Loyola University Chicago

Women and Leadership Archives


Color Our Collections 2019

Color Our Collections 2019

#ColorOurCollections is a week-long coloring fest on social media organized by libraries, archives, and other cultural institutions around the world. These institutions create and share free coloring books using materials from their collections. Check out the WLA's coloring book for 2019.

The Women and Leadership Archives and Loyola University Archives & Special Collections both have coloring books included this year. Enjoy coloring collections from Loyola and other institutions from around the world! Share your coloring skills with us using #ColorOurCollections.

Color Our Collections website with coloring books from all institutions

Women and Leadership Archives coloring book

Loyola University Archives & Special Collections coloring book

Loyola Awards Grant to Help Commemorate 150-Year History

Loyola Awards Grant to Help Commemorate 150-Year History

Documenting University’s Past Is First Step to Planning for Its Future

Loyola has started initial planning for its 150th anniversary by documenting and digitizing its rich history. The Center for Textual Studies and Digital Humanities (CTSDH), Public History Program, and the University Libraries are the recipients of a three-year grant to help prepare for the university’s 150th anniversary celebration which takes place in 2020. The grant provides funding to research the University’s history, digitize important materials, and create digital projects that begin to interpret how the University has evolved through its first 150 years. The project runs through 2020 and began this summer.

The grant will fund employment for four graduate students as Sesquicentennial Scholars in University Archives and Special Collections in Cudahy Library and the Women and Leadership Archives in Piper Hall. The scholars from Public History and Digital Humanities will uncover and make accessible significant material related to the history of the university. The fellowships give them an opportunity to use the skills they are learning in the classroom while preparing for future professions.

"I am thrilled to be given the opportunity to highlight the history of Loyola and Mundelein,” shares Sesquicentennial Scholar Tina Figueroa (MA in Digital Humanities ’19), “and to make accessible the photos and documents that tell our story."

The Center for Textual Studies and Digital Humanities (CTSDH) is a collaborative multidisciplinary research center within the College of Arts and Sciences. It supports research projects and public programming at the intersection of the humanities and computing. It administers a Master’s Program in Digital Humanities, one of the few such programs in the country. “The Sesquicentennial Scholars Program is a wonderful opportunity for our bright Master’s students to put their skills to work while being mentored by talented professionals,” explains Kyle Roberts, CTSDH Director.

Loyola’s Public History Program is one of the oldest in the country, offering both a Master’s in Public History, a joint MA in Public history and MLIS with Dominican University, and a PhD.  Public history uses the past to serve a variety of contemporary needs. Graduates of the program work in museums, archives, preservation as well as any arena where the knowledge and skills gained through historical training can serve the public. According to Patricia Mooney-Melvin, History Graduate Program Director, “the Sesquicentennial Scholars Program represents an excellent mentored opportunity for our students to sharpen their communication skills, engage in collaborative work, and gain experience in translating history and using historical skills outside of the traditional classroom.”

The University Libraries, with collections totaling nearly 1.5 million items in four facilities on the Lakeside Campuses and a library at the John Felice Rome Center, houses premier special collections materials in multiple archives.  “We are so pleased to be able to collaborate on this important initiative,” said Marianne Ryan, Dean of Libraries.  “It’s an opportunity to showcase our unique collections to highlight Loyola’s heritage.”

University Archives and Special Collections holds the historical records of Loyola dating back to its founding in 1870 as St. Ignatius College. These records document the growth of the University and reflect the accomplishments that have given the institution its unique identity. “The Sesquicentennial Scholars Program allows University Archives staff to partner with capable graduate students in the Digital Humanities and Public History programs to highlight Loyola’s history and its relationship to the city of Chicago,” said Kathy Young, University Archivist.

Loyola's Women and Leadership Archives (WLA) holds the records of Mundelein College, an all-women's college established in 1930 by the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (BVMs). From the beginning, Mundelein and nearby Loyola shared faculty, activities, and social justice values, eventually merging in 1991. According to WLA Director Nancy Freeman, "The 150th Scholars are excellent partners with the WLA to highlight the often unknown history of Mundelein, an integral part of Loyola's past. The Scholars bring energy, enthusiasm, and a strong desire to tell varied stories. It's fun and exciting to see their research and ideas!"

In addition to funding from the President’s Office, generous in-kind support has also been given by the Center for Textual Studies and Digital Humanities, the Graduate School, the History Department, and the University Libraries. A public website with updates on their discoveries is in preparation and will debut later in the year.

About Loyola University Chicago
Founded in 1870, Loyola University Chicago is one of the nation’s largest Jesuit, Catholic universities, with more than 16,600 students. Nearly 11,500 undergraduates call Loyola home. The University has four campuses: three in the greater Chicago area and one in Rome, Italy, as well as course locations in Saigon-Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Vernon Hills, Illinois, and a Retreat and Ecology Campus in Woodstock, Illinois. The University features 13 schools, colleges, and institutes. To learn more about Loyola, visit LUC.edu, “like” us at Facebook.com/LoyolaChicago, or follow us on Twitter via @LoyolaChicago or @LoyolaNewsroom.

Class visit at Water Tower Campus

Class visit at Water Tower Campus

On October 29, 2018, Nancy Freeman, WLA Director, visited COMM 402: Organizational Leadership and Change Management taught by Adjunct Faculty, Mary Hills. Nancy talked about archives and how to use archival collections. Although the class was offsite at the Water Tower Campus, a few archival collections travelled to class so students could work together in small groups to delve further into collections and analyze the content of the records.

Women of Noble Cause

Women of Noble Cause

The Officers of Polish Women’s Alliance
Council 27 – District I
(a part of the First Catholic Slovak Ladies Association family since 2017)
cordially invite you to join us on

Sunday, November 4th, 2018

at the

Polish Museum of America
984 N. Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60642
The Great Hall – 3rd Floor

for the official Chicago premiere of

Women of Noble Cause

a new 30-minute documentary featuring both an overview of the history of Polish
immigrants who came to Chicago over the last century and a half, as well as the
accomplishments and achievements of the PWA and its members

Reception at 2:00 p.m.
Screenings at 3:00 p.m. & 4:00 p.m.

On display will be a sampling of PWA artifacts currently being preserved
at the Women & Leadership Archives at Loyola University Chicago
Nancy Freeman, Director

Complimentary Refreshments will be served — Cash Bar
This is a FREE event – all are welcome to join us!

So that we are able to plan accordingly for refreshments, RSVP by October 28, 2018
to Bo Padowski at 847.420.4070 or via email to Antoinette Trela at polprin@aol.com


Open House Chicago 2018

Open House Chicago 2018

Piper Hall

For 109 years, Piper Hall has served its residents as a home, coffeehouse, religious studies center, and archive - and you can come visit! As part of Open House Chicago (OHC) from the Chicago Architecture Center, the Women and Leadership Archives welcomes you to beautiful Piper Hall at Loyola University Chicago. On October 13 from 9am-5pm, this historic white mansion on the lakeside will stand alongside hundreds of other architectural gems in the city for this annual event. We hope you'll include us on your list as you explore all that the city's neighborhoods have to offer.

Also on Loyola’s lakeside campus, visitors can explore the Loyola Information Commons.

More Information

Saturday, October 13, 2018

  • Piper Hall ∙ 9am – 5pm
  • Loyola Information Commons ∙ 10am – 5pm

Sunday, October 14, 2018

  • Loyola Information Commons ∙ 10am – 5pm

Information CommonsLoyola Information Commons

Jean Fritz and the Chicago Seven Trial

Jean Fritz and the Chicago Seven Trial
Image: A snippet of the first page from Jean Fritz's journal (large), which she kept during the trial. See the links below to read both journals.

Jean Fritz, a 51-year-old mother of three, found herself in the middle of one of the most publicized a controversial trial of her time. She spent four months sequestered in a hotel and separated from her family and the outside world as she, and the other eleven jurors, held the fate of seven young defendants in their hands.

“I feel so nervous tonight that I could die. Oh how I dread tomorrow.” These were the thoughts of Jean Fritz as she, and the other eleven jurors of the Chicago Seven trial, prepared to enter deliberations on the widely publicized and controversial case. 2018 marks the Fiftieth anniversary of the 1968 Democratic National Convention and the bloody riots that ensued as protesters clashed with the police. 

Prosecutors indicted eight men with charges including conspiracy to incite a riot. During the trial, which became nothing short of a spectacle, defendants disrupted the court in several ways: they sang, recited poetry, and dressed up as judges and police officers. The judge ultimately ordered a defendant to be gagged and shackled to his chair, and all defendants plus the defense attorney were charged in contempt of court. 

Jean Fritz sat in the jury box and observed the chaotic trial unfold. For months, she kept a journal of her thoughts and reactions to the case. Fifty year later, these journals give us new insight to the infamous trial. Currently on display at the Edgewater Historical Society, Fritz’s journals illustrate how her opinions changed over the course of the trial and how she grappled with her beliefs about American society and morality.

Jean Fritz passed away on January 23, 2018, at the age of 99. Her daughter Margie Fritz-Birch, a member of the Edgewater Historical Society, recognized the value of her mother’s journals, and helped get them on display. Other records pertaining to Fritz are housed in the Women and Leadership Archives. 

Learn More:

Chicago’s History of Activism

Chicago’s History of Activism
Image: National ERA (Equal Rights Amendment) March, Chicago, 1980

The Women and Leadership Archives, a member institute of the Chicago Collections Consortium, recently provided materials for the new Place of Protest: Chicago’s Legacy of Dissent, Declaration, and Disruption digital exhibit. Images and documents fill the digital exhibit and explore the long history of protest, and social justice and activism movements in the city highlighting specific events beginning in 1855 and going through 2003.

The Women and Leadership Archives contributed materials from several collections: Mollie Leiber West, an immigrant and labor rights activist; women’s rights advocates Mary P. Hanes and Connie Kiosse, the Homemakers’ Equal Rights Association (HERA); and 8th Day Center for Justice.

