My Capstone Project: Giving Voice to Archival Silences – The Invisible Women of the Encyclopédie

The ARTFL Project, a collaboration between the French government and the University of Chicago, is a rich archive of digitized French literature with English translations. The Encyclopédie is the “crown jewel” of its “Legacies of The Enlightenment.” Labor laws and Guild restrictions of that time forbade women employment. Yet illustrations confirm women were working with men in these forbidden roles. Undocumented, women are not “searchable,” in effect rendering them silent.

I created a finding aid (publication pending) with descriptive introduction and metadata, indexing the working women, giving future scholars a more complete understanding of women’s historical significance within the workforce.

The guide will be published soon on The ARTFL Project (

Here is a link to the spreadsheet, which catalogs each specific place women are found in various places throughout eleven volumes of illustrative plates.

Finding Invisible Women: The Enigmas of Diderot’s Encyclopédie (click on the link below, or copy and paste the full link into your browser)

Women at Work – Encyclopédie

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