Loyola University Chicago, MuCuba, and Mizzou Solidarity

Last Thursday, Loyola University Chicago students held a demonstration in solidarity with the protesters at the University of Missouri. The resignation of the former president of the University of Missouri, Tim Wolfe, and Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin, elicited a renewed national fervor for eliminating systems of intolerance from university administration. Loyola’s own protest mirrored similar demonstrations by sympathetic student bodies across the country and aimed to address problems with diversity prevalent on our campus. Protests that occurred at other institutions also voiced their discontent with less than desirable responses to racial insensitivities by university administrators.

Photo source: Chris Walker/Chicago Tribune. Photo url: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-loyola-students-solidarity-protest-met-20151112-story.html

Photo source: Chris Walker/Chicago Tribune. Photo url: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-loyola-students-solidarity-protest-met-20151112-story.html

Recent protests at the University of Missouri and Loyola University Chicago, as well as the larger national Black Lives Matter movement and Concerned Student 1950, led me to think about the similarities between the demands of the student body now, and those of black Mundelein College students in the years following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968. Mundelein College, an all-women’s catholic liberal arts college founded by the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (BVMs) in 1929, proved a progressive stage for the discussion of race and diversity on college campuses in its time. Black Mundelein students effectively mobilized to promote administrative and academic diversity for the black community at the college, resulting in the creation of university programming, committees, and departments that addressed the concerns of black Mundelein students. Mundelein College affiliated with Loyola University Chicago in 1991.

The Mundelein College United Black Association, shortened to “MuCuba,” was a student organization founded by black Mundelein students that emerged in the later 1960’s, but gained significant visibility in the early 1970s. MuCuba strove to create a unified black presence on Mundelein’s campus and worked in many forms to achieve this goal. Throughout its history, MuCuba hosted panels, fashion shows, and an annual celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. that attracted numerous attendees within the Mundelein community as well as interested Chicagoans. MuCuba students advocated for safe spaces to voice their ideas and hold forums for productive discussions of race and diversity on Mundelein College’s campus. Significantly, the association also fought for the inclusion of a Black Studies program into Mundelein’s curriculum to address historically oppressive practices and policies toward black Americans in the United States.

Picture Source: MuCuba Members. 1970 Yearbook, page 18. Mundelein College Collection.

Picture Source: MuCuba Members. 1970 Yearbook, page 18. Mundelein College Collection.

In a forum held on May 15, 1970, MuCuba students presented the Mundelein community and administration a list of demands that addressed the institutionalized racism they saw and experienced as women of color on a largely white campus. MuCuba students gave the president of Mundelein, Sr. Ann Ida Gannon, BVM, and university administrators a ten day deadline to respond. The urgency exhibited by these students exemplified their belief that the administration must hold themselves both personally and professionally accountable for the livelihood of its black student body.

Gannon acted swiftly in response to the demands. According to a letter Gannon wrote a day after the presentation of the demands, the president expressed a hope that Mundelein would fulfill the demands in a manner that could satisfy the protesters and institute a response that had lasting influence for years to come. She wrote, “Your demands indicate that you trust us to respond and I expect us to respond to that trust.” On May 19th, Gannon scheduled a day long assembly of an ad hoc committee to discuss the demands of the black students. Within the deadline, Gannon presented a lengthy response to the demands and recommendations for their effective implementation on Mundelein’s campus. Many of those recommendations became official programs and departments implemented the next semester.

Picture Source: Anne Ida Gannon Letter, Folder F.8.13.a. Mundelein College Collection.Women and Leadership Archives

Picture Source: Anne Ida Gannon Letter, Folder F.8.13.a. Mundelein College Collection.Women and Leadership Archives

The demands and subsequent compromises resulted in the creation and eventual implementation of Mundelein College’s Black Studies program with a faculty interviewed and evaluated by black students. Beginning the fall semester of 1970, the new program aligned with MuCuba’s efforts to create a unified black on-campus culture. Creation of the Black Studies department at Mundelein also displayed an acknowledgement by the faculty that greater attention to problems of diversity on Mundelein’s campus was needed in order to eradicate racism and promote better understanding of the problems of black students on campus. A Human Relations Committee composed of faculty, administration, college staff, and students also emerged as a result of the ad hoc committee assembly held on May 19th. The Committee developed programming to aid the Mundelein community in recognizing personal prejudice and to help students, faculty, and administration better understand the experiences of black students. Furthermore, the demands resulted in a Black Scholarship Fund and a Black Scholarship Fund Committee that raised and dispensed funds for black students that wished to attend Mundelein.

