Equal Time at the WLA

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In 1995, I became hooked on Equal Time, a political talk show on CNBC. The premise revolved around a then novel approach to feature two female co-hosts, one Republican and one Democrat.  When the show began, Mary Matalin served as the conservative voice and Jane Wallace was her liberal counterpart. The show featured phone call ins with viewers, guests (interviewed in a relatively “soft-ball” fashion), and talk between the hosts. I almost achieved personal TV fame as a call-in when I had a pre-interview with the producer. Alas, the call-in didn’t occur as the Producer later told me “something came up.”

Equal Time is the only political talk show I’ve ever watched faithfully, although I stopped watching after several years due to host changes. Most talk shows just annoy me as they tend to be, as my husband calls them, “yelling heads” as opposed to talking heads. The things I loved about Equal Time were two women hosts with often different views, who conducted the show with respect (always) and humor (usually). A life-long Democrat, I listened to and learned from the show, particularly regarding Republican views.

At the WLA, our archival collections inherently qualify for equal time because all, except one, are from or about women. What we do not have is a representation of all sides of the political spectrum. The WLA has at least 7 collections of women who either served in political office and/or were politically active: all self-identify as Democrats.

When I first came to the WLA I wondered the reason for only Democratic women. Other staff and I surmised that maybe it is because Loyola is known as a liberal Catholic university so mainly Democratic women think to donate here. Or perhaps it’s just coincidence that the majority of politically active women who donated to the WLA just happen to be Democrats.

No matter the reasons, there isn’t much equal time going on at the WLA in the area of political affiliation. WLA records should reflect many voices, ideas, thoughts, and actions. The more diverse the collections, the more rich an archive.

I would like to change the status quo at the WLA regarding stated party affiliations. Do not get me wrong, Democratic activist women and/or politicians are totally welcome at the WLA. I’d also like to welcome women Republicans, Tea Party, Libertarians, Independents, and whoever else I may be forgetting to consider donating their records. The more diverse the WLA becomes regarding political collections, the more equal time for differing viewpoints.


IMG_0021-149x110Nancy Freeman became Director of the WLA in spring, 2013. Prior to that, Nancy was an archivist and records manager at a wildlife research facility for the USDA in Colorado. Nancy has worked in the archival field since 1999. When not at the WLA, Nancy enjoys spending time with her family and knitting.


Loyola University Chicago’s Women and Leadership Archives Blog is designed to provide a positive environment for the Loyola community to discuss important issues and ideas. Differences of opinion are encouraged. We invite comments in response to posts and ask that you write in a civil and respectful manner. All comments will be screened for tone and content and must include the first and last name of the author and a valid email address. The appearance of comments on the blog does not imply the University’s endorsement or acceptance of views expressed.


Women and the Written Word: Poetesses in the Archives

For those who do not know, April is National Poetry Month. In celebration of the occasion, I delved into the Women & Leadership Archives’ collections to find records and personal papers concerning women’s contributions to the arts, particularly the written word. As close followers of the Women and Leadership Archives know, our collections feature the creative pursuits of remarkable female performers, artists, sculptors, and patrons, both past and present. In fact, check out the WLA’s digital collection Visions: A Highlight of Chicago Women Artists for a more detailed sampling of the materials we hold regarding these talented female artists.

Along with preserving the records and papers of women in performance and the fine arts, the Women & Leadership Archives also holds the records of famous poetesses as well as numerous poems featured in feminist newspapers. The first, Ruth Lisa Schecter, published several books of poetry including Near The Wall of Lion Shadows, Moveable Parts, Suddenly Thunder, and eight others. Her writings were also published in more than one hundred and fifty journals. In addition to actively writing throughout her adult life, Schecter was also passionately involved in spreading the influence of poetry through Arts Councils and colleges. Schecter served as the poet-in-residence at Mundelein College* beginning in 1969.

