Celebrating Archives Month: Women and Leadership Archives at LUC

18 Oct 2013 2:27 PM | Anonymous member
In June 1913, Illinois granted women the right to vote. The centennial of this watershed moment inspired us to look at Chicago-area collections that provide insight into the suffrage movement and other aspects of women’s history. During National Archives Month (October), we are featuring posts by guest authors who are familiar with some of these collections. Repository information is at the end of each story.

Kristin Emery provides an overview of the materials held at Loyola University-Chicago’s Women and Leadership Archives in the second post of our series. Emery was the Assistant Archivist at the Women and Leadership Archives until recently. She is now the Research and Academic Programs Manager at the Newberry Library.

Advocating for Women’s History at LUC
Kristin Emery

At the Women and Leadership Archives, an institution affiliated with Loyola University Chicago and the Ann Ida Gannon Center for Women and Leadership, documenting women’s lived experiences is central to our mission. Our oldest collection, The Chicago Women’s Club Records, dates back to 1877 and contains full runs of the club’s annual announcements and bulletins. These materials reveal the motivations and agendas of the reform-minded group as they advocated change in Chicago. The materials also provide a broader context for women’s activism in the period leading up to the final push for women’s suffrage in Illinois.

With the exception of the Chicago Women’s Club Records, most collections at the Women and Leadership Archives date from the mid- to late twentieth century. Our collections cover various topics including, but certainly not limited to: Catholic women, women in higher education, women religious, women and social justice, second-wave feminism, women in art and performance, women in science, and woman politicians. The wide array of materials at the Women and Leadership Archives documents women’s contributions and experiences in the century following the Suffrage Movement.

The collections housed in our facilities have the potential to reveal personal opinions and behind-the-scenes tactics of Illinois suffragists. Preserving and making available correspondence, meeting minutes, and other unpublished materials from this critical moment in Illinois history will allow us to move beyond the widely-known story of Women’s Suffrage and increase our historical understanding of the suffrage movement.

As the only repository in Illinois that focuses specifically on women’s history, we encourage our colleagues to think about the materials in their collections that could tell unknown stories about the Suffrage Movement, women’s history more broadly, Illinois history, and history related to other unique subjects contained within their holdings. The unpublished materials preserved within our walls have the power to contextualize and enrich our understanding of history, and we as archivists have the skills to facilitate the process.

Women and Leadership Archives
Loyola University Chicago
1032 W. Sheridan Road
Chicago, Illinois 60660

Please consult the website for hours and access information.

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