NWHM Congressional Education Program: Futurist Edie Weiner Speaks on “Trends Affecting Women-Past, Present, and Future”
Not only does Edith Weiner know women’s history, she knows women’s future. She shared her analysis of both at the June 8th “Untold Story” luncheon-the third in the NWHM Congressional Education Program sponsored by DaimlerChrysler. With 30 years in the field of issues analysis, Weiner is acknowledged as one of the most influential practitioners of social, technological, political, and economic intelligence-gathering. She brought these areas together to relate how and why women’s social standing has changed over time and the changes we can expect in the near future.
The earliest human societies of hunter/gatherers were relatively egalitarian and, because the male role in procreation was not yet understood, matrilineal. The invention of the plow ushered in the Agricultural Age, Weiner says. Strength was at a premium, and the concepts of land ownership, marriage, and inheritance were born, putting women at a disadvantage. After the Industrial Revolution, economic power was no longer dependant on land, assets were moveable, and the divorce rate rose as women took control of their earnings.
According to Weiner, women are biologically prepared to succeed in this Post-Industrial Age. There are physiological differences between male and female brains that give them different abilities. Whereas strength and “smarts” were rewarded in past economies, intelligence will be all-important in the future. Weiner defines “smarts” as the ability to learn and retain data, something that computers can do now. But intelligence, she says, “is the ability to connect the dots when a situation arises for the first time.” Intuitive skills will be at a premium in the future, giving women a new advantage.
NWHM’s Congressional Education Program is designed to provide lawmakers and their staffs with an appreciation of the often-neglected aspects of women’s history that NWHM will provide when it obtains a permanent building site. It is made possible by a generous grant from DaimlerChrysler Corporation.
NWHM’s Congressional Education Program: Dr. Sharon Harley on “Women Leaders of the Civil Rights Movement”
While there were women leading the civil rights movement, we have heard little about them. So, we asked Dr. Sharon Harley to share “The Untold Story: Women Leaders of the Civil Rights Movement” at NWHM’s Congressional Education Luncheon Series. Harley, an Associate Professor of Afro-American Studies at the University of Maryland, began her March 16, 2000 lecture with two famous activists who fought removal from public transportation: Ida Wells-Barnett from a first-class railroad car; Rosa Parks from the bus in Montgomery, Alabama.
Dr. Harley also spoke of Fannie Lou Hamer, a crusader known to many. But the story of her political organizing, her attempt to register to vote in Mississippi, and brutal beating she received as a result was certainly news to the young congressional staffers in the audience. Harley described the work of Gloria St. Clair Richardson, who led the movement in Cambridge, MD from 1962-1965. Political action was a family affair for Richardson: one day in May 1963, she and her mother were arrested at a sit-in at the Dizzyland Restaurant while her daughter, Donna, was arrested at another civil rights effort. A funny thing happened when the events of the Civil Rights Movement were written down, Harley said. The visual record of photographs and film shows women’s active participation in the Civil Rights Movement, but the written record does not. That is an omission NWHM will strive to change.
Representative Julia Carson of Indiana congratulated Dr. Harley on her speech and shared with the audience her belief in the ability of women’s history to inspire and spur us to action. The congressional lecture series is made possible by a generous grant from DaimlerChrysler Corporation.
Edith Mayo Kicks off the NWHM Congressional Education Program
“Women Created Grassroots Politics” is a little known fact and the title of the first presentation in NWHM’s “Untold Story” luncheon series. With sponsorship from women members of Congress and a grant from DaimlerChrysler Corp., NWHM is offering a series of informative lectures for members of Congress and their staff. These programs are designed to provide lawmakers with an appreciation of the subjects that will be addressed in the museum building that NWHM is seeking.
Edith P. Mayo, Curator Emeritus at the Smithsonian Institution, kicked off the monthly series on January 28, 2000. She discussed turn-of-the-century women’s groups that provided the impetus for an array of civic improvements, a topic Mayo explored as curator of the “Parlor to Politics” exhibit at the National Museum of American History.
NWHM to Honor Arizona Women “Making History”
Arizona made history last November by electing six women to the highest positions in the state! NWHM will honor those women and three other daughters of AZ with the 2nd annual “Women Making History” awards presented on October 29th at a gala dinner at the Biltmore Hotel in Phoenix.
