Arlee over at Albedo Design credited me with finding this link to Beinecke Rare book and Manuscript Library but I think she is muddled as I don’t remember it. Anyway it’s a great resource of rare manuscripts housed at Yale.
For visual source material or if you have an interest in history investigate My Gracious Silence for images of rare manuscripts on lace, or take a look at Vernis sericus, by Johannes Stradanus for a series of engranvings depicting Italian silk production in the 16th century. For those interested in collage and visual journal the Alphabet for women in Opera, by Lucian of Samosata as the scenes interwoven with the alphabet depict the seven virtues, scenes from the everyday and various mythological figures.
Poking about further on this website revealed a section Intimate Circles American Women and the Arts which examines the lives of American women who were writers, artists, publishers, performers mainly during the late-nineteenth through to the mid- twentieth centuries. Read a series of essays or examine the gallery
So thanks Arlee for highlighting it!