MuCubaDemands01

Document Source: “Demands” Folder F.8.13.a. Mundelein College Collection. Women and Leadership Archives.

Document Source: “Demands” Folder F.8.13.a. Mundelein College Collection. Women and Leadership Archives.

Both of the student bodies, Loyola University Chicago’s now and Mundelein’s in the 1970s, articulated similar goals and used comparable strategies to affect change on their campuses. Like MuCuba, Loyola University Chicago student protesters presented the interim president John P. Pelissero with a list of “concerns” as they relate to the experience of students of color on-campus. Although the list does not appear to be publicly available, a statement by President Pelissero stated that “the Office of Student Development, the Office of the Provost, and Human Resources will collaborate to advance this campus conversation.” Further, he remarked that University leaders will discuss the concerns and continue the dialogue in the coming weeks so that the “momentum” from last week’s demonstration is not lost.

Similarities between Loyola’s current atmosphere of racial protest and the actions of past Mundelein students are unmistakable. Both groups of students, past and present, expressed frustration and unhappiness with the culture of racial intolerance they saw enacted at their institutions. Each set of protesters presented demands to university administration with the expectation of campus leadership listening to their concerns and responding with appropriate action. Mundelein’s successful protests resulted in the creation of programs that endeavored to ease racial tensions and promote thoughtful dialogue about issues of diversity on their campus. Loyola’s present outlook is more uncertain, but I am optimistic the result will be the same.

It is important to place conversations such as these in a historical context. It is also undeniably important to advocate for students to be able to exercise their right for self-expression, especially as it relates to problems of diversity and race on our campus. Knowing that MuCuba successfully advocated for greater attention to their plight on Mundelein’s campus should provide student protesters in the present proper inspiration to continue their fight against racial injustice. Success stories like MuCuba’s will hopefully encourage the Loyola University Chicago protesters to continue to hold the administration accountable for their on-campus experience, and push further for substantive change so that demonstrations will not be so necessary in the future.

 


EllenProfilePicEllen 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.


The Girls Scouts and Patricia Caron Crowley

Patricia Caron Crowley was born in 1913 in Chicago, Illinois. She went to school in the city and was very involved in Girl Scouts. In 1932, the summer after Patricia graduated from high school, she was selected to take part in an International Girl Guide Camp. The camp took place in Enniskerry, Ireland. The trip also included sightseeing in England and France. She was one of only ten girls and three guides from America at the camp. Patricia was chosen on merit. Earlier that year she earned the golden eaglet award, which was the highest Girl Scout Honor.

250 girls attended the camp from Ireland, the British Isles, Canada, Australia, India, Finland, Belgium, France, and the U.S. In an essay found in one of the scrapbooks, Patricia wrote that the girls slept on paillasses stuffed with straw. The girls cooked their own food in large swinging iron pots and they ate sitting on ground sheets with flat boards for tables. Patricia observed that camping in Ireland was different than in America and she greatly enjoyed learning the differences in cultures. After the international camp, Patricia traveled to England and France. In total, Patricia spent six weeks abroad touring as a Girl Scout. Almost two full were spent traveling by boat from and to New York.

Two of the scrapbooks containing memories of Patricia Caron Crowley’s time as a Girl Scout. The brown scrapbook is from her Ireland trip.

Patricia created several scrapbooks detailing her time as a Girl Scout. She dedicated one full scrapbook to her time abroad for the International Girl Guide Camp. Letters, newspaper clippings, telegrams, photographs, ticket stubs, and postcards fill numerous pages. Patricia extensively wrote about the trip in the Ireland scrapbook. From the content of the scrapbook, Patricia kept most everything from her time abroad, including the menus from the ships she took from and to the United States. Her scrapbooks highlight her time abroad as a Girl Scout but the books also have much broader themes about international travel and culture.

Itinerary from Patricia’s international Girl Scout trip

Itinerary from Patricia’s international Girl Scout trip

Page from Ireland scrapbook showing Patricia’s extensive journaling about the trip.

Page from Ireland scrapbook showing Patricia’s extensive journaling about the trip.

Based on photographs and her journaling, Patricia’s Girl Scout experience was quite different from my own but that is what makes her collection so fascinating. I spent a significant amount of my childhood in the Girl Scouts organization. Patricia’s collection is interesting because she was in Girl Scouts during the early years of the organization. From her detailed scrapbooks I can see how Girl Scouts today has changed and adapted to modern times. Like Patricia, I remember camping, singing songs, and learning life skills. However, in my experience, uniforms were less important and were only worn for very special events. Patricia was expected to have several uniform changes for her trip abroad. In her scrapbooks, Patricia noted a religious aspect to the Girl Scout organization. Many guides had religious backgrounds and the participants of the international camp went to hear several religious speakers. As I remember it, religion played no part in my Girl Scouting experience.

