In 1974, The Feminist Press conducted a survey of U.S. high school history texts to find out how women were portrayed. The authors' findings corroborated those of similar studies of high school and college texts: history was the history of men-primarily white and middle class-as reported and interpreted by men; women were invisible, or, if visible, were the objects of stereotyping or the occasion for comic relief.
In 1978 ten members of the Feminist Press staff formed a research group to update that study. We wanted to know if publishers had been affected by the women's movement and, in particular, by the new feminist scholarship in women's history. Were women being included in high school texts which had been published since the original survey was completed? If changes had been made, were they substantial, a serious effort to integrate women into history, or merely cosmetic, a few women grafted onto the history of male activities and achievements? Would we find women speaking in their own voices, and would their lives and actions be interpreted from women's perspective?