News & Updates

Women's Equality Day 2015

From left: Ruth VanStee, Jennifer Bryant, Susan Coombes, Sharon Hanks

According to the National Women's Project, at the behest of Rep. Bella Abzug (D-NY), in 1971 the U.S. Congress designated August 26 as “Women’s Equality Day.” The date was selected to commemorate the 1920 passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, granting women the right to vote. This historic event was the culmination of a massive, peaceful civil rights movement by women that had its formal beginnings in 1848 at the world’s first women’s rights convention, in Seneca Falls, New York. The observance of Women’s Equality Day not only commemorates the passage of the 19th Amendment, but . . .

Local Women in the news 100 years ago this Summer

It was announced in the Grand Rapids Herald on July 2, 1915, that the Boy Scout camp at Port Sheldon had opened two one-week sessions for the Girl Scouts, accommodating 50 girls in each session.   The Girl Scout weeks would be under the direction of Edith Dykema. 

A follow up article in September 1915 featured pictures and a report on the success of the girls camp, saying "The two weeks' work and fun indeed proved to be so successful and the lessons learned so effective, pleasant and valuable, that the scouts and leaders were loath to leave."

Days were spent in "scout craft,"  . . .

Cartoonists in Grand Rapids Exhibit

Gert Van Houten with one of her cartoon characters as a figurine.

As Drew Damron, an employee of the Grand Rapids Public Library, working in the local history department and a cartoonist himself, planned a display of early, local cartoonists, he found most of their work in the archives, particularly in the Art and Graphics Collection (#224).  One cartoonist in particular caught his eye--a woman by the name of Gertrude Van Houten.  Intrigued, he began an extensive search for her work and life story.  

He found most of her work in The Grand Rapids Press from 1918 into the 1920s and then in the The Chronicle, owned by George Welsh. She became known to Grand Rapids' residents only as "Gert."  Later in the 1920s, she worked as an illustrator for local retail advertisers.

2015 Michigan Women's Hall of Fame Inductees Announced

2015 MWHOF Inductees. Respresenting W. MI., Linda M. Woods, MSW, from Traverse City, MI (bottom row on right).

The 32nd Michigan Women's Hall of Fame Awards Dinner & Induction Ceremony will take place on Thursday, October 29, at the Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center (55 S. Harrison Rd., East Lansing). The ceremony begins with a reception at 5 p.m., dinner at 6 p.m., and the awards presentation at 7 p.m. Reservations are $135 for members or $150 for non-members (and include a one-year membership) and can be made online at or by calling 517-484-1880 x203 . . . .