Photos from a scrapbook page showing time spent at a Girl Scout camp in the U.S.

Photos from a scrapbook page showing time spent at a Girl Scout camp in the U.S.

The Girl Scouts organization turned 100 in 2012. Patricia experienced a rare trip that very few other American Girl Scouts ever had the chance to take part in. Her dedication and involvement in the organization when she was young highlights why Girl Scouts still exists today. As the organization moves into the future, Patricia’s collection will become more important to show the early years of Girl Scouts. Her scrapbooks highlight not only Girl Scouts but scouting organizations for girls all over the world. As a former Girl Scout, I hope the organization continues to grow and provide opportunities for girls. Of course, I hope those girls remember to keep as thorough a record of their Girl Scout adventures as Patricia Caron Crowley. Years from now, someone like me might be interested in what was on the menu!

 

Patricia, in uniform, on a boat during her international Girl Scout trip in 1932

Patricia, in uniform, on a boat during her international Girl Scout trip in 1932

Me in my brownie uniform

Me in my brownie uniform

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

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.


What’s in a homemaker’s collection?

The Women and Leadership Archives has many strengths in its collections. We have many about women who were leaders in activism and environmental issues, and others from women who dedicated their lives to public service, social justice, education, and the arts. In browsing the archives, it is easy to recognize why the papers of these women were chosen to be preserved, but sometimes you come across collections that are not as obvious.

In scrolling through the collections listed on the WLA website, I found the papers of Agatha Rosetti Hessley. Under her name, it simply said “homemaker.” As a woman raised by a stay-at-home mom, I wholeheartedly believe in the value and importance of these women who devote their lives to their families. However, in this list of women and organizations recognized for their public leadership, I wondered what her collection held that the archivist felt would be useful to researchers.

Agatha Hessley was not a politician. Her collection gives no evidence of her participation in any social activism. She did nothing that made her notably influential to anyone other than her own family and friends. She was not an artist, an educator, or an academic.

Yet, her two boxes sit on a shelf in the archives between those of social justice organizations, alderwomen, and college presidents.

Why?

This question leads me back to the reason women’s archives like the WLA exist in the first place. Because early archives focused on government and military documents, women and other groups left out of the public sphere were not represented in the historical record. Specialized archives were created to preserve the papers that documented the contributions of women and other marginalized groups. Although Agatha Hessley, like many women of her time, did not have a career outside of her home, she still made a valuable contribution to history and the archives.

A letter from Agatha to Rita, found in the Agatha Rosetti Hessley Collection.

A letter from Agatha to Rita Hessley, found in the Agatha Rosetti Hessley Collection.

Agatha Hessley’s collection offers a unique look into a time of transformation in the United States and the world. Her two archival boxes hold the letters that Agatha wrote to her daughter, Rita, between 1970 and 1993. In them, Agatha describes the major life events of her family and her daily routines. She also gives her perspective on historical events such as Watergate, the 1970’s oil crisis, and the Gulf War. As a devout Catholic, Agatha often wrote about the Roman Catholic Church and her observations of the changes that took place after Vatican II. Throughout decades of great conflict and change, Agatha’s letters offer a glimpse into how these changes affected an average American woman.

Although she may be simply labeled as a “homemaker,” Agatha’s letters reveal her to be an engaging writer. Excerpts from her letters, especially those concerning changes in the Roman Catholic Church, were published in a book in 2005 by MaryEllen O’Brien entitled Living in Ordinary Times: The Letters of Agatha Rosetti Hessley.

As time goes on, the collection of Agatha Rosetti Hessley will continue to provide information and inspiration to researchers.

Agatha Hessley and her daughter Rita, 1994

Agatha Hessley and her daughter, Rita, 1994

 


 

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. 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.


Decades of Travel: A Personal Look at the Mollie West Collection

The Polish born immigrant, Mollie Lieber West, came to the United States in 1929 at the age of 13. After graduating from high school, Mollie went on to work for the Farm Equipment Workers of American, an early CIO union. She was a member of the Communist Party from 1935 to 1962. Mollie initially joined the Young Communist League working as a labor organizer. After several years of being forced into underground hiding in the 1950s, she broke ties with the Communist Party in 1962.