The second poet, Renny Golden, combined her love for writing with a passion for social activism. Her best known book of poetry The Hour of the Furnaces articulates the suffering of many citizens of Central American countries in the tumultuous years of the 1980s, when several countries fought civil wars against militaristic regimes. This work earned a nomination for the National Book Award in 2000.

Additionally, the WLA preserves numerous anonymous submissions of poetry from The Feminist Voice, one of Chicago’s first feminist newspapers that began during the 1970s. See below for some examples of these anonymous pieces as well as a sampling of some of the amazing offerings created by our other profound poetesses.

 

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Drawing from the Connie Kiosse Papers, artist unknown. Undated.

This image from the Connie Kiosse Papers was submitted by an anonymous artist and poet. The marriage of words and illustration provide a provocative image of the contributor’s views on romantic love.

ConnieKiosse2

Drawing and poem from the Connie Kiosse Papers, artist unknown. Undated.

Another anonymous submission from the Connie Kiosse papers, this poem with accompanying illustration depicts the author’s personal struggle with a failing relationship and her tumultuous emotions associated with it. The poem makes powerful reference to the role of self-esteem as it intersects with modern womanhood.

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Early draft of Schecter’s poem “Suddenly Thunder,” 1972.  Ruth Lisa Schecter Papers.

These two images depict an early draft of Ruth Lisa Schecter’s titular poem for her book, Suddenly Thunder and another one of her poems “Many Rooms in a Winter Night.” Examining drafts of Schecter’s work allows researchers to view the artist’s creative process as she composes a work from beginning to end.

Schecter2

Revision of one of Schecter’s later poems “Many Rooms in a Winter Night,” 1989.  Ruth Lisa Schecter Papers.

*Mundelein College, founded and operated by the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (BVM), provided education to women from 1930 until 1991, when it affiliated with Loyola University Chicago. The Women and Leadership Archives (WLA) at Loyola holds the records of Mundelein College.

 


 

EllenProfilePic
Ellen is a Graduate Assistant at the WLA and is in the first year of her M.A in Public History at Loyola University Chicago. Before moving to Chicago, Ellen was a Kindergarten teacher in Louisiana. She enjoys brunch, procedural dramas, and pugs.

 


Loyola University Chicago’s Women and Leadership Archives Blog is designed to provide a positive environment for the Loyola community to discuss important issues and ideas. Differences of opinion are encouraged. We invite comments in response to posts and ask that you write in a civil and respectful manner. All comments will be screened for tone and content and must include the first and last name of the author and a valid email address. The appearance of comments on the blog does not imply the University’s endorsement or acceptance of views expressed.


Reflections on the National Council on Public History’s Annual Meeting

This past weekend I attended the National Council on Public History’s annual meeting in Baltimore, Maryland. The conference revolved around the theme of “Challenging the Exclusive Past”. This theme starts to scratch the surface on the multitude of complexities in doing public history work. Attending the NCPH conference allowed me to draw broad comparisons among a variety of public history institutions throughout the country. Following in line with the conference theme, the main sessions highlighted the need to fill in the gaps in the historic record and tell the stories that have been ignored in the past.

Working at the Women and Leadership Archives (WLA), I understand the need to expand the historical narrative to be more inclusive. The WLA first and foremost preserves documents related to women, a group often ignored in the historical record. While the main function of many archives is not necessarily to display or exhibit the collections, the WLA does host events, put on presentations, write weekly blog posts, and create tabletop displays and digital exhibits. These are ways of highlighting not only the WLA’s collections, but women’s history in general. The collections contained within the archives are also open for researchers and the public and they too may utilize the documents to fill in gaps and contribute to the study of women in history.

