Information about North American Women's Drama

1. About the Database - a description of the contents of the database and its purpose.
2. Editorial Policy - detailed criteria used in selecting materials.
3. Errata - known errors in this database.
4. Notes on the Current Release and Future Releases.
5. Software Requirements - notes on which browsers are supported.
6. Technical Support - whom to contact for technical support.
7. Subscription and Free Trial Information - how to get a subscription or a trial.
8. License Agreement - licensing terms and conditions.
9. Acknowledgements - charter customers and individuals who contributed.
10. How to Contribute Materials or Comments - how to contribute materials.
11. Copyright and Performance Permission Statement - copyright terms and conditions.
12. Archiving - how this material is preserved for the future.
13. Cataloging Records - what kind of MARC records will be available for this collection.

1.   About North American Women's Drama

North American Women's Drama brings together more than 1,500 plays by more than 300 playwrights, along with detailed, fielded information on related productions, theaters, production companies, and more.  The collection begins with the works of Mercy Otis Warren and Susanna Haswell Rowson in colonial times and spans the 19th and 20th centuries to the present.  It includes playwrights such as Marsha Norman, Beth Henley, Susan Glaspell, Sophie Treadwell, Gertrude Stein, Maria Irene Fornes, Emily Mann, Zora Neale Hurston, Jane Martin, Lynn Nottage, Theresa Rebeck, Nora Ephron, Susan Sontag, Edna Ferber, Alice Childress, Rachel Crothers, Megan Terry, and many more.

Over 30% of the plays included here have never been published before. The database also includes selected playbills, photographs and other ephemera related to the plays.

Whether in awards, production, or publication, plays by women have rarely received the attention they deserve.  Of the 78 Pulitzer prizes for drama awarded since the inception of the prize in 1901, only eight have gone to women.  From 1958 to 1981 no Pulitzer prizes for drama were awarded to women.  

North American Women’s Drama aims to address this issue by publishing the full text of plays by more than 300 women from North America.  The collection will be of particular interest to students of feminism and for women’s studies.  The indexing makes it possible to find and analyze particular dialogue, characters and events, so answering the questions posed in the preface to Women in American Theatre by Helen Krich Chinoy and Linda Walsh Jenkins:

“Where do women fit in?  Where can they make a living, have a career, and create authentic theatre art from women’s lives?  Is there a feminine sensibility in theatre creation?  Is it the result of nature (some essential female quality) or of nurture (the socialization that makes us feminine or masculine)?  Do women directors approach their tasks in markedly different ways from the practices of male directors?  Do women view the sacrifices and spoils of conventional success as men do?  Can they or should they try to break the “Broadway barrier”?  Do women playwrights have something special to say as women, not just as individual artists?  Do they create in a distinctive way, use unique forms, speak a long-silenced “mother tongue”?
                                                                                                      – Helen Krich Chinoy and Linda Walsh Jenkins, Women in American Theatre

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2.   Editorial Policy

The initial list of playwrights was compiled using several bibliographies, including The Cambridge Companion to American Women Playwrights, edited by Brenda Murphy (Cambridge University Press, 1999).  The list of writers then was expanded through conversations with numerous scholars and with the playwrights themselves.

We have also worked closely with our editorial board which consists of:

  • Peggy Phelan, Ph.D., Stanford University. Author of Acting Out: Feminist Performances and Mourning Sex: Performing Public Memories
  • Janet Brown, Ph.D., Center of Contemporary Arts (St. Louis). Author of Feminist Drama: Definition and Critical Analysis and Taking Center Stage: Feminism in Contemporary U.S. Drama
  • Julia Miles, Artistic Director, Women's Project & Productions (NYC).  Editor and compiler of several anthologies of women's drama
  • Helene C. Williams, Widener Library, Harvard
  • Mary Strow, Main Library, Indiana University

The collection is comprehensive. Significant plays have been targeted for inclusion, such as Trifles (Susan Glaspell), Machinal (Sophie Treadwell), A Man's World (Rachel Crothers), Miss Lulu Bett (Zona Gale), Crimes of the Heart (Beth Henley), 'night, Mother (Marsha Norman), and Fefu and Her Friends (Maria Irene Fornes). In addition to well-known works, the collection includes items by emerging and less familiar playwrights, including Migdalia Cruz, Lynn Nottage, Naomi Wallace, and Alice Tuan. We have aimed to secure each author’s complete works, including the published and the unpublished plays.

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3.   Errata

It is our goal to have no errors in this database. Below are known errors in this release of the database which will be rectified in the next release.

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4.   Notes on the Current Release and Future Releases

This is the sixth release of North American Women's Drama. This release of the database includes approximately 1,517 plays by 330 playwrights. Included here are plays by Susan Glaspell, Sophie Treadwell, Zona Gale, Rachel Crothers, Zoe Akins, Edna Ferber, Anita Loos, Zora Neale Hurston, Hallie Flanagan, Gertrude Stein, Maryat Lee, Alice Childress, Cherrie Moraga, Marsha Norman, Emily Mann, Jane Martin, Beth Henley, Susan Sontag, Nora Ephron, Jane Chambers, Diane Glancy, Kathy Acker, Karen Malpede, Theresa Rebeck, Joan Schenkar, Paula Cizmar, Laura Shamas, Maria Irene Fornes, and many others.