Mollie surpassed gender barriers as a member of the Typographical Union. She was the first woman elected to a union office in the Chicago typographical Union, Local 16. In her sixties, Mollie earned a Bachelor’s degree in labor education from Mundelein’s Weekend College. After her retirement from the printing trade in 1987, Mollie worked at the Illinois Labor History Society as the administrative secretary and volunteer. Her time there allowed her to continue to promote education and recognition for labor leaders.

Most of what I knew about Mollie West related to her work for the union. I had read through her biographical information on her finding aid and had also been told a little bit about her. Mollie’s life was rather fascinating but what truly caught my attention were all of the items in her collection at the Women and Leadership Archives that pertained more to her personal life. I came across some of Mollie’s personal items when I was looking for photos to scan for her memorial. What a delightful feeling it was to discover that her collection contains a plethora of information unrelated to the union. Pictures, letters, school papers, and greeting cards are just a few of the materials highlighting Mollie’s personal life. In particular, I relished my time spent sifting through her travel photos. Mollie spent most of her life in Chicago but her photos indicate that she traveled far beyond the borders of the windy city.

As someone who has been fortunate enough to travel abroad, I was instantly interested in Mollie’s travels. She traveled to places decades before I ever set foot on a plane and I only wish I could swap stories with her. I am sure there would have been many things to compare and contrast about our trips. Her photos gave me a glimpse into travel in the Soviet Union in 1940s, Israel in the 1950s, Mexico in the 1960s, England 1970s, China in the 1980s, and Switzerland in the 1990s. From the hairstyles to the clothes to the breathtaking scenery, Mollie’s photos are a visual treat to look through.

Mollie West on the Great Wall of China

Mollie West on the Great Wall of China

Her photo collection raises some broader questions about the history of travel. How easy or difficult was it to travel abroad in the latter half of the twentieth century? How is travel similar and how has it changed over the years? How has tourism changed over the years? These are all questions that at first glance at Mollie’s collection may not seem as though they could be answered. In fact, a researcher may not even look at Mollie’s collection if the researcher is not focused on labor unions. Archives are full of hidden gems of information and resources. Researchers may study the same collection but may use their research in very different ways. Mollie’s collection is full of material relating to her work with the labor movement, however she was a very active individual and her collection reflects that. Pictures, letters, papers, and cards show just how many people Mollie knew and all the activities she was involved with.

Me in Egypt in 2011.

Me in Egypt in 2011

 

 

 

Mollie West in Egypt in 1983

Mollie West in Egypt in 1983

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking through Mollie’s collection, I thought about how I had tried to capture my time traveling abroad. Mollie’s photos seem to indicate that she often traveled with friends and family. There are numerous pictures of her by herself as well as her with the people she presumably traveled with. I on the other hand, took several solo trips so a majority of those photos consist of the landscape, buildings, and other people. I am envious of the plethora of candid photos of Mollie and her traveling companions. These photos are very natural and they give me a better look at how Mollie interacted with the environment and other people when she was not posing for a planned picture.

When Mollie traveled, film was still used, as the numerous negatives in her collection prove. In this day and age there are digital cameras and cameras on phones. Any archival collection of my life in the future would consist of CDs, memory cards, and external hard drives because I rarely print out my photos. I have well intentioned plans to print them out and put them in scrapbooks or albums but the need to do that is not there because I can easily view my photos on my computer. There is something very exciting about holding the actual photograph rather than viewing a scanned image. These were photos Mollie or those she traveled with printed off, looked through, put in albums, or hung up. While the photos I took while traveling are reminiscent of those by Mollie, how we displayed and used them afterwards does differ. Mollie’s collection is the inspiration I need to dedicate some time to printing out physical copies of my travel photographs.

Mollie West handling coins during the Monte Carlo leg of her European trip in 1970.

Mollie West handling coins during the Monte Carlo leg of her European trip in 1970

I admire Mollie’s work in the labor movement but what I find most interesting are the parts of her collection that are strongly connected to her personal life. Mollie was such an influential public figure for the labor movement, that it is nice to see what she was involved in outside of that work. Her pictures show time spent with family and friends and traveling. One of the most fascinating things about Mollie is that she traveled the world well into her older age. I only hope that I have the great fortune to travel far and wide, just like Mollie.

 

Mollie West in Israel in 1959.

Mollie West in Israel in 1959

 


 

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.


Collections Highlight: Mary Therese Langerbeck, BVM., Ph.D.

