Sunday, June 8, 2014

Mass History Conference

This is the first time I have attended this conference. The theme "Never Done!: Interpreting the History of Women at Work in Massachusetts" and the keynote speaker (Laurel Thatcher Ulrich) intrigued me. I had a great time.

I ended up going out the night before and staying at a bed and breakfast outside Worcester. The room was perfect for me--loved the sports theme! Fittingly, I was in Room 23.

The conference was at Holy Cross College. I have been there before for another conference and it is absolutely beautiful.
There were enough attendees to mostly fill the ballroom, but it wasn't too crowded or too many people.

I was there pretty early and had a chance to meet people. These wonderful ladies are city archivists in Gloucester and gave me some good ideas for future research in medicine related to my thesis. It was so fun talking with them as we waited for the program to being. I also met Marla Miller (author of Rebecca Dickinson: Independence for a New England Woman as well as a book about Betsy Ross) and a few others.

 Laurel was the opening speaker and used a quilt from the 1880s and a board game from the 1950s about the "electronic house" (electric washer, dishwasher, etc.) to compare how women's work has changed (or not) over the past 150 years. It was wonderful.

One of the sessions I attended was a panel of women from 5 archives in New England that have excellent women's studies collections: Schlesinger Library (Radcliffe/Harvard), National Archives in Boston, American Antiquarian Society, Harvard Business School (Baker), & Sophia Smith Collection (Smith College). I have heard about all of these before (and been to 3 of them), but it was nice to get new ideas about how to use them. And as I was following up with the women from NARA, I found new leads about Levi Savage's claims for Indian depredation. The panelist gave me the phone # of a colleague that is the go-to resource for anything related to Indians and Congressional records. I am going to pull together what I have and then email her.

I also attended a readers theater about women, illness and death in the mid 1800s and early 1900s. It was amazing. I had never though of reader's theaters as a way to share history, but it certainly grabbed my attention.

Wonderful day!

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