Women in Prison Research Suggestions

Query From Anne Ward award@emma.troy.ny.us 10 April 1998

I teach a high school women's history class and have a student working on an anthology of women who have been imprisoned. She is investigating why women have been incarcerated, looking at crimes they have committed. She has the obvious (the likes of Lizzie Borden and Squeaky Fromme) but would welcome any other suggestions for women OR sources she could find more about such women.


From Michelle Kilbourne kilbournemme@conrad.appstate.edu 13 April 1998

Each year the prisons hold what is known as the PEN Prison Writing Contest. Some of these writings--poems, fiction, remembrances--have been published, but I do not have the names of the journals or books where they were.

From Penny Waterstone pennyw@U.Arizona.EDU 13 April 198

Don't forget to include political prisoners such as Emma Goldman.

From DONNA CRAIL-RUGOTZKE crail@nevada.edu 13 April 1998

Anne, I would recommend your student narrow her focus or this could be a very large project. Several helpful secondary sources include Nicole Rafter's *Partial Justice: Women in State Prisons, 1800-1935*, Estelle B. Freedman's *Their Sisters' Keepers: Women's Prison Reform in America, 1830-1930* and Anne M. Butler' *Gendered Justice in the American West: Women Prisoners in Men's Penitentiaries*. There should also be plenty of information on Kate Richards O'Hare.

From Gael Graham GRAHAM@wpoff.wcu.edu 13 April 1998

Women in prison runs the gamut-she should look also at women imprisoned for political crimes, like agitating for suffrage or other radical causes (Angela Davis springs to mind); also in the post-Civil War era, African-American women were often imprisoned for being "uppity" or making too much money. Sounds like a good project.

From Lesley Hall Lesley_Hall@classic.msn.com 13 April 1998

E.g. being a suffrage activist? There is an article by June Purvis on 'The Prison Experiences of Suffragettes in Edwardian Britain' in Women's History Review 4/1 1995. Or CND protester: Pat Arrowsmith for one wrote both novels,and I think an autobiographical memoir of her experiences in prison. There was an article around 1966 by Moya Woodside (published I think in a legal journal) on women abortionists in Holloway Prison (UK)

From Val Marie Johnson vmj@escape.com 13 April 1998

Emma Goldman -- her autobiography and/or Candace Falk's bio

Margaret Sanger -- not sure -- i know there are accounts of her prison time in her collected papers (which are on microfilm), but perhaps there are also excerpts published in bios?

Elizabeth Gurley Flynn -- her autobiography and especially _The Alderson Story_ (?)not sure about the title of the latter, but it's about her time in prison, just look her up as an author. Most importantly, they were all imprisoned for political (and sexual) rebellion

[Editor's Note: Flynn's first book is *The Rebel Girl: An Autobiography*---also published as *I speak My Own Piece.* Her second is *The Alderson Story: My Life as a Political Prisoner*]

From Maria Elena Raymond M_Raymond@compuserve.com 6 May 1998

Don't forget women imprisoned in the US Civil War (on both sides); African-American women imprisoned for killing abusive masters during same time frame.

And please don't forget the many women around the world who were/are political prisoners.

What about Patricia Hearst in US? Angela Davis? Women taking the lives of their abusers in the US? (and other countries?)What about women under "house arrest" in other countries?And don't forget the many women during the civil rights movement who were arrested multiple times in the south...Barbara Deming comes to mind.

Check the recent discussion thread on H-Women website about women as poisoners. http://h-net.msu.edu/~women and click on discussion threads.