For more information about the Chicago Collections Consortium and Women and Leadership Archive collects:

Adapt or Perish

Adapt or Perish

The Women and Leadership Archives contributed material for Gallery 400’s new exhibition, Chicago Disability Activism, Arts, and Design: 1970s to Today. On display through October 20, 2018, the exhibit tells the story of the disability rights movement through Chicago artists with disabilities. The Women and Leadership Archives supplied documents and artwork by Anna Stonum, a Chicago based artist and activist that suffered from Friedreich’s Ataxia. Stonum was deeply involved in disability rights activism. In the 1980s, she helped found the Chicago chapter of Americans Disabled for Accessible Public Transit (ADAPT), and later started her own graphic design company, Design for All. Anna also created the Adapt or Perish poster used in disability rights movements across the nation.

For more information regarding Anna Stonum, see the Anna Stonum Finding Aid at the Women and Leadership Archives website.

 Gallery 400: Chicago Disability Activism, Arts, and Design: 1970s to Today

Gannon Center Timeline

Gannon Center Timeline

The creation of the Gannon Center is tied to the history of Mundelein College, a Catholic liberal arts college for women on Chicago’s north side. Established in 1930 by the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (BVMs), Mundelein College provided a comprehensive education focused on encouraging women to be leaders in all career fields and in their communities. After 60 years, declining enrollment and financial challenges compelled Mundelein to seek an affiliation with neighboring Loyola University Chicago. Since the affiliation in 1991, the legacy of Mundelein and its remarkable leaders lives on at Loyola in the form of its innovative programs, iconic architecture, and the Gannon Center for Women and Leadership.

1991: Mundelein College, the last women’s college in Illinois, affiliates with neighboring Loyola University Chicago.

Sister Carolyn Farrell, BVM is appointed to lead the institution through the affiliation process as the last president of Mundelein College. Sister Carolyn Farrell, BVM, forms a committee to lead efforts to create a center on Loyola’s campus to keep alive the spirit of Mundelein and continue its commitment to women’s education and leadership. Initial members of the planning committee included Ellen Waite, Barbara Bardes, Ph.D., Kathleen McCourt, Ph.D. and Linda Deanne, Ph.D. From the beginning, Sister Carolyn Farrell, BVM, intends to name the center after Sister Ann Ida Gannon, BVM, the respected and beloved president of Mundelein College from 1957-1975. Sister Ann Ida Gannon, BVM, also plays a significant role in establishing the Center and the Mundelein Archives.

AIG and Carolyn Farrell by door

Carolyn Farrell, BVM and Ann Ida Gannon, BVM

1992: Dennis Keller, Chief Executive Officer at DeVry University, becomes an advisor and donor to the Gannon Center out of gratitude for past assistance from Sister Ann Ida Gannon. With Keller’s help, the committee set up an endowment that allowed them to move forward in setting up the center.

1993: A celebration and reception in honor of Sister Ann Ida Gannon, BVM, is held on May 25, 1993 sponsored by Dennis Keller. At the event, Keller officially announces the creation of the Ann Ida Gannon, BVM, Center for Women and Leadership. The Center is initially described as “both a space and a concept” that includes Loyola University Women’s Studies program, the Mundelein College archives and heritage room, the Women’s Conference, the Women and Peace Program, a Scholar-in-Residence Program, the Gannon Scholars program, and a variety of other scholarship and mentorship activities. The plans propose using space on the second floor of the Skyscraper to house the new center.

Gannon Scholars: The longest running program supported by the Gannon Center is the Gannon Scholars Leadership Program. The first Gannon Leadership Scholarships were awarded in 1984 at Mundelein College. The four-year progressive program provides scholarships and engages students in the development of leadership, service, and research. Each year, 10 incoming first-year women are selected for the prestigious program and join the peer community dedicated to personal growth, academic excellence, and commitment to social justice. 159 “Gannons” have participated in the program at Loyola University Chicago and previously at Mundelein College.

1993: The Women in Science Enabling Research (WISER) internship program is created to offer undergraduate women an introduction to laboratory research and encourage women to pursue careers in the sciences. 83 student interns have participated in the program under the guidance of 27 faculty mentors.

1994: The Women and Leadership Archives (WLA) officially opens within the Gannon Center. By July 1995, shelving and basic furnishings were in place for the WLA and up to forty individuals and organizations had pledged their papers to the fledging archives. Loyola University Assistant Archivist Valerie Browne devotes time to the WLA from the beginning and becomes the first Director/Archivist in 1996.

ANTHRO 396 students in WLA

Students working with materials in the Women and Leadership Archives

1996: The Gannon Center becomes an official Loyola Institute with the ability to fundraise independently of the University.

1998: The Gannon Center funds its first Graduate Assistant. The Gannon Center continues to provide funding for a graduate student each year to work in the Women and Leadership Archives.

The first Women in Business Conference is held by the Gannon Center. The conference seeks to heighten the leadership potential and skills of Chicago-area women in management.

1999: The Gannon Center meets its endowment goal of $3 million with the generous support of the BVMs, alumnae, and friends. Upon the death of Virginia Galvin Piper in June of 1999, the long-time benefactor of Mundelein and friend of Sister Ann Ida Gannon, BVM, bequests $200,000 to the project. The donation is used to evaluate and begin restoring Piper Hall, which becomes the new intended home for the Gannon Center. With the rededication in 2005, the historic mansion that had been named after Virginia’s late husband in 1975 was renamed the Kenneth M. and Virginia G. Piper Hall.

Piper Hall

2000: The Gannon Center creates a faculty fellows program for Loyola faculty. The fellowship supports faculty whose research focuses on women and leadership, advances the mission of the Gannon Center, and utilizes the resources at the WLA. There have been 30 Gannon Faculty Fellows.

2001: The first Summer Research Grant is awarded. Funded by the Gannon Center, the grant assists individuals in doing research at the WLA. The Summer Research Grant is awarded to one or two researchers annually through 2016.

2002: The first Coffey Award is presented to Tina Stretch (Class of 1966). Named for Sister Mary Justicia Coffey, BVM, the first president of Mundelein College, this annual award honors an alumna for her leadership in the community, accomplishments in industry, and service to others.

2005: The Gannon Center, now known as a Loyola University Center of Excellence, moves into the newly renovated Piper Hall along with the WLA and the Women’s Studies Program. The historic mansion remains the Gannon Center’s home today.

Susan Ross, Ph.D, a professor in Theology, is appointed as the new Director for the Gannon Center.

With a generous bequest from the Ann and Alvin Baum Family estate, the Gannon Center creates the Baum Speaker Series. The series focuses on bringing nationally and internationally recognized women to speak about issues at the intersection of women and leadership, public policy, and social justice. The Baum Speaker Series has featured 16 speakers.

Baum Speaker IES Mary Robinson

2017 Baum Speaker Series. Nancy Tuchman, Loyola Institute of Environmental Sustainability; Janet Sisler, former Gannon Center Director; invited speaker Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland; Jo Ann Rooney, President of Loyola University Chicago.

2008: Dawn Harris becomes the Director of the Gannon Center.

2010: Janet W. Sisler becomes the Director of the Gannon Center.

2013: The Gannon Center unveils Mallinckrodt Scholars, a four-year scholarship and service program supporting undergraduate students. Created in collaboration with the Sisters of Christian Charity, the program is named for the religious order’s foundress, Mother Pauline von Mallinckrodt. The Mallinckrodt Scholars program honors the legacy of Mother Pauline by supporting students in looking beyond academic achievements and promote social justice as well as the collaborative developmental networks needed in order to improve social and moral conditions.

2014: The Carroll and Adelaide Johnson Scholarship Fund is created to offer students with demonstrated financial need with opportunities to conduct interdisciplinary research. Accepted students are mentored by a Loyola faculty member and conduct research on women and a social justice issue. The program has included 35 Johnson Scholars and 22 faculty mentors.

The Gannon Center and Gannon Scholars Leadership Program present the first annual Undergraduate Women’s Leadership Award, recognizing an undergraduate woman who exemplifies Loyola’s Jesuit values and the Gannon Center’s mission of fostering a more just world through leadership, research, and service.

2018: With Gabrielle Buckley as its new Director, the Gannon Center celebrates 25 years of supporting women’s education and leadership at Loyola University Chicago.

The Chicago Conspiracy Trial: One Juror’s Ordeal

EHS logo

On August 26, 2018, the Edgewater Historical Society will be presenting a new exhibit entitled, “The Chicago Conspiracy Trial: One Juror’s Ordeal.” Fifty years ago this August, the 1968 Democratic Convention was held in Chicago. The trial started a year later in September 1969. The trial remains as politically and historically significant today as it was at the time. 1968 was a turbulent year - Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy were assassinated and there were worldwide protests. People came from all over the country to Chicago to protest the Vietnam War and the convention itself. “The Festival of Life” erupted in unforgettable violence and chaos. Eight men were indicted on conspiracy and crossing state lines to incite a riot. Jean Fritz, who grew up in Edgewater, was a juror on the trial. The jury was sequestered for four and a half months and she kept a daily journal. The trial became theater of the absurd. Although Jean wanted acquittal on both counts, five of the defendants were convicted of crossing states lines to incite a riot. In the appellate court hearings, Jean was called to testify and her testimony was in large part responsible for the verdict being overturned. This was a life changing experience for her, morally and politically. Her insights, interviews, articles, and videos are among the archiving material used in the exhibit. The opening reception on August 26, will be between 4:00 and 7:00 pm at the museum located at 5358 N. Ashland Ave. Chicago. Museum hours are Saturday and Sunday from 1:00 to 4:00 and upon request at marjoriefritzbirch@gmail.com

Admission is free. The exhibit will be ongoing.

Edgewater Historical Society WebsiteFacebook

Sister Ann Ida Gannon Remembered

Sister Ann Ida Gannon Remembered

Sister Ann Ida Gannon, BVM, the longest serving President of Mundelein College* from 1957-1975, passed away on June 3, 2018. Sister Ann Ida had a life-long career as an educator and a force for women. Born in Chicago on April 2, 1915 as Genevieve Gannon, she entered the congregation of the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (BVM) in 1932 and took her finals vows in 1940. Sister Ann Ida spent several years teaching primary and secondary education before coming to Mundelein to teach philosophy, which she did before and after her years as president. In 1993, the Gannon Center for Women was established in honor of her legacy, and houses the Women and Leadership Archives (WLA).

