Celebrating 95 Years of the League of Women Voters

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Special Collections & Archives is happy to announce a new exhibition in Fenwick Library’s lobby: Celebrating 95 Years of the League of Women Voters. Also coinciding with Women’s History month, this exhibition features items from the League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area collection. The collection includes bulletins, pamphlets, meeting minutes, correspondence, photographs, and ephemera. More information about the collection is accessible via the finding aid.

The League of Women Voters was founded in 1920 by Carrie Chapman Catt, a leader in the women’s suffragist movement.  Maude Wood Park, another devoted suffragist, became the League’s first president.  The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan organization, which encourages citizens to participate actively in government by supporting the party of their choice.  It does not support individual candidates, but it does take a position on issues of a local, state, and national scale selected by the membership. The League of Women Voters has taken a particular interest in equal opportunity for women in government, child labor laws, fair housing, and affordable health care.

In Virginia, the League of Women Voters began as the Equal Suffrage League, which worked diligently for the ratification of the nineteenth amendment. The Equal Suffrage League joined the national League of Women Voters, creating a state league. The first local League in Virginia was established in Richmond, followed by chapters in Alexandria and Arlington.

The Fairfax County League was granted full League status in 1948.  To indicate that the members belong to more than one governmental jurisdiction, in 1964 the Fairfax County League became the League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area.

Please visit Fenwick Library to view the exhibit through the month of March.

Voices from the FTP – a new exhibit from SC&A

We have recently installed an exhibit outside of SC&A in Fenwick Library focusing on the Federal Theatre Project titled “Voices from the FTP”. This exhibit takes the individual personal papers we have from FTP participants and integrates their story into the larger context of this government sponsored program. These may not be the most well known FTP participants but their stories are equally as interesting. Hopefully the exhibit will spark an interest in the people, productions, and experiences that transpired because of the Federal Theatre during the Great Depression across the United States.

The following blog post breaks down each of the four cases in the exhibit. Case 1 features the papers of Kate Lawson and serves as an introduction to the FTP. Case 2 focuses on the marionette units of the FTP and uses material from the Molka Reich papers and the Ralph Chessé papers. Case 3 briefly tells the story of Eda Edson and her vaudeville success Follow the Parade. Finally case 4 looks at the theme of controversy and the FTP and features Arnold Sundgaard’s play Spirochete as an example of some of the serious issues the FTP was exploring through the venue of live theater.

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On Exhibit: The 1960s

The 1960s is regarded as one of the most turbulent times in recent history. SC&A has a new exhibit that highlights elements of the dramatic changes that took place during this decade using materials from the collections. The exhibit is divided into three parts: Popular Literature, American Life, and Politics and the Cold War. There is a physical exhibit located outside the department in Fenwick Library in addition to the online version we created using Omeka software. The primary collections featured in the exhibit include: The Francis McNamara Papers, the Rare Book Collection, American Public Transportation Association (APTA) Records, the James McDonnell Transportation Collection, and the Oliver Atkins Photograph Collection.

The online exhibit can be found here: http://bit.ly/9xwTvL

On Display: Ah, Wilderness!

SC&A has put together an exhibit of materials from various productions of Eugene O’Neill’s only comedy Ah, Wilderness! On display in the A wing of Fenwick Library are photographs, playbills, scripts, production and technical notes, and other materials from Arena Stage, the Federal Theatre Project of the 1930s, and Studio Theatre productions.  The materials are part of the Theatre and Performing Arts Collections held in SC&A. The exhibit was inspired by the GMU Players and their current production of Ah, Wilderness!, directed by Howard Kurtz. The show runs through November 1st.

Image from the 1978 Arena Stage Production

Image from the 1978 Arena Stage Production

Act II, Scene I: Back room of a bar in a small hotel

Set from 1938 FTP Production in Los Angeles.  Act II, Scene I: Back room of a bar in a small hotel

Script from the 1978 Arena Stage Production with notes from director Edward Cornell

Script from the 1978 Arena Stage Production with notes from director Edward Cornell