Established in 1994, the Women and Leadership Archives (WLA) collects, preserves, and makes available permanently valuable records of women and women’s organizations, which document women’s lives, roles, and contributions. The WLA grew out of the need to care for the records of Mundelein College and expanded to collect papers of women leaders and women’s organizations. Collection strengths include the subject areas of activism and women’s issues; authors; education; environmental issues; public service; social justice; women religious; and the fine, performance, and visual arts.
The WLA is part of the Gannon Center and Loyola University Libraries and serves a wide variety of users, ranging from students and scholars to the general public. The WLA makes records available at the Archives in Loyola’s Piper Hall, offers remote reference services, presents programs, and provides online resources. Staff include a Director, Assistant Archivist, and graduate assistants from Loyola’s Public History Program.
In 2018, the Women and Leadership Archives’ (WLA) political collections grew with a donation from Corinne Wood, Illinois’s first female Lieutenant Governor. The collection covers Wood’s time as Lieutenant Governor 1996-2003, her time as a state representative, as well as her political campaigns. Along with papers documenting her work and life, Wood gave the WLA a large collection of memorabilia including awards, plaques, and items gifted to her from people all over Illinois.
Sadly, Wood passed away earlier this year. The WLA is honored to care for these papers and looks forward to sharing the collection with researchers who want to learn about the career of a groundbreaking politician.
Read on to learn Corrinne Wood’s story and get a sneak peek at a few of the items in her collection.
Founder Ina Law Robertson opened the Eleanor Hotel in 1898 to provide safe, affordable housing for women coming to Chicago to work. What was later known as the Eleanor Foundation grew to include locations throughout Chicago that provided housing, social … Continue reading →
My alma mater did not have an archive, so working at the Women and Leadership Archives was the first experience I had with a university archive! These two years of work have gifted me many memories and I would like to share a list of my favorites with you here (in no particular order):
It is so hard to believe that my two years with the Women and Leadership Archives is coming to a close. My time here has shown me that there is never a dull day at the WLA, which has given me so many incredible memories and I am happy to share a few with you now.
How can it be two years already? My time at the WLA has been
a whirlwind of learning, creativity, and collaboration. I’m so delighted to
have met and worked with such wonderful people here, and grateful for these two
I cannot believe two years have come and gone. It feels like last week that I was learning the ins and outs of the Women and Leadership Archives. Of course, it did not turn out the way I expected. Though, there is not much I would change about my experience. Enjoy reading some of my highlights:
The Women and Leadership Archives is proud to be the home of the Judith Roth Papers. This collection includes items from 1945 until 2018, right before her passing. Roth started her life on the East Coast in Boston, Massachusetts. She earned a degree from Boston Museum School and her B.F.A from Tufts University in 1957. Eventually settling in Chicago, she continued her studies and taught at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Columbia College. Roth worked to promote the work of women artists, including herself. Having a varied career, Roth worked with Marshall Field & Company and the Ravenswood Community Council, saw her work displayed all the way in Switzerland, worked with dancers to capture their life, and so much more.
In March of 2020, the onset of COVID-19 swept through the United States bringing with it a sense of insecurity and fear, and to protect the WLA staff we transitioned to work from home. Before that happened, we heard rumors that a shutdown may occur but nothing more than three weeks. Well, here we are a year later and still nowhere near back to normal. However, WLA staff is coming back in a hybrid basis. Graduate workers are able to come back to work in-person once a week. So let me walk you through a day in the life of a graduate assistant in the age of COVID-19.
In honor of Black History Month, we are highlighting three resources at the Women and Leadership Archives – documents related to the Mundelein College United Black Association (shortened to “MuCuba”), the annual “Living in Color” issues of BROAD, a student publication by the Women’s Studies and Gender Studies program, and the papers of Carol Moseley Braun, the first African-American female senator.
Every archive has areas it collects in, known as a collecting focus or collection policy. At the Women and Leadership Archives, one area of collecting focus is women artists’ papers, with special interest in Chicago and Midwest-based artists (see our full collection policy here). One might wonder why such a policy exists – after all, aren’t archives supposed to take everything historical?