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The program for the 2016 NCPH Annual Meeting

After attending the NCPH conference it became very clear to me how difficult it can be for some public history institutions to include materials, stories, and exhibits from marginalized groups. Many public history professionals spoke not just of the people, stories, and histories that have been left out of the historical record, but of the institutions in place to prevent them from telling those histories. The stories ranged from people working in small local museums to the National Park Service and other federal organizations. There were many current and former federal employees and their comments were not always very positive about their past and present work. They brought up limitations they have at current historical sites because of controversial topics and they also mentioned that they struggle with people in positions of power to recognize and promote new sites that would fill in the gaps in the historical record.

While hearing about these challenges and struggles can be disheartening, I choose to take a more positive stance on the matter by applauding all those working to change current attitudes. Many of these people have been working for years to have their work recognized and have yet to succeed, but what they are doing is making a difference. My time spent at NCPH was very valuable to me in terms of understanding how I might proceed in the future with public history work. I am also thankful for institutions like the WLA that are dedicated to preserving the history of marginalized groups. These institutions are necessary because they open their doors to people who will be part of researching and writing the histories that have yet to be told.


 

Megan Bordewyk
Megan is a Graduate Assistant at the WLA and is in the first year of her M.A in Public History at Loyola University Chicago. She is an avid movie-goer and enjoys arts and crafts, live sporting events, and small Midwestern towns.

 

 


Loyola University Chicago’s Women and Leadership Archives Blog is designed to provide a positive environment for the Loyola community to discuss important issues and ideas. Differences of opinion are encouraged. We invite comments in response to posts and ask that you write in a civil and respectful manner. All comments will be screened for tone and content and must include the first and last name of the author and a valid email address. The appearance of comments on the blog does not imply the University’s endorsement or acceptance of views expressed.


Colors of the Season: Lent and Spring with the Art of Virginia Broderick

We are FINALLY beginning to see some sunny skies and warmer temperatures in Chicago and I’m sure everyone is ready to see green grass and blooming flowers again soon. Along with the spring also comes the season of Lent. Lent is a forty day period of time during which Christians devote themselves to prayer, fasting, and works of compassion as a way of preparing themselves to celebrate Christ’s death and resurrection at Easter. This year, Lent began February 10 and ends with Easter Sunday on March 27.

What better way is there to celebrate the coming of beautiful spring and Easter than with the artwork of Virginia Gaertner Broderick? A Catholic convert, Virginia developed her own artistic style she called “cloisonism” and used traditional Christian symbolism to create vibrant and unique art. Her pieces were published in many forms of church publications and even converted into stained glass, mosaics, and other forms that can be found all over the world. Read more about her fascinating life and career in the finding aid for her collection.

In her collection, I found a variety of publications used in the Lenten season. I hope you enjoy the colorful art that Virginia created to honor the solemnity of lent and the beauty of Easter

This image is from the cover of a missalette, a booklet holding the prayers and songs used in that week’s mass. Although Virginia used traditional Christian imagery, we can definitely see the influence of the 1960s in this design.

This image is from the cover of a missalette, a booklet holding the prayers and songs used in that week’s mass. Although Virginia used traditional Christian imagery, we can definitely see the influence of the 1960s in this design.

This depiction of the last supper is very different than the classic works we are familiar with! This work was featured in a 1971 calendar and shows Virginia’s signature style of using both lined and unlined forms.

This depiction of the last supper is very different than the classic works we are familiar with! This work was featured in a 1971 calendar and shows Virginia’s signature style of using both lined and unlined forms.

In Virginia's collection, I also found this booklet featuring many of her illustrations. The booklet was used during Lenten services and for personal devotions.

In Virginia’s collection, I also found this booklet featuring many of her illustrations. The booklet was used during Lenten services and for personal devotions.

Broderick Lent booklet 1982002

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Look at those colors! Many Christians use offering folders like this one during Lent to make a small daily offering as a reminder of Christ’s sacrifice and their faith.

Look at those colors! Many Christians use offering folders like this one during Lent to make a small daily offering as a reminder of Christ’s sacrifice and their faith.

Broderick Lenten offering folder 003

Here is another bright missalette cover for Easter Sunday.

