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The Girls' History and Culture Reader

The Nineteenth Century

A pioneering, field-defining collection of essential texts exploring girlhood in the nineteenth century

The Girls' History and Culture Reader: The Nineteenth Century provides scholars, instructors, and students with the most influential essays that have defined the field of American girls' history and culture. A relatively new and energetic field of inquiry, girl-centered research is critical for a fuller understanding of women and gender, a deeper consideration of childhood and adolescence, and a greater acknowledgment of the significance of generation as a historical force in American culture and society.

Bringing together work from top scholars of women and youth, The Girls' History and Culture Reader: The Nineteenth Century addresses topics ranging from diary writing and toys to prostitution and slavery. Covering girlhood and the relationships between girls and women, this pioneering volume tackles pivotal themes such as education, work, play, sexuality, consumption, and the body. The reader also illuminates broader nineteenth-century developments—including urbanization, industrialization, and immigration--through the often-overlooked vantage point of girls. As these essays collectively suggest, nineteenth-century girls wielded relatively little political or social power but carved out other spaces of self-expression.

Contributors are Carol Devens, Miriam Forman-Brunell, Jane H. Hunter, Anya Jabour, Anne Scott MacLeod, Susan McCully, Mary Niall Mitchell, Leslie Paris, Barbara Sicherman, Carroll Smith-Rosenberg, Christine Stansell, Nancy M. Theriot, and Deborah Gray White.


"Some of the finest scholarship in the field. . . . Highly recommended."--Choice

"This sparkling reader defines the field of girls' history and gathers its emerging canon. There are no better scholars than Miriam Forman-Brunell and Leslie Paris to have a pulse on the scholarship, anticipate its future directions, and provide a model of academic collaboration."--Eileen Boris, coeditor of The Practice of U.S. Women's History: Narratives, Dialogues, and Intersections


Miriam Forman-Brunell is a professor of history at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, and the author of Babysitter: An American History and other works. Leslie Paris is an associate professor of history at the University of British Columbia and the author of Children's Nature: The Rise of the American Summer Camp.

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