New Exhibit on Intersectional Feminism Now on Display

A new exhibit in the Maryland Room celebrates Black and Women’s History Months. Two cases showcase works by and about black women, including essays, poetry, and black student newspapers. They feature civil rights icons like Angela Davis, Pauli Murray, Maya Angelou, and Shirley Chisholm. 

Another case explores intersectional feminism as a whole. It includes documents by and about lesbian and trans women, disabled women, Native American and Chicana women, working class women, older women, and women from developing countries. 

What is intersectional feminism? Put simply, intersectional feminism emphasizes the fact that all women have different experiences and identities. People are often disadvantaged by more than one source of oppression: their race, class, sexual orientation, religion, or nationality may affect their experience as a woman. Intersectionality explores how multiple identities interact with each other, especially within the frameworks of oppression and marginalization. 

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An Unknown Pioneer Takes Her Place in the Broadcast Archives

Mary Kelly, Today Show 1952Mary Ellen Agnes Kelly (1926-2005?) was an American television researcher, talent coordinator, and associate producer with the pioneering early morning television program Today on NBC. She was also a special assignments reporter, traveling far and wide to film feature segments. Kelly crisscrossed the United States many times and covered stories from Europe, Africa, Asia and South America. Newspaper articles from the period compared her to Nellie Bly, the intrepid 19th-century reporter known for her record-breaking trip around the world in 72 days. Kelly traveled around the world – on the first commercial flight over the North Pole in 1957 – in 71 hours and six minutes. Unfortunately, her remarkable career is little known today.

A remarkable collection of photographs and clippings from her career are now part of Special Collections in Mass Media and Culture. The journey of these materials to our collections is typical in how it was nearly discarded but later adopted by an appreciative collector. In the 1960s, Kelly sublet her New York City apartment to a man who subsequently discovered several boxes she left behind. He contacted her to offer to return the boxes, but she declined. However, he thought that the contents were fascinating and kept the boxes for over 50 years. When he passed away, his widow – realizing that Kelly must have been important as one of the few women working in early television – donated the material to the UMD libraries.

Early Career

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Fembot Edit-A-thon

To celebrate Women’s History Month, Fembot, the University of Maryland Department of Women’s Studies, the University of Maryland Libraries, the LGBT Equity Center, and the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities, are hosting a two-day Wikipedia Edit-a-thon  to write women of color, trans, and/or non-conforming people and related organizations and ideas into Wikipedia.

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Please join Fembot and our partners for the 2018 Fembot Edit-a-thon! The Edit-A-thon will take place Friday and Saturday, March 9-10, from 10:30-4:00pm in McKeldin Library Rooms 6107 and 6103.  This Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon will contribute to the world of free and accessible knowledge, while at the same time working toward an anti-racist, gender inclusive history of everything within Wikipedia’s vast database.

More details about the event:

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Two Exhibitions on Women’s Suffrage in the Maryland Room

In celebration of Women’s History Month, two new exhibitions are available for viewing in the Maryland Room in Hornbake Library related to the history of women’s suffrage in the local area.

The Washington Home of the Philippine Suffrage Movement exhibit is presented in collaboration with Philippines on the Potomac (POPDC) and with the Rita M. Cacas Filipino Community Archives at the UMD Libraries.  The exhibit tells the stories of several extraordinary Philippine women who would go on to change Philippine history and rewrite the nation’s suffrage law. The exhibit features extensive research in local, national, and international libraries and research institutions.  In addition, original materials are on display relating to the Filipina suffragist, writer, teacher, and feminist Sofia de Veyra who lived in the United States between 1917 and 1925.

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Titchie Carandang-Tiongson and Ewrin Tiongson, the creators of the exhibit, also recently presented their research process and methodology to English Professor Jess Enoch’s undergraduate class ENGL379Z/WMST 498V Special Topics in Literature; Women and Memory in Material and Digital Worlds.  The students in the class viewed the exhibit, asked great questions after the presentation, and were able to see how this research process related to their own work at recovering women’s suffrage history in the class.

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Materials related to Filipino American history and culture in the UMD Libraies can be found in the Rita M. Cacas Community Archives is available for research consultation in the Maryland Room of Hornbake Library.  Numerous images in this community archives collection are also available for viewing in the UMD Libraries Digital Collections.  For those interested in pursuing additional research there is also a research guide on Philippine and Filipino American History and Culture available.

