The website was initially developed in 1998 by the Women’s Project of New Jersey (WPNJ) as a follow-up to the book Past and Promise: Lives of New Jersey Women, published in 1991.
Wishing to go beyond the content limitations of the book, the WPNJ collaborated with the Margery Somers Foster Center, Special Collections/Archives, the Scholarly Communications Center at Rutgers University Libraries in New Brunswick, and the New Jersey Historical Society in Newark to create an online resource on New Jersey women’s history that could easily be revised to offer a wider range of historical materials and resources to the public. With funding from the New Jersey Historical Commission, the website expanded to include a timeline of notable facts, files of images, material objects and documents, links to other websites, a bibliography, a topical index, and lesson plans for elementary, middle and high school students. WPNJ transferred the management of the site to the Alice Paul Institute (API) in 2007.
In 2013, the New Jersey Historical Commission funded a collaborative project between the Alice Paul Institute and the historic preservation consultants Preservation Partners, authors of the New Jersey Women’s Heritage Trail, which featured over 150 women’s historic sites throughout New Jersey. The project included a new website design, upgraded content, and an expanded section featuring the New Jersey Women’s Heritage Trail.
In spring 2020, the Rowan University Libraries Digital Scholarship Center partnered with the Rowan University History Department to acquired the project for future development. This work will include integrating the project within History and Gender Studies courses, where students will research topics and develop content for the project. We also have plans to incorporate the project within a Cultural Geography course, where students will focus on documenting and mapping historical sites for tourism. We also plan to integrate education courses, where students will develop units and lesson plans that utilize the project’s content. These units and lessons will be shared through the website.