I took physics my junior year of high school. For me, physics was torture. Before taking the class, I thought that physics was mostly common sense, what goes up must come down and all of those old adages. Gravity was my seventeen year old nemesis; I stumbled around the hallways of my high school sometimes tripping over thin air. The only thing I can actually remember from that class is the fact that we made catapults and trebuchets and launched random objects out of them. We tried to hit unsuspecting victims in the head with ping pong balls and tangerines.  It was a swirl of equations and variables that I could never keep straight. When I wonder what on earth possessed me to take that class, the only thing I remember with clarity are the words my mother told me when I asked her which of the sciences I should take to fulfill my last science credit, “Take physics,” she said, “not enough women take physics.”

What I did not know at the time was how right my mother was. The American Physics Society reports on their website that less that 20 percent of women earn bachelor’s degrees in physics. Furthermore, the amount of women who go on to do post doctorate work in the field, completing scholarly training or mentored research so that they can pursue a career path, is closer to 15 percent. The absence of women in physics, and the STEM disciplines in general, is a problem that the Obama administration has made a point to address; however, there is still a long way to go before there are an equal number of women and men earning higher education degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The WLA is lucky to have a solid representation of women who have made contributions to the fields of science and mathematics, but there is one in my opinion that particularly stands out.

Born July 20th 1902, Sister Mary Therese Langerbeck spent her long life teaching and working in various disciplines within the sciences. Sister Langerbeck began her academic career at Northwestern, where she received her Bachelor’s degree in botany. She received her Master’s in 1945 in astronomy from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and would later go on to receive her Ph. D. in astronomy from Georgetown in 1948. It is mentioned by her colleagues that Sister Langerbeck was the first woman to receive a doctorate from Georgetown University. It is also noted that when she graduated she was the only sister in the entire world to hold a Ph.D. in astrophysics.

Sister Mary Therese Langerbeck teaching Physics to two Mundelein students

Sister Mary Therese Langerbeck teaching Physics to two Mundelein students

Sister Langerbeck spent much of her academic career as the chair of the Physics Department of Mundelein College. She orchestrated the building and implementation of two major scientific instruments on Mundelein’s campus. The first was a Foucault pendulum, a device used to measure the earth’s rotation, built in one of the Mundelein’s elevator shafts in 1938. The Foucault pendulum is a clear visual representation of the Earth moving beneath the pendulum, rather than the pendulum moving on its own. According to a Loyola World article published in 1993, the Mundelein pendulum was the longest of its kind in existence when it was built. The Mundelein pendulum’s accuracy was well known–scientists from all over the city of Chicago and the country used it’s readings for their research. Eventually, the Mundelein pendulum was retired in 1958 when a longer and more modern one was installed at the Chicago Museum of Science and Technology. Sister was also instrumental in building an observatory and telescope for the use of Mundelein’s students.

A student takes notes from the Mundelein pendulum that hung in an empty elevator shaft Mundelein College. 1938.

A student takes notes from the Mundelein pendulum that hung in an empty elevator shaft Mundelein College. 1938.

In the later years of her career, from 1971 until her retirement in 1977, Sister taught as a visiting professor of physics and mathematics at Livingstone College in North Carolina. She died at the age of ninety-one in 1993 of a heart problem, and was buried in the BVM Cemetery in Dubuque, Iowa. Sister Langerbeck is memorable not only for her own scientific accomplishments, but because she fought for the place of women in the sciences. In 1945, she published an article entitled, Some Reasons why Physics is Elected by So Few Freshman Students; Suggested Remedial Measures., one of Sister Langerbeck’s findings concluded that 52 percent of the women she questioned felt they would not be welcome in those fields if they expressed an interest in pursuing a career. Unfortunately, 70 years after her article was published, the same feelings of exclusion for women in the sciences persist. However, rather than feeling depressed by this statistic, I choose to feel hopeful that there are more teachers and mentors out there like Sister Langerbeck to inspire young girls to pursue their talents and skills in male-dominated fields, and kick butt doing it.

Feature on Sister Langerbeck, published in BVM Vista December 1959. The picture used for the article shows Sister in the physics laboratory on Mundelein’s campus.

Feature on Sister Langerbeck, published in BVM Vista December 1959. The picture used for the article shows Sister in the physics laboratory on Mundelein’s campus.


 

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.


Collections Highlight: Joan Heath Fortner

Born in 1932 to Mr. and Mrs. Norbert A Heath, Joan Heath Fortner was active for years in Chicagoland art organizations. An alumna of The Immaculata High School (1950), Mundelein College (1954, BFA), the New York Fashion Academy (1955), and Loyola University (1979, M.A. in Education) Fortner always enjoyed art and sought to pursue it as a career.

