Archive for the ‘All News’ Category

Clara Barton, the Red Cross, and National Blood Donation Month

January 20th, 2016

January is National Blood Donation Month, which recognizes the lifesaving contributions of blood donors. Women have been of historic importance both as donors as well as donation center staff. But it was one woman, Clara Barton, whose vision of volunteerism during crisis and her founding of the American Red Cross paved the way for the truly amazing system of altruistic blood donation in the US.

Clara BartonClara Barton understood the importance of giving. Barton lived in Washington, DC at the start of the Civil War. When casualties from her Massachusetts home town were brought to local hospitals, she set out to help. She quickly realized that the profound shortage of medical supplies and assistance was leading to unnecessary death and suffering.

Barton established a network for collecting and distributing donated medical supplies. In 1862 she asked for and received permission to transport supplies directly to the front lines. Barton personally escorted wagon loads of supplies across the county, visiting all of the major battlefields in Maryland, Virginia, and South Carolina. Her service continued after the war ended in 1865 when she accepted Congress’ request to locate thousands of missing soldiers and bring resolution to their families.

Barton Thinks Bigger

In 1869, Barton became inspired by the newly formed Red Cross in Europe and set out to create an American version. She wrote pamphlets, made speeches, and lobbied politicians to support her cause. Her efforts paid off when the American Association of the Red Cross was formed on May 21, 1881. Barton was elected the first president. Local chapters formed throughout the country to help people during times of crisis and natural disaster.

The US government turned to the Red Cross in 1941, after the attack on Pearl Harbor, to promote and coordinate blood donation efforts for the US military. While experimental blood transfusion had been practiced for decades, World War II precipitated rapid advancement in transfusion techniques and brought blood donation to national attention. The Red Cross program focused national attention on the importance of voluntary blood donation, establishing it as a patriotic duty. The program collected more than 13 million pints before the Red Cross ended the military blood program in 1945.

Donation Continues After the War

World War II demonstrated the lifesaving promise of blood transfusion, and, afterwards, blood banks were set up across the country. Today, Clara Barton’s Red Cross alone collects approximately 5.3 million units of blood, from roughly 3.1 million donors nationwide, and distributes over 7.7 million blood products for transfusion. This accounts for 40% of the nation’s blood supply.

Barton recognized the importance of giving help without personally knowing the people who would receive it. She encouraged people to respond to disaster with support. Altruistic blood donations, donations made without knowing the recipient or in expectation of payment, exemplify her commitment to extending generosity to those in need.

Want to learn more?

Additional Sources:

“World War II & the American Red Cross.” American Red Cross. Accessed January 20, 2016. http://www.redcross.org/about-us/history/red-cross-american-history/WWII.

“About Us.” American Red Cross. Accessed January 20, 2016. http://www.redcrossblood.org/about-us.

 

Posted January 20, 2016

Research Assistant/Social Media Intern

January 10th, 2016

The National Women’s History Museum is seeking an intern to assist with a variety of tasks including but not limited to historic research, social media (image rights acquisition/fact checking/helping to organize the editorial calendar) and light administrative assistance.

Applicants should have excellent interpersonal, organizational, and writing skills as well as the ability to multitask. Experience with organization or corporate social media highly preferred. A stipend will be provided. Must be able to work at least 20 hours per week. The office, located in Alexandria, VA, is accessible via the Metro. Please submit your cover letter and resume to programdirector@nwhm.org or call 703-461-1920 for more information.

NWHM Finds Americans Have A Lot To Learn About Women’s History

December 28th, 2015

Majority of Americans admit they need help brushing up on their women’s history; notable men more recognizable over female counterparts.

 

December 28, 2015
Melissa Williams, 703-461-1920
mwilliams@nwhm.org

 

WASHINGTON, DC – A recent survey of more than 1,000 Americans reveal that the vast majority of us are more familiar with our nation’s heroes, than our heroines. Commissioned by the National Women’s History Museum, the survey results indicate that less than one in four Americans can name the accomplishments of Elizabeth Blackwell, Ida B. Wells or Sybil Ludington, whereas more than three quarters of respondents are familiar with the achievements of Neil Armstrong, Frederick Douglass and Paul Revere.