“What impressed me when I came to Mundelein [in 1951], was the number of women who had achieved in areas: science, history, one of the sisters was a lawyer. They took for granted that women could do these things and they were going to do them. The end result also inspired our women students to do the same, to consider the world was open, not necessarily closed to women. Not in a radical sense, but a matter of fact sense that this is where we are able, we are gifted.”

-Sister Ann Ida Gannon, BVM, interviewed in “Sister Builder” in Loyola University Museum of Art’s 2014 Crossings and Dwellings exhibit.

If you use any of the photos for online publications or commercial purposes, please include the credit line: "Image courtesy of the Women and Leadership Archives, Loyola University Chicago." Use is free but please fill out and send the Permission to Publish form to wlarchives@luc.edu.

*Mundelein College was founded by the BVMs in 1930 and affiliated with Loyola University Chicago in 1991. The WLA holds the collection of materials from Mundelein College.

Ann Ida Gannon & students, 1973

Image: Sister Ann Ida Gannon, BVM with students, 1973

Sister Jean: Back in the Day

Sister Jean and the WLA

Before shooting to international stardom during 2018 March Madness, we knew Sister Jean (Jean Dolores Schmidt, BVM) from her long career at Mundelein College. Mundelein College was founded by the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (BVMs) in 1930 and affiliated with Loyola University Chicago in 1991. The Women and Leadership Archives at Loyola University Chicago hold a collection of materials from Sister Jean's time at Mundelein.
Learn more!

  • Early photos of Sister Jean at Mundelein College. If you use any of the photos for online publications or commercial purposes, please include the credit line: "Image courtesy of the Women and Leadership Archives, Loyola University Chicago." Use is free but please fill out and send the to wlarchives@luc.edu.
  • Timeline of Sister Jean's career at Mundelein College‌
  • Sister Jean's Collection at the WLA‌

  Sister Jean & Minnie Thanksgiving 1982

 Image: Sister Jean and Minnie at the Thanksgiving assembly, 1982

Cesar Chavez: Loyola and Mundelein

In honor of Cesar Chavez, activist and organizer, the WLA is highlighting history of his connections to Mundelein College. The audio clips presented here illustrate Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Worker’s close association with the Mundelein College Peace Studies Program, the precursor of the Loyola University Peace Studies Program.

Mundelein College was founded in 1930 in Chicago, Illinois by the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (BVM). From its inception, the college was deeply committed to principles of peace and justice. For sixty years, Mundelein offered a comprehensive Catholic liberal arts education in the setting of a women’s college before affiliating with Loyola in 1991.


  Chavez - Prudence Moylan boycotting lettuce

 Dr. Prudence Moylan (left) Boycotting Lettuce

Prudence Moylan - Audio 1‌

In the first audio clip, Loyola Professor Prudence Moylan, who served in leadership with both peace programs, explains the importance of Cesar Chavez’s philosophy of nonviolence to the Catholic vision of peace.

  Chavez - Carol Frances Jegen

Carol Frances Jegen, 1983

Prudence Moylan - Audio 2

In the second audio clip, Professor Moylan shares the story of the Mundelein Peace Studies’ director, Sister Carol Frances Jegen’s participation in an early 1970s United Farm Workers Strike which resulted in her arrest and incarceration.

 Credits: Nathan Ellstrand and Jenny Clay, WLA volunteers and Loyola University Chicago PhD students‌


Hailing Cesar cover image is from the documentary by Eduardo Chavez, Cesar Chavez's grandson. The film follows Eduardo's journey to understand the importance of his grandfather's life and his efforts to promote the civil rights, wages, and living conditions of farm workers. The documentary was screened at Loyola on February 19, 2018.

Machinal Reception & Talk Back

Machinal image


Reception/Talk Back immediately following the 7:30PM performance • Mundelein, Palm Court, 4th Floor

Loyola Lake Shore Campus

Theatre Mainstage Production of Sophie Treadwell’s Machinal, directed by Ann M. Shanahan

As a kickoff event for Women’s History Month, the Gannon Center for Women and Leadership, Women’s Studies and Gender Studies (WSGS), Women and Leadership Archives (WLA), and the departments of Fine and Performing Arts (DFPA), History, and Criminal Justice and Criminology (CJC) host a talk back and reception following the performance of Sophie Treadwell’s Machinal in the Newhart Family Theatre.

Considered groundbreaking when first produced in 1928, both for its expressionist style and controversial depiction of a woman executed for the murder of her husband, Machinal will be the focus of the talk back with members of Loyola’s faculty, including production director Ann M. Shanahan and Paula Wisotzki (DFPA), WSGS Director Betsy Jones Hemenway and Rachel Boyle (Newberry Library), and Brandi Vigil and Loretta Stalans (CJC). Topics will include the history of feminism in relation to the criminal justice system and the depiction of women in performance and fine art. A special focus will be given to both of these topics in relation to the history of Mundelein College, founded the year after the play’s premiere in 1929. Mundelein College was founded by the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (BVM) in 1930 and provided education in an all-women’s setting until affiliating with nearby Loyola in 1991.

This program is a companion piece to “Female Figures: Then and Now” on March 24 and "Women's Narrative Workshop" on March 25, for a month-long focus on a history of women in the arts. Refreshments will be served and admission is free to the reception/talk back.

Tickets to the play may be purchased at artsevents.LUC.edu/theatre, boxoffice@LUC.edu, or 773.508.8400.

Color Our Collections 2018

#ColorOurCollections is a week-long coloring fest where libraries, archives, and other cultural institutions around the world share free coloring pages based on materials in their collections.

Print and color the WLA Coloring Book.

Print and color the Loyola University Archives Coloring Book.

Find more coloring pages from on the main Color Our Collections website.

Color Our Collections 2018 cover image

Visiting Archivist from Poland

Visiting Archivist from Poland

PWA Visiting Archivist from Poland

From left; Bogumila Padowski (President of PWAA Council 27), Zbigniew Król (Archivist, Archvwum Akt Nowych), Antionette Trela (Chairman of the WLA/PWAA Preservation Project), Nancy Freeman (Women & Leadership Archives Director). Photo taken at the WLA.

‌In December, an archivist from the Archivwum Akt Nowych in Warsaw visited the Women and Leadership Archives to review the PWAA records held there, an important step forward in the ongoing preservation and access project for these records. Archivist, Zbigniew Król, arrived on December 10, 2017, and spent a week in the WLA going through and evaluating the materials in the collection, which include issues of Głos Polek, meeting minutes, and founding documents for the organization. The purpose of Mr. Król’s visit was to determine the feasibility and value of arranging a longer visit from either himself or another archivist in the future, who would then work with the materials and the WLA to translate, scan, and organize them, ultimately making the PWAA’s oldest records more easily accessible to researchers and the public. During his trip, Mr. Król also visited with staff from Loyola University Archives and Special Collections, as well as toured the Newberry Library and their collection of PWAA materials.

Mr. Król recommended in his final report that the project continue ahead. Details of this next phase are still being determined, but the future of these records is looking bright. Mr. Król’s successful visit was courtesy of the efforts of Bozena Nowicka McLees, the Director of the Polish Studies Program at Loyola University Chicago, Michał Michalski, from the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, and Nancy Freeman, the Director of the Women and Leadership Archives.

Polish Women's Alliance and WLA Preservation Project

PWA preservation project fundraiser

WLA Director, Nancy Freeman, with Antoinette Trela, Secretary-Treasurer of the Polish Women's Alliance, and Bozena Norwicka McLees, Director of Interdisciplinary Polish Studies at Loyola University Chicago, at an event held to launch fundraising efforts for the project.

‌The Polish Women’s Alliance (PWA) and the Women and Leadership Archives (WLA) have teamed up for the PWA Preservation Project. Almost 120 years old, the PWA’s valuable records are held at the WLA. Many of the records, such as photographs and documents, are in need of professional conservation to preserve them for current and future use. In addition, translation is needed as the vast majority of records are in Polish.

Project specifics are still in the initial phases. One possibility is to receive funding through the Polish Cultural Ministry for a Polish archivist to work temporarily at the WLA, to translate the documents and assist with input on a searchable public online system. ‌The overarching goal is to preserve PWA’s records for future generations. PWA is an important organization with a rich, enduring legacy. The best way to ensure the future is to honor the past.

If you are interested in donating to this project,  please print the form below and mail it with your donation to the Polish Women's Alliance of America.

PWA Preservation Project Donation Form

 The donation and form can be mailed to:

Antoinette L. Trela
PWA Council 27
1619 E. Greenwood Dr.
Mt. Prospect, IL  60056

Read the PWA's article about the December 11, 2016 event that celebrated the collaboration and raised funds for the project here.

Winter Break Hours

Mon (12/18) – Thu (12/21): 8:30AM - 4:30PM
Fri (12/22) – Sun (1/7): CLOSED
Mon (1/8) – Fri (1/12): 8:30AM - 4:30PM
Sat (1/13) – Mon (1/15): CLOSED (MLK Day 1/15)
Tue (1/16): 8:30AM - 4:30PM (Spring 2018 Semester Begins)

If History Fair students need after-hours appointments, please call 773.508.8837 about availability.

Politics of the Pantry: Photos

Author Emily E. LB. Twarog, PhD

Politics of the Pantry: Panel

Panelists Jackie Kendall, Bonnie Wilson, Lynne Heidt, and Dr. Twarog

Politics of the Pantry: Book Signing 1

Book signing

Politics of the Pantry: Book Signing 2

Chicago Open Archives 2017: Hidden Stories

Guerilla art! Communists! A bowling poet!...?

Uncover clues from various WLA collections that tell the stories of Mollie West (Chicago labor leader, women’s right activist, and one-time Communist Party member), SisterSerpents (Chicago feminist art collective that made political statements through art), and Eleanor Risteen Gordon (professor, poet, and bowling enthusiast).

Friday, October 27, 2017 • 1-4 p.m.
Women and Leadership Archives
Loyola University Chicago
Piper Hall Third Floor
970 W. Sheridan Rd. • Chicago, IL

This event is a part of #ChicagoOpenArchives (COA). Find more COA events this October at libraries, archives, and museums across Chicago at chicagoarchivists.org/coa2017.

