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Women of Devotion

The new Special Collections reference room exhibit, “Women of Devotion,” features early editions of works by European women writers. Between 1500 and 1800 religious study was an important part of literate women’s education and piety was a well-respected feminine attribute. Thus, many of the published works written by European women at this time were religious. Whether they were nuns or laywomen, Catholic or Protestant, poets or prose writers, women displayed their devotion as well as their literary skill through religious writings. Devotional literature became an acceptable platform for women’s voices to be heard and respected. They showed that beyond being godly, women could also be great leaders, teachers, and thinkers.

This exhibit displays the work of 16th, 17th, and 18th century women writers from England, Italy, Portugal, and Spain (including Mexico). These women had a variety of backgrounds, lifestyles, and beliefs. But each work shows the creativity and intelligence of its author as she wrote about religious subjects. This exhibit was curated by the Special Collections summer interns, Hannah Chapman and David Moraza Sanchez. It will be open until the end of August.

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