An outfit designed by Joan Heath Fortner at age 16, 1948

An outfit designed by Joan Heath Fortner at age 16, 1948

From a young age, Fortner was extremely passionate about art and fashion. She became the youngest person to win the Chicago Tribune American Fashions Competition and would go on to win the competition for five consecutive years.

Tribune Style Show Finalists Article, 1950

American Fashions Competition Article from the Chicago Tribune, 1950

In addition to this award, she was the 1950 recipient of the Bishop O’Brien scholarship to the Art Institute in Chicago. In 1953 she won a second scholarship to the New York Fashion Academy for a design she submitted to a contest by the Evans Fur Company.

Sketch

Design sketch by Joan Heath Fortner showing fine attention to detail.

Sketch

Design sketch by Joan Heath Fortner. The contrasting use of light and dark colors displays the distinct characteristics of her work.

Sketch

Design sketch by Joan Heath Fortner.

While living in New York, Joan Heath met her husband, Gene Fortner. Following their marriage, the couple lived in New York for four years where she worked as a dress designer before returning to Chicago. While raising three kids, Fortner obtained a Masters in Education from Loyola University Chicago in 1979. Upon receiving her M.A., Fortner became an Art Education Teacher at Mather High School and also worked with District 63 in Niles, Glenview, and Des Plaines.

Article highlighting Fortner's achievements, 1981.

Article highlighting Fortner’s achievements, 1981.

During her lifetime, Fortner has been involved in many art organizations in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs. Most recently, she served as the Vice President of the Des Plaines Art Guild and the executive director of Art Cubes, a nonprofit art service organization funded by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and the Illinois Arts Council that brings the arts to older adults.

Due to her dedication to her work, Fortner has won many awards and today she is still extremely active in her community. Along with teaching art classes, she is currently working on watercolor and acrylic paintings.

An article highlighting an exhibit of Fortner's work, n.d.

An article highlighting an exhibit of Fortner’s work, n.d.

The Joan Heath Fortner Papers at the Women and Leadership Archives consist of 1.5 linear feet of material spanning the years 1948-1981. The Women and Leadership Archives has a substantial number of other collections that focus on women artists, for a complete list see our website.

Original research for this post was done by WLA intern Sebastian Villa during the Fall of 2012.


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.


Graduation Time at Loyola and the WLA

Graduations have been in high swing here at Loyola University Chicago this past week. There are still a few more to come before the ceremonies wrap up. This is my third May at Loyola and I’ve decided graduation time is one of my favorite things. The campus is full of happy people who appear in waves during times of the morning and afternoon graduations. All over campus there are the graduates in caps and gowns, some carrying flowers. Family members and friends take pictures of the grad by the lake or other iconic locations around campus, by Piper Hall, where the WLA is located. The aura is one of happiness, excitement, and just plain fun. Even during light rain and gray skies that inevitably appears one or two of the days, the mood still feels jubilant, albeit a bit soggy.

What do my warm fuzzy graduation feelings have to do with an archives blog? Good question. First, the WLA holds the records of Mundelein College and, as you might imagine, the collection has many graduation pictures. Some of which are available here: http://content.library.luc.edu/cdm/landingpage/collection/coll14 I imagine graduations at Mundelein also had the same sense of accomplishment and happiness. Closing my eyes, I see happy groups of graduates and family members, caps and gowns, and flowers everywhere.

Second, the WLA is staffed by Graduate Assistants (GAs) from Loyola’s Public History Program. The program is two years long and they end up with, hopefully, jobs in the public history field. It’s a lovely time for the graduating GA, although it can be stressful, depending on if there is a job to go to. I’m always happy to see a student succeed, graduate, and move on in a positive way

The flip side is that it is a mixed bag for the WLA and me. The WLA experiences turn-over every year as one or two GAs graduate. I’ve come to know, depend on, and honestly, become quite fond of the graduating GA. In a former position, I also had student staff and am very familiar with the cycle of student workers. They come, they work hard, they graduate, and they leave.

I confess, though, the cycle hasn’t become easier as the years roll on. I’m beginning to think just the opposite. The older I get, the more sentimental I become. Perhaps it’s because I have a child and the years fly by, giving me a heightened sense of time passing. I don’t know, really. All I know is I miss each one who leaves and feel a sense of sadness when I come to work and they are not there.

A friend of mine jokes that this is one of the times the chorus from the song “Sunrise, Sunset” from the musical Fiddler on the Roof comes into the brain! She’s right. While I don’t know the students as children, I get to know them for one or two very formative years. I end up becoming close to each one, hearing about their lives and sometimes their struggles. In addition, I see them succeed, grow, and move on in a positive way.

