Mary and the Devil

Quaker minister Mary Kite was not like most Friends you may have heard of. Kite was born only a few months before well-known Quaker minister Lucretia Mott (Kite in late 1792, Mott at the start of 1793), and like Mott she was an outspoken woman who traveled widely to spread her message. However, in many ways the two were strikingly different. 

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Different Type of Activism: Chloe Cudsworth Littlefield, Private Duty Nurse

The following post was originally published in The Chronicle in Fall 2003. The Bates Center’s collections highlight the boundaries women as nurses crossed as well as the empowerment they created for themselves and for the profession. The basic idea of hiring nurses raised profound anxiety about class systems and private versus public spaces. Philadelphia’s nursing pioneers changed the idea of hiring nurses for quality care both at home and in hospitals. The history of nursing, and of healthcare, demonstrates the intersections of race, economics, and society, particularly in the decades leading to the ratification of the 19th Amendment. 

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Lost in the Archives: Pondering the Lives of White Seamstresses

My work with PACSCL’s grant funded digitization project, In Her Own Right, over the last year has been very rewarding. I worked on several aspects of the project, from scanning materials to transcriptions. The transcriptions of letters of recommendation for the seamstresses who worked at the Schuylkill Arsenal during the Civil War influenced me the most. While working on these transcriptions, I began to think about these women: who were they, how were they able to provide for their families during this time of war, and were black women among the seamstresses?  

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Frederick Douglass Memorial Hospital and Training School: The Origins of Mercy-Douglass Hospital

On the evening of October 31st, 1895, an enthusiastic audience gathered at the Wesley A.M.E Zion Church for the opening ceremonies of the newly established Frederick Douglass Memorial Hospital and Training School. While Philadelphia had a number of medical training schools, most refused to admit people of color. Being excluded from formal medical training, concerned community members gathered to find a way to train African Americans to be able to compete with others and find employment in the medical field. Read on to find out more about how Mercy Douglass Hospital came to be.

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Happy Native American Heritage Month!

As we close out the month of November, In Her Own Right would like to highlight some of the brilliant Native American women who became doctors through the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania: Dr. Susan LaFlesche Picotte and Dr. Lillie Rosa Minoka-Hill. After reading, search for “Womens Medical College of Pennsylvania” on our database site to learn more about the college and the women who attended.

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Halloween Edition: Seances and Suffrage

In honor of Halloween, this week’s post takes a look at Spiritualism, a mid-nineteenth and early-twentieth century movement that aimed to establish communication between the living and the dead through spirit mediums.

Don’t forget to join us at the Free Library tonight to learn more about In Her Own Right and the suffrage movement!

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“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.