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Reference List on Women in Nontraditional Roles in War and the Military
By C. Kay Larson, 2007

C. Kay Larson, an independent scholar and author, approached Remember the Women Institute regarding her work about women in the military, particularly the United States military. Her own work (see below) deals with women during the American Civil War and World War II. She prepared this bibliography for the Remember the Women Institute website.

The following list is intended to be an introduction to the subject of women in nontraditional roles in war and the military. An effort has been made to provide an international, ancient to modern historical sweep, with an emphasis on American history. The variety of roles that women have carried out has also been emphasized: from samurai women and Medieval Europeans guarding the home front; to inventors and scientists; to women of state; to women soldiers, scouts, spies, and battlefield medics; to aviators; and pirates. For context see Sarah M. Evans, Born for Liberty, a survey of women in American history (1989). For more sources, go to, CATNYP, the on-line catalogue of the New York Public Library.


Amdur, Ellis. "The Role of Arms-Bearing Women in Japanese History." Journal of Asian Martial Arts 5:2 (1996).This article is on line at:

Blanton, Deanne and Lauren M. Cook. They Fought Like Demons: Women Soldiers of the Civil War. New York: Random House, 2002.

De Pauw, Linda Grant. Battle Cries and Lullabies: Women in War from Prehistory to the Present. Norman, Okla.: University of Oklahoma Press, 1998.

__________________. Founding Mothers: Women of America in the Revolutionary Era. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1975.

__________________. In Search of Molly Pitcher. Pasadena, Md.: Minerva Press, 2007. A work of fiction – research as a detective story.

__________________. Seafaring Women. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1982.

Douglas, Deborah G. United States Women in Aviation, 1940-1985. Washington, D. C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1991.

Eads, Valerie. “The Very Model of a Medieval General: A Website Dedicated to the Career of Matilda of Tuscany.” See link to “Medieval Women and War” on the same site.

Fraser, Antonia. Warrior Queens. London: Phoenix, 2002.

Godson, Susan M. Serving Proudly: A History of Women in the U. S. Navy. Annapolis, Md.: Naval Institute Press, 2001.

Hall, Richard H. Women on the Civil War Battlefront. Lawrence, Ks.: University Press of Kansas, 2006.

Larson, C. Kay. Great Necessities: The Life, Times, and Writings of Anna Ella Carroll, 1815-1894. Phila.: Xlibris Corp., 2004. Pres. Abraham Lincoln’s political/legal adviser who was also a military secret agent.

____________. South Under a Prairie Sky: The Journal of Nell Churchill, US Army Nurse & Scout. Phila.: Xlibris Corp., 2006. A fact-based work of fiction with underbook that contains additional commentary and factual detail.

____________ . “Springing to the Call: A Documentary View of Women in the American Civil War.” – right sidebar. All documents are in the public domain. See particularly chapters from Martha Coston’s memoir, A Signal Success. Coston developed the Coston night signaling system for the U. S. Navy during the war that was used by the Navy and Coast Guard into the twentieth century.

____________. ’Til I Come Marching Home: A Brief History of American Women in World War II. Pasadena, Md.: Minerva Press, 1995. With a comparative short chapter on Allied women’s roles. Resale copies are still available at

____________, e-editor. Women’s War Work. Lady Randolph (Jennie Jerome) Churchill, ed. London: C. Arthur Pearson, Ltd., 1916. – right sidebar. Introduction with biography of Churchill, American mother of Winston Churchill, by CKL.

Leonard, Elizabeth D. All the Daring of a Soldier: Women of the Civil War Armies. New York: Norton, 1999.

Likutz, Liora. A Quest in the Middle East: Gertrude Bell and the Making of Modern Iraq. London: I. B. Taurus, 2006.

MacLean, Maggie. “Civil War Women: Biographies and stories about women of the Civil War era, how they lived, what they did to survive, how they fought for women's rights.”

Massey, Mary Elizabeth. Women in the Civil War. Lincoln, Neb.: University of Nebraska Press, Bison Books, 1994. Originally published as Bonnet Brigades. Massey’s work still is the best one volume treatment of women in the Civil War.

McIntosh, Elizabeth. Sisterhood of Spies: Women of the O[ffice of] S[trategic] S[services]. Annapolis, Md.: Naval Institute Press, 1998.

Myles, Bruce. Night Witches: The Untold Story of Soviet Women in Combat. Chicago: Academy Chicago Publishers, 1997. Based on interviews with Soviet women World War II combat pilots in bomber and fighter regiments.

Rossiter, Margaret. Women in the Resistance. New York: Praeger, 1986. This includes a chapter on American women in the French Resistance.

Sarnecky, Mary T. A History of the U. S. Army Nurse Corps. Phila.: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999.

Schneider, Dorothy and Carl J. Into the Breach: American Women Overseas in World War I. New York: Viking Penguin, Penguin Books, 1991.

Varon, Elizabeth. Southern Lady, Yankee Spy: The True Story of Elizabeth Van Lew, a Union Agent in the Heart of the Confederacy. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.

Weatherford, Doris J. American Women and World War II. New York: Facts on File, 1990.

Wheelwright, Julie. Amazons and Military Maids: Women Who Dressed As Men in Pursuit of Life, Liberty, and Happiness. London: Pandora Press, 1989.

Williams, Kathleen Broome. Improbable Warriors: Women Scientists and the U. S. Navy in World War II. Annapolis, Md.: Naval Institute Press, 2004.

_______________________. Grace Hopper: Admiral of the Cyber Sea. Annapolis, Md.: Naval Institute Press, 2004. An awardee of the National Medal of Technology, RADM Hopper, USN, was instrumental in advancing the “computer revolution.”

Women in the Military: A Jewish Perspective. Washington, D. C.: The National Museum of American Jewish Military History, n. d.


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