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Instructions for the New World

Queen Isabella I’s instructions on the governance of Hispaniola in 1501 were the blueprint for the development of the Spanish colonies of the Americas.


Hardenbroeck vs Orphanmasters

This document illuminates the way the Dutch Orphanmasters’ Court protected the inheritance rights of young women, and one mother’s attempt to keep them from meddling in her affairs.


Childcare in the New World

The cradleboard and "loopwagen" allowed Oneida and Dutch women to work while still keeping their children safe and close by. They symbolize the double duty all mothers in the early colonial period had to do.


Patent for Cleaning and Curing Corn

The first patent issued to an English colonist was for a new invention created by Philadelphian inventor Sybilla Masters. The patent was filed under her husband’s name because women could not be legally recognized.