- The survey further revealed that more Americans feel more knowledgeable about sports and celebrity gossip than women’s history.
- Less than 1 percent of Americans know how many women currently serve in Congress or how many women are currently a CEO of a Fortune 500 company.
- Only a third of millennials believe they are knowledgeable about women’s history, and just 10 percent of adults over age 55 feel the same way.

“Three-quarters of the people that the Museum surveyed feel that today’s museums are overlooking women’s contributions,” said Susan Whiting, Chair of the Board of Directors for the National Women’s History Museum and a longtime C-suite executive. “We know that there are many untold examples of women’s contribution to our American history, and the Museum will serve as a vital center to gather and illuminate those powerful stories. Time and again, research has proven that female role models – heroines – are powerful motivators in women’s personal and professional lives.”

Ms. Whiting’s lineage traces back to Susan B. Anthony, a cousin on her mother’s side, who was a national icon in the woman suffrage movement.

More than 80 percent of the people the Museum surveyed feel it is important to build a women’s history museum to communicate the breadth of women’s experiences and accomplishments. Once built, the Museum will be the first in the nation to show the full scope of the history of women, and will set the standard for how women’s contributions should occupy a prominent place in national discussions.

“I invite you to help the Museum at this critical point in their journey by simply emailing or writing your Member of Congress, and saying ‘I want a National Women’s History Museum,’” said Ms. Whiting. “Share the survey results with your Member of Congress and tell them that you want to see a National Women’s History Museum on or near the National Mall. You can do this through our website – www.americasheroines.org.”

Earlier this year, Congress appointed an 8-person Commission to study the potential cost, impact and location of the Museum. The Commission, the first of its kind to be privately funded, is seeking public input on a national women’s history museum and will release its findings to legislators in the next 12 months.

 

 

About the National Women’s History Museum
Founded in 1996, the National Women’s History Museum (NWHM, Inc.) is a nonpartisan, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to educating the general public about the diverse historic contributions of women and raising awareness about the critical need for a national women’s history museum in our nation’s capital. Currently located online at www.nwhm.org, the Museum’s goal is to build a world-class, permanent museum on or near the National Mall that will herald and display the collective history of American women. A Congressional Commission has been established that is charged with producing a feasible plan, which would include the governance, fundraising, location and organizational structure of the museum. For additional information visit NWHM.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

About the Survey

The data points referenced above come from a study commissioned by the National Women’s History Museum, conducted by research firm Edelman Berland as an online survey of n=1,001 adults nationwide, ages 18+. Interviewing took place from August 5-10, 2015. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.1 percent.

 

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Nobel Prize Day on December 10 by Considering Women’s Roles in Peace

December 2nd, 2015

Throughout human history, women have rarely instigated conflicts, but rather they often been active in their resolution. Their status as women and the gender roles assigned by culture and society influence how women work towards peace and stability. In radically different areas and time periods, women have used similar methods to achieve peace.

The first American woman to be recognized with the Nobel Peace Prize was Jane Addams, founder of Hull-House and a leading peace activist during and after World War I. Addams was determined to rid the world of war. Starting in 1906 she lectured, wrote, and advocated for ideals of peace. In January, 1915, she accepted the chairmanship of the Women’s Peace Party, an American organization, and four months later the presidency of the International Congress of Women. Addams’ outspoken pacifism and refusal to endorse World War I or the U.S. entry into it, earned her public condemnation. The woman who had been celebrated for her social work legacy serving the poor in urban Chicago, would be publicly excoriated for her opposition to U.S. participation in armed conflict. Addams remained stalwart in the face of criticism and in 1931 she was honored with the Nobel Peace Prize.

The Nobel Committee’s citation stated:

From this social work, often carried on among people of different nationalities, it was for her only a natural step to the cause of peace. She has now been its faithful spokesman for nearly a quarter of a century. Little by little, through no attempt to draw attention by her work but simply through the patient self-sacrifice and quiet ardor which she devoted to it, she won an eminent place in the love and esteem of her people. She became the leading woman in the nation, one might almost say its leading citizen. Consequently, the fact that she took a stand for the ideal of peace was of special significance; since millions of men and women looked up to her, she could give a new strength to that ideal among the American people.