Honorees are: Sandra Day OÍConnor (1st woman on the U.S. Supreme Court), Gov. Jane Dee Hull, Pres. of the State Senate Brenda Burns, Sec. of State Betsey Bayless, Atty. Gen. Janet Napolitano, State Treas. Carol Springer, Schools Superintendent Lisa Graham, Rose Mofford (1st female governor of AZ), and 100-year-old Polly Rosenbaum (1st woman legislator in AZ, who held office for a record 47 years!).
NWHM Vice-President Joan Meacham is leading a very active, statewide event committee to plan a magical evening and to attract corporate sponsors. White House correspondent Helen Thomas, who received the award in ï98, is our keynote speaker. Lynn Sherr, CBS News reporter and author of two books on Susan B. Anthony, is our master of ceremonies. Du Plain will handle national news coverage. Tickets to the dinner and pre-gala reception are $100. Sponsors may attend a VIP reception with the honorees at a private home in Biltmore Estates.
Rep. Kaptur Champions Sojourner Truth Sculpture for Capitol
Of the 197 statues in the United States Capitol commemorating the people and values that have formed our country, only seven depict real women, and five others are allegorical female figures. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) is working with NWHM to improve this ratio by urging the Architect of the Capitol to accept from NWHM a bronze bust of Sojourner Truth as a gift to the nation.
In June, Kaptur and Rep. Connie Morella (R-MD) introduced a resolution calling for the display of more artwork that is representative of women’s achievements in the Capitol collection. The next week, Kaptur welcomed ten of her colleagues to an unveiling of the Truth statue in her office. “It’s an honor to have in my office the likeness of Sojourner Truth because of her commitment to freedom and…equality,” said Kaptur.
NWHM commissioned Reinaldo, an internationally known, award-winning sculptor, to create a bust of Truth in 1997. First unveiled at the Women’s Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls, NY during the July 1998 celebration of the 150th anniversary of the first womenÍs rights convention, it remained on exhibit there until February 1999.
More than any other 19th-century American, Sojourner Truth gave voice to African American and women’s demands for liberty. Though there is much political maneuvering ahead to secure her place, the time has come to finally honor her life and her legacy. Please tell your representatives in Congress that you support the inclusion of Sojourner Truth in the U.S. Capitol.
NWHM Alaska Council Wins Resolution from State Legislature
On a visit to Alaska in 1998, President Karen Staser found an enthusiastic and energetic ally in Katelyn Markley, who quickly agreed to create the NWHM Alaska Council.
The first goal of the Alaska Council was to win the support of the State Legislature…and they succeeded. Gail Phillips (R-Homer) introduced House Joint Resolution 14 in February to urge Congress to appropriate an existing federal building on the Mall in Washington, DC for the Museum.
Both Karen and Katelyn testified before the House Special Committee on World Trade and State/Federal Relations, speaking to the role the Museum will play in adding important facts to the history of our nation, acknowledging women for their many achievements, and helping young women gain confidence in their abilities. On May 6, 1999 the Alaska Legislature enthusiastically endorsed NWHM by unanimously passing HJR 14.
“The ‘Last Frontier’ state now leads the nation by being the first state to formally support this project.” said Representative Gail Phillips. “It is a proud day for the Alaska Legislature.” In the coming months, the Alaska Council will conduct membership meetings to expand its membership, to create awareness of the project in Alaska, and to begin fundraising efforts. The Council will also work with Alaska’s congressional delegation, which includes Sen. Ted Stevens, Sen. Frank Murkowski, and Rep. Don Young.
Bills Supporting NWHM Re-introduced in Congress
Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) re-introduced legislation to create a congressional advisory committee on NWHM on March 11. The proposed committee will identify a building or site for the Museum, develop a business plan, and assist with NWHM programs and collections. Similar bills were introduced last fall, but Congress adjourned before acting on them.
Please urge your representatives in Congress to support SR 706 and HR 1246.
Forbes Supplement on NWHM Reaches National Audience
Good news! Or, more precisely, good press in a major national magazine.