Image from SisterSerpents collection:

SisterSerpents - Mad Woman, Spring 1993 Cover





















Focus on the Book: Event Photos

FOTB: Helena Pycior

Dr. Helena Pycior discusses Marie Skłodowska Curie ‌

FOTB: Marie Curie audience 1

FOTB: Marie Curie audience 2

FOTB: Marie Curie display

Display of Polish Women's Alliance of America history and items from the Women and Leadership Archives

After the program, guests enjoyed a reception featuring Polish food, wine, and “radioactive” cocktails!

David Spadafora, Marianne Ryan, Bozena Nowicka McLees, Helena Pycior, Antoinette Trela, Nancy Freeman, and Piotr Semeniuk

From left: David Spadafora, President, Newberry Library; Marianne Ryan, Dean, Loyola University Chicago Libraries; Bozena Nowicka McLees, Director, Interdisciplinary Polish Studies Program at Loyola; Dr. Helena Pycior, Professor Emerita, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; Antoinette Trela, Acting Chief Operating Officer, Polish Women's Alliance of America; Nancy Freeman, Director, Women and Leadership Archives at Loyola; and Vice Consul Piotr Semeniuk from the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Chicago

Farewell, Megan

Good luck, Megan! We enjoyed having you at the WLA. Melanie Chambliss, BMRC Special Project Intern, will continue processing the Carol Moseley Braun papers. To find out more about Megan’s time at the WLA, please visit our blog. Learn more about the Black Metropolis Research Consortium at bmrc.lib.uchicago.edu.

[Pictured: Megan Naylor with Ambassador Braun]

BMRC intern, Megan Naylor & Carol Moseley Braun

BMRC Archie Motley Archival Intern at the WLA


Black Metropolis Research Consortium (BMRC)
5720 South Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60637

CONTACT:Anita Mechler, 773-702-2388  
DATES: May 15 – June 15, 2017
CANCEL AFTER: June 15, 2017



This summer, the BMRC continues, in its third iteration, the Archie Motley Archival Internship Program. This program is designed to provide students of color with opportunities to gain practical work experience in archives management, and to recruit students of color into the archives profession as a means to address the critical issue of the underrepresentation of people of color in the field.

Megan Naylor has been named the Archie Motley Archival Intern for summer 2017.  Naylor will process the records of Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun, which are housed by BMRC member institution, Loyola University Chicago within the Women in Leadership Archives.

Megan Naylor is completing a Bachelors of Arts at The University of Chicago, with plans to pursue history and pre-law curriculum. She is a member of the Pi Beta Phi Fraternity for Women and was previously the president of her high school’s National Honor Society.

About Carol Moseley Braun ---- Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun served as Illinois United States Senator from 1992-1998. She holds many “firsts” including first female African-American Senator, first African-American U.S. Senator for the Democratic Party, first woman to defeat an incumbent U.S. Senator in an election, and first female Senator from Illinois.

Records at the WLA cover almost all of Ambassador Braun’s over 30 years of public service from her time in the Illinois House of Representatives to her Ambassadorship to New Zealand and Samoa. In addition, there are records pertaining to her current business, Ambassador Organics.

The unprocessed collection measures approximately 77.5 linear feet. Processing the WLA collection will provide access and bring organization to the records of this African American woman who broke barriers and pushed boundaries. The Chicago History Museum (CHM) holds the majority of records from Ambassador Braun’s time in the US Senate. WLA records cover other aspects of her political career and life in general, including her current business venture. Processing WLA’s collection provides an adjunct to the CHM records and rounds out information on Moseley Braun.

Pictured below: Megan Naylor

Megan Naylor BMRC Archie Motley Archival Intern


Polish Women's Alliance of America Spring Luncheon & Fundraiser: May 21

Please join PWA Council 27 for an interesting event exploring women’s ethnic voices in journalism as we observe UNESCO World Press Freedom Day.

Sunday, May 21, 2017
Lone Tree Manor • 7730 N. Milwaukee Avenue • Niles, IL
Entry at 11:30 a.m.
Admission: $35 • Free parking on site
UNESCO World Press Freedom Day was established in 1993 to recognize the importance of a free and pluralistic press in democratic societies. A panel discussion with women journalists from local media outlets and fraternal organizations about the challenges facing the ethnic press in the 21st century will be followed by a luncheon with wine and a Cash Raffle to benefit the PWA Archives Preservation Project at Loyola University Chicago.

The ethnic press has played a significant role in immigrant communities in the U.S., keeping them in touch with their countries of origin while also helping them to assimilate in their new homeland. The Polish American press has been especially influential for nearly two centuries of its existence and it continues to be vibrant and meaningful, even as its mission keeps changing. Many of the Polish American publications and media outlets currently have women as managing editors, and this too has impacted the way news is reported. Come and meet some of them at this event.


  • Alicja Otap, Dziennik Związkowy
  • Lidia Kowalewicz, Naród Polski
  • Geraldine Balut Coleman, Polish American Journal
  • Lucyna Migala, Radio WCEV
  • Magda Marczewska, Radio WPNA
  • Lidia Rozmus, Głos Polek
  • Mary Mirecki Piergies, Głos Polek

Cash Bar. Family-style luncheon with wine included. Cash Raffle and Book Table.

Proceeds to benefit the PWA Archives Project at Loyola University Chicago – Women and Leadership Archives.
Please call Antoinette Trela at 847-323-1005 for reservations or for more information. Reservation deadline is May 18th.
You may pay for reserved tickets at the door.

Ramonat Scholar Final Colloquium

(L to R) Dr. Michelle Nickerson; Former WLA Inter‌n Amanda Malmstrom*; Susan Ramonat

(L to R) Dr. Michelle Nickerson; Former WLA Intern Amanda Malmstrom; PhD Candidate Amelia Serafine


*Amanda Malmstrom won the Ramonat Prize for her research project titled, “Labor of Love: Women, Art, and the Catholic Worker Newspaper."

Women in Politics Event Highlights


Women in Politics: Past & Present

Women in Politics: Past & Present

‌Loyola University Chicago Women’s History Month Committee presents

Women in Politics: Past & Present

Monday, March 27, 2017 • 7pm
Klarchek Information Commons, Fourth Floor • Loyola University Chicago
1032 West Sheridan Avenue • Chicago, Illinois

Please join us for a panel discussion featuring current and former Illinois politicians discussing the state of women in politics and their own experiences in political life, both past and present. Light refreshments will be served at a reception immediately following the program.

Carol Moseley Braun, Former U.S. Senator and Ambassador to New Zealand
Heather Steans, Current Illinois State Senator, 7th Senate District
Mary Ann Smith, Former Alderman, 48th Ward, Chicago

Shweta Singh, Associate Professor, Loyola School of Social Work

Sponsored by the Department of History • Gannon Center for Women and Leadership • School of Social Work • Student Diversity & Multicultural Affairs • University Libraries • Women’s Studies and Gender Studies

Please visit libraries.luc.edu/womenshistorymonth for more #LoyolaWHM programs and events.

For questions, contact Nancy Freeman at nfreeman1@luc.edu.

Women in Politics: Past & Present flyer

Celebrate Love with the WLA

Celebrate Love with the WLA

Wrapping Up Our Celebration of Love!

Happy Valentine's Day! To wrap up our "Celebration of Love" WLA Graduate Assistant Kate Johnson reads a selection entitled "Love Poems" from The Feminist Voice Newspaper. In the 1970s poets, artists, and writers from all across Chicago contributed works to this newspaper, one of the first radical feminist publications in the city. The WLA holds the papers of Connie Kiosse, one of The Feminist Voice's founding members.

Click here to listen to the poem!

8th Day Center for Justice

The 8th Day Center for Justice was founded in 1974 in response to a call from the Urban Apostolate of Sisters for women religious to take action regarding some of the social issues rampant in Chicago. The Center's devotion to raise awareness for various causes characterizes the love of humanity felt by many social reformers to serve their communities and make substantive change. Listen as WLA Director Nancy Freeman reads a prayer given at one of the 8th Day Center's past Good Friday Walks for Justice. The reading shows the 8th Day Center's determination to foster love and togetherness for all mankind. The Good Friday Walk for Justice has been an annual event for the Center since 1981.

Click here to see the video on our Facebook page!

Click here to listen to the prayer!

Mercedes McCambridge Sends Her Gratitude to Sr. Leola, B.V.M.

Showing appreciation to someone that inspires you is one of the most heartfelt acts of love anyone can bestow. Graduate Assistant Megan Bordewyk illustrates this in her reading from a letter written by Oscar winning actress Mercedes McCarmbridge to her teacher and friend Sr. Mary Leola, B.V.M.. McCambridge was a faithful correspondent with Sr. Leola throughout her life and credited Sr. Leola with her acting success, emphasizing how she always hoped to perform in a way that would make the sister proud. The following recording demonstrates "Mercy's" gratitude for her teacher: In 1950, McCambridge sent Sr. Leola an award she won from Look Magazine for her achievement in film.

Click here to see the video on our Facebook page!

Click here to listen to the letter from Mercedes McCambridge!

Celebration of Love Continues!

Our celebration of love continues with a reading from the Lavender Woman by Graduate Assistant Ellen Bushong. In 1971, several contributors of the publication the Feminist Voice saw the need to organize and publish a periodical for lesbians in the Chicago metropolitan area. An announcement for the new publication written by contributors stated, "We recognize that there are many levels of need in the larger Lesbian community, and we want a newspaper to serve these needs, regardless of political or social affiliation among our sisters." The Lavender Woman accepted entries from all over Chicago-land and featured articles, illustrations, poetry, and letters by queer women for queer women. You can read some of the Lavender Woman newspapers that have been digitized here.

Click here to see the video on our Facebook page!

Click here to listen to the reading from the Lavender Woman!

Celebration of Love Kick Off!

To kick off our February celebration of love, here's a recording of public historian Caroline Lynd Giannakopoulos reading a love letter written by labor leader, Mollie Lieber West. Mollie sent this romantic letter to her first husband Carl Lieber while he served overseas during WWII. In it she shares some happy news and expresses her sorrow at his being away from her side. To learn more about Mollie and Carl, visit the WLA's digital exhibit of Mollie's life and work Women and Labor: The Story of Mollie West.