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5.   Software Requirements

North American Women's Drama is optimized to operate with Microsoft Internet Explorer 7.0 or higher, and Firefox 3.0. (We are aware that the "select terms" feature of our Find and Search is not performing well in Firefox 3.5.2. Upgrading to the latest version of Firefox will resolve this issue.)

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6.   Technical Support

You can contact us by:

When reporting a problem please include your customer name, e-mail address, phone number, domain name or IP address and that of your web proxy server if used.

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7.   Subscription and Free Trial Information

North American Women's Drama is available for one-time purchase of perpetual access, or as an annual subscription. Please contact us at if you wish to begin a subscription or to request a free 30-day trial.

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7.   License Agreement

Terms of Use

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9.   Acknowledgements

North American Women's Drama  was made possible through the hard work of the following individuals:

Janet Brown, PhD Center of Contemporary Arts, St. Louis
Julia Miles Artistic Director, Women's Project and Productions
Peggy Phelan, PhD Stanford University
Mary Strow Main Library, Indiana University
Helene C. Williams Widener Library, Harvard
Jeremy Caleb Johnson Editor: Selection, rights negotiation, commissioning, indexing
Wendy Slagle Editor: Commissioning, indexing, rights negotiation
Will Whalen Selection, rights negotiation, commissioning
Pat Carlson Production Editor, Alexander Street Press
Graham Dimmock Software Development, Alexander Street Press
John Cicero Software Development, Alexander Street Press
Ning Zhu Software Development, Alexander Street Press
Michael Kangel Sourcing, Images, Alexander Street Press
Dave Althen Sourcing, Alexander Street Press
Cynthia Owens Proofing, Mark-up, Images, Alexander Street Press
Janice Cronin Finance, Alexander Street Press
Eileen Lawrence Research, Alexander Street Press
...and, most of all, the authors and their families Editorial advice, historical information, script identification, contact information, and everything else.

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10.   How to Contribute Materials or Comments

Our goal is to create a unique archive of Women's Drama according to the editorial criteria expressed above. We welcome contributions from organizations and individuals, especially if you have materials that are unpublished or of unique interest. Submitting materials to our editors is easy and without obligation on your part. If you have collections of substantial value, we may be able to pay you a royalty in return for the rights to use them.

  • To submit materials for inclusion in North American Women's Drama, please email the Editor at or mail them to Alexander Street Press, 3212 Duke Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
  • If you are a commercial publisher who would like to discuss licensing materials for inclusion in the database, please contact the Editor at or 1-800-889-5937 or 1-703-212-8522.
  • To report factual errors or to suggest improvements, please email us at Please include the author, the document, and the page number. Please also include your email address, so that we can let you know the status of your correction.

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11.   Copyright and Performance Rights

Professionals and amateurs are hereby warned that plays and materials in this database are fully protected under the copyright laws of the United States of America, and all other countries covered by the International Copyright Union (including the British Commonwealth and Canada), and of all countries covered by the Pan-American Copyright Convention, and the Universal Copyright Convention, and of all countries with which the United States has reciprocal copyright relations.  All rights, including but not limited to professional, amateur, motion pictures, recitation, lecturing, public reading, radio broadcasting, television, video or sound taping, all other forms of mechanical or electronic reproduction, including information storage and retrieval systems and photocopying, and the rights of translation into foreign languages, are strictly reserved.

Plays from this collection may not be performed without securing permission from the appropriate copyright holders, as listed in the bibliographic display for each play.  Particular emphasis is laid upon the question of readings, permission for which must be secured in writing.  All production rights reserved.  Under no circumstances may any electronic form (CD-ROM, online, or other local storage medium) be used to create production copies of the play. 

Specific performance rights information for each play can be found in the bibliographic detail display for that play.  Alexander Street Press makes no guarantee that this information is correct.  For plays where no performance rights information is listed Alexander Street Press does not warrant that no performance rights exist. 

We are eager to hear from any rights owners who are not properly identified so that appropriate information may be provided in the future. Please e-mail the editor at the address below.

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12.   Archiving

Texts produced for North American Women's Drama are considered research materials and receive the same level of stewardship as books, paper documents, and photographs. Once complete, copies of the database will be given to all purchasing institutions, so ensuring that the materials are available to subsequent generations.

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13.   Cataloging Records

MARC records are available for this collection.

Each play has its own MARC record to allow linking from the OPAC to the individual item.
This will enable patrons to link directly from a publish access catalog to all documents pertaining to that author.
To retrieve these records, please see our site at and select the records for North American Women's Drama.


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