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The Library of Congress > Teachers > Classroom Materials > Collection Connections > Miller NAWSA Suffrage Scrapbooks

[Detail] Suffragettes procession after release from prison.


A biographical sketch is a brief account of a person’s life; not as detailed or lengthy as a biography, a biographical sketch may highlight a few aspects of a person’s life that are especially telling. Read the biographical sketch of the first American woman to receive a medical degree, Elizabeth Blackwell.

  • Who wrote this biographical sketch? Is identifying the author important in reading biographies or biographical sketches? Explain your answer.
  • What factors influenced this prominent American woman? What obstacles did she have to overcome?
  • What does this biographical sketch reveal about the inequities in American society in the latter part of the 19th century?

A reminiscence is narration of memories of past events, written by the person who experienced the events. Read the fragment from the “Reminiscences of Elizabeth Cady Stanton.”

  • How were the lives of Stanton and Blackwell similar? How were they different? How does reading both sources broaden your understanding of American society?

Which form do you prefer reading—the biographical sketch or the reminiscence? Why?

Search the collection and other sources for additional information about the life of Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Write a brief biographical sketch of this founder of the women’s suffrage movement, highlighting aspects of her life that you think will help readers understand her.