A second mini-exhibit on Women’s Suffrage in Maryland is also on display in the Maryland Room. This exhibit showcases materials from Special Collections related to the woman’s suffrage movement and the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) during the twentieth century.  Items of interest include a letter signed by Edith Houghton Hooker, noted suffrage leader and editor of the Maryland Suffrage News; a letter from a member of the Maryland Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage; and a sash worn for a 1978 march in support of the ERA.  The materials featured come from a variety of special collections including the League of Women Voters of Maryland archives, the National Organization for Women Maryland Chapter archives, and the Marylandia collection.

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The Washington Home of the Philippine Suffrage Movement will be on display through April 29th, 2017.  (Exception: the exhibit will be traveling between April 7th and April 16th and unavailable for viewing at that time.)

The Women’s Suffrage in Maryland exhibit will be on display through the end of March.

Be sure to check the Maryland Room hours before planning your visit!

Questions? Contact Liz Novara, Curator, Historical Manuscripts, enovara@umd.edu

Women in the Book Trade

While we might think that women were not allowed to participate in skilled crafts in early America, the book trades appear to have been an exception.  In colonial and revolutionary Maryland, both Anna Catherine Green of Annapolis and Mary Katherine Goddard of Baltimore were printers who oversaw the complicated processes associated with the production and distribution of printed information in the form of books, newspapers, political broadsides, pamphlets, almanacs, and various types of printed ephemera such as forms, tickets, and advertisements.  After 1800, fewer women operated as independent printers, which was an indication of changing social norms for the role of women and a changing economy that concentrated power in the hands of a few publishers.  However, women continued to participate in some aspects of the book trades, specifically type founding and book binding.  The casting, sorting and packaging of tiny pieces of lead type for printing required patience, a steady hand, and attention to detail.  Similarly, sewing the gatherings of leaves that formed books, required great manual dexterity.  Many woman had the basic eye-hand coordination required in these trades, because sewing, embroidering and other needle skills were expected activities for young females.

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Women in the Archive

One of the best things about working in an archive is the sense of discovery. Right now, I have five boxes on my desk getting ready to be digitized, to make their debut if you will. They all look rather unassuming but shouldn’t be underestimated.

As a graduate student in literature, I spend most of my time thinking about the voices that historically have been rendered silent, barely intelligible. Currently the voice belongs to Katherine Philips, a female poet whose collected works were first printed in an unauthorized edition in 1664. I’m especially interested in reading the undercurrent of homoerotic desires in her poems, which means I’m reading for what is not said. Often, I have to search for what is illicit, unspeakable, and private–essentially what is left out. The secret joy of this work is discovering the voices of women whose rhetoric implied desires that could not be acknowledged or accounted for during their lifetimes. There is something particularly satisfying in creating an account of the unsaid, after all.

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Women’s History Month: Defining “Normal”, Pt. III

Just in case you can’t visit the display in Hornbake Library, Defining “Normal,” here are some of the items we’re featuring to celebrate Women’s History Month!

Two feminists, two strategies

Both Dorothy Sucher and Djuna Barnes were women’s rights advocates, but they led very different lives.

Click to enlarge. From the Dorothy Sucher Collection, Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries.

Click to enlarge. From the Dorothy Sucher Collection, Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries. http://hdl.handle.net/1903.1/1404

Dorothy Sucher

How do we define Dorothy Sucher?

  • Mother
  • Mystery writer and founder of the Mid-Atlantic region of Sisters in Crime
  •  Psychotherapist, with a Masters of Mental Health from Johns Hopkins University
  •  Creative writing teacher at Georgetown University, Duke University, and the Writer’s Center in Bethesda, Maryland
  •  Editor, reporter, and columnist for Greenbelt News Review
  •  Watercolor artist
  •  Women’s rights activist and Maryland’s Consciousness Raising Coordinator for the National Organization for Women
  •  Normal?

 

Djuna Barnes being forcibly fed. New York World Magazine, September 6, 1914. Djuna Barnes Papers, Special Collections, University of Maryland. http://hdl.handle.net/1903.1/1512

Djuna Barnes being forcibly fed. New York World Magazine, September 6, 1914. Djuna Barnes Papers, Special Collections, University of Maryland. http://hdl.handle.net/1903.1/1512

Djuna Barnes

Djuna Barnes was a women’s rights activist, newspaper reporter, author and artist. Brooklyn Museum curator Catherine Morris describes Barnes’s reporting style as “stunt journalism” (see the NPR All Things Considered story Embracing the Quirkiness of Djuna Barnes).

