In Her Own Right has been working hard to bring to light stories of women fighting for their rights and the rights of others, but we know can do better–and we need your help! Our collections as they currently stand focus primarily on the perspectives of women who are white and middle or upper class. In order to work towards a more complete record of activist women from 1820-1920, In Her Own Right is searching for “hidden voices”. This NEH-funded portion of our project involves seeking out additional Philadelphia-area collections from beyond the PACSCL sphere that document underrepresented or marginalized populations. In some cases, such records are embedded among the personal papers of men, or the papers of organizations whose connections to these women are not readily apparent.
These “hidden voices” might include:
- Women of color, including indigenous women
- Immigrant women
- Women with disabilities/disabled women, including neurodiverse women and women who struggled with mental health issues
- Women in lower socioeconomic positions
- Criminal women, or women who practiced criminalized professions such as sex work
- LGBT+ women (considering the scope of our time period, this should be understood to include any women who practiced non-normative sexual/romantic relationships or gender presentation)
Repositories where we might find these records could include:
- Churches and religious organizations
- Community organizations
- Small schools and colleges
- Historical societies
As part of our search process, once repositories have been identified, our Project Manager communicates with them and (ideally) arranges a visit to take a look at collections that might fit. We’re happy to include materials via a number of solutions–including digitization if the home repository is comfortable, and a collection description if not. While our initial research has identified some potential candidates, we don’t know what we don’t know! If you have an idea of a collection that may fit, please contact Kat at firstname.lastname@example.org.