In the Community and Beyond
HISTORY DETECTIVES 2017 - Celebrating 10 Years of an Award Winning History Detectives Program that Explores Unique
Stories from Grand Rapids' Past
Saturday, January 28, at the Grand Rapids Public Library, 111 Library NE, Grand Rapids 49503 (9:30 - 4:00)
BEGIN THE DAY AT 9:30 A.M. - Representing the GGRWHC will be Janet Sjaarda Sheeres:
PRESENT, BUT NOT COUNTED: DUTCH IMMIGRANT MIDWIVES IN GRAND RAPIDS: JANET SJAARDA SHEERES
While the stories of male physicians are adequately represented in the medical histories of Michigan, accounts of female midwives have been woefully neglected. And what histories of early American immigrants ever ask, “Who delivered the babies”? Adding to her body of work on invisible Dutch women, Janet Sjaarda Sheeres has uncovered ten midwives working in late-nineteenth and early-twentieth-century Grand Rapids and thirty more in other Dutch colonies. She will address why these women chose work delivering babies; who their clients were; what hardships they faced; and why they are not in our histories. Sheeres’s findings also shed light on the midwives serving other ethnic communities and why they have been sidelined in early historical and census records.
Janet Sjaarda Sheeres is an independent scholar, genealogist, and freelance author who researches and writes on the subject of family, church, and Dutch emigration/immigration history. For years she has been researching Dutch women and their occupations in both the Netherlands and in their new homeland, the United States. Born in the Netherlands, Sheeres speaks fluent Dutch, has visited many of the major Dutch genealogical libraries and archives, and has used the Family History Library in Salt Lake City over a dozen times. Since she began writing about thirty years ago she has published over 70 articles in various national and international historical and genealogical journals. Her biography, Son of Secession: Douwe J. Vander Werp, was published by Eerdmans in 2006. The Not-So Promised Paradise: The Dutch Colony in Amelia, Virginia 1868-1880 was published by Eerdmans in 2013, and The 1857 to 1880 Synodical Minutes of the Christian Reformed Church, which she edited and annotated, was published in 2014.
She is an Associate Editor of Origins, the journal of the Calvin College Heritage Hall Archives, has taught genealogy classes for CALL (Calvin Academy for Lifelong Learning), and has presented programs to the broader community. As a volunteer in the Calvin College Archives, she recently completed keying all the births, marriages, anniversaries, and obituaries printed in the Calvinist Contact, a Dutch-Canadian weekly, founded in 1946 by the huge wave of Dutch immigrants to Canada. This data base can be found on the Calvin College Heritage Hall website at this link. Sheeres has served as president of the Zeeland, Michigan, Historical Society, AADAS (Association for the Advancement of Dutch American Studies) and has served as chairperson of the Christian Reformed Church Historical Committee.
AT 1:00 PM: WHERE HAVE ALL THE FLOWERS GONE? REDISCOVERING EMMA COLE'S 19TH-CENTURY GRAND RAPIDS FLORA
Presenters: Julie Stivers, Garret E. Crow, and David P. Warners; Sponsor: Grand Rapids Public Museum
In 1901, Emma Cole published Grand Rapids Flora, a catalog of plants growing without cultivation in the vicinity of Kent County. Enormous changes have taken place since those days, yet her book remains one of the most complete accounts of plants specific to our area. Who was this high school teacher, world traveler, and Kent Scientific Institute botanist? Where were her favorite spots for wildflowers? Do they still exist? Julie Stivers will speak about the life of Emma Cole; Professors Warner and Crow will describe their work with Calvin College students to rediscover Emma’s haunts and assess their natural quality today. There are interesting surprises as we observe the changes over more than 100 years.
Learn more about the work of Calvin College professors, Crowe and Warners at this link.
IN MEMORY: DOROTHY NEWMAN, August 5, 1925 - November 30, 2016
Read Dorothy's obituary here.
Dorothy was well-known as a leader in the labor movement and in the Kent County Democratic party. She was recognized as one of "Twelve Outstanding women" by the Greater Grand Rapids Women's History Council.
An English war bride, Dorothy Newman fought for equal representation in the United Auto Workers becoming the first woman to win the Kent County Labor Council's Man of the Year award in 1960. She was the first woman to serve on the UAW International Constitutional Committee. She has been president of the Kent County Democratic Women's Club and a member of the Michigan Democratic Party's State Central Committee for many years. She was a delegate three times to Democratic National Conventions.
Read a tribute naming Dorothy Newman one of GGRWHC's Twelve Outstanding Women.
Jane Hibbard Idema Women's Studies Center at Aquinas College
Celebrates 30 Years!
Congratulations to the Jane Hibbard Idema Women's Studies Center at Aquinas College on its 30th anniversary this year! Read the story and check out their calendar. GGRWHC has a circular connection to JHIWSC via board member Amy Dunham Strand, current director, and one of our GGRWHC founders, Jane Hibbard Idema. The JHIWSC honors Idema for her pioneering role in the women's movement in Grand Rapids. And so do we!
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.