Center for Women's History
Women’s history is American history. Bring it into your classroom with our new curriculum!
Major support for the Center for Women's History curriculum was provided by
Lead support for Saving Washington was provided by Joyce B. Cowin and the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation. Additional support provided by Susan Klein.
Exhibitions at New-York Historical are made possible by Dr. Agnes Hsu-Tang and Oscar Tang, the Saunders Trust for American History, and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.
Unknown artist, Sir William Blackstone, ca. 1755. Oil on canvas. National Portrait Gallery, London, Primary Collection, 388.
Resource 1: Coverture
This resource explores the text and context of the ancient legal principle of coverture, imported to the American colonies as a part of English common law, that severely restricted women’s political, financial, and personal rights. A woman, according to the law, was included in (or covered by) her husband’s or father’s legal identity; she did not exist legally apart from him. Coverture affected the lives of all American women. It has been diminished over time, but vestiges of it remain even today.