A dictionary, even a biographical dictionary, is like a pane of clear window glass. One looks through it, but seldom notices it. Notable American Women,1 on the other hand, is more like a mosaic of stained glass—a Tiffany of biographies of American women who lived between the years 1607 and 1950. Each of the 1,350 well-researched biographies reflects the uniqueness of its subject, the only bond between the women being that for one reason or another the editors considered them notable.
The book was prepared under the auspices of Radcliffe College with a distinguished group of consultants, including Arthur M. Schlesinger and Rachel Carson. The obviously devoted staff worked 13 years to winnow the thousands of names of well-known women. Only one group was selected because of their husband's occupation: US Presidents' wives. The rest were selected for distinction in their own right that was of more than local