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Notable American Women: A Biographical Dictionary Completing the Twentieth Century is the fifth volume of Radcliffe College’s chronological series on, well, notable American women. Edited by Susan Ware, the 10-pound tome comprises brief but well-informed profiles of 483 women who died between Jan. 1, 1976, and Dec. 31, 1999. The bios of old-millennium heroines and luminaries such as photographer Berenice Abbott, actress Rita Hayworth, and labor organizer and radical Elaine Black Yoneda offer enough variety to recall a time when Americans used the term “melting pot” optimistically and unironically. One can’t help but get caught up in the prideful vibe: Read enough of these blurbs and the motley mixture of lives begins to reveal a pattern of admirable strength and single-mindedness; it almost matters less that the subjects are notable women than that they are notably American. Are the entries predictably affirmative? Sure. But they still build a worthwhile reference. Ware and contributor Kate Lehrer speak at 7 p.m. at Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 364-1919. (Anne Marson)