Jody Williams is the last American woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Williams was honored in 1997 for her work to ban landmines through the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, which shared the Peace Prize with her that year. At that time, she became the 10th woman – and third American woman – in its almost 100-year history to receive the Prize. Since her protests of the Vietnam War, she has been a life-long advocate of freedom, self-determination and human and civil rights.

Like others who have seen the ravages of war, she is an outspoken peace activist who struggles to reclaim the real meaning of peace – a concept which goes far beyond the absence of armed conflict and is defined by human security, not national security. Williams believes that working for peace is not for the faint of heart. It requires dogged persistence and a commitment to sustainable peace, built on environmental justice and meeting the basic needs of the majority of people on our planet.

On March 19, 2015, Williams spoke on women in Peace and Conflict at the George Washington University as part of National Women’s History Museum’s forum series “Initiating Change/Adapting to Change.” She was joined by Dr. Wendy E. Chmielewski, the George R. Cooley Curator at the Swarthmore College Peace Collection and the pre-eminent expert in 19th-century U.S. women’s peace movements.

 

Watch the program on YouTube during National Human Rights Month at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vWbx1rN6-HI&list=PLXaqdQe8eghiwp22JBJVBlBSY1laK-5G4

 

 

Remembering Pearl Harbor Day – Honoring the Bravery of Army Nurse Annie G. Fox

December 1st, 2015

annie_foxDecember 7 is Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, when Americans commemorate the 1941 attack that brought the United States into World War II. The Japanese attack shocked a nation that had heretofore resisted entering foreign wars by bringing the conflict to its shores. Dozens of stories of heroism emerged after the attacks, including that of the inspiring courage of First Lieutenant Annie G. Fox (Army Nurse Corps), who received a Bronze Star for her actions. The Bronze Star, when awarded for bravery, it is the fourth-highest combat award of the U.S. Armed Forces and the ninth highest military award in the order of precedence.

Lt. Fox was the Station Hospital’s Head Nurse at Hickam Field. The 30-bed hospital opened in November 1941, with six nurses. Lt. Monica E. Conter described the unit as “the happiest group of nurses anywhere, [under] the grandest chief nurse [Fox] who enjoys everything as much as we do.” Fox had joined the Army Nurse Corps in 1918, at the end of the First World War. While no stranger to military service, the surprise attack landed her in combat for the first time. The 47-year-old quickly took control of the situation as bombs rained down on the base.

Firsthand accounts of the attack by hospital staff described a terrifying and chaotic situation. Enemy airplanes flying so close and low that the nurses could see the pilots talking to each other were followed by explosions and masses of black smoke after each dive. Casualties poured into the hospital within minutes of the first bombing run. Hospital staff leaped into action as the constant noise of aerial torpedoes, bombs, machine gunning, and the American anti-aircraft filled the air.

As the attack progressed, causalities multiplied while bombs fell around the hospital itself. One bomb left a 30-foot crater twenty feet from the hospital wing, and another fell across the street. The smoke and fumes were so severe that the hospital staff, fearing a gas attack, donned gas masks and helmets as they tended the wounded. The casualties suffered from serious shrapnel wounds particularly in the abdomen, chest, face, head, arms, and legs. The casualties were so numerous that nurses had time only to administer pain medication before triaging them on to Trippler hospital. The dead also passed through, their bodies a mangled mass of bone and bloody and charred tissue.

As Head Nurse, Lt. Fox rallied the nurses and organized the hospital’s response to the assault. The wives of officers and N.C.O.s reported to the hospital to help, and Lt. Fox organized the civilian volunteers to make hospital dressings by the hundreds and assist with patient care. Lt. Fox herself participated in surgery, administering anesthesia, during the heaviest part of the bombardment. Afterwards, she, with the other nurses, tended to the wounded.

On October 26, 1942, in recognition of her efforts, Fox became the first woman in American history to be awarded the Purple Heart medal. Her citation read in part:

“During the attack, Lieutenant Fox in an exemplary manner, performed her duties as head nurse of the Station Hospital. . . . [She] worked ceaselessly with coolness and efficiency and her fine example of calmness, courage, and leadership was of great benefit to the morale of all with whom she came in contact.”

