Friday Feature: new display “Woman Citizen: Past, Present, & Future”

New display on the 5th floor of the Valley Library

In honor of women’s history month, we celebrate both student work and the history of women in Oregon in a new display on the 5th floor of the Valley Library.

“Woman Citizen: Past, Present, & Future,” curated by Chloe Tull and Matthew Gaddis (both students in a fall 2012 “Women and Politics in American History” class), focuses on the research process and experiences, with descriptions of the projects, quotes from classmates, and pictures of their time in the Special Collections & Archives reading room.

Work on his class began in the summer of 2012, when Professor Marisa Chappell and Archivist Tiah Edmunson-Morton started talking about two events happening the following fall, both of which directly involved women, history, and Oregon.

The first was “Woman Citizen: Past, Present, and Future,” a series of events to commemorate the centennial of woman suffrage in Oregon (1912-2012) by fostering education and discussion about women’s history and the gendered dimensions of citizenship, and also by encouraging civic and political engagement at OSU and in the Corvallis/Benton County community.

The second was a “Women and Politics in American History” course. This special topics course was a part of the Woman Citizen Project and gave students the opportunity to employ the skills they have learned in their other history courses to complete an original research project, with the goal of creating lessons on women’s history to bring into local schools. Their major product was an original historical interpretation in the form of a history curriculum for high school students. Each student chose one of three topics in twentieth century United States political history: women’s peace movement, women’s suffrage, and Title IX. They read historical scholarship on that topic and conducted research in primary historical documents. While there are materials pertaining to Ava Helen Pauling’s peace activism in the “Ava Helen and Linus Pauling Papers” housed at the OSU Special Collections & Archives Research Center (SCARC), Professor Chappell knew that there were two collections at the University of Oregon and Oregon Historical Society that offered exciting research experiences for the other two topics. We arranged to borrow portions of the Abigail Scott Duniway Collection for those researching Suffrage activity in Oregon (UO) and the Edith Green Papers for those researching gender equality and Title IX (OHS). While all three groups produced lessons, only the “Women’s Suffrage: In Oregon and Beyond” group presented theirs.

We know that working with historical materials creates a learning experience that is both relevant and meaningful for students; it also allows students to develop a critical and comprehensive understanding of history in a way they may not have experienced before. Both of these have a direct positive impact on student learning. This display celebrates that work and encourages others to dive in, open some boxes, and share what they’ve learned!

Want to see more pictures of students in the Special Collections & Archives doing their fabulous research work? Check out the Flickr set “Fall 2012: students in the archives!”

Want to read about some of the special women who have made an impact on our life here at OSU? We have a plethora of blog posts just for you

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