The May 17th issue of Forbes magazine includes a 16-page advertising supplement on the National Museum of Women’s History! The article, titled “Enterprising Women: a Tribute to Women in Business,” profiles six women successful in business today and honors the businesswomen who led the way. Look for it after page 100!
Congratulations to Joan Wages, Director of Development, who created this opportunity and pushed it through to publication. Special thanks to Advisory Board member Louise Guido and writer Ann Marie Clift (on her staff at Living Abroad Publishing) for invaluable work in producing the piece.
“Eleanor” Benefit at Ford’s Theatre Is a Smash Hit
“Eleanor” Benefit at Ford’s Theatre Is a Smash Hit A musical starring Eleanor Roosevelt? Picture an idealistic, young couple singing and dancing their way through cotillions and campaigns. Imagine the drama and pain of polio and infidelity. ItÕs a great night of theater.
Jan Du Plain, a member of the NWHM Executive Committee, brought us the opportunity for a benefit performance at Ford’s Theatre. Only a month before the March 13th show Franki Roberts (wife of Sen. Pat RobertsÑR-KS) and Mary Clement (wife of Rep. Bob ClementÑD-TN) agreed to chair the event, and they rallied their friends, both corporate and congressional. The Honorary Event Committee included 17 Members of Congress.
Our Benefactors were BellSouth, DaimlerChrysler Corporation, Fannie Mae, and The NASDAQ Stock Exchange; Patrons were NORTEL NETWORKS and United Parcel Service (UPS); and Friends were Terry Beggy, Mary Beth and Richard Ketchum, and UST Public Affairs, Inc.
Jessica Townsend Teague, chair of the NWHM Washington Area Council, orchestrated a festive post-performance champagne reception at Ford’s Theatre with donations from Occasions Caterers, Ridgewell’s Catering, and Flowers Unique by Marchand.
Welcome Additions to the NWHM Board of Trustees
NWHM is proud to welcome Allida Black, Mary Rothschild, and Rita Samuels to the Board of Trustees.
Historian Allida Black, Ph.D. is a nationally recognized expert on Eleanor Roosevelt. Her latest book, Courage in a Dangerous World, is a collection of Roosevelt’s political writings. In addition to her teaching career, Dr. Black has consulted on numerous documentaries and multi-media projects and created a number of exhibits. This fall, she joins George Washington University’s Mount Vernon College as Program Coordinator of the Women and Power Program.
Mary Logan Rothschild, Ph.D. is the Director of Women’s Studies at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. She is a Professor of History and Women’s Studies who specializes in 20th century American women’s social history. Currently, she is working on her third book, “For All the Girls of America”: Girl Scouting and the Construction of American Girlhood, 1912-1976, and beginning an oral history project on the origins of the field of American Women’s History.
Rita Jackson Samuels is Founder and Executive Director of the Georgia Coalition of Black Women, Inc., a womenÍs advocacy training and development organization. She was Coordinator of the Governor’s Council on Human Relations under Jimmy Carter, the first black woman ever to serve on the personal staff of a Georgia governor. She worked for the Carter White House and was Director of Citizen & Community Affairs under Mayor Andrew Young. She is currently on the Georgia Commission on Women, having served two years as Chair.
White House Commission on Women’s History Issues Final Report
The President’s Commission on the Celebration of Women in American History submitted its final report on March 1st. President Clinton had established the commission last July and charged them to explore, “among other things, the feasibility of a focal point for women’s history located in Washington, DC.
Co-chairs Ann Lewis and Beth Newberger invited NWHM representatives to testify at three of their five hearings. NWHM directors and advisors worked hard to promote NWHM as the best choice for a “focal point…in…DC.” We are thrilled to be in the final report.
It reads: “We applaud the visionary leadership of the founders of new institutions that have emerged in the last decadeƒ (One) approach is offered by the National Museum of Women’s History, whose mission is to ‘preserve, display, and celebrate the rich, diverse heritage of women and bring it into the cultural mainstream.’ Although it does not yet have a permanent facility, the Museum has already begun to implement its mission (by raising the Suffrage Statue to the Rotunda and launching the NWHM CyberMuseum).”
Report from White House Commission on Women’s History Due March 1st
The President’s White House Commission on the Celebration of Women in American History held four hearings to explore ways the White House might promote women’s history in the new millennium. NWHM was the only organization to testify at three of them.