Here is another bright missalette cover for Easter Sunday.

 


 

Caroline blog photo
Caroline Lynd Giannakopoulos is a Graduate Assistant at the WLA and is working on her Master’s in Public History at Loyola University Chicago. She spends her spare time exploring Chicago, interpreting dreams, and watching cheesy movies with her husband.

 


Loyola University Chicago’s Women and Leadership Archives Blog is designed to provide a positive environment for the Loyola community to discuss important issues and ideas. Differences of opinion are encouraged. We invite comments in response to posts and ask that you write in a civil and respectful manner. All comments will be screened for tone and content and must include the first and last name of the author and a valid email address. The appearance of comments on the blog does not imply the University’s endorsement or acceptance of views expressed.


Scrapbooking: My Personal Archives

Graduate assistant Caroline Giannakopoulos archives the events of her life in scrapbooks.

Graduate assistant Caroline Giannakopoulos archives the events of her life in scrapbooks.

The job of an archives is to collect and protect materials of value that others might throw out. However, every document and object that an archivist comes across cannot be kept. Archivists must constantly make difficult decisions about what is most important and what is permanently valuable in a process called appraisal. Some things must be discarded in order to leave room in the archive for the future. At the WLA, we focus on the lives and contributions of women.
Though it seems an impossible task to decide what from our present will be viewed as important in the future, we have all asked ourselves similar questions on a more personal level. Will this be useful to be later? What can I keep to remember this great experience? What do I do with all of these mementos?
Many of us make these decisions and create our own personal archives. For me, my personal archives takes the form of a scrapbook.

Scrapbooking has in recent years become a popular hobby enjoyed by many who turn photos and bits of paper into incredible art that preserves significant life moments on a page. Many forms of social media can even be seen as a digital form of scrapbooking.

Though it has become more elaborate through time, scrapbooking has been a common practice since the 19th century. In those days, large cities had dozens of daily newspapers filled with the new technology of photography, and leaving people both captivated and overwhelmed by the information that they encountered on a daily basis. To deal with the piles of newspaper that began to fill their homes, people began cutting out the stories and photos that most interested them and pasting them into books. These individuals preserved the evidence of events that shaped their lives and the information that they found useful.

Patricia Caron Crowley's collection includes over 100 scrapbooks which document her life from childhood and her professional activities.

Patricia Caron Crowley’s collection includes over 100 scrapbooks which document her life from childhood and her professional activities.

The Visiting Nurse Association of Evanston kept this scrapbook from 1941-1973 to document local health news and the organization's activities.

The Visiting Nurse Association of Evanston kept this scrapbook from 1941-1973 to document local health news and the organization’s activities.

Several collections at the WLA include scrapbooks. Examples are the Mundelein College collection, the Visiting Nurses Association collection, and the collection of Patricia Caron Crowley. These not only inform us about how individuals made and used scrapbooks at the time, but they also tell us what the person saw as significant in their own life.

Because I lack the patience and artistic talent to create the beautiful, elaborate scrapbooks that are currently popular with hobbyists, my books more resemble the “cut it out and slap it in a book” method of 19th century scrapbooks. I love to collect little things that seem useless or were meant to only serve a temporary purpose and then be discarded, and save them as a snapshot of that fleeting moment. In fact, I tend to save too many things that get thrown into a bag until they are “processed,” to use the archival term, and put into a scrapbook. Scrapbooking helps me to organize my memories and limit the souvenirs I keep to what I can fit in the book. Going through the process of discarding the souvenirs of my happiest days, I can better understand the appraisal process of archivists. We keep what tells the story. We keep what will help us remember and help future generations understand.

A page from my scrapbook created on my 2012 trip to Greece.

A page from my scrapbook created on my 2012 trip to Greece.

