GGRWHC in the Media and More

2016 Baxter Award Presented to Ruth Van Stee

Ruth Van Stee, presently the secretary of the GGRWHC, is the recipient of this year's Baxter Award, presented at the Grand Rapids Historical Society's spring banquet on May 12. The award honors persons who have made significant contributions to the preservation and interpretation of Grand River Valley history. Created by the GRHS in 1980, it is named in honor of Albert Baxter, author of the 1891 History of the City of Grand Rapids, Michigan.  Link to the Grand Rapids Historical Society pages here.

From 1999 to 2009, Ruth worked with the Grand Rapids Historical Society, serving as its administrative assistant, secretary, and newsletter editor; and since 2012 she has served as board secretary for the Greater Grand Rapids Women's History Council.

Over the years Van Stee has conducted numerous presentations on Grand Rapids Public Library's resources, particularly at Grand Valley State University's Great Lakes History Conference, introducing an African American newspaper clippings collection and "war in the archives." She has presented on diverse topics to civic groups, college classes, regional conferences, and historical societies. Among them: "A Fresh Look at the Work of Women and Their Contributions to the Economy of Grand Rapids, 1890-1930," "African Americans in Early Grand Rapids History to 1930," "A Suffragist Spring: Taking Over the Grand Rapids Press in 1914,"  and "Spirited Women: Women in Temperance and Prohibition in Grand Rapids."

Ruth Van Stee is the 37th person to receive this award, and the twelfth woman.  Previous women to receive this award, most of whom were or are members of the Greater Grand Rapids Women's History Council,  are:

Sister Marie Heyda, 1981

Barbara Roelofs, 1986

Mary Ann Edmond, 1988

Mary Jane Dockeray, 1990

Evelyn Sawyer, 1993

Jane Hibbard Idema, 1997

Jo Ellyn Clarey, 1999

Marcia Butgereit, along with her husband Bruce, 2004

Diana Barrett, 2008

Rebecca Smith Hoffman, 2011

Loki Boersma, along with her husband Henry, 2014 

Harriet Tubman will become the first African-American to ever be featured on U.S. paper money and the first woman to be depicted on paper currency in 100 years. The last woman featured on U.S. paper money was Martha Washington, who was on a dollar silver c

ertificate from 1891 to 1896. The only other woman ever featured on U.S. paper money was Pocahontas, from 1865 to 1869. Susan B. Anthony and Sacagawea are on dollar coins.

Link to an AP report here for full information. 

And on the backs of the bills: Susan B. Anthony is one of several prominent women to be featured on other new U.S currency designs. According to the New York Times, female leaders like Sojourner Truth, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott and Alice Paul will join Anthony on the back of the $10 bill, with Eleanor Roosevelt and Marian Anderson to be featured on the back of the $5 bill.

Link to the CBS report here.

March 30 ~ GGRWHC Annual Reception and Meeting. Program: "Shattering Glass Ceilings: Five Firsts in Grand Rapids Women's Elective History." Link here to here the full program videotaped by Klaas Kwant, Video content Production Manager for Grand Rapids Commnity College.
Thank you Klaas for your outstanding work in taping and editing!



Thursday, March 31 ~ published an article by Matthew Vande Bunte summarizing the annual meeting program, "Shattering Glass Ceilings, Women's Elective History in Grand Rapids, 1888-2015."  Read it here.



Monday, March 28 ~ Jo Ellyn Clarey and Deirdre Toeller-Novak talked with Shelley Irwin, host and producer of the WGVU Radio Morning Show about the GGRWHC March 30 annual meeting, reception, and program: "Shattering Glass Ceilings, Women's Elective History in Grand Rapids, 1888-2015." Listen here to the full interview. 



On Thursday, March 10, Host/producer Shelley Irwin welcomed three local women to join her on Ask the Women's History Expert on WGVU television (Channel 35): Anita Anthony-VanOrsdal, Ph.D candidate at MSU (center), Jo Ellyn Clarey (left), literary scholar, co-president of the GGRWHC, and long-time local women's history scholar, and Yvonne Sims (right), Grand Rapids Study Club member and civil rights activist. See and hear the program at this link.



In an excellent article, "Cause & Effect: People Helping People in West Mighigan: Promoting Local Women," by Ann Byle, the March issue of Grand Rapids Magazine offers an inside view of the mission and work of the GGRWHC. 
Link to a pdf of the article.



March 1 ~  Listen here to an interview with the Morning Show's Shelley Irwin on WGVU! Julie Tabberer and Drew Damron were two presenters (along with Heather Edwards) of the program on women, war, and work in 1910s Grand Rapids.They discuss a time when the disruptions of wartime offered women opportunities in a working world previously off limits: Gert, Grace and the Berkey & Gay Girls: Women, War & Work in 1910s Grand Rapids.


Did you miss this program?  Listen here. On the February 8th WGVU Morning Show Shelley Irwin spoke to Yvonne Sims and Jo Ellyn Clarey about their February 11, 2016 program on 1890s Grand Rapids' African American Women