September 2006

News from the Archives provides readers with news concerning U.S. Women's History from archives and repositories with collections and projects of interest.  If you are affiliated with an archive or repository and would like to submit an announcement that you feel would be of interest to our readers, please contact Tanya Zanish-Belcher at tzanish@iastate.edu.

Resources dedicated to women's collections in archival repositories:

The following links provide links to women's collections, or the archivists for those collections, and are of great value for researchers. Locating the collection appropriate for a research project is often based on background research and connecting with the appropriate archivist or repository.

Archival Sites for Women's Studies (Association of Research Libraries—American Library Association)
http://home.gwu.edu/~mfpankin/archwss.htm

U.S. Women's Collections (University of Texas-San Antonio)
http://www.lib.utsa.edu/Archives/WomenGender/links.html

Women's Collections Roundtable (Society of American Archivists)
The Roundtable membership consists of archivists who work with women's collections who focus on the presevation and access to these materials.
http://www.archivists.org/saagroups/womenscoll/index.asp

Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University (Ithaca, NY)
Submitted by: Sarah Keen

The Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections at Cornell University Library is home to many collections relating to the field of home economics. In 2004 the Division added to its home economics collections by accepting the transfer of the historical records of the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (AAFCS). The AAFCS provided funds to process the extensive collection in order to leverage its rich history in anticipation of its centennial in 2008/2009. The processing project is currently underway and will be completed in October 2007 at which time the collection will be fully open to researchers and a guide to the collection will be available online.

The AAFCS was founded in 1909 as the American Home Economics Association. The Association had its origins in the Lake Placid Conferences that were held from 1899 to 1908 with the aim of becoming "a kind of clearinghouse for all the schools and teachers of home economics." They hoped their audience would include the "professional worker in the home and institutional household, and all, whether students, scientists, or practical persons, who are interested in the improvement of living conditions." The conferences were first convened by Ellen Richards and others interested in the emerging field of home economics. Ellen Richards is considered to be the founder of the American Home Economics Association and was a pioneer in home economics as a field of scientific study and social reform. The involvement of these early professional home economists in sanitation and public health, child development, scientific nutrition, functional home and environmental design, education, and household management set the stage for the endeavors of professional home economists in the following years.

The historical records of the AAFCS measure approximately 400 cubic feet and date from the late 1800s to the present. The collection provides a rich source of material on the history of home economics and its growth as a field of study and practice. The collection documents the activities of the Association in the areas of consumer issues, international programs, public policy, education, and many more issues as they affect the lives of individuals, families, and communities. Two key Association publications, the Journal of Home Economics and the Bulletin of the AHEA, and publications by several founding members are available online at http://referenc.lib.binghamton.edu:2526, the Home Economics Archive: Research, Tradition, History (HEARTH). HEARTH is an online collection of core works in the field of home economics and related disciplines.

Today the AAFCS is the only national organization representing family and consumer sciences professionals across practice areas and content specializations. Its memebers are active in a variety of program areas, such as financial literacy, nutrition and dietetics, communications, apparel and textiles, education and technology, parenting and child care, and family economics and resource management. Additional information about the AAFCS can be found on its web site at http://www.aafcs.org.

Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College (Northampton, Massachusetts)
Submitted by: Sherrill Redmon

The newly completed Voices of Feminism Oral History Project at the Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, documents the persistence and diversity of organizing for women in the U.S. Spanning the years from the 1940s to the present, the project documents labor, peace, and anti-racism activists, artists, writers, lesbian rights advocates, grassroots anti-violence and anti-poverty organizers, and women of color reproductive justice leaders. The videotaped interviews average 5-6 hours and cover childhood, personal life, and political work. Most of the 50+ interviews in this collection are open for research and are available in audio or videotape form or as edited transcripts. Approximately half of those interviewed have also committed to placing their papers at Smith. The project was made possible by funding from the Ford Foundation.

For a list of the narrators, see the SSC website at http://www.smith.edu/libraries/libs/ssc/ohist.html. At press time, the online list includes 25 of the interviews. The remaining names will be posted by year's end. For more information contact Sherrill Redmon at 413-585-2970 or sredmon@email.smith.edu.

 

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