Click here to see the video on our Facebook page!

Click here to listen to the letter Mollie sent to Carl!‌

From the Mixed-up Files of the Mundelein College Collection

The ISHRAB Historical Preservation Grant

In 2016, the Illinois State Historical Records Advisory Board (ISHRAB) awarded Historical Preservation Grants totaling $26,214. With the grants, historical records repositories develop and carry out projects that will lead to enhanced online access. This year, ISHRAB gave out six grants to Illinois institutions, including $5,000 to the WLA. The Mundelein College Paper Records Project is supported in party by an award from the Illinois State Historical Advisory Board, through funding from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), National Archives and Records Administration.

February 6, 2017

The Mundelein College Records are gradually being moved into new archival boxes.

The papers of the Mundelein College Collection have been pulled from their file cabinets and now sit in boxes covering almost every surface of the WLA reading room. The papers have been examined and reorganized, and grouped into series. Currently, I continue to go through files and work on description and other parts of the finding aid. Meanwhile, one of the WLA graduate assistants, Kate, is going through each file to address preservation issues and put the papers into new archival folders.

This vital step in processing assures the long term safety of the documents. Kate removes rusty staples and paper clips that dent and potentially rip papers. She examines damaged or delicate materials that may need to be housed differently. She unfolds folded documents and puts them in larger boxes when necessary.

Folded oversize documents are an important issue that we are solving with this project. We have found many land surveys, building blueprints, large data sheets, and other documents folded into folders. These folds put strain on the fibers of documents and would eventually lead to rips. Putting these large documents in housing where they can fit lying flat will make these fascinating records last longer.

‌Landscaping plans, a Red Cross Volunteer club certificate, and a sketch of a residence hall social room décor are just a few of the large records that will be put in flat storage.

When Kate has completed the refoldering and preservation, I will put the folders into their final order and type the names of the folders into the finding aid. This will be one of the final tasks in processing the collection!

 Stay tuned to as we get closer and closer to the final stages of this project!


December 13, 2016

It is hard to believe that we are nearing the halfway mark for this project. My Christmas wish this year is to make a lot of progress in the physical arrangement of the collection before the New Year. I am continuing my journey through the files, carefully examining the contents and grouping files into series.

Part of processing a collection is determining its scope and the purpose it may serve for researchers. In the past few weeks, the project team has often encountered items in the collection that made us question whether they belonged. Some items may be interesting and have historic value, but they do not fit into the rest of the collection. Items that do not directly relate to Mundelein College and that can be found in other repositories will be removed from the collection, making it easier to access and interpret the relevant materials.

For instance, we found a newspaper from the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition and various programs and souvenirs from the 1933 Century of Progress World’s Fair. The 1893 fair seems to have no relationship to Mundelein College, especially as the fair occurred almost 40 years before the school opened. This newspaper will be removed from the collection and will likely find a new home in another archives that holds items related to the Columbian Exposition. There, it will be more useful to researchers interested in the fair.

‌The 124 year old newspaper found in the Mundelein Records is very delicate and broken where it was folded.


These colorful booklets were found in the Mundelein Records.


For the 1933 fair, we came across an article in the Skyscraper, Mundelein’s student newspaper, mentioning that students from Mundelein’s International Relations Club worked at a Peace booth in the Social Science building, under the direction of Jane Addams. The items from the Century of Progress fair may have been saved by these students, as well as other Mundelein students and faculty who likely went to experience the splendor of the event. In this case, one of the fair booklets will be kept in the Mundelein Records as evidence of the students’ participation. The others will find homes in repositories that have a collection devoted to the 1933 fair.

The exploration of these items helped us learn more about Mundelein's place in the history of Chicago. It is a great example of the many topics that researchers can examine in the collection. Stay tuned to learn more about the process of improving access to these records!


November 9, 2016

We are about 3 weeks into the ISHRAB grant project. The first few weeks, I spent my time preparing to process the almost 150 linear feet of paper records in the Mundelein College Collection. After lots of research and brainstorming, I established a game plan for gaining intellectual control of the collection and making it useful for researchers.

‌The Mundelein College Records are currently housed in file cabinets in the WLA reading room. By the end of the project, the files will be in archival boxes on new shelves.

‌After drafting a processing plan, which I am currently refining with the help of the rest of the WLA staff, I began exploring the files in earnest. With my first pass, I am becoming more familiar with the contents of the collection and organizing the papers into general series. After only a few days, I have already found some fascinating items in the collection.

Processing the records involves examining the files and creating a useful system of organization.

The collection includes many records from the planning and creation of Mundelein College, showing the deep involvement of the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (BVMs) throughout the process.

Return to this page for future updates on this ongoing project!

WLA Receives ISHRAB Grant

WLA Receives ISHRAB Grant

In 2016, the Illinois State Historical Records Advisory Board (ISHRAB) awarded Historical Preservation Grants totaling $26,214. With the grants, historical records repositories develop and carry out projects that will lead to enhanced online access. This year, ISHRAB gave out six grants to Illinois institutions. The WLA received a $5,000 grant to put towards the Mundelein College Paper Records Project. Recent LUC graduate, Caroline Lynd Gianakopulos has been hired to carry out the project. Her task is to create a finding aid of the paper records for the Mundelein Collection. The finding aid will be published online and cataloged into the world wide library catalog (OCLC). Mundelein College records document Illinois’ last all women’s college, that operated from 1930-1991.

Other ISHRAB grant recipients and projects include:

Chicago: The Adler Planetarium

  • Webster Photography Arrangement and Description Project

Chicago: Southeast Chicago Historical Society

  • Milltown Histories: Processing the Southeast Chicago Historical Museum Collection

Des Plaines: Des Plaines History Center

  • Des Plaines History Digital Repository

Lisle: The Morton Arboretum, Sterling Morton Library

  • May Theilgaard Watts Collection Digitization

Oak Park: Oak Park Public Library

  • Engagement Through Access: Promoting Oak Park History Through Online Finding Aids

Women and Labor: The Story of Mollie West Lunchtime Program

Women and Labor: The Story of Mollie West Lunchtime Program

Loyola’s Center for Textual Studies and Digital Humanities' second Fall 2016 lunchtime program is co-sponsored with the Women and Leadership Archives. Please join us for:

Women and Labor: The Story of Mollie West

Nancy Freeman and Caroline Lynd Giannakopoulos, Women and Leadership Archives

Wednesday, October 26th, 12:00-1:00 pm

Piper Hall, 1st Floor, Lakeshore Campus

Freeman and Giannakopoulos will discuss the work that went into creating Women and Labor: The Story of Mollie West, an online exhibit exploring the history of twentieth-century labor and women’s movements. The story is told through the captivating life of Mollie West, a Chicago activist and labor leader. Their talk will explore how an extensive archive of papers, photographs, and memorabilia was used to create an online exhibition and teaching site.

Lunch will be served.  Please RSVP to kroberts2@luc.edu [OR nfreeman1@luc.edu] by Thursday, October 20, to help us with a headcount and to let us know if you have any dietary restrictions.

Parking: Guests can park in the Loyola University parking structure. Proceed through the main entrance of campus towards the parking structure located on Sheridan road. The cost to park in the parking structure is $7.


Hope to see you at the lunch! Please contact Nancy Freeman at 773-508-8432 or nfreeman1@luc.edu if you have questions.

From Mundelein to Loyola: The Origins of the Peace Studies Program

From Mundelein to Loyola: The Origins of the Peace Studies Program

Mundelein students and faculty returning from Freedom March in Selma, Alabama, 1965

In fall of 2014, Kathleen Maas Weigert, Ph.D., the first Carolyn Farrell, BVM, Professor, hired Kathleen Ermitage to undertake an oral history project to document the origins of the Loyola University Chicago Peace Studies Program. Its roots lay in Mundelein College, a woman’s college which the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary founded in 1930.

In collaboration with Nancy Freeman, Director of the Women and Leadership Archives, Ms. Ermitage arranged to interview four people: Dr. Kathleen McCourt, then Dean of Loyola’s College of Arts and Sciences, and the one who formed a committee of Mundelein and Loyola representatives, to consider how the Peace Studies Program might come to Loyola; Dr. Prudence Moylan, now retired from the Department of History but who had helped develop the Peace Studies minor at Mundelein before joining the faculty at Loyola; and Dr. Bill French, from the Department of Philosophy of Loyola, and Dr. Gilda Parrella, now retired from the School of Communication, who were both on the Committee.

Learn more about the origins of the Peace Studies Program

WLA Participating in Chicago Open Archives

WLA Participating in Chicago Open Archives

Chicago Open Archives is a chance for the public to explore over thirty archives and cultural institutions around the city. During the three-day event, visitors can engage with history and have a chance to talk with archivists, librarians, and curators. The Women and Leadership Archives (WLA) is participating in Chicago Open Archives! This event is free of charge. Visit the Chicago Open Archives for more information.

Behind the scenes tours of the WLA start every hour, on the hour:

Thursday, Oct. 6th: 10am-4pm

Friday, Oct. 7th: 10am-4pm

Saturday, Oct. 8th: 10am-4pm

The WLA is located in Piper Hall, on Loyola’s Lakeshore campus at 1032 W. Sheridan Road. Piper Hall is a white, renovated 1909 mansion at the bend of Sheridan Road.

Getting to the WLA:

Public Transportation: The WLA is easily accessible via the CTA Red line by getting off at the Loyola station. Several CTA buses, including the 151 and the 147, stop right next to the WLA. Please check the CTA website to plan you trip.

Parking: There is limited side street parking. Visitors may use the Loyola parking structure located on Sheridan and Winthrop. Cost is $7.

The Loyola University Archives is also participating in Chicago Open Archives. Please visit the their website for more information.

Find WLA content on the Chicago Collections Consoritum and the Catholic Research Resources Alliance

The Women and Leadership Archives records and digital files are in the Chicago Collections Consortium (CCC) and the Catholic Research Resources Alliance (CRRA). Through their Explore Chicago Collections (ECC) website, the CCC allows viewers to access finding aids, documents, and images from numerous member organizations, including the WLA.

