In the Community and Beyond
Link to information about previous GGRWHC programs and news here.
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Women's Equality Day Celebration: August 24, 2017
Grand Rapids Art Museum, 101 Monroe Center NW, Grand Rapids MI 49503
On August 26, 1920, women in the United States won the right to vote with the ratification of the 19th Amendment. Women’s Equality Day is celebrated each year on August 26 to commemorate the passage of the 19th Amendment and to call attention to women’s continuing efforts toward full equality.
Celebrate with women throughout the nation as the GGRWHC celebrates Equality Day. This year we will distribute information on Thursday, August 24, 2017, two days before the official event (Saturday, August 26). Visit our table on the patio of the Grand Rapids Art Museum from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm to talk about the day and leaders of the local movement beginning in the early 1870s!
Sharing the GGRWHC space for the Equality Day Celebration will be a Grand Rapids group of League of Women Voters members who are seeking to re-establish the work of the LWV in Grand Rapids. Click here to learn more about the work of the League.
Learn more about the work of the LWV throughout Michigan here.
FINDING MINNIE R. MICKEL
Rescued from a 21st-century garage sale by Richard Harms, this photo was identified as his wife Joan's great-grandmother. Family had so thoroughly forgotten this divorced and remarried woman that they guessed at her name as "Grace Kelly Freehouse." The search for her personal history and actual name--Minnie R. Mickel--illustrates how easily women have been lost to the past and how difficult it can be to find them again. When Minnie posed for her photo as a suffragist, probably between 1912 and 1914, little did she know how long a life it would have in the world--or that it would become an iconic image of the suffrage effort in Grand Rapids, Michigan!
Hollyhock Lane: Tuesday, July 4, 2017, 8:00 A.M.
Before the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment granting full suffrage to women in 1920, public demonstrations demanding the vote included parading. This year on Tuesday, July 4, the GGRWHC honored the 72-year women's rights movement beginning in 1848 by marching the annual Hollyhock Lane Parade. More . . .
PRESENTED IN EARLY JUNE
Midwestern History Conference: Finding the Lost Region
GVSU Hauenstein Center, Grand Valley State University
The Midwestern History Association is dedicated to rebuilding a field neglected in recent decades and for the third time gathered specialists at GVSU, when the Greater Grand Rapids Women’s History Council introduced a little-known adjunct to the Council of National Defense. The CND’s Woman’s Committee was organized in 1917 when the U.S. entered the Great War and was charged with organizing the nation’s women for the war effort.
Greater Grand Rapids Women's History Council
Annual Reception and Program Held on March 29, 2017
Before and Beyond the Bricks and Mortar:
The 1908 Blodgett Home for Children and the Programs It Has Housed
Presented by: Cindy Laug & Diana Barrett
ICCF Assembly Hall (the former Blodgett Home for Children)
920 Cherry Street SE
Learn more about the program in this interview with WGVU's Shelley Irwin: Link to it here.
On Wednesday, March 29, members of the Greater Grand Rapids Women's History Council walked through the Corinthian columns of the most significant building in Fairmount Square for GGRWHC’s celebration of Women’s History Month 2017. A reception and brief annual meeting preceded a program honoring nineteenth-century women who organized the children’s programs behind the 1908 construction of the D. A. Blodgett Home for Children—currently the ICCF and the host building for the meeting. New board members, Michelle DeRose and Melissa Fox were welcomed.
Beginning with the identification of the needs of orphaned children in 1887, Cindy Laug presented an early history of nineteenth-century children’s aid groups into the twentieth century. In 1908 the Children's Home Society moved into the building we know on Cherry Street, courtesy of Delos Blodgett.
Diana Barrett shared the story of the Mary Free Bed Guild which used a portion of the building for the rehabilitation of children during the polio epidemic of the 1940s and mid-'50s. By 1948, Mary Free Bed owned the entire buiilding and remained there until it moved to its present site in 1976. As the need for its use declined, the building fell into disrepair and demolition was recommended. The building was restored by the ICCF in 2006.
A series of photos were shown of the space in which the GGRWHC meeting was held as it had appeared when filled with children in wheel chairs, resting on rolling beds, wearing braces and celebrating holidays and birthdays. Diana followed the history of the space through its decline and into its current and outstanding restoration.
Appropriately, the GGRWHC event offered an opportunity to toast the recent 125th anniversary of the Mary Free Bed Guild. It was represented by Julie Ridenour, former chair of the Guild. The Guild's founding and current members were inducted into the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame in 2016.
Mary Free Bed Guild members attend the October 19 Michigan Women's Hall of Fame Award Dinner at which the Guild was recognized. More here.
The Mary Free Bed Guild was featured at the GGRWHC March 29, 2017 Annual Reception and Program.