Friday, March 9, 2012

The History of Women's History

Adeline Whitney
The public celebration of women's history in this country began in 1978 as Women's History Week in Sonoma County, California. The week including March 8, International Women's Day, was selected. In 1981, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Representative Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) cosponsored a Joint Congressional Resolution proclaiming a national Women's History Week. In 1987, Congress expanded the celebration to a month, and March was declared Women's History Month.
Sybil Ludington
Before 1970, women's history was rarely the subject of serious study. Historian Mary Beth Norton recalls, "only one or two scholars would have identified themselves as women's historians, and no formal doctoral training in the subject was available anywhere in the country." Since then, the field has gone through great change. Today almost every college offers women's history courses and most graduate programs offer doctorial degrees in the field.
Phillis Wheatley
Two significant factors contributed to the emergence of women's history. The women's movement of the sixties caused women to question their invisibility in traditional American textbooks. The movement also raised the aspirations as well as the opportunities of women, and produced a growing number of women historians.
Now that you have read a little about the history of women's history here are just a few of the many women that made a difference in the world:
Maya Lin
In 1882 , Adeline Whitney invented the wooden Alphabet Blocks to help children learn to read.
Sybil Ludington was 16 years old when she joined the American Revolutionary War forces, riding 40 miles on horseback in the dark of night to obtain military reinforcements.
Phillis Wheatley was sold as a slave to a Boston family when she was six years old. She was taught to read and by the time she was 13 she had written her first poem. She was the first black woman to publish poetry in the United States. Her book, Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral, was published in 1773.

Chief Wilma Mankiller
Maya Lin is an architect who was born in 1960. When she was only 21, she won a national competition to design and build the now famous Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C.
Chief Wilma Mankiller, born in 1945, was a longtime activist for Native American rights. She served as Chief of the Cherokee Nation from 1985 - 1995, the first woman in modern history to lead a major Native American Tribe.

Nancy Kassebaum
Nancy Kassebaum, born in 1932, was elected to the Senate from Kansas in 1978. She was the only woman there. She served for 18 years.
There are so many accomplished women both past and preent who have enriched the lives of people all over the world. If you would like to know more about these and other notable women stop in the library and browse our biography collection.

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