When the In Her Own Right project team started planning our second Metadata Enhancement Event, we thought we’d be sitting together in a computer lab on Drexel’s campus. And if you’re asking volunteers to help you, you gotta offer them pizza.
But when the specter of COVID-19 loomed before us, we knew we had to move our event online. Luckily, the PACSCL community rallied around us, and the event far exceeded our expectations.
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
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
Small schools and colleges
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 email@example.com.
“Designing for Suffrage” The PACSCL In Her Own Right Project and Craft Activity October 30, 2019, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. Free Library of Philadelphia, Parkway Central, 1901 Vine Street
By design, many of the large-scale woman suffrage events had their own “brand” — white dresses, sashes, rosettes, and pins. Much of the printed material also showcased the sophisticated graphic design skills of the organizers.
PACSCL’s In Her Own Right project gives you a window into this important women’s movement, with a display of original documents and facsimiles featuring these distinctive design elements. You also have an opportunity to make your own suffrage button, customizing the designs shown above and others — or making your own entirely.
While you’re at the In Her Own Right display, learn more about the project and the century of women’s activism that preceded the ratification of the 19th Amendment, by searching and browsing the project’s growing online collection of manuscripts, diaries, photographs, printed material and other resources.
And be sure to spend time at the more than 20 other displays, activities, and “turbo talks” from other institutions, many of them PACSCL members, that look at design both in and for Philadelphia-area archival repositories. The Design in the Archives evening is a signature event of Archives Month Philly, an annual celebration of Philadelphia-area archives.
To learn more about PACSCL’s In Her Own Right project, visit the project website or search/browse the online archive.
On August 6th, 2019, In Her Own Right conducted a working group at the Society of American Archivists annual conference, this year held in Austin, TX. The purpose of the working group was to tease out the many issues involved in documenting women’s history outside mainstream archives, and to attempt to identify best practices for engaging with non-archival communities, their stewards (archivist or layperson), and their records. The resulting conclusions will inform the work of the project as it expands its reach in the NEH phase.
Earlier this spring, In Her Own Right (InHOR) presented at the 116th Annual Conference of Middle States Council for the Social Studies in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. Together with Mariam Williams from our sister project, “Chronicling Resistance, Enabling Resistance,” I spoke to Social Studies educators from high schools and the higher education field about the resources that can be accessed through both PACSCL projects. The conference turnout was high even with the inclement weather, and there were many opportunities for great conversation about teaching the history of women’s rights activism and resistance movements, using archival collections.
The project team for In Her Own Right is proud to announce that we have been awarded a Humanities Collections and Reference Resources (HCRR) program implementation grant from the National Endowment of the Humanities (NEH). This upcoming NEH-funded phase of the project, scheduled to run from May 2019 through April 2021, will result in the digitization of another 48,000 pages of manuscript and archival material from the collections of twelve Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries (PACSCL) members and two additional repositories. It will make possible a site redesign for the project database website (originally created during our pilot stage with funding from an earlier NEH planning grant), including enhancements such as new online exhibits, contextual essays, and data analysis tools. Importantly, it will also provide resources for an exploration of additional repositories in order to reveal and digitize hidden collections specifically representing the activist efforts of marginalized women.
See the announcement on the PACSCL website for further details and to hear what the principal investigators on the project have to say about the news. We’re thrilled to be able to bring more content and better representation to In Her Own Right!
The In Her Own Right project database, hosted at inherownright.org, is proud to present the fruits of our first harvest to the public. Our record count is now over 1000, but rest assured the focus is on quality over quantity. The new data includes photographs, letters, diaries, school records, and much more. Read a bit about each new collection below, and stay tuned–a website redesign is in our future!
In Her Own Right has received valuable contributions from many people throughout the course of the project. Here, we’d like to introduce the Project Team for the CLIR-funded phase; a cross-institution coalition who are thrilled to expand the content and capabilities of the InHOR database.
The InHOR project team will host a “bootcamp” training session from 9am-1pm at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania this coming Monday, July 9th, to onboard contributing institutions. Although the bootcamp is targeted at institutions participating in InHOR, any and all staff of PACSCL members are welcome to attend. The bootcamp will cover project content, context, and technical specifications. Those specifications and other project documentation may be found on this site’s documentation page. The bootcamp will also provide a more general introduction to standards and workflows for digitization, and will allow time for questions and comments.
If you’ve registered, check your email for a basic agenda! We look forward to seeing you soon.