Who Was a “Single” Woman? Complicating the Concept!

The GGRWHC Annual Reception, Thursday, March 15, 5:00 – 7:00pm

John F. Donnelly Conference Center at Aquinas College

Join us for wine and hors d’oeuvres at our annual reception as we step off ideas discussed by author Rebecca Traister in All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation. (See p. 9 on her visit to Grand Rapids on March 13.)

GGRWHC will open up the conversation by complicating the relationship between singledom and progress for women. To Traister’s examples we will add vivid anecdotes about Grand Rapids’s own “single ladies”—single for so many different reasons. After local researchers present cameo portraits of women who, on the one hand, could be considered quintessentially “single,” they will also ask exactly what “single” means in terms of personal histories, various kinds of support networks, age, race, divorce, and widowhood.

Included will be a WWII Red Cross volunteer/second-wave feminist activist, a businesswoman/suffragist/politician, a renowned cultural historian, an educator/suffragist/club woman, a world-class botanist/real estate tycoon, and a little-known nineteenth-century African American women’s club, both staid and radical!

Honoring this sampling of women we will also honor our researchers who have brought them back into the light–and lift a glass to some favorite married ladies for their contributions to social reform and massive change in Grand Rapids’s history. One will be a GGRWHC founder, Jane Hibbard Idema, also namesake of our host Aquinas College’s Jane Hibbard Idema Women’s Studies Center.

Finally, State Representative Winnie Brinks will be on hand with a proclamation congratulating us on our 30th anniversary for the work we have done since 1988 uncovering, then covering, the history of local women!

We hope you will join us for this fun, annual event! Please RSVP via email at [email protected] or by phone at 616-574-7307