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Gender history

Taming Shrew
Conduct advice from Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew, 1698.

From ballads, lawsuits, fiction, and works on anatomy, this guide introduces a wide range of sources from the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries, useful for understanding history from a gendered perspective.


Ballads were cheaply-sold verses or songs providing news and entertainment. Themes include love, fashion, adultery, seduction, murder and infanticide.

Biographies, memoirs and diaries

Biographical works and memoirs offer an insight into perceptions of gender and its role in society over time.

Children's literature

Gendered books and comics from the 19th and 20th centuries.

Conduct and advice literature

Manuals for both men and women from the 17th to 19th centuries, on themes such as friendship, love, marriage, manners and morals.


Published letters dealing with love, marriage, relationships, and the role of men and women in society, from the 18th and 19th centuries.


Online resources featuring primary sources from the 12th to 20th centuries.

Dream and vision literature

These works often reflects conceptions of male and female characteristics and contemporary ideas regarding men and women’s roles. 

Education and University history

Papers on the history of the education of women and girls in Wales during the 19th and 20th centuries.


18th and 19th century magazines and journals on men's and women's fashion and dress.

Fiction and folklore

Fictional works and folklore dealing with romance, love and sex, from the 16th to early 20th century.

Legal works and lawsuits

Accounts of trials and proceedings relating to the legal aspects of marriage, prenuptials and divorce, from the 18th and 19th centuries.

Medical and anatomical works

Visual as well as contemporary medical understandings of the male and female body, and matters of health.

Musical scores

Musical scores and papers of women musicians, 18th to 20th centuries.

Plays and comedies

A selection of dramas concerning adultery, marriage, women, men, relationships, and cuckoldry, from 16th to 19th centuries.

Poetry and songs

Collections of songs and poetry covering gender-related themes, from the 17th to 19th centuries.

Religious works and sermons

Didactic works on family and domestic life, marital duties, immorality, adultery, sin and seduction from 17th to early 20th centuries.