This year, two WLA GAs graduated on May 5th: Mollie Fullerton and Jenny Pederson. Mollie began as a volunteer and then worked as a GA this last academic year. Jenny’s been with the WLA two years as a GA. Both will be sorely missed: Jenny for her great good humor and kindness; and Mollie for her sensitive ability to see truth in situations. Both are creative and intelligent with wonderful senses of humor. I wish them both all the luck and good fortune in the future.

WLA graduate students Jenny Pederson and Mollie Fullerton photographed in Piper Hall, 1st. Floor.  Photo taken by GA Caroline Lynd, who graduates in May 2016.

Jenny and MollieR

 

Nancy 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.

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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.


Collections Highlight: Carol Ronen

Born in Chicago on March 28, 1945, Carol Ronen has devoted much of her life to public service in Illinois. In 1967 Ronen graduated from Bradley University in Peoria, IL with a Bachelors of Arts in Political Science and went on to earn her Master’s in Public Administration at Roosevelt University in 1979.

Carol Ronen's Masters in Public Administration Diploma, 1979.

Carol Ronen’s Masters in Public Administration Diploma, 1979.

Throughout her career, Ronen was highly recognized as a progressive public servant who advocated the causes of women, early childhood education, health care, violence prevention, and human rights.

In Chicago, Ronen served as the Director of Research and Evaluation for the Chicago-Cook County Criminal Justice Commission as well as Director of Legislative and Community Affairs for the Chicago Department of Human Services. In 1989, she became the Executive Director of the Chicago Commission on Women where she created and facilitated programs that advocated for issues such as domestic abuse and welfare reform.

An article outlining Ronen's goals for the Chicago Commission on Women, 1989.

An article outlining Ronen’s goals for the Chicago Commission on Women, 1989.

Carol Ronen served seven years in the Illinois State House of Representatives for the 17th District from 1993-2000. In 2000 she was appointed to the Illinois State Senate for District 7 after the resignation of her predecessor, Arthur Berman.

Carol Ronen for State Representative Rally, n.d.

Carol Ronen for State Representative Rally, n.d.

Elections Certificate, 2000.

State Senate Elections Certificate, 2000.

In the Illinois legislature, Ronen was a major advocate for LGBTQ rights. Ronen was a strong opponent of S.B. 1773, which sought to only recognize heterosexual marriage in the state, when it was proposed in 1996. Additionally, she was the lead sponsor of the Illinois Human Rights Act (2005), which protects Illinois residents from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Passing this bill took over a decade of work and, according to Ronen herself, “fulfills a personal commitment I made when I first ran for office – to extend equal protection to Illinois gay, lesbian and trans-gendered citizens.” At the time this Act was passed, there were only four other states that had adopted such sweeping protections.

Part of a speech given by Carol Ronen in opposition to S.B. 1773, which would have allowed only heterosexual marriage to be recognized in IL.

Part of a speech given by Carol Ronen in opposition to S.B. 1773, which would have allowed only heterosexual marriage to be recognized in IL.

Ronen was also a strong supporter of the Equal Pay Act, which increased the number of women covered by equal pay protections, and was a driving force behind increasing the Illinois minimum wage.

In October 2007, she announced that she would be resigning as District 7 State Senator and would not complete her term. She officially stepped down on February 10, 2008, and was succeeded in office by Heather Stearns.

Carol Ronen in the State Senate, n.d.

Carol Ronen in the State Senate, n.d.

The Carol Ronen Papers at the Women and Leadership Archives consist of 2 linear feet of materials and document the years 1952-2009. Additional papers at the WLA of women involved in politics include the Carolyn Farrell Papers, the Sheli Lulkin Papers, the Mary Ann Smith Papers, the Marion Volini Papers, and the Carol Mosley Braun Papers (currently unavailable for research).

Original research for this post was done by WLA intern Sebastian Villa during the Fall of 2012.


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.


Collections Highlight: 8th Day Center for Social Justice

Founded in 1974 by six Catholic organizations located in Chicago Illinois, the organization the 8th Day Center for Justice is an inter-faith coalition that strives to do social justice work that impacts Chicago and the surrounding communities.

Founding Members of 8th Day holding a staff meeting, 1975

Founding Members of 8th Day holding a staff meeting, 1975

For nearly 40 years the organization has made a difference in the lives of hundreds of Chicagoans, many of them women. In their efforts to help women, they have broadly invested in issues such as education, war, universal human rights, poverty, and homelessness. Drawing from firm and long-held religious beliefs, the organization’s activism is peaceful and concentrates on consciousness raising, community organizing, workshops, and lobbying.

