New Data for the New Year!


The In Her Own Right project database, hosted at, 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!

From the Drexel University College of Medicine Legacy Center:

Laura Heath Hills scrapbook
This scrapbook, presented in our database as individual mementos, covers the life of Dr. Hills from her entrance to Woman’s Medical College in 1892 to 1949. It includes photographs of medical students in the dissecting room, the chemistry laboratory, the library, etc. and personal photographs of Dr. Hills and her friends. One page of the scrapbook holds individual graduation pictures of the class of 1896. There are also numerous printed materials, among which are certificates of enrollment and completion of various courses, commencement announcements and programs for 1895 and 1896, original poems, personal letters, and newspaper clippings.

Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania Deans’ papers: Clara Marshall; Rachel Bodley; Ann Preston; 1831-1908
This collection includes correspondence, administrative documents, academic materials, and personal papers of three deans of the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania. In addition to portraying their fight for respect as female scientists, the contents address missionary work and the women’s suffrage movement.

Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania speeches
This collection is mainly composed of texts of addresses given by College Presidents, Deans, and faculty to the students on such occasions as commencements and opening sessions. Especially significant in this collection are the Introductory lectures and Commencement addresses from approximately 1850 – 1880, during which time lectures were given by Ann Preston, Hannah Longshore, and Rachel Bodley, as well as male physicians who were instrumental in organizing the College. Topics range from “Women in medicine: her duties and responsibilities” to “The need of common sense in medicine” and “Hygiene as a basis of morals”. A list of all speakers and years of addresses is also available from Drexel.

From the Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College:

Graceanna Lewis correspondence and memoirs of the Underground Railroad
This collection includes the papers and drawings of Graceanna Lewis, a Quaker natural scientist and social reformer. Educated at the Kimberton Boarding School, she also taught at a number of female seminaries, including a boarding school managed by her uncle, Bartholomew Fussell, and the Foster School for Girls at Clifton Springs, N.Y. Of particular interest is her correspondence with a cousin concerning phrenology (the study of the skull to predict mental traits) and also a school for black children in which he was teaching, along with her manuscript memoirs of the Underground Railroad.

Mariana Wright Chapman correspondence
Mariana Wright Chapman was a prominent New York Quaker suffragist. She became involved with the suffrage movement in the mid 1880s, and eventually was named president of the New York State Suffrage Association. In addition to suffrage, she was also actively involved in other social and religious concerns, particularly prison reform, peace, and education. This collection includes correspondence received from 1893-1900 while she was active in suffrage activities in New York State, and includes letters from other famous women’s rights activists such as Antoinette Brown Blackwell and Susan B. Anthony.

Northern Association of the City and County of Philadelphia for the Relief and Employment of Poor Women Records
This Hicksite Quaker women’s charity was organized in 1844 and incorporated in 1856. Its mission was to provide employment in sewing for poor women. In 1849 the Association purchased a house to be used as a store and workroom. The Association was incorporated in 1856, and Lucretia Mott served as president until 1866. The Association went out of existence in 1926. This collection contains legal documents, financial records, membership lists (1849-1872), reports, correspondence, and related papers.

From the Historical Society of Pennsylvania:

Deborah Norris Logan diaries
Deborah Norris Logan (1761-1839) was a Quaker historian and memoirist. She is best known for the seventeen volumes that make up her diary, which she maintained from midlife until her death. The diary provides a window into post-revolutionary America, and highlights the day-to-day happenings of domestic life, as well as social and political developments in North America and Europe. Her writing delineates how women viewed their lives and constructed their own identities within a broader social framework. Watch this page, an in-depth blog post on this collection is coming very soon…

From the Temple University Special Collections Research Center:

Records of the Society to Protect Children from Cruelty
This collection is comprised of reports reflecting the activities of an upper middle class voluntary organization that sought to reform working-class family life. It includes statistics, case studies drawn (and anonymized) from case files, and illustrations. Read more in our blog post about it here.