The History of Women’s History Month

Women’s History Month is a national, month-long observance of the often overlooked contributions of women in history and contemporary society. In the United States it is celebrated in March to coincide with International Women’s Day on March 8th.  The first National Women’s History Month was celebrated in 1987, but it was celebrated by smaller communities long before then. The process took years of hard work and lobbying by women to gain the recognition they deserved.

In 1979, a fifteen-day conference co-sponsored by Sarah Lawrence, the Women’s Action Alliance, and the Smithsonian Institution was held at Sarah Lawrence College in New York. The conference was organized by one of the professors at the college, Gerda Lerner. Her goal was to introduce female leaders with diverse backgrounds to the possibilities of women’s history. Lerner, along with historians Alice Kessler-Harris and Amy Swerdlow, challenged the participants to create one large group project. Their chosen project was to make the celebration of Women’s History Week, an event already celebrated by some schools, communities, and women’s organizations, a national event.

At the end of the conference, the women returned to their homes all across the country and began the campaign for a National Women’s History Week. They planned and scheduled publicly sponsored women’s history programs at both the local and national level. The women successfully lobbied for national recognition, and in February of 1980, President Jimmy Carter issued the first Presidential Proclamation declaring the Week of March 8 as National Women’s History Week.

Subsequent presidents continued to proclaim a National Women’s History Week in March for the next several years. The popularity grew, and schools across the United States started their own local celebrations of Women’s History Week, and even expanding into the entire month of March. By 1986, fourteen states declared March as Women’s History Month, and finally, in 1987, Congress passed Public Law 100-9, designating March as Women’s History Month nationally.

The National Women’s History Alliance, a non-profit organization dedicated to honoring and preserving women’s history, and a large contributor to the fight for a nationally recognized month, selects the yearly theme and honorees for Women’s History Month. The 2020 theme is “Valiant Women of the Vote” in honor of the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment. The theme honors women “from the original suffrage movement as well as 20th and 21st century women who have continued the struggle (fighting against poll taxes, literacy tests, voter roll purges, and other more contemporary forms of voter suppression) to ensure voting rights for all.” The 2020 honorees include Maria Teresa Kumar, Edith Mayo, Lucy Burns, Carrie Chapman Catt, and many other incredible women who have fought and continue to fight for voting rights for everyone. Click HERE for more information on this year’s theme and honorees.

You can learn more about women’s history, and celebrate Women’s History Month, by checking out our collection of books about women’s contributions to history and society! Click on any title to learn more!

Bold and Brave: Ten Heroes Who Won Women the Right to VoteSuffrage: Women's Long Battle for the VoteThe Encyclopedia of Women's History in America

Amazons, Abolitionists, and Activists   Fighting on the Home Front: The Legacy of Women in World War One    D-Day Girls: The Untold Stories of the Female Spies Who Helped Win World War II

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lesser Known Dr. Seuss Books

March 2nd is National Read Across America Day in honor of Dr. Seuss’s birthday! What better way to celebrate Dr. Seuss than by curling up with one of his many books. Here’s a list of some of his lesser-known stories that you can check out right here at APLD!

 

And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street

In this delightful tale, young Marco allows his imagination to run riot as he travels home from school one day, to the extent that a horse and cart is soon transformedinto a chaotic carnival of colourful creatures.

The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins

What a lot of hats Bartholomew has in this imaginative and clever tale! Find out what happens when the king asks him to remove them…one by one.

The King’s Stilts

When the King’s stilts are stolen and hidden, and he can no longer enjoy his play hour, the whole kingdom is threatened with destruction until a page boy bravely saves the day.

McElligot’s Pool

This entertaining tale tells of a puddle full of promise, where Marco’s beautiful, imaginary fish come to life. Who knows what fantastic creatures might swim in McElligot’s Pool!

Thidwick: The Big-Hearted Moose

Poor Thidwick’s generosity proves the adage that no good deed goes unpunished, and soon everyone, from a tiny Bingle Bug to a huge bear, is taking advantage of our antlered hero.

Scrambled Eggs Super!

When it comes to scrambling eggs, Peter T. Hooper needs something super special for his super-dee-dooper dish! And only the most interesting and exciting eggs from around the world will do…

On Beyond Zebra

Packed with all the essential ingredients that have made Dr. Seuss so well-loved over the last 50 years – riotous rhyme, bizarre creatures, zany artwork, off-the-wall humour – On Beyond Zebra is vintage Seuss at its very best.