Urban Plunge Participants, 1983

Urban Plunge Participants, 1983

The Urban Plunge, one of the organizations longest running programs has occurred annually since 1977. This Easter Week event is a weeklong faith-based immersion program in which participants engage with the city of Chicago through exploring its spaces and meeting local community and religious leaders and organizations actively making an impact. Formulated to encourage participants to analyze their surroundings and utilize their talents, the tour creates a space for participants to brainstorm solutions for the problems and challenges facing contemporary society.

Good Friday Walk for Justice, 1982

Good Friday Walk for Justice, 1982

In 1981, 8th Day Center began an annual event called the Good Friday Walk for Justice, to draw attention to contemporary social justice issues concerning racial, economic, and legal inequalities. Themes of the walk are different every year and generally have a historic or religious significance. The event leads participants to five different locations positioned to create a cross in downtown Chicago. Led by a coalition of social justice and faith organizations with prayer and reflection built into the script, the event encourages individuals to act and provide voice for those who are unable to speak.

From their general events such as the Urban Plunge and Good Friday Walk for Justice to participation in national movements such as the Sanctuary Movement and advocating for the Equal Rights Amendment, 8th Day contributed to debates not just on local issues and topic, but national and international ones as well. The organization has specifically explored the conditions of women in Asia. Within the United States, they have commented on issues of discrimination, employment, violence, and women’s ordination.

LauraLaura Peace is a 2014 graduate of the MA in Public History Program at Loyola University Chicago and a former WLA Graduate Assistant.

 

 


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.


Collections Highlight: Homemakers’ Equal Rights Association

HERA began in 1973 as an Illinois organization comprised of homemakers in support of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), a constitutional amendment originally proposed in 1923 that would give women equal protection under the law. Reintroduced and passed by Congress in 1972, the amendment then went on to the states for ratification. The name of the organization, originally Housewives for the Equal Rights Amendment, was consciously chosen as a reaction against the argument made by some that the ERA threatened homemakers. Advocating for the measure both within their communities and on the state level, HERA soon grew to a national organization with chapters across the country.

Although all HERA members self-identified as homemakers, participants had a range of backgrounds and educational, volunteer, and professional experiences. The majority belonged to other national or community organizations where they held positions as secretaries, presidents, and vice-presidents.

In the early years of the organization, much of HERA’s literature emphasized that the ERA would encourage the restructuring of marriage into a full and equal partnership, where each partner shared the rights, responsibilities, joys, and burdens of raising a family. In a Housewives for ERA newsletter written in the spring of 1978, the writer emphasizes that the pro-ERA movement is “decidedly pro-family, and we are tired of being told otherwise.”

HERA bumper sticker in support of the ERA

HERA bumper sticker in support of the ERA

In 1979 HERA change its name from Homemakers for Equal Rights Amendment to the Homemakers’ Equal Rights Association and the organization shifted its focus beyond the Equal Rights Amendment and began advocating for the legal rights and full recognition of homemakers.

HERA members with IL Governor James Thompson, May 1982.

HERA members with IL Governor James Thompson, May 1982.

HERA coordinators and members often faced a great deal of criticism from those who derogatorily considered it a feminist organization. A hot topic at the time, the designation as feminist was accepted by some members and strongly rejected by others. Regardless of whether they considered themselves feminists or not, however, members understood their efforts as contributing to a national movement.

Following the defeat of the ERA in 1982, there was vocal concern about the future of HERA and if the organization still had a purpose. HERA began to recast itself as a professional organization for homemakers, an association with goals to lobby in the interest of homemakers and their families. Acknowledging the changing purpose and goals of the organization, in 1984 the name changed once again—though the acronym HERA was retained—to Home, Equality, Rights, and Access.  Ultimately, however, HERA was not able to survive of defeat of the ERA and the organization dissolved several years later.

Graphic from a publication “Women Vote: Citizen Action Kit for People of Faith,” 1984

Graphic from a publication “Women Vote: Citizen Action Kit for People of Faith,” 1984

The Homemaker’s Equal Rights Association Records at the Women and Leadership Archives consist of 2.75 linear feet of materials spanning the years 1971-1987.  Also see the Beth Brinkman Cianci Papers. Cianci served as a national board member for HERA from 1979-1983.

LauraLaura Peace is a 2014 graduate of the MA in Public History Program at Loyola University Chicago and a former WLA Graduate Assistant.

 

 


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.