In thinking about this topic, I realized one way my scrapbook is different from an archives. When I make my appraisal decisions and create my book of personal memories, I very often stick to preserving the pleasant memories and discarding the bad. Do I need to make a note of the family arguments on Christmas morning or will the cute Santa gift tag tell a better story? Do I preserve the Starbucks receipt to commemorate that terrible fight with my best friend? Who wants those memories? An archivist, however, must always take the good with the bad. The historical record is not complete and truthful if it does not include successes and failures. The stories in our archives of discrimination and conflict and the ways that women struggled against it can help future generations better understand how their communities and country were shaped. The creativity of these educators, activists, artists, and politicians could spark new ideas for how to handle future conflicts.

When I create a new page in my scrapbook and imagine sharing it with my future children and loved ones, maybe I should consider this important role an archives plays. Events that may be embarrassing or painful now could be the memories that best tell the story of my life in my personal archives.

Caroline blog photoCaroline Lynd Giannakopoulos is a Graduate Assistant at the WLA and is working on her Master’s in Public History at Loyola University Chicago. When not scrapbooking, she spends her spare time exploring Chicago, interpreting dreams and watching cheesy movies with her husband.

 


Loyola University Chicago’s Women and Leadership Archives Blog is designed to provide a positive environment for the Loyola community to discuss important issues and ideas. Differences of opinion are encouraged. We invite comments in response to posts and ask that you write in a civil and respectful manner. All comments will be screened for tone and content and must include the first and last name of the author and a valid email address. The appearance of comments on the blog does not imply the University’s endorsement or acceptance of views expressed.


It’s Equal Pay Day!

What is Equal Pay Day?

National Equal Pay Day, held on Tuesday April 14th, 2015, recognizes the wage gap that exists between men and women in American society. Organized by the National Committee on Equal Pay (NCEP), a coalition of organizations committed to pay equity, and annually held since 2005, this day is observed across the United States through public lectures, meetings, rallies, and protests. Generally falling on a Tuesday in early April, the timing references how far into the current year women must work to match what men earned in the previous year. Tuesday signifies how far into the week women work to earn what men made the previous week. NCEP advocates the wearing of red on Equal Pay Day to symbolize how far women and minorities are ‘in the red’ with their pay.”[1] This day is not solely an American endeavor – it is held internationally, in countries such as Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, and the United Kingdom.

Why do we have Equal Pay Day?

Equal Pay proponents point to a long history of employment discrimination in the United States. According to the Women’s Bureau of the U.S. Department of Labor, in 2012, the median weekly earnings of women working full time were only 81% of men working full-time. Up from 64.2% in 1980, there is improvement but still much to be gained. Minority women are at an even greater disadvantage for full-time wage and salary work. As of 2012, African American women earn 68% of what White men earn while Hispanic women receive on average 59%.

This  ad created by Jane Trahey for a Mundelein College Event illustrates the income inequality in 1979.

This ad created by Jane Trahey for a Mundelein College Event illustrates the income inequality in 1979.

What is the History behind Equal Pay?

The issue of equal pay for women has a long and complex history. Fought on many fronts, the quest for equal pay in America picked up steam following World War II and is punctuated by passage of the Equal Pay Act in 1963, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (specifically Title VII) and 2009’s Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Other legislation has been introduced over the years to provide additional safeguards. The latest such effort, the Paycheck Fairness Act, introduced by former senator Hilary Clinton and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, was ultimately rejected in 2012.

What Collections at the Women and Leadership Archives relate to Equal Pay Day?

At the Women and Leadership Archives, collections of organizations that relate to equal pay rights for women include 8th Day Center for Justice; United Nations Development Fund for Women; Chicago Catholic Women; and the Homemakers Equal Rights Association. We also have many collections that document individual’s efforts for pay equality. These include women such as Mollie Leiber West, Helen Sauer Brown, Peggy Roach, Carol Ronen, and Bari-Ellen Roberts. This is just a selection of the collections held in the Women and Leadership Archives that concentrate on peace and social justice activism, of which equal pay is a part.

