Mary Dunn

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 1975


The Berkshire Conference of Women Historians decided in 1972 to lend support to research in the history of women. The field was regarded with some suspicion by many historians who did not see it as legitimate, and insisted that it was a "fad" whose time would soon pass. Moreover, too many people doing research in the field were working in isolation; rarely does one history department employ more than one person working in the history of women. Professors Lois Banner and Mary Hartman made the first proposal for a conference which would assert our belief that the history of women is a legitimate field which can make major contributions to the understanding of the past. They agreed to organize a meeting and seek sponsorship from Douglass College. They worked on a shoe-string budget, and prepared for a small conference of 75 or, hopefully, 100 interested workers who would have an opportunity to talk together, share ideas and resources, and build enthusiasm. Advance registrations suggested bigger crowds than anticipated, and by conference's end nearly 600 had registered and many more had attended without registration. Clearly, this conference was greatly appreciated by historians of women.



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