For one of her articles, Djuna Barnes researched the force-feeding of British suffragettes by subjecting herself to the same treatment.

HOW IT FEELS TO BE FORCIBLY FED

Djuna Barnes, New York World Magazine September 6, 1914

“I shall be strictly professional, I assured myself. If it be an ordeal, it is familiar to my sex at this time; other women have suffered it in acute reality. Surely I have as much nerve as my English sisters? Then I held myself steady. I thought so, and I caught sight of my face in the glass. It was quite white; and I was swallowing convulsively.

And then I knew my soul stood terrified before a little yard of red rubber tubing.”

Read the original at Digital Collections at University of Maryland Libraries (requires Flash).

 

 

 

Women’s History Month: Defining “Normal” Pt.II

Just in case you can’t visit the display in Hornbake Library, Defining “Normal,” here are some of the items we’re featuring to celebrate Women’s History Month!

“Single Blessedness”

Does marriage define a normal woman? Clara Barton never married, but she accomplished great things that have inspired both men and women alike. At the same time, women who look forward to marriage and raising families may face scorn and discrimination, both from the workplace, society, and other feminists.

Clara Barton, 2nd from the left, at Clara Barton House in Cabin John, Maryland. From the Clara Barton Papers, Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries.

Clara Barton, 2nd from the left, at Clara Barton House in Cabin John, Maryland. From the Clara Barton Papers, Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries.

Clara Barton

Do you think Clara Barton, the American Red Cross founder known as the “Angel of the Battlefield,” is “trapped by so-called single blessedness?” (Single Girl, Dr. Brown).

  • Barton established the first free public school in Bordentown, New Jersey
  • She served as a clerk in the U.S. Patent Office, one of the first regularly appointed female civil servants
  • Until Clara Barton, women were not allowed in hospitals or on battlefields; she provided aid and supplies on 16 battlefields

Associated Women Students

The self-governing body of women students called the Associated Women Students formed between 1953 and 1954. The purpose of the association was to

 “establish and enforce standards of conduct for women students; sponsor cultural and social activities; coordinate women’s activities on campus; and promote the development of leadership, good scholarship, and self-responsibility among the co-eds.”

A 1961 Bridal Fair sponsored by the Associated Women Students, documented in the scrapbooks, includes a list of fashions for the bride marrying a professional man (click for PDF of the Bridal Fashion Show). For example,

SO YOU’RE GOING TO MARRY AN ENGINEER! (…..wear yella for that fella!)

Would this be “normal” for a woman now? What judgments and stereotypes might the Associated Women Students have to face today?

The 1961 Scrapbook of the Associated Women Students, featuring pages about their Bridal Fair on April 18th.

The 1961 Scrapbook of the Associated Women Students, featuring pages about their Bridal Fair on April 18th. http://hdl.handle.net/1903.1/1679

Women’s History Month: New display!

SingleGirl_Cover

Cover: Brown, Walter C. The single girl; a medical doctor’s intimate report on the problems of the unmarried female in our contemporary society.  Derby: Monarch Books. 1961. HQ800.2 .B76 1961 

As women’s history month comes to a close, we’ve changed our display case to feature more of the amazing women whose legacies fill our collections. The display will be extended through April 7 because of the University of Maryland’s Spring Break last week. Come back after that for a display in honor of Maryland Day, held on April 27, 2013.

Defining “Normal”

March 24 – April 07, 2013

Dr. Brown, author of The Single Girl, claims that the abnormal woman must “re-channel her existence via adjustment, sublimation, or a return to the normal, in order to find real happiness.”

How do women define normal? Clearly, not all of us have identical goals, lifestyles, and beliefs. This month, we celebrate the complex diversity of women and each individual’s right to find her personal definition of “real happiness.”

From the back cover of The Single Girl by Dr. Walter C. Brown:

 Who is the single girl? How does she live? How did she get that way?

Here is a book which examines her problems—lesbianism, bisexualism, alcoholism, frigidity, nymphomania, narcissism, sadomasochism, or asexualism—and seeks to gain some measure of understanding of the various  types of girls who get trapped by so-called single blessedness.

Through illuminating case histories culled from his private files, Dr. Brown probes into the lives of unmarried women and explains why—having chosen or been forced into an abnormal live—the single girl must re-channel her existence via adjustment, sublimation or a return to the normal, in order to find real happiness.