[1] “Equal Pay Day,” Accessed March 3, 2014. http://www.pay-equity.org/day.html.


Loyola University Chicago’s Women and Leadership Archives Blog is designed to provide a positive environment for the Loyola community to discuss important issues and ideas. Differences of opinion are encouraged. We invite comments in response to posts and ask that you write in a civil and respectful manner. All comments will be screened for tone and content and must include the first and last name of the author and a valid email address. The appearance of comments on the blog does not imply the University’s endorsement or acceptance of views expressed.


Women’s History Month Kick-off

The theme of Women's History Month for 2015 is Weaving the Stories of Women's Lives.

The 2015 theme of Women’s History Month is Weaving the Stories of Women’s Lives. Photo from the National Women’s History Project.

As I pondered the task before me, writing the blog post to introduce March as Women’s History Month, I found myself wondering…what is the history of Women’s History Month? When did it start and what were the reasons? There is irony and humor in the history of Women’s History Month but that aside, how did it all start?

An International Women’s Day began in the early 20th century, first at the end of February than later, in March. The more recent history of celebrating women’s history started in 1978 when the school district of Sonoma, CA, participated in Women’s History Week, an event designed around the week of March 8th, International Women’s Day. The idea began to take off in 1979 at a summer conference on women’s history at Sarah Lawrence College. There participants heard of the success of the Sonoma County’s Women History Week celebration, wanted to carry it to their own organizations, communities, and schools, and agreed to work to secure a National Women’s History Week.

In February 1980, President Jimmy Carter issued a presidential proclamation declaring the week of March 8, 1980, as National Women’s History Week. Also in 1980, the National Women’s History Project (NWHP) was founded in Santa Rosa, California by Molly Murphy MacGregor, Mary Ruthsdotter, Maria Cuevas, Paula Hammett and Bette Morgan to broadcast women’s historical achievements.

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Representative (now Senator) Barbara Mikulski.

Responding to the growing popularity of Women’s History Week, in 1981, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Rep. Barbara Mikulski (D-Maryland) co-sponsored the first Joint Congressional Resolution proclaiming a Women’s History Week. Congress passed their resolution as Pub. L. 97-28, which authorized and requested the President to proclaim the week beginning March 7, 1982 as “Women’s History Week. The Week took off in popularity and by 1986, fourteen states had declared March as Women’s History Month.

In 1987, after being petitioned by the National Women’s History Project, Congress passed Pub. L. 100-9 which designated the month of March 1987 as Women’s History Month. Various Congressional resolutions and presidential proclamations later, March is clearly cemented as Women’s History Month.

I’ve been interested in women’s history since my college days in the 1980s. I knew some of the history of Women’s History Month but not all of it. My first surprise was learning that the month had roots in International Women’s Day that started at the turn of the 20th Century.

Fast forward to the late 1970s and early 1980s and we come to my next surprise. Who knew Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Rep Barbara Mikulski (D-Maryland) sponsored anything together? For readers who don’t know who Hatch and Mikulski are, Google them to totally understand the magnitude of this cooperation. Their joint legislation only goes to show the tremendous bi-partisan support for a month to honor women and their contributions throughout history.

A photo of Mundelein College students from the WLA's collection.

A photo of Mundelein College students in the Marksmanship Club, circa 1940, from the WLA’s collection.

Here we are in 2015 celebrating Women’s History Month. I’ve taken to joking that Women’s History Month is made for the WLA. To celebrate the Month, there will be a feature every week on the WLA website highlighting a woman or organization from our collections.

In addition, for those on Loyola’s campus, a display in Cudahy Library will feature artists from the WLA collections. Very different artists, I might add. If you’re in the Loyola neighborhood stop by Cudahy and take a look.

Enjoy Women’s History Month!
IMG_0021-149x110Nancy Freeman became Director of the WLA in spring, 2013. Prior to that, Nancy worked as an archivist and records manager at a wildlife research facility for the USDA in Colorado. Nancy has worked in the archival field since 1999. When not working on all things archival, Nancy enjoys spending time with her family and knitting.