Karen Staser and Joan Wages introduced NWHM to the Commission at the September hearings in Albuquerque, NM. In November, here in Washington, Edie Mayo spoke from a museum professional’s point of view to stress the need for a full-fledged national museum for women’s history as a focal point for exhibits, events, and outreach programs to serve the whole country.
At the January hearing in Atlanta, Edie and Dr. Allida Black, a new member of NWHM’s Board of Directors, described our current exhibits and those we are planning in the near future. NWHM and BellSouth hosted a grand reception for the commissioners in the rotunda of the Georgia State Capitol.
The Commission’s report is due to the President on March 1st. NWHM hopes the result will be presidential endorsement and assistance in acquiring a federal building for the Museum.
“Rights for Women” Wowed ‘Em at the World Financial Center
Opening day of the NWHM “Rights for Women” exhibit on the North Bridge of the World Financial Center in NYC, we got a call from Natalie Lipman. “It’s wonderful! Is there a catalog? I need to know more about these women. I’ve never heard of so many of them.”
Edie Mayo, Curator Emeritus at Smithsonian and NWHM’s esteemed curatorial consultant, worked with Anita Cantini and her team at the World Financial Center to pull together huge, banner-like panels, mounted on “soap boxes,” featuring the larger-than-life images of 54 women who fought for women’s rights from 1848 into the early 20th century.
The exhibit ran from October 19th through November 22nd 1998. NWHM is currently looking for sponsors to help us travel the show.
Forbes Executive Women’s Summit (Net) Worked for NWHM
The first annual Forbes Executive Women’s Summit in November was a public relations coup for NWHM. Partnering with Forbes on the event gave us the opportunity to be profiled before 350 women executives from most of this country’s major corporations. NWHM President Karen Staser’s introduction of Steve Forbes was carried on CNN. Speakers Anita Roddick, founder/CEO of The Body Shop, and Doris Kearns Goodwin, presidential biographer, joined our Advisory Board. Eight participants joined the Museum. Best of all, participant Ruth Ayres took our cause home to N.W. Ayers, a top advertising agency in New York, and they agreed that she should produce a fundraising video for NWHM, pro bono!
Scholars and Museum Professionals Guide NWHM Design
Twenty-one nationally known historians and museum professionals met Halloween weekend to lay the groundwork for themes and permanent exhibits that will shape NWHM. Vice-President Joan Meacham chairs this subcommittee on program design of the NWHM Academic and Museum Professional Advisory Committee. “This meeting was pivotal for our museum’s administrative team, ” she said. “It helped us to focus on our primary mission – the development and design of a national museum dedicated to the history of women in America.” Read all about it in the press release.
NWHM is especially grateful to the Ruth McCormick Tankersley Charitable Trust for the generous grant that funded this project and American Airlines, who provided airfare for the participants.
“Women Making History” Awards Presented at CyberMuseum Launch
At the National Press Club launch of the NWHM CyberMuseum, funded by BellAtlantic on September 28, Karen Staser announced the first annual “Women Making History” Awards. These awards honor living women who have made unusual or unheralded contributions to history in today’s world. The awards were presented at the press conference and at subsequent NWHM events. Read all about it in the press release.
The CyberMuseum was featured as a USA Today site of the day and in “www.4Kids”, a syndicated newspaper column, and continues to earn recognition and awards.
NWHM Partners With Forbes
Join us for the 1st Forbes Executive Women’s Summit November 10–12 in Washington, DC. NWHM members receive a discount! For more information call 212-499-3521, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.forbes.com/conf/execwomen.
NWHM Testifies before President’s Commission on the Celebration of Women in American History
President Clinton has created an eleven-member Commission on the Celebration of Women in American History. Co-chairs are Ann Lewis, Director of White House Communications, and Beth Newburger, Associate Administrator for Public Affairs, General Services Administration (GSA). The Commission will consider how best to acknowledge and celebrate the roles and accomplishments of women in American History. It will also consider a focal point for women’s history in Washington, DC.
Karen Staser, NWHM president, testified before the commission September 25. NWHM has been meeting with the White House and keeping them briefed on our progress over the last two years.
