In the Community and Beyond
Link to information about previous GGRWHC programs and news here.
MEMBERSHIP RENEWAL TIME: Do you need to renew your GGRWHC membership? Use this link now!
CALL FOR PROPOSALS for Grand Rapids Public Library's History Detectives 2018 Event
Deadline: May 15, 2017
For ten years in late January an area consortium of public and local history organizations has brought together passionate audience and presenters for History Detectives at the Grand Rapids Public Library. Now we issue a call for proposals from interested speakers for the 2018 program.
History Detectives is a day-long event featuring six speakers on local history topics. Attendance usually ranges from 100-225 and has also been livestreamed. Hosted by the Grand Rapids Public Library, programming is provided by the Grand Rapids Historical Commission, Grand Rapids Historical Society, Grand Rapids Public Museum, Greater Grand Rapids Women's History Council, Grand Rapids City Archives, GVSU Kutsche Office of Local History, and the Western Michigan Genealogical Society.
Interested applicants should submit description for a program no longer than 45 minutes and biographical information indicating experience in research and public speaking.
Program Content & Description
Presentations should highlight the local history of Western Michigan. We are particularly interested in underrepresented groups and untold stories. We encourage attention to the detective nature of research. The program description:
Will be no more than 500 words.
Have a clearly stated purpose and point of view.
Include supporting details and examples.
Indicate an appropriate focus for the allotted time.
Include sample photographs or prepared presentation slides if they are available.
A biographical paragraph should describe your background in history, research interests and methods, and previous presentations/public speaking experience.
The History Detectives committee will use information for program selection criteria only.
Deadline & Contact Information
Please submit all application materials by May 15th, 2017 to histdetectives@grpl. or or mail materials to:
Grand Rapids Public Library
Local History and Special Collections
111 Library St. NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
MARK YOUR CALENDAR: JUNE 7 - 10!
GGRWHC WILL OFFER ONE OF THE PANEL PRESENTATIONS.
The Midwestern History Association conference will return to Grand Rapids on June 7, courtesy of GVSU Hauenstein Center sponsorship. The third meeting of this new organization will occur immediately before the national conference of a much older group, the Agricultural History Society, meeting here June 8-10. Both groups will highlight the agricultural and rural history of the American Midwest, as will a Greater Grand Rapids Women’s History Council panel engaging the AHS’s theme “Who is a farmer?”
June 7, 2:00 pm.: The Woman’s Nominating Committee of the WWI Council of National Defense in the Midwest
Organizer & Chair: Jo Ellyn Clarey, Greater Grand Rapids Women's History Council
Paper #1: “Creating 'An Army of Housewives': Woman's Committee Food Programs of World War I," Anita Anthony-VanOrsdal, Michigan State University
Paper #2: “Hooverizing and Managing the Nation’s Women: The Example of Jasper County, Indiana,” Sue Caldwell, Director-At-Large of the Indiana Genealogical Society & Jasper County Genealogist for the IGS
Paper #3: “Schoolyard Patriots: Municipal Housekeepers and Government in Grand Rapids, Michigan,” Jayson Otto, Aquinas College
This panel will engage the Agricultural History Society’s question “Who is a farmer?” with specific examples of midwestern rural and urban women organized during wartime by the 1917 Woman’s Committee of the U.S. Council of National of Defense, a federal wartime agency charged with organizing the nation’s women for the war effort. In recent years information about the Woman's Committee of the CND and its state and local representatives has finally begun making its way into accounts of U.S. women’s history.
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.