Loyola University Chicago’s Women and Leadership Archives Blog is designed to provide a positive environment for the Loyola community to discuss important issues and ideas. Differences of opinion are encouraged. We invite comments in response to posts and ask that you write in a civil and respectful manner. All comments will be screened for tone and content and must include the first and last name of the author and a valid email address. The appearance of comments on the blog does not imply the University’s endorsement or acceptance of views expressed.


 

A Story in a Box

My main task the last few weeks has been preparing for Women’s History Month in March. Women’s History Month is an opportunity to celebrate some of the unique women in our collections through weekly posts on our website. My first step in writing these posts was to peruse our finding aids and find four collections I wanted to share. Among the many fascinating individuals and organizations, one woman’s story stood out to me and begged to be shared. Her collection consisted of only one small box, but in that box I found many cool things that represented a life of leadership and spirit.

While Anna’s early artwork included watercolors and sculpture, she made her later work on the computer as her condition increasingly affected her coordination.

While Anna’s early artwork included watercolors and sculpture, she made her later work on the computer as her condition increasingly affected her coordination.

Anna Stonum’s finding aid described her as an activist and artist, two categories the WLA has many of, but this woman’s story was different. She is a great example of the diversity of our collections.

Anna Stonum, born October 14, 1958, moved to Chicago in 1980 to attend Mundelein College. Anna suffered from Friedrich’s Ataxia, a degenerative condition that affects coordination and caused her to spend most of her adult life in a wheelchair. Anna was a passionate artist who worked with different media as her coordination worsened, but never quit creating. In the 1980s, she joined the movement fighting for rights for the disabled and demonstrated her leadership and courage. She picked fights with the CTA, Wrigley Field, and Jerry Lewis, all in the name of accessibility and respect for those with disabilities.

Anna’s papers don’t contain any photos of her, other than a couple tiny, grainy images from news articles. I was concerned that I wouldn’t have a picture to accompany her web feature, and then I found this.

Anna Stonum and Mike Ervin, 1998

Anna Stonum and Mike Ervin, 1998

Pretty cool, huh? OK, maybe it seems a little dramatic at first, but Anna and her husband Mike Ervin were cool enough to pull it off. And don’t you kind of want someone to paint you looking like you’re ready to conquer the world in the middle of a lightning storm?

The portrait was done by artist Riva Lehrer for her series Circle Stories. Before creating this portrait, Lehrer interviewed her subjects to learn about their lives and find imagery that represented their experience. This powerful image illustrates Anna and Mike’s determination and strength as a team.

So why does this couple deserve such an intense tribute?

Designs for All created this sticker for the disabled to remind drivers why handicap parking spots existed.

Designs for All created this sticker for the disabled to remind drivers why handicap parking spots existed.

As a woman who just recently moved to the big city, I am fascinated by Chicago’s public transportation and have been amazed by the technology that allows buses to lower and lift wheelchairs so that everyone can take advantage of these vehicles. Today, every CTA bus you ride is accessible because of Anna, who helped found the Chicago chapter of Americans Disabled for Accessible Public Transit. The organization spent years fighting for CTA to install lifts before the company committed to ordering 700 accessible buses in 1989, influencing similar cases across the nation.

Designs for All created this sticker for the disabled to remind drivers why handicap parking spots existed.

Designs for All created this sticker for the disabled to remind drivers why handicap parking spots existed.

Anna’s strength and spirit can also be seen in her refusal to let challenges get in the way of her creativity. In 1994, Anna started her own graphic design company, Designs for All. She mostly did work for newsletters, but she also created some cool logos and designs that were used nationally by disability activists.

