Curriculum

Introduction

Women’s history is American history. Too often, though, it is the left-out part, appearing only now and then in familiar profiles and at predictable high points. But women, despite legal and cultural barriers, have been actively engaged in every phase of the nation’s history. Some were firebrands, some were intellectuals, and some were ordinary people just going about their lives.

Over the last half-century, scholars have brought more and more of their stories into the foreground. The New-York Historical Society’s Center for Women’s History continues and expands on this essential work as the nation’s first permanent public exhibition and educational center dedicated to women’s history.

Women & the American Story, or WAMS for short, is the educators’ companion to the Center for Women’s History, addressing a difficulty that teachers have long encountered in their classrooms: the scarcity of material to bring women’s stories into the mainstream history curriculum.

Units

The planned ten units of Women & the American Story are divided thematically and chronologically to align with social studies curriculum standards from across the country. In each case, units are bookended by significant moments in American and women’s history. This is an ongoing project: two units will be released each fall until the survey is complete.

Explore current and preview forthcoming units below!

1492 - 1734

Early Encounters

Discover the lives and experiences of Native American, African, and European women who encountered one another on America’s shores.

1692 - 1783

Settler Colonialism
and the Revolution

Trace the development of colonial society and identity up through the crucible of the American Revolution.

1783 - 1828

Building a New Nation

Explore the foundation of the new nation, the ways women’s rights were suppressed under the new government, and how women were central to the formation of the new American identity.

1828 - 1869

Expansions and Inequalities

Examine what Westward Expansion meant to the diverse women living within and outside of the expanding nation’s borders, how women responded to the burgeoning immigration debate, and the roles women played in the early years of the Industrial Revolution.

1832 - 1877

A Nation Divided

Delve into the ways women participated in all aspects of the Civil War, and on both sides, from the early debate over the expansion of slavery through Reconstruction.

1866 - 1898

Industry and Empire

Consider women’s rights at the end of the 19th century as the nation redefined the boundaries and privileges of citizenship.

1889 - 1920

Modernizing America

Discover how women experienced and shaped immigration, industrialization, progressivism, and suffrage at the turn of the 20th century.

1920 - 1948

Confidence and Crises

Explore dramatic shifts in American society and culture from the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment to the dawn of the post-war era.

1948 - 1977

Growth and Turmoil

Consider how women of diverse backgrounds contributed to and were shaped by an era of escalating political activism and rapidly shifting social norms, from the dawn of the Cold War through the apex of the debate over the Equal Rights Amendment.

1974 - 2018

The Information Age

Study the experiences of women as technology, globalization, and increasingly polarized politics shaped the nation.

Themes

Women have always been engaged in every aspect of society. Explore resources by theme to discover new angles on traditional histories.