Veteran Feminists of America

SAVING THE FEMINIST LEGACY

REPORT from Rebecca Lubetkin January 21, 2013

It's been a year since the Veteran Feminists of America (www.vfa.us) sent word of our intent to preserve the feminist legacy of the second wave (latter half of the 20th century) by urging activists who participated to save their artifacts to enable the creation of an exhibit to provide concrete evidence of our struggles and achievements. We want to depict the grassroots revolution made in every corner of this country by women and men who translated theory into practical change. We want their nieces, nephews and grandchildren to be able to view and touch and hold their treasures from that transformation.
 

We ask you to continue to save your artifacts while we engage in an extensive search for storage space to provide an address for you to send these items, a destination with someone on premises to receive, record, and assure safe, climate-controlled temporary housing. Such a site would enable us to buy time while we plan for the long-run best interests of the collection.

 

We are also visiting possible exhibit sites including many university libraries, several of which are eager to house our collection just as they preserve and make accessible to scholars the personal and organizational papers of feminist leaders. But we need a museum-type arrangement. If the National Women's History Museum were operational now, it would be ideal, as we want to tell our story to school children, and scouts, and college students, and ordinary people as well as scholars. We want exhibits, large ones in tourist-magnet areas, and smaller traveling exhibits for local venues, such as community colleges, that may be distant from our large, urban centers. We also want to create virtual exhibits. Time is of the essence: we are all aging and the longer we wait the more precious artifacts will be lost.

 

This is a major undertaking for which we will need a business plan which will include a board, outside funding, and partnerships with other women's organizations that can provide the geographical and generational spread needed to assure sustainability.

While we continue to work on these long and short term objectives we are proposing something that you can participate in immediately:

 

We invite you to photograph individual pieces in your collections. Examples of items are listed below. If items don't lend themselves to photography, just describe the item in a sentence or two. For each item write the year of the activity pictured or listed, the place, and a short description-1-2 sentences.

 

Email it to me at: lubetkin@rci.rutgers.edu

or mail to
Rebecca L Lubetkin,

15 Robinhood Drive,
Mountain Lakes, NJ 07046.

Make sure to provide your contact information and please add a statement that you intend to donate these items to "Saving the Feminist Legacy."

If you need help with the photography, let me know and we'll try to help.


Call for materials

Please respond by March 15, 2013.

Your participation could be enormously beneficial in advancing the final museum project:

1. The photos and descriptions would tell us if we have sufficient and appropriate material to mount a museum-quality exhibit.

2. The photos and descriptions would enable us to provide evidence to potential funders and venues that this is a promising enterprise.

3. The photos and descriptions would demonstrate somewhat the stories we want to tell so that, in the unfortunate event that the actual artifact is lost, we still have the evidence.

4. The photos would enable expert curators to mount a virtual exhibit which could be available online earlier than our actual exhibit and could be accessible to people who cannot get to our venues.

Here are examples of some items that tell our story (in no special order). This list is suggestive, not exhaustive:

    • artwork
    • t-shirts, hats, hats with buttons,
    • data-charts, tables, graphs (before and after graphics)
    • newspaper articles, op eds, letters to the editor, editorials
    • newsletter articles or announcements
    • letters for advocacy
    • photos, scrapbooks, photo album
    • video or audio recordings
    • interview transcriptions
    • guides, workbooks, study materials to advance campaigns
    • diary or journal entries detailing activity
    • sashes, special clothing worn at demonstrations and other events
    • invitations, certificates
    • Speeches
    • bumper stickers, buttons, campaign posters and signs
    • planning documents
    • essays, columns, books
    • opposing material from our critics
    • reading lists
    • pages from basal readers (Dick and Jane type readers)
    • letters to/from advice columnists
    • written advice from parents/teachers/clergy
    • pages from school yearbooks (then/later/now)

Many, many thanks for your support.

 

We are very enthusiastic and hope you are too.

Sincerely for feminism,

Jacqui Ceballos and Rebecca Lubetkin*

E-mail Rebecca at: lubetkin@rci.rutgers.edu


*Rebecca Lubetkin, a member of VFA's board, is professor emerita at Rutgers University's School of Planning and Public Policy. For much of her academic career she served as founder and director of Rutgers Consortium for Educational Equity. In retirement she hosts the cable TV show, New Directions for Women, sponsored by the Morris County (NJ) Chapter of the National Organization for Women. More than 220 shows have been produced, and all are archived at Smith College; most shows are available on YouTube at www.youtube.com/mcnownj

 

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