Anna Stonum passed away suddenly at the age of 40 due to a heart attack. As sad as this was to learn, it was from the writings of her friends and family after her death that I learned the most about who Anna was as a person. Her collection contains her obituary, where a friend describes how she inspired others who saw how much she enjoyed living. There is also a copy of New Mobility magazine that includes an article her husband wrote after her death. He tells stories about how he spontaneously proposed after a couple of cocktails in New Orleans and about one of the many times they were arrested for “raising hell with ADAPT” and spent three days in a Canadian jail.

When you jump into a collection, you never know what you might find. Sometimes, it’s hard to understand a person through documents and articles. But with Anna Stonum, her passion and strength could be found in every folder.

Caroline blog photoCaroline Lynd is a Graduate Assistant at the WLA and is working on her Master’s in Public History at Loyola University Chicago. She spends her spare time caring for her pufferfish, interpreting dreams, and watching cheesy movies.

 


Loyola University Chicago’s Women and Leadership Archives Blog is designed to provide a positive environment for the Loyola community to discuss important issues and ideas. Differences of opinion are encouraged. We invite comments in response to posts and ask that you write in a civil and respectful manner. All comments will be screened for tone and content and must include the first and last name of the author and a valid email address. The appearance of comments on the blog does not imply the University’s endorsement or acceptance of views expressed.


Blogging Away at the WLA

Welcome to the blog of the Women and Leadership Archives (WLA), located on Loyola University Chicago’s Lakefront campus, Chicago, IL. It is my pleasure as Director to do the first post and set the stage. The blog will written by myself, WLA Graduate Assistants, and guest bloggers. Topics revolve around WLA collections and events; women’s history; and the joys and challenges of working with archival records. It’s my hope the blog is informative, interesting, and fun.

The WLA is located on the 3rd floor of Piper Hall.

The Women and Leadership Archives is located on the 3rd floor of Piper Hall on the campus of Loyola University Chicago.

The WLA began in 1994 and is directly linked to Mundelein College, an all-women’s college begun and operated by the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (BVMs). Mundelein ran from 1930 until 1991 when it affiliated with nearby Loyola University Chicago. That’s the short version of Mundelein College’s history and for something more in-depth, see our Mundelein College Timeline. The WLA grew out of the vision to preserve the legacy of Mundelein College and collect records of women in leadership. To find out more about the WLA including basics such as hours, collections, programs etc., visit our website, which also includes archival nuances such as our collection policy and partners.

I became Director of the WLA in March, 2013, almost two years ago. It’s been a wonderful ride so far and I greatly enjoy my job. Last fall, someone asked me what it felt like to stand on the shoulders of history, meaning working with collections of women leaders. The question caught me by surprise as I’d frankly not analyzed what I do at the WLA in depth or thought of it in that way. I think many of us work diligently away at our jobs, moving quickly from task to task, doing what needs to be done, often not stopping to reflect on deeper meanings.

So, I pondered. The first things that came to my mind, when I stopped working long enough to sit quietly and reflect, were enthusiasm and responsibility. I feel extremely enthusiastic about the WLA and its collections. The breadth and depth of women’s records are fascinating and inspiring. I am often amazed when I discover records already in the archives or take in a new donation. I can’t tell you how often I think “wow, this is really cool!” While I admit that last statement isn’t very profound, it speaks to my excitement and enthusiasm for WLA collections.

I’m not sure if responsibility is an actual feeling, however, I’m going with it. I feel a strong responsibility and accompanying drive to promote the WLA, make us better known, and increase access to the collections. What good are cool records if no one knows where they are or uses them?

It’s my hope this blog is a place to discuss archives in general, the WLA specifically, and women’s history. I anticipate a fun ride: one that is interesting, challenging, and educational. Please join us as we blog away at the WLA!

IMG_0021-149x110Nancy Freeman became Director of the WLA in spring, 2013. Prior to that, Nancy worked as an archivist and records manager at a wildlife research facility for the USDA in Colorado. Nancy has worked in the archival field since 1999. When not working on all things archival, Nancy enjoys spending time with her family and knitting.


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