 The WLA continuously works to add finding aids to the ECC. WLA collections can be found under the Loyola University Chicago collections in the ECC, as well as by clicking this link: http://explore.chicagocollections.org/records/?f1-institutions=Loyola%20University%20Chicago

 The CRRA is a membership alliance of institutions collaborating to deliver projects and services in support of its mission "to provide enduring global access to Catholic research resources in the Americas.” Through the CRRA, viewers have access to WLA finding aids that are relevant to the CRRA’s mission and collecting policy. Search the CRRA portal from their homepage at: http://www.catholicresearch.net/

Both the CCC and the CRRA allow the WLA to reach wider audiences as well as provide greater access to the WLA collections!

The WLA Congratulates Parting Graduate Assistant


WLA Director Nancy Freeman and Caroline Lynd Giannakopoulos

‌‌‌‌The Women and Leadership Archives would like to congratulate Caroline Lynd Giannakopoulos on her recent graduation! On May 10, Caroline graduated with her Master’s in Public History from Loyola. She has been a graduate assistant at the WLA for the past two years, serving as the social media and website coordinator this year. 

Caroline will continue working at the WLA this summer on a digital humanities project on women and labor history. 

Congratulations Caroline and thank you for your hard work!



Mary's Pence

On Saturday April 23, the organization Mary's Pence held a reception at Piper Hall for their board members, staff, and supporters.

Mary’s Pence, named for Mary of Nazareth, Mary of Bethany, and Mary of Magdala, is an organization that directs funds to programs that serve women in need of education, shelter, legal advice, and psychological and spiritual development.  The name “Mary’s Pence” arose as a play on “Peter’s Pence,” the Pope’s annual church collection.

The reception included a presentation from Brenda Myers-Powell and Stephanie Daniels-Wilson from the Dreamcatcher's Foundation, the 2013 grantee. The Dreamcatcher's Foundation works to end human trafficking in Chicago.

Board members of Mary's Pence also got a chance to tour the Women and Leadership Archives, where they have donated their records.

WLA Graduate Assistant, Megan Bordewyk, created an exhibit display for the reception to celebrate the history of the organization.

See photos from the great event below!


Graduate Assistant Megan Bordewyk with the display she created.


Mary's Pence board members tour the archives.





Thank you to Mary's Pence for letting us be a part of this day!

The WLA in BROAD Magazine

The Women and Leadership Archives is proud to share the March issue of BROAD Magazine. As the visiting organization for The Issue, the WLA staff contributed many articles and features centered on topics related to feminisms.  You can see the entire digital publication here!

BROAD media, with its digital publication BROAD Magazine, is an alternative media movement developed by the Women and Gender Studies Program at Loyola University Chicago. BROAD was founded on the principle that no experience or identity is illegitimate and seeks to bring marginalized voices to the front and center of our media engagement.

The WLA contributes to BROAD Magazine on a regular basis through the column "Archives in Action" written by WLA Director Nancy Freeman, and through the WLA (re)Animated feature, by Graduate Assistant Caroline Lynd Giannakopoulos, which highlights collections from the archives.

Follow BROAD on issuu.com and on Facebook to see every great issue!

Women in Science: Then and Now

Don't miss the Women's History Month event on March 21, presented by the Physics Department at Loyola University Chicago and by Women in Science and Math (WISAM). Women in Science: Then and Now will include a presentation by the Women and Leadership Archives about Dr. Mary Therese Langerbeck, the first sister doctorate in the world, who transformed the involvement of women in science at Mundelein College and beyond. The event will continue with discussions with Physics Department faculty about the challenges women face in the STEM field.

See our events page to learn about more Women's History Month events at Loyola!

Download the event flyer below for more information.

Women in Science Event 2016


2016 Women's History Month Events at Loyola





Hillary: A Modern Greek Tragedy With A (Somewhat) Happy Ending
February 29 – March 1
7:30 PM
Newhart Family Theatre

A Doll’s House
February 26 – March 6
7:30 PM
Newhart Family Theatre

March 2
3:30 PM - 5:00 PM
Klarchek Information Commons, 4th floor

March 16
7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
Damen Den
Poetry with Vision is a multimedia event featuring poetry performed by Andy Karol and Emily Calvo.
Sponsored by the Women's Studies & Gender Studies Program

Ecological Economics: The Impacts of Capitalism, Free Trade, and NAFTA on the Acceleration of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Climate Change
Keynote Speaker: Naomi Klein
March 17
7:00 PM
Mundelein Auditorium
Check back for details‌

Kickoff event
March 18
7:00 PM
March 19
11:30 AM - 6:00 PM
Register NOW for the second annual Women's Day Conference at Loyola, kicking off Friday evening, March 18th at 7 pm, followed by a day of keynote speakers, workshops, and refreshments on Saturday, March 19th, 2016 at Loyola's Lakeshore Campus.


Panel presented by the Physics department and WISAM, with presentation by the Women and Leadership Archives

March 21
4:00 PM- 5:30 PM
Cuneo Hall 210
See the event flyer here.

Food and drinks provided! More information coming soon!

March 28
7:00 PM
Klarchek Information Commons, 4th Floor
Sponsored by the Gannon Center for Women and Leadership and the Gannon Scholars Leadership Program
RSVP here.

Summer Research Grants 2016

The purpose of the Summer Research Grant is to support and encourage scholarly research on women and their contribution to society by utilizing the holdings of the Women and Leadership Archives. Two $1,500 grants are available each year and are made possible by the Ann Ida Gannon, BVM, Center for Women and Leadership.


Please refer to this page for information about applying for a Summer Research Grant as well as answers to frequently asked questions. To download a pdf of this information, click here.


What is the Amount of the Award?

Two research grants of $1,500 each will be awarded.


Who Should Apply?

Summer research grants are open to scholars, in any discipline, whose research would be enhanced by utilizing the collections available at the Women and Leadership Archives.   Individuals affiliated with Loyola University Chicago, as well as those affiliated with other institutions, are all encouraged to apply. One grant is designated for a graduate student (Master’s or PhD candidate) and one to a faculty member.


What is the Application Deadline?

The deadline for the summer 2016 grant cycle is March 21, 2016.  All applicants will be notified by April 11.


What is the Application Procedure?


1.   Submit 1 copy of the following by March 21, 2016: 


  • Letter of Application (1 page)


  • Current CV


  • Research proposal explaining the project, including description of collections at the WLA to be used, and the project’s connection to scholarly research on women and their contribution to society (3-5 pages).
  • Graduate student applicants include one letter of recommendation from a person who can speak to the merits of the proposal as well as the abilities of the student.  Letters of recommendation must be mailed or e-mailed by the recommender to the WLA Director (see below) by March 21, 2016. 


  • Applications (excluding letters of recommendation) may be submitted by mail or through e-mail, Word doc or PDF, to:  Nancy Freeman, Director, Women and Leadership Archives, Loyola University Chicago, Piper Hall, 1032 W. Sheridan Rd, Chicago, IL 60660.  Email: wlarchives@luc.edu


2. After the initial March 21 deadline, each applicant will have an interview with the WLA Director, preferably in person.  If the applicant does not live in the Chicagoland area, the applicant will interview via Skype.  Once the application is received, the WLA Director contacts the applicant to arrange an interview. 


3.  After each applicant is interviewed by the WLA Director, Gannon Center staff and the WLA Director review applications. 


4.  All grant applicants will be notified by April 11. 


What are the Criteria for Successful Research Grants?


  • Appropriateness of the proposed research to the Women and Leadership Archives collections, general interest, and significance of the project. 


  • Scholarly qualifications including demonstrated writing and research skills.  


  • Graduate student (Master’s or PhD candidate) or faculty member in any discipline.   


  • Potential use of research conducted at the WLA for publication in major paper, thesis, dissertation, article or book.


  • Interview either in person or via Skype with WLA Director. 



What are the Requirements for Grant Awardees? 


  • All summer research grant recipients are expected to use the collections during the grant period of June 1st through August 15th.


  • Half the grant, $750, is given to recipients after two visits to the WLA, with visits taking place prior to July 1, 2016. 


  • The remaining amount of the grant, $750, is given when all research visits completed.  WLA Director determines how many visits constitute completed research. 


  • WLA Director may grant exceptions to the funding requirements, under special circumstances. 


  • Within a year of completion, the recipient is required to present their research in some form at Loyola University Chicago.   The format may be a presentation or  web feature that will be developed with assistance from WLA staff.  The WLA Director works with the recipients regarding the most appropriate way to fulfill the expectation of presenting research. 


  • A courtesy copy of any publication resulting from research conducted with this grant must be presented to the Women and Leadership Archives within six (6) months of publication.  


  • Any and all work products acknowledges in writing the WLA’s grant support.  


 Download a pdf of this information here.

For Further Information and Questions Contact:

Nancy Freeman, Director, Women and Leadership Archives, Loyola University Chicago. Telephone: (773) 508-8432 Email: nfreeman1@luc.edu

Anthropology students learn about preservation at the WLA

The Women and Leadership Archives had a recent visit from Dr. Catherine Nichols’s Anthropology 396 class. This class works with the May Weber Ethnographic Collection to learn about preserving and caring for artifacts. After a tour of the WLA, the students learned about archival processes such as accessioning, arranging, and description. They discussed methods of preservation used by conservators and then preservation in the real world. Items from the WLA collections provided examples of the methods used to care for different types of objects. The class also used the collections of several individual artists to see what they could learn about Artemisia, a women’s art cooperative.

Here are some photos from the class visit!



History Fair Success for Emily Stevens

The 2014-2015 History Fair season proved to be the most successful one on record for the WLA as 12 students researched topics at the Archives. One student, Emily Stevens, then a junior from Maine South High School, came to the WLA and researched Beth Brinkmann Cianci, co-founder of HERA, the Homemakers Equal Rights Association. A group of homemakers (we call them stay at home mothers now), HERA members worked to pass the Equal Rights Amendment in the mid to late 1970s.

Emily did very well at history Fair with her dramatic presentation portraying Beth Brinkmann Cianci, winning at the local and regional competitions to advance to the state level. At the state competition, Emily won the Margaret Cross Norton Award for the Best Use of Primary Sources.

Click here to see Emily's dramatic presentation.