New Nationwide Coalition on Women’s History
Representatives of museums and organizations dedicated to women’s history met this summer in historic Seneca Falls, NY, birthplace of the women’s rights movement, to organize a national networking and resource-sharing coalition. Participating institutions look forward to sharing exhibits, inter-museum loans of collections, Internet links, and greater communication.
“By supporting each other, by publicizing each other’s programs and exchanging ideas, we can serve more people and accomplish many of our mutual goals sooner,” says Cathy Bonner, chair of the Women’s Museum: Institute for the Future.
Stephanie Powers Rides in NWHM Polo Benefit
The Second Annual NWHM Polo Benefit was held Sunday, September 27 at the Potomac Polo Club. Supporters of NWHM enjoyed a silent auction, lunch, and an afternoon of polo. Actress Stephanie Powers played with teams of local riders. It was be a glorious day for polo pony and museum patron, alike.
Raise Money While You Surf
There’s a new idea for raising money for nonprofits on the Internet, and NWHM can cash in—a little bit at a time. You need only register with a company called Eyegive, designate their site as your opening screen, and Eyegive will donates 6¢ to your favorite charity each time you log on to the Internet through their site. Visit www.eyegive.com and try out the service. It may not be for everyone, but the more NWHM members who use it, the more money we bring in. American Rivers, an environmental group, made $821 last quarter.
New NWHM Councils
NWHM Councils in New York, Phoenix, and Los Angeles host fundraising events and spread the word that women’s history deserves a place in mainstream American culture and a museum on the Mall in Washington, DC. Now, Chicago, Dallas, and Alaska will hear of our work.
Marti Barletta, Vice President at Frankel and Kathleen Drennen have agreed to chair a new council in Chicago. Gerry Myers, President of the Myers Group, will head the new Dallas Council. Kaitlin Markley will chair the Alaska Council. Please contact NWHM if you would like to join these councils.
NWHM Unveils Sculpture of Truth at 150th Anniversary of First Women’s Rights Convention
Seneca Falls, NY, July 10–20, 1998—Beginning with the National Women’s Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and closing with the adoption of the National Women’s Equality Act for the 21st Century, women from all over the country joined to celebrate women’s contributions and to plan for the future.
NWHM unveiled a bronze bust of Sojourner Truth, sculpted by Advisory Board member Reinaldo, at the Women’s Rights National Historical Park. Dignitaries from the National Park Service and NWHM spoke and listened to a moving rendition of the “Ain’t I A Woman” speech by Park Service Ranger Althea Roberson, dressed as Truth. The statue remains on loan to the Park.
Deborah Linzer, Co-Chair of the Arizona Council, hosted a reception for NWHM at the Susan B. Anthony House in Rochester, NY. It was a lovely networking and social occasion. Deborah spoke briefly about the Everywoman’s Story Project, which seeks to create a repository of the experiences of “ordinary” American women.
The NWHM booth sold the Museum’s first T-shirts, hats, etc. Thanks to Paul Zarillo for producing them. Jan Duplain, Trudy Mason, and Ann Stone provided their public relations expertise during the week’s celebrations—a first rate PR team!
Karen Staser Speaks Before Dollar Coin Advisory Committee
The National Museum of Women’s History testified on the design for a new dollar coin before the Treasury Department’s Dollar Coin Advisory Committee. Treasury Secretary Rubin has authorized a redesigned coin that will be easily distinguished from a quarter and will bear a woman’s image. Karen Staser, founder and president of the Museum, and Joan Wages, director of development, traveled to Philadelphia for a June 8th hearing.
After a brief description of the Museum, its goals, and its achievements, Staser presented our position: “The Museum recommends that the images of Susan B. Anthony and Harriet Tubman be placed on the new dollar coin. These two women are examples of powerful women who dedicated their lives to ensuring rights and freedom for all of our citizens. Our nation is more inclusive and stronger because of these women’s contributions.”
The Dollar Coin Advisory Committee recommended that an image of Sacajewia, the Native American woman who guided Lewis and Clark, be used as a new representation of “Liberty,” and Secretary Rubin has agreed. While not our first choice, we’re pleased that a real woman was chosen.