National Women's Historical Society

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Researching and recording the lives of astounding women

In addition to our grassroots advocacy for improving our history lessons, we write a weekly blog that spotlights one astounding woman from U.S. history and we travel to small towns and communities to collect oral histories along with other historical documents.

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Raising awareness about gender disparity in U.S. history studies

A lot of research has been done on the topic of gender disparity and textbook writing in the U.S.  For more information you can visit our FAQ page.

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Creating a database that incorporates the stories of influential American women for use by students and educators

We plan to make it easy for teachers to access all of the information that the need to teach an accurate and complete history to their students without creating an additional burden to their already difficult jobs.  See our project plan for more information. 

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Inspiring and empowering women and girls today to reach for their dreams

Instead of conforming to a history where women are neglected, marginalized, or excluded, we aspire to produce a history that can empower girls, give them role models, and show them that they can aspire for greatness in any field of their choosing. 


Our Mission

To inspire and empower women today by illuminating the lives of influential and remarkable women of all races, sexualities, and backgrounds who have been overlooked in the modern historical narrative.



  • For too long women have been neglected in our retellings of history. We are dedicated to doing the research necessary to uncover stories of remarkable women that have shaped our history.
  • We're taking this project on the road to cities and towns, large and small across the U.S. to find out about everyday extraordinary women and record their stories.
  • Our work will do more than teach people about influential women on a national scale - we will also preserve the history of your town, your family, and the women that helped to shape it. 


  • We want to ensure that educators, students, and researchers have the resources that they need to teach and learn an accurate and complete history of the United States.
  • Our database contains top notch research about the lives of influential women throughout U.S. history, oral histories discussing women's experiences, and other historical documents.
  • Our digital database is expansive, easy to use, and will assist educators to teach an accurate, complete, and well-researched history.


  • History texts play an important role in facilitating learning and act as vehicles for past knowledge; however, numerous studies have shown that women and their contributions are significantly underrepresented.
  • When women are excluded or marginalized in historical texts, this sends a powerful message to youth about men and women in history as well as their places in contemporary society.
  • By building a more truthful and equitable historical narrative we hope to empower girls and boys to be better civic individuals and aspire to greatness.

Frequently Asked questions

Why do the women in the NWHS database deserve recognition alongside men that were presidents, war heroes, and influential businessmen - people that did the “heavy lifting” in building the nation?

The women that NWHS selects to include in its database have done things that have a tangible impact on the formation and continuation of the United States. Just like men, some contributions are large, some are small, and some have ripple effects that echo through time. In the history textbooks that are in use today, characters are included for many different reasons, and women contributors are often not included where they should be or their contributions are falsely attributed to men. It is a tragedy and a disgrace that women are not afforded their rightful place in our nation’s historical memory.

U.S. history is bloated as it is. Why add more to it?

Educators understand that there are many problems associated with the way we teach history, and NWHS cannot address all of those problems. However, we can do our part in alleviating two issues that we see as being most pressing. First, there is a documented lack of representation for women in U.S. history. NWHS can help to balance the scales by offering a database to schools that will demonstrate the lack of representation, include influential women in history curriculums, and develop a system that makes it simple for teachers to incorporate women into their lesson plans. Studies show that the way history is taught now does not engage students and it does not usually speak to things that interest or matter to them. By building this interactive database, NWHS hopes to not only teach students a more complete and accurate history of the United States, but also to show them why history matters and how it can be interesting.

What is the fundamental value of history anyway, whether complete or abridged?

If people are always planning for the future, it seems counterintuitive to think too much about the past. Yet historians have always been necessary in society, and for good reason. History provides us with knowledge of where we came from and what has influenced our society and morality. We learn from the dilemmas that our people have faced in the past, and we learn from their mistakes. History can teach us good citizenship- whether that includes shaping our ideals, or learning from the past to make the country better in the future. Most importantly, history is the story of us and the repetition of history lessons becomes deeply rooted in each of us, coloring the way we see ourselves and the world around us. History provides us with identity, and that is a profoundly significant power. Early education centering around one woman that achieved great things can be all it takes to convince a generation of girls that they are capable of equally impressive feats.

Why do you want to publicize the actions of women that have not benefited the nation in positive ways?

We believe that the only way to truly address the harm that has been done by neglecting women in history is by giving influential women in history the same exposure and holding them up to scrutiny as their male counterparts. Just as there were men that had negative impacts on the nation’s history, there were women that did more harm than good. If we only concentrated on women with positive characteristics, we would not be telling an accurate history, and we would not be benefiting women. We believe that by only portraying women in a positive light we would be prolonging the bad habit of holding women to a higher standard than is achievable. We would do the women who helped shape our nation a disservice by pretending they were without flaws as deeply embedded and varied as their many strengths. 

History textbooks have many problems and historical gaps in addition to those pertaining to women. Why don’t you address those as well?

Our objective is only to address the problem of underrepresentation of influential women in U.S. history. Auxiliary problems of underrepresentation of other minority populations, lack of classroom engagement, and lack of pointed analysis of topics covered in history class to hame a few are not things that NWHS has the capacity to address at this time. However, we do hope that when teachers and students are presented with supplemental tools that show the depth and complexity of history that is not always portrayed in their issued textbooks, it will open up a broader discussion about other problems in education.

There are other organizations dedicated to women’s history. What makes NWHS different?

There are other nonprofits, websites, and blogs that have done marvelous work illuminating women’s history and pushing for greater inclusiveness. We are particularly glad for the existence of organizations like the National Women’s History Project, which founded women’s history month in 1981, and for the National Women’s History Museum, which has been working towards building a museum dedicated to women in U.S. history. NWHS hopes to build upon their good work and to push for greater inclusion of women’s history at the ground level when children are first beginning to build an understanding of the world around them and of their own individuality.

Another unique aspect of NWHS is its concentration on collecting historical documents pertaining to women from small towns and communities. First-hand accounts of women’s history have always been scarce, and while efforts have been made to collect documents and oral histories, these initiatives typically concentrate on urban areas and their surrounding communities. There is a whole universe of potential in the nation to collect one-of-a-kind historical legacies that would otherwise be lost to time.