Betty Burnett

Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 1979


Since feminist historians largely concur that traditional documentation ignores, obscures, and distorts women's lives, nontraditional material logically ought to be a prime resource for women's studies scholars. Nevertheless, the collection, evaluation, and use of oral history pose a number of problems.

At several sessions, participants described the accumulation of material from almost every part of the country that needs to be organized, analyzed, and indexed. So far, oral history projects have been primarily regional and therefore not granted the prestige that national projects have received. Most of the women interviewed are "ordinary"—not well educated, not politically active, not considered economically significant or artistically avant garde. An exception is the Wisconsin Women in the Arts program, according to Estella Lauter of the University of Wisconsin/Green Bay. She points out that there has been some quarrel with the fact that the women interviewed are "self-defined" rather than society-defined artists, but all are practicing artists, articulate about their work, goals, aspirations, and struggles.



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