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Conference Summaries: Observing the Schlesinger's 60th

The Schlesinger Library observed its 60th anniversary with two conferences: "Currents in Collecting: Documenting Underrepresented Communities" and "Gender, Race, and Rights in African-American Women's History," held respectively on Thursday, October 2, and Friday, October 3.

"Currents in Collecting" convened a panel of archivists, curators, librarians, and cultural collection administrators who assessed approaches to improving the documentation of minority communities.

Conference panelists and commentators included:

  • Brenda Banks, director, Georgia Archives;
  • Karen Jefferson, head of archives and special collections, Atlanta University Center;
  • Joan D. Krizack, university archivist and head of special collections, Northeastern University;
  • Susan McElrath, archivist, National Anthropological Archives in the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History;
  • Felix V. Matos Rodriguez, director, Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueños, Hunter College; and
  • Kathleen Roe, chief of archival services, New York State Archives.

"Gender, Race, and Rights in African-American Women's History" convened some of the nation's most prominent scholars, who presented their work and discussed the ways that the study of US women's history overall has been shaped by the conjunction of gender and race. Among the participants were:

  • Darlene Clark Hine, professor of American history, Michigan State University;
  • Gerda Lerner, professor emerita, University of Wisconsin, and author of Why History Matters and Fireweed: A Political Autobiography;
  • Nell Irvin Painter, professor of American history, Princeton University, and former director, Princeton's Program in African American Studies; and
  • Deborah Gray White, distinguished professor of history, Rutgers University, and author of Ar'n't I a Woman?: Female Slaves in the Antebellum South.

The two conferences reflected the complex role played by the Schlesinger in the field of women's history. It is the largest specialized library on women's history in the United States; a major repository for women's manuscripts and papers; an archive for numerous women's organizations; and a source of scholarship that reflects the new priorities of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.

The library had its genesis in Radcliffe alumna Maud Wood Park's 1943 donation of materials—cumulatively known as the Woman's Rights Collection—that document the women's suffrage movement from 1848 to 1920. The library is named in honor of Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger for their dedication to women's history.

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Last modified on Monday, November 17, 2003.