S. C. Members Attend History Conference

Charlene Martin and Maureen Ryan Doyle, Co-Chairs of the Worcester Women's Oral History Project and members of the Steering Committee, were joined by fellow Steering Committee member, Doreen Velnich, at the Massachusetts History Conference: Imagining Lives, Preserving & Interpreting Personal Stories, on June 7 at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester. This conference was sponsored by Mass Humanities for Massachusetts history organizations.

The keynote address was presented by Jane Kamensky, the Harry S. Truman Professor of American Civilization and chair of the History Department at Brandeis University, and Jill Lepore, the David Woods Kemper '41 Professor of American History at Harvard University and chair of the History and Literature Program. They are the co-authors of the historical novel, Blindspot. Their speech was entitled, Heads or Tales? History and the Art of Story.

The main focus of the conference was to explore personal narrative history from the 17th century to the present, particularly how this pertains to local historical organizations and small museums. The value of such items as letters, diaries, journals, oral histories, financial papers, photographs and negatives, birth and death records, local maps, genealogical research, household items, clothing, toys, tools, and homes was discussed.

Small sessions allowed for more in-depth exploration of particular topics. Some of those sessions included Seldom Heard Voices: Bringing Veterans' History to Light, Diaries on the Web, National Events through the Local Lens, Stories from within the Community, Creating Public Programs from Personal Correspondence, and Conversion Narratives: Q & A on Digital Technology for the Humanities.

Ellen Rothman, Deputy Director of the Jewish Women's Archive, received the Bay State Legacy Award for her outstanding contributions to the interpretations and presentation of Massachusetts' history. The Jewish Women's Archive is a national non-profit based in Boston and dedicated to uncovering, chronicling, and transmitting the rich history of Jewish women in North America.

The Historical Journal of Massachusetts received the first Mass Humanities Massachusetts History Commendation.

Published Date: 
October 4, 2010