases
  • Government and politics
  • Leisure and entertainment
  • Education and training
  • The body
  • Sex and sexuality

Key Features

  • Handwritten Text Recognition (HTR) search technology delivering document-level full-text search results across the papers of Arthur J. Munby (1828-1910), view HTR demo.
  • Visual Gallery
  • Interactive Chronology
  • Biographies
  • Featured Organisations
  • Contextual Essays
  • Video Interviews


Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty.

Gender: Identity and Social Change (hereafter Gender) provides researchers with access to key primary documents over three centuries of gender history, including personal diaries, correspondence, newspapers, photographs, ......