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A classic in the field and a must-read for those interested in women's history for this period. Mary Beth Norton's two-part history includes, in Part I, how lived their lives before the Revolutionary War.

She includes both North and South, free women and slaves, in this comprehensive account of the everyday life of women.

But few diaries exist, so other sources are often essential to understanding women's lives before the American Revolution -- especially more ordinary women. One of the most important reasons scholars and writers document women's history is to remind us all (men and women) that women made contributions, too.

This is a book that helps bring out forgotten stories.

It's a good example not only of an early attempt at social history, but also of how 19th century authors viewed the lives of colonial women. This book explores the political and social significance of gender differences in that period and place, especially related to race and class.