Explore Chicago Collections

Do you love research, but don’t know where to start? Behold: Explore Chicago Collections is the new web “portal” for Chicago Collections Consortium, a partnership of cultural institutions around the city of Chicago that aim to provide free and open access to hundreds of historical documents, photos, maps and much, much more. Now collections from some of the city’s greatest museums, archives, and libraries are mere clicks away! Want to learn more? Check out the most recent blog post from the Women and Leadership Archives Blog by Graduate Assistant Ellen Bushong.

Caring for Your Personal Photographs

In the digital age it may be hard to remember a time when all photographs were printed out. Since the mid-2000s, most of the photos I have taken are in digital form. However, almost everything before that time has a physical copy of it and most likely the negatives are stored right next to them. Archivists often deal with photographs and negatives in the collections. There are guidelines that archivists closely follow when handling and storing photographs. You don’t have to be an archivist to follow these basic guidelines and ensure your photos last well into the future!

            There are several key things to remember when storing your personal photographs.


Water, and Humidity, and Insects - Oh My!     

            The first task for storing photographs is to find a suitable environment. The key is to avoid areas with high temperatures and high relative humidity. Those conditions cater to the growth of mold and mildew and increase the rate of deterioration. The optimal temperature would be 68 degrees but it is key to keep the temperature consistently below 75 degrees. Keeping photographs out of the attic and basement is important if these areas are prone to fluctuations in temperature and condensation. When it is not possible to find an area that is consistent year round, dehumidifiers or fans may be necessary to stabilize the conditions. Be sure to keep photographs away from pipes and windows as they can be sources of leaks. Storing photographs on a shelf will also help them stay dry in case of flooding. Also place photographs away from areas storing food as that can be attractive to insects and rodents.

            Keep these rules in mind as well when thinking about where to store photographs that are in photo albums or scrapbooks. The same care needs to be taken to safeguard those memories for the future.


Make sure to always look for acid free and lignin free products‌


What’s in the Box?

            The next step in storing personal photographs is finding a proper container or box. The container should protect photographs from dust and light. Plastic or paper containers are fine as long as they are chemically stable and free of sulfur, acids, and peroxides. Any materials used should be lignin-free (Lignin is a complex chemical compound that causes acid to re-form in paper over time and in turn makes the paper deteriorate and turn yellow.). Containers should be big enough for the originals to lay flat or upright without folding or bending. Do not overstuff a box but make sure the box is the proper size so the materials inside do not shift. Photos should be grouped in small batches and can be separated by plastic or paper enclosures or folders. Once again keep in mind that any materials used for to batch photographs need to be free of sulfur, acids, and peroxides. Plastic sleeves should be made of uncoated polyester, polypropylene, or polyethylene. Film negatives should be stored separately from photographs as they can produce acidic gasses as they age.

            Photographs already stored in albums are safe to stay in the albums as long as the materials are archival safe. Albums, like the container or box, protect the photograph from physical and environmental damage. Photographs also benefit from the support provided by individual pockets. Albums should be stored in the same kind of boxes or containers used to store photographs when they are not out on display. Remember to find a box that the album fits in well so it will not move around. Avoid magnetic or self-adhesive albums as these types can damage photographs.

Hands Up!

          A crucial element of storing photographs is how you handle them. As hands can contain dirt and natural oils, there should be minimal handling of the photographs. Clean, lint-free gloves are recommended when touching photographs but if that is not possible handle photographs by the edges and touch them as little as possible. Follow these steps to handling photographs:

  1. View photographs in a clean, uncluttered area
  2. Wash and dry hands
  3. Wear gloves if possible or touch only the edges
  4. Make sure to support the photograph to avoid damage
  5. Use only a soft lead pencil for making notes on the back of a photograph
  6. Do not use pens, stamps, or adhesive labels
  7. Do not use metal pins, paper clips, staples, or rubber bands to fasten or bind photographs
  8. Do not have food or drink near photographs


Always check the packaging of any products you are purchasing to store photographs. Just because it is in the scrapbook section of store does not mean it is safe to use. Look for products that say “acid-free” and “lignin-free.” Photo storage supplies and albums can be found at craft stores and online.

  You should never use pens when writing on photographs. Always use soft lead pencils and write on the back of the photograph.

You should never use pens when writing on photographs. Always use soft lead pencils and write on the back of the photograph.‌


Who you gonna call? Conservators!

          If your photographs dirty, try carefully brushing them with a clean soft brush by proceeding from the center outward to the edges. Never use erasers. Do not try to clean photographs with or solvent based cleaners. Cleaners could cause serious, irreparable damage. Sometimes photographs may become attached to other materials. If there seems to be no way of detaching the items without causing damage it may be time to consult a photographic materials conservator. Be warned though, it will be expensive; however, a conservator may be the best option for saving a precious memory.

Digital Snapshot

            Another way to preserve your printed photographs is to scan them and save them in a digital format. They can then be added to any existing digital collection and not there will be multiple copies. Scanning is an excellent way to be able to view photographs without handling them. Be sure to save the photograph as a high quality image. Do not use automatic feed scanners, especially with fragile, bent, or torn photographs. This can be a very time consuming process but well worth it if scanning ensures the longevity of your memories!

Remember to also care for you digital photographs. Extra care should be given to making sure your digital photos are properly stored and saved in multiple locations. For easy access, digital photos should be organized into well labeled folders. For safety, it would be wise to have at least two copies of the photo file, although three copies are recommended. One copy can be on a computer and the other should be saved externally whether it is on an external hard drive, CD, or memory card or stick. This will prevent you from losing any of the photos if the computer crashes. In the future be sure to update what the photographs are stored on. Five, ten, or even fifteen years from now CDs and USB drives may be a thing of the past so it is important to make sure your photographs will be accessible with new technology.



There are many different ways to protect your personal photographs. These are only a few simple ways to ensure the longevity of your captured memories!

More information can be found at the following sites:

Photograph Preservation guides:

National Archives https://www.archives.gov/preservation/family-archives

Library of Congress Digital Preservation: http://digitalpreservation.gov/personalarchiving

American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works: http://www.conservation-us.org/about-conservation/caring-for-your-treasures#.ViFadivYhsQ

Find a photographic conservator: Conservation-us.org

Family, friends, and the community celebrate the life of Mollie West

On Saturday, October 3, a crowd of about 50 people gathered at Piper Hall, on Loyola's Lakeshore Campus, to celebrate the life of Mollie West. Mollie's son, Steven West, as well as Mollie's colleagues and friends, shared memories of her friendship and leadership. Using photos and objects from the Mollie West Collection, the Women and Leadership Archives created a small exhibit displayed at the event.

Longtime leader of both the Chicago labor movement and the Illinois Labor History Society, Mollie West passed away at the age of 99, on August 7. To learn more about the life and accomplishments of Mollie West, see the finding aid for her collection held here at the WLA.

Here are some photos from the reception on October 3.

L-R: Steven West, son of Mollie West, Nancy Freeman, Director of the WLA.



Exhibit created by the WLA


Steven West, son of Mollie West


Timothy Bedard gave a performance on the French horn, the instrument that Mollie West played.



Event MC, Larry Spivack, President, Illinois Labor History Society




‌Mary Ann Smith, Former Alderman 48th Ward



Linn Orear, Illinois Labor History Society




Steve Tisza, President CWA Local 4250/CTU Number 16 Retired Members Chapter




Katie Jordan, President Chicago Coalition of Labor Women



Lisa Oppenheim, Illinois Labor History Society



Family and close friends of Mollie West
First row: Ann Fuller, David Weinstein, Sarah Sheiman Kanizer
Second row: Steve West, Martin Sheiman
Third row: Jodi Halen, Marge Sheiman


New Exhibit at Harold Washington Library Features Chicago Historical Collections


Materials from WLA collections are now on display at a new exhibit at the Harold Washington Library Center. Raw material: Uncovering Chicago’s Historical Collections showcases letters, maps, photos, personal diaries, and more pulled from 20 archival repositories across the region. Through an eclectic range of items, this exhibition brings together objects that tell stories linking Chicago’s past to intimate and personal experiences of life in our city. The exhibit is presented by Chicago Collections Consortium in collaboration with Chicago Public Library.

WLA Director Nancy Freeman attended the unique exhibition’s grand opening on August 6.

The free exhibit, located in the Special Collections Exhibit Hall on the 9th floor, will be open from August 7 to November 15.

WLA Director Nancy Freeman in front of a photo from the Peggy Roach Collection, now on display at the Raw material ‌exhibit at the Harold Washington Library Center.





What is an archives and why should you care?

What is an archives

The WLA is participating in Archives Month by weekly features on the website and Facebook page. To get started, here is a post by Director Nancy Freeman, first published in September’s BROAD magazine.




What is an archive and why should I care?


Who saw the movie National Treasure?  You know, the one with Nicolas Cage and Justin Bartha who go to the National Archives and steal the Declaration of Independence.  And has anyone reading this watched the TV show “Who Do you Think You Are?” where celebrities trace their genealogy?


The National Archives is featured in National Treasure because that’s where the Declaration of Independence is.  While the media doesn’t accurately portray how a real archivist or historian would touch, let alone steal, the Declaration of Independence (never, ever, ever touch a historic document the way Nick Cage does), I love that the National Archives is so prominently featured in the movie.  


In “Who do you Think You Are?” celebrities usually end up in an archives or library with an archivist who found historical records that detail previously unknown facts about their family.  In fact, it is usually the climax of the show when the nice archivist (archivists are almost always nice) reveals something quiet surprising or interesting about the celebrity’s family history.    


The movie and the TV show portray archives, which are really just about everywhere when you know where to look.  Archives can be part of a library, the Newberry Library in Chicago, and part of historical societies such as the Illinois State Historical Society.  Loyola has a University Archives (keep reading and be patient to find out about the other archive at Loyola) Religious denominations such as the Episcopal Church of America have archives.  Corporations do too, with the Harley Davidson Corporation just one example.  The previously mentioned National Archives, with a famous building in Washington, D.C., has branches all over the US, including the Chicago area.  


Now that I’ve given all these examples, what actually is in an archive?  An archive is a place that collects and preserves valuable records, and then makes the records available for people to use.  


