Stay connected! Join our email list to learn about programs, events, and more happening at the Center for Women's History.

*Required field

Major support for Women and the American Story provided by



Robert and Mercedes Eichholz Foundation



Curriculum website and learning experience made possible through a grant from



This program is supported as part of the Dutch Culture USA program by the Consulate General of the Netherlands in New York.



Lead support for New-York Historical's teacher programs provided by




Unknown artist, Sir William Blackstone, ca. 1755. Oil on canvas. National Portrait Gallery, London,  Primary Collection, 388.

Resource 1: Coverture

This resource explores the text and context of the ancient legal principle of coverture, imported to the American colonies as a part of English common law, that severely restricted women’s political, financial, and personal rights. A woman, according to the law, was included in (or covered by) her husband’s or father’s legal identity; she did not exist legally apart from him. Coverture affected the lives of all American women. It has been diminished over time, but vestiges of it remain even today.

Creative: Tronvig Group