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Art History 245S: Women in Visual Arts

Suggested Reading

Students may want to learn more about the Lisa Unger Baskin Collection and the exhibits that have emerged from it

  • The Lisa Unger Baskin Collection at Duke. Assembled over forty-five years by noted bibliophile, activist, and collector Lisa Unger Baskin, the collection is a transformative body of material documenting women at work. It includes many well-known monuments of women’s history and arts, as well as lesser-known works produced by female scholars, printers, publishers, laborers, scientists, authors, artists, and political activists. Taken together, they comprise a mosaic of the ways that women have been productive, creative, and socially engaged over more than five hundred years.

  • Online exhibitions:

    • Heralding the Way to a New WorldExploring Women in Science and Medicine Through the Lisa Unger Baskin Collection, January-May, 2016. From the first entomologist to capture the stages of metamorphosis of the butterfly (1705) to the first woman to receive a medical degree in the United States (1849), the women in this exhibit were pioneers in science and medicine.

    • Five Hundred Years of Women's Work: The Lisa Unger Baskin Collection, February-June, 2019 (at Duke) and December, 2019-February, 2020 (at the Grolier Club, New York City). This exhibition provides a glimpse of the diversity and depth of the collection, revealing  that Western women have long pursued a startling range of careers and vocations and that through their work they have supported themselves, their families, and the causes they believed in.

  • Further reading: essays from the exhibition catalog for Five Hundred Years of Women's Work.

Image: Truth, Sojourner, I Sell the Shadow to Support the Substance [cabinet card], 1864, Lisa Unger Baskin Collection

Additional Resources