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Project Proposal

Three Lives: Vassar Women in the Progressive Movement

Gretchen Lieb (Library)

Project Description

Following the online exhibit created to commemorate the centennial of women’s suffrage in 2020, I plan to create a website and study guide that provide access to documentation of the participation of Vassar women in the progressive movement beyond the college in the 1910s and 20s. The site will focus on the work of four women: Lucy Maynard Salmon, History professor, founder and member of several national academic organizations; Laura Wylie, English Professor, suffragist and founder of the Women's City and County Club of Poughkeepsie; Gertrude Buck, English professor and founder of the Poughkeepsie Community Theater; and Katharine Bement Davis (VC 1900), Superintendent of the New York State Reformatory for Women at Bedford Hills, New York, Corrections Commissioner of New York City, and head of the Bureau of Social Hygiene, New York City. This assemblage will require identifying, digitizing, transcribing and indexing manuscript materials and newspaper articles from collections including the Adriance Public Library in Poughkeepsie, NY and the Rockefeller Foundation in New York City, in addition to the Vassar College Archives and Special Collections.

Anticipated Project Activities

  • Identifying and indexing historical newspaper and magazine articles.
  • Transcribing digitized manuscripts of letters and other documents.
  • Designing and assembling an online exhibit using Omeka.

Preferred Student Qualifications and Skills

  • Ability and/or willingness to learn how to decipher early 20th century handwriting.
  • Experience with or willingness to learn to use various digital humanities related software and apps possibly including Hypothesis, an annotation tool; Gephi, a data visualization tool; Omeka, a web publishing platform; and Zotero, a web based bibliographic tool.
  • Good communication skills, willingness to ask questions and do research.

Anticipated Follow-up Teaching/Professional Activity for Student

Working with classes that use the website/study guide to do research on this topic, developing a conference presentation and/or journal article on this approach to aiding students doing primary source research. Possibly assist in organizing a symposium on Lucy Maynard Salmon, newspapers and the pedagogical origins of historical empathy, on the occasion of the centennial of her final book, “The Newspaper and the Historian.”

Project Location

Full Remote

Project Duration

Eight weeks

Project Start Date

June 7, 2021

Project End Date

July 31, 2021