Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Teaching & Learning


Although elementary and secondary school textbooks from many subject areas have been studied with regard to issues of gender and ethnic equity, no substantive studies have been conducted which examine the diversity of authors included in American liter3 5ure anthologies commonly used in high schools at the eleventh grade level. This study examined 17 selected American literature anthologies published by nine companies between 1958 and 1993 in terms of their representation/ inclusion of selections by female authors and male minority authors during this 35-year period. Anthologies from the following publishing companies were included: Harcourt, Brace, & World; Scott, Foresman; L. W. Singer; Houghton Mifflin; Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich; McDougai, Littell; McGraw-Hill; Glencoe-Macmillan; and Holt, Rinehart & Winston.

The method used included examining the following factors: the number of selections by female and male authors from each ethnic group (European-American, African-American, Native-American, Asian-American, and Hispanic-American); the number of selections representing the genres of prose fiction, prose essay, poetry, autobiography, drama, letters, and biography; the number of pages devoted to selections by female authors and male minority authors; the subject matter of the selections included in the anthologies; the amount and content of the biographical information about each author; and whether a photograph or illustration of each author was included with the biographical information. Findings are presented in a set of tables and discussed in terms of the stated factors.

The data generally indicate that no large-scale, comprehensive changes have taken place in the American literature anthologies studied. Selections by European-American male authors dominated the anthologies. The numbers of female authors and male minority authors from the latter half of the 20th century have increased slightly over the 35-year period covered in this study. Only two female authors were included in each of the anthologies in this study, Emily Dickinson and Edna St. Vincent Millay. No one individual minority author, male or female, was included in every anthology in this study. Most of the selections in each anthology studied were in the genre of poetry. Recommendations for practice and research are included.