While not all archives are fortunate to have the Declaration of Impendence (although we secretly wish we did) archives are places full of historical records in a myriad of formats.  Think of paper; photographs, both paper and digital; VCR tapes (who not only remembers those but still has some); blueprints; cassette tapes, reel to reel tapes; magnetic wire recordings; and many more formats, both obscure (click on the magnetic wire recordings link to blow your mind) and current.  


So, why should you care about archives? Because, without archives valuable historical records are lost, records that are vital to collective memory. Archives document the past, inform the present, and shape the future.  


Without archives there may not be a well-preserved and publically available Declaration of Independence.  Without archives, genealogists couldn’t look up their family histories.  Without archives, we wouldn’t know the very first design of a Harley Davidson motorcycle.  Most importantly, without archives, the records of our collective past would be lost.


An archive is almost never dusty, which is a common misconception, nor is it a dark place hidden away in barely used basements or attics.  The archive of today is clean, tidy (mostly) and a place where archival records are meant to be used and explored.       


People use archives in many different ways either on-line or by coming on-site.  Authors write books, scholarly and popular, by using archival materials.  Documentaries are made using archives. (who’s seen a Ken Burns show?) I’ve already talked about genealogists, who typically love archives.  Middle and high school students involved in History Fair use archival records.  And these examples just scratch the surface of how people use archives.


Now that I’m sure you care about archives, let’s talk about the coolest one ever, the Women and Leadership Archives (WLA) at Loyola University Chicago. (well done, patient reader, you have now discovered the other archive at Loyola) I totally confess to bias because I’m the archivist at the WLA.      


When people ask me what I do or where I work and I tell them “I work at the Women and Leadership Archives,” I almost always get a response along the lines of “wow” or “that sounds interesting.” Folks genuinely perk up a bit and become intrigued just because of the name.  The phrase women and leadership invokes a response, even though many people aren’t familiar with any archive or archival records, let alone know an archivist.  


To explain further what I do, I like to say the WLA collects records about women that show how they live or lived, what they do or have done, and what that means to all of us.  Each archive is focused on a subject(s) and everything collected in the archives fits that scope or interest area.  The formal statement at the WLA is:  To collect records of women and women’s organizations that document women’s lives, roles, and contributions to society.  


I’ve worked in the archival field for 16 years and been at the WLA for 2 and a half years. There are three part-time Graduate Assistants who also work with me, taking care of the records and making sure folks can use them either on-line or by coming to the archive in person.  


Because I believe who I am informs my work, I’ll also let you know I’m a white, middle aged (53 and proud of it) feminist who is married, with a 9 year old daughter. I also came to the archival profession after a career in social work.  


I hope I’ve explained well what an archive is and why you should care. Come back to this monthly column to hear more about archives, social justice, feminism and how it all intersects because really, it does.  


Join us in celebrating the life of Mollie West on October 3.

A reception will be held at Piper Hall, on the campus of Loyola University Chicago, on Saturday, October 3 to celebrate the life of Mollie West. Longtime leader of both the Chicago Labor Movement and the Illinois Labor History Society, Mollie West passed away at the age of 99, on August 7.

The reception will be held from noon to 3 p.m, with a program beginning at 1 p.m. Those who knew Mollie are invited to share a two minute testimony of a memory of her.

For more information on the event, you may view and download the program invitation.

Please R.S.V.P. for the reception to 312-341-2247 or ilhs@prodigy.net.

As a young woman, Mollie West took part in the demonstration in support of Republic Steel strikers, where ten died in the Memorial Day Massacre of 1937. She was a proud member of the Chicago Typographical Union No. 16. Mollie served as a delegate to the Chicago Federation of Labor, and the Illinois State AFL-CIO and as Secretary of the Illinois Labor History Society. She was a founding member of the Chicago Coalition of Labor Union Women. In 2002, Mollie was inducted into the ILHS’s Union Hall of Honor.

To learn more about the life and accomplishments of Mollie West, see the finding aid for her collection held here at the WLA.

Summer Research Grant Recipients Visit the WLA


Researcher Jillian Plummer working in the WLA Reading Room.


The WLA had a busy summer with visits from our two summer research grant recipients. We have enjoyed sharing our collections with these two scholars and are proud to be a part of each of their impressive research projects.

Jillian Plummer, a Ph.D. student at the University of Notre Dame, spent the first week in August immersed in the archives. Her research at the WLA was guided by the following question: how did Catholic nuns turn out to be one of the few visibly active legacies of the 1960s New Left today? Her future dissertation project aims to answer this question by tracing the growth of American sisters’ religiously-inspired peace and justice activism against U.S. foreign policy in Central America and for anti-nuclear and disarmament campaigns. At the WLA archives, she examined collections on female activism in the late twentieth century, including the collections of Mary Agnes Curran, Marjorie Tuite, O.P, the 8th Day Center for Justice, Chicago Catholic Women, Mundelein College, and Ann Ida Gannon.

Our other wonderful grant recipient, Suzanne Bost, visited the archives many times throughout the summer. Suzanne is a Professor in the Department of English and the Graduate Program Director for Women’s Studies and Gender Studies at Loyola University Chicago. The collections at the WLA aided her in analyzing the ways in which women religious write about their social justice work with Latina/o communities. Her readings of collections like the 8th Day Center for Social Justice, the Instituto Hispano, Carol Frances Jegen, Mary Agnes Curran, and the Nuevo Mundo School focused on the reciprocity, identification, and affection established between the primarily white social justice workers and the Latinas they worked to serve.

WLA Hours for 2015

Below are the Women and Leadership Archives hours for September through December 2015.
Monday and Wednesday- Friday, 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Tuesdays, 11:00 a.m.- 7:00 p.m.
Visits outside of our normal scheduled hours may be arranged for researchers, such as History Fair participants, who would otherwise be unable to visit the archives during normal business hours. Please contact the Director at nfreeman1@luc.edu or call 773-508-8837 for more information and to arrange a special visit.
Appointments during our normal hours are not needed, but calling or emailing before visiting is encouraged.

See the About Us section for more information about visiting the WLA

WLA summer research grant recipients

The WLA Summer Research Grants support and encourage scholarly research on women and their contribution to society by utilizing the holdings of the Women & Leadership Archives (WLA). Two $1,500 grants are available each year and are made possible by the Ann Ida Gannon, BVM, Center for Women & Leadership. This year's recipients are Suzanne Bost and Jillian Plummer.

Suzanne Bost is a Professor in the Department of English and the Graduate Program Director for Women’s Studies and Gender Studies at Loyola University Chicago. At the WLA she plans to analyze the ways in which women religious write about their social justice work with Latina/o communities. Her readings of collections like the 8th Day Center for Social Justice, the Instituto Hispano, and the Nuevo Mundo school will focus on the reciprocity, identification, and affection established between the primarily white social justice workers and the Latinas they worked to serve. How does service translate across language and culture?

Jillian Plummer is a PhD student at the University of Notre Dame. Her summer research at the WLA will be guided by the following question: how did Catholic nuns turn out to be one of the few visibly active legacies of the 1960s New Left today? Her future dissertation project aims to answer this question by tracing the growth of American sisters’ religiously-inspired peace and justice activism against US foreign policy in Central America and for anti-nuclear and disarmament campaigns. At the WLA archives, she will examine collections on female activism in the late twentieth century, including Marjorie Tuite, O.P’s papers and the 8th Day Center for Justice’s records at the WLA.

Why is there an angel on our webpage?


The Mundelein Center Stone Angels

Flanking the entrance to the historic Mundelein Skyscraper, the four story high stone angels, Uriel and Jophiel, are fitting guardians for what is now the Mundelein Center on Loyola University’s Lakeshore campus. On the east side of the entry, the archangel Uriel holds the Book of Wisdom in his left hand while pointing with his right to a cross on the façade of the fourteenth story. His name means literally “light of God” or “flame of God” and he is an icon of both wisdom and forgiveness. On the west side of the entry, the angel Jophiel lifts the torch of knowledge in his left hand and in his right bears the globe anchored by a cross. As the “Beauty of God,” Jophiel is known as the Remunerator who guarded the tree of knowledge in Eden and is the protector of those who seek truth.

These enormous guardian angels are representative of the virtues of education and culture emphasized by the founders of Mundelein College. Construction of the Mundelein Skyscraper began in 1929 with the intention that it would serve as the sole building of the self-contained college. Though more buildings were eventually added to the campus, for many years the Skyscraper served as the main building of Mundelein College. Made of limestone, these elegant and sleek figures have hand carved bases while their more elaborate upper portions are molded. Today the guardian angels still serve as sentinels and icons for the learning, discovery, and wisdom that Loyola students strive for.

The Women and Leadership Archives was originally created to hold the records for Mundelein College and part of its mission is to keep the spirit of Mundelein ignited. Uriel and Jophiel serve as reminders of the role that Mundelein played in the strengthening of women’s education and leadership; we display a picture of them on our website to continue this legacy.

WLA bids farewell to spring interns

Interns Adam Mogilesky and Elyse Voyen working at the WLA

Spring semester saw two undergraduate history honors students, Elyse Voyen and Adam Mogilesky, interning at the WLA through HIST 398 the History Undergraduate Internship Program. It has been several years since interns were at the WLA and hopefully this continues the previous fruitful tradition.

Elyse and Adam worked hard on various projects including educational and instruction tie-ins using WLA collections. Adam also assisted with processing a collection, Deborah’s Place. Elyse researched Mundelein College’s involvement in the Selma Freedom March in 1965 and conducted an oral history of a March participant, which will be part of an on-line exhibit.

The WLA benefited tremendously from Elyse’s and Adam’s work. Both graduate and begin teaching endeavors. Best of luck to both of them from the grateful WLA!

WLA congratulates our former graduate assistants

WLA Congratulates Our Former Graduate Assistants

This summer, the WLA said goodbye to graduate assistants Jenny Pederson and Mollie Fullerton who graduated from Loyola's Public History Master's program in May. These young women enthusiastically served the WLA for the past two years and have now moved on to exciting new jobs in the Public History field. Thank you, Jenny and Mollie, for all of your hard work!

Visit our blog to read more from the Director of the WLA.