Four other Army nurses were also recognized for their performance during the attack. Captain Helena Clearwater, First Lieutenant Elizabeth A. Pesut, Second Lieutenant Elma L. Asson, and Second Lieutenant Rosalie L. Swenson each received the Legion of Merit “for extraordinary fidelity and essential service”.

Though at the time the Purple Heart award was most commonly awarded to service members wounded by enemy forces, it was occasionally awarded for any “singularly meritorious act of extraordinary fidelity or essential service.” The Purple Heart Award criteria changed in 1942 to be limited to wounds received as a result of enemy action. On October 6, 1944, Lt. Fox was awarded the Bronze Star Medal in replacement for her Purple Heart, which was rescinded. The Report of Decorations Board cited the same acts of heroism as for the Purple Heart.

The Army Nurse Corps had fewer than 1,000 nurses on December 7, 1941, the day of the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. Eighty-two Army nurses were stationed in Hawaii serving at three Army medical facilities that infamous day. By the end of World War II, more than 59,000 American nurses had served in the Army Nurse Corps. Nurses worked closer to the front lines than in any prior conflict, providing invaluable service at great personal risk. Nurses received 1,619 medals, citations, and commendations during the war, including sixteen medals awarded posthumously to women who died as a result of enemy fire. Lt. Fox and her thousands of fellow nurses exemplified the courage and dedication of all who served.

Saluting General Wilma Vaught – NWHM Board Member Receives Honorary Doctorate after Veterans Day

November 18th, 2015

The National Graduate School of Quality Management (NGS) Board of Trustees recently announced that Brigadier General Wilma L. Vaught would be awarded the College’s highest honor – the Honorary Doctorate Degree of Letters in recognition of her life-long accomplishments in service to our country and as an advocate for education. This is only the fifth time in the College’s 22-year history that the Board has awarded its Honorary Doctorate. The award was presented at a ceremony November 12, 2015.

Gen. Vaught joined the U.S. military in 1957, before women were fully integrated into the command structure. Women’s enrollment was capped at 2% of the forces, and they were not allowed to command men, a situation that changed in 1967. She was the first woman to deploy with an Air Force bomber wing. She was promoted to brigadier general in 1980, and when she retired five years later, she was only one of seven female generals or admirals in all the armed forces.

Brigadier General Wilma L. Vaught, USAF (Ret.) is President of the Board of Directors of the Women In Military Service For America Memorial Foundation, Inc. She is a valued member of the NWHM’s Board of Trustees.

Interested in General Vaught’s story? Watch “A New Order: Women in the Military” https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLXaqdQe8eghjoWIznZYlL6ovfaZVA72Vi

National Women’s History Museum Launches Suffrage Resource Center

November 3rd, 2015

Chronicles U.S. Women Campaign to Win the Vote

Alexandria, VA – The National Women’s History Museum (NWHM) launched a one-stop interactive center on November 2 featuring multiple resources that chronicle the history and crusade by women in the United States for the right to vote.

Crusade for the Vote: Woman Suffrage Resource Center offers a comprehensive location online for history enthusiasts, educators and curious researchers to learn about the 72-year campaign to gain women equal voting rights. Visitors can access primary, secondary and interactive sources at www.nwhm.org. In addition, listen to experts discuss this significant moment in U.S. history on the Museum’s YouTube page. To watch, click here.

As attention for the new movie Suffragette shines a spotlight on the efforts of British women to win the right to vote, we are reminded that the campaign in the U.S. was a long and tenuous battle. While the first woman to vote was recorded as early as 1756, women did not earn universal suffrage until 1920. The campaign has been described as the longest, bloodless battle. While some students may be familiar with the stalwarts of the campaign like Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Ida B. Wells and Susan B. Anthony, there are dozens of other women like Emma DeVoe, Josephine Ruffin and others whose stories remain unknown.

“We know this is an important point in U.S. history but often women’s history is told in a very limited scope,” said NWHM Director of Programs Elizabeth Maurer. “Our goal in launching and offering Crusade for the Vote is to expand access to important historical resources and to help researchers understand the story in a comprehensive way.”

