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History of Women on microfilm: How to use

Guide to searching the History of Women collection on microfilm

What is the HoW's collection?

History of Women microfilm collection

The History of Women Collection is a comprehensive collection of literature by and about American and European women from the 18th century through 1920.
The microfilm collection consists of books, pamphlets, periodicals, manuscripts and photographs. Topics include:  

beauty, birth control, education, the professions, women's rights, women's organizations, social reform,
the role of women in the settling of the American West, plus literally hundreds more!

Where are they?

Microfilms are located on the ground floor of the library in large metal cases across from the movable shelves. The History of Women collection is at the end of the metal cases (near the two study carrels in the ground floor study area). 

Getting creative with a reference email - don't fear microfilm! #myhollins

A video posted by Wyndham Robertson Library (@hollinsulibrary) on

How do I search the History of Women collection?

There are two ways you can search the collection.

In print, using the publisher provided indexes: HISTORY OF WOMEN: guide to the microfilm collection (1983) and THE HISTORY OF WOMEN COLLECTION (1986).

  • One set of indexes is the reference section (Ref. Z7965 . H577 1983 & Ref. Z7965 .H5772 1986). A second set of these indexes are above the microfilm cabinets on the ground floor. 

Here is a guide to using the publisher-provided indexes.


Online, you can search The University of Arizona's online catalog.

  1. Go to The University of Arizona's library catalog page
  2. Use their online catalog to search the collection by keywords. You must include: "History of Women" Microfilm
  3. In the results, make sure that you look at the microfilm number. Everything in the History of Women Collection has a call number that begins with "Micro film 4300"
  • Not in the History of Women collection:

  • In the History of Women collection:

4. The catalog record for each item in the collection will provide you with author/title/year/subject, plus tell you the reel number and the item number

The reel number and item number are what you will use to locate the item in the microfilm on the ground floor. 

No real number listed?! Don't panic. Use the 1983 index to look up the item number and that will give you the reel number (see handout above about using the print indexes). 

Your Librarian

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Rebecca Seipp
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MSIS, Information Science
The University of Texas at Austin
BA, History
Southwestern University

More information

The History of Women collection is based primarily on works found in the Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, located at Radcliffe College, and the Sophia Smith Collection at Smith College.