NWHM has chronicled this rich history through an all-inclusive source that features primary and secondary resources. From images to articles, biographies, and lesson plans, Crusade for the Vote: Woman Suffrage Resource Center is a one-stop shop to increase awareness about this pivotal moment in U.S. history. It traces the suffrage movement from the early colonial period through passage of the 19th Amendment. To access any of the resources, visitors can go to www.nwhm.org.

Based online, the Center is easy for students, parents, and teachers to navigate but also has broad interest for amateur researchers. Crusade for the Vote is a five-year initiative for the Museum. New resources will be added monthly leading to the 100th anniversary of passage of the 19th Amendment.

To learn more about the U.S. women suffrage campaign and the NWHM click here.

 

About the National Women’s History Museum

Founded in 1996, the National Women’s History Museum (NWHM, Inc.) is a nonpartisan, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to educating the general public about the diverse historic contributions of women and raising awareness about the critical need for a national women’s history museum in our nation’s capital. Currently located online at www.nwhm.org, the Museum’s goal is to build a world-class, permanent museum on or near the National Mall that will herald and display the collective history of American women. A Congressional Commission has been established that is charged with producing a feasible plan, which would include the governance, fundraising, location and organizational structure of the museum. For additional information visit NWHM.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Media inquiries:

For press inquiries, please contact Melissa Williams, NWHM communications manager, mwilliams@nwhm.org or 703-416-1920.

 

 

NWHM Chair Susan Whiting On Building a Home for Women’s History

October 14th, 2015

“First, I love the idea of prominently representing the history of American women’s contributions. Second, I’m excited to shape the next stage of an organization using the business experience from my career. I’m also a direct descendant of Susan B. Anthony, so I grew up hearing her story. I feel an obligation to ensure other stories are told as well.”

Read the full article at https://news.denison.edu/2015/10/a-home-for-history/

Celebrating 25 Years of the Women’s History Mobile Museum

October 13th, 2015

Today a “mobile museum” refers to a smart phone app, but in 1990 Jeanne and Robert Schramm introduced a truly mobile women’s history museum in their home town of West Liberty, West Virginia. Their refurbished school bus featured artifacts, documents, and memorabilia from twenty historic women who were among the 19th and 20th century’s most important social reformers and pioneers. The Women’s History Museum bus brought tangible history to schools and audiences across West Virginia and inspired visitors through learning important women’s history and celebrating women’s accomplishments. On December 6, 2008, the Schramms transferred their collection to National Women’s History Museum, which formed the nucleus of NWHM’s collection.

September 2015 marked the 25th anniversary of the Women’s History Museum bus. Those stories about women who made a difference now reach millions of people every year through NWHM’s exhibit space, Facebook page, and on-line exhibits. NWHM’s core, on-line exhibit Pathways to Equality showcases high-resolution images of many of the Schramm’s unique documents, using 21st century technology to engage today’s connected communities. While the Women’s History Museum bus was a mobile museum in its own way, the exhibits and the Schramm’s legacy are now “mobile” for a modern audience.

View all online exhibits >>

Celebrate #NationalArtsAndHumanities Month

October 8th, 2015

October is National Arts & Humanities Month — the nation’s largest annual celebration for the arts and humanities. People across the country will celebrate and explore American culture through activities, events, and sharing social media about their arts & humanities experiences, bringing attention to the contributions of the arts and cultural organizations in local communities. In its 30th year, National Arts & Humanities month will create a focus on culture, encourage participation in cultural events, raise public awareness, and encourage public officials to declare their support for arts and humanities.

The Presidential Proclamation for 2015 declares,
“Every stroke of the brush, stitch of the needle, or moment of the memoir uniquely marks our society and contributes to our national character.  This month, we recognize the ways the arts and humanities have forever changed our country, and we recommit to ensuring every American has the opportunity and the freedom to question, discover, and create.”
National Women’s History Museum encourages people to show their support for arts & humanities by participating in history activities and events with their friends and family members. Share your love of history. Keep our history vibrant.

Read the Proclamation >>