Greater Grand Rapids Womens History Council
  P.O Box 68874, Grand Rapids, MI 49516-8874                     Phone: 616-574-7307



March 23, 2016

GGRWHC Board of Directors

Mary Seeger,
Jo Ellyn Clarey,
Ruth VanStee,
Connie Ingham
Jennifer Bryant 
Jo Ellyn Clarey
Susan Coombes
Falinda Geerling 
Sharon Hanks
Connie Ingham 
Kyle Irwin
Mary Seeger
Ruth Stevens
Julie Tabberer
Ruth VanStee 
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  Shattering Glass Ceilings
hors d'oeurves and a free glass of wine for
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email [email protected], or call 616-574-7307

Scroll down here for more information.
For full description, see GGRWHC website!

NOW, to business!

During the world's shortest annual business meeting on March 30 the  GGRWHC Board of Directors will be delighted to ask  members of the Council to approve new and renewing nominees for the board and to address a bylaws amendment.

Board Members Members will be asked to approve two new board members, Kristin du Mez and  Amy Dunham Strand and two board members returning for another term, Susan Coombes and Jo Ellyn Clarey.  A brief profile of each person follows: 

Kristin Du Mez
is an associate professor in History and Gender Studies at Calvin College. Her areas of specialty are women's history and American religious history. Her first book, A New Gospel for Women: Katharine Bushnell and the Challenge of Christian Feminism, was published with Oxford University Press in 2015. Her next book is a religious history of Hillary Rodham Clinton. In collaboration with her students, Du Mez has helped create local history walking tours with GR Walks, including a tour of East Grand Rapids' Ramona Park, a Riverwalk tour, a history of beer in Grand Rapids, and neighborhood tours on Roosevelt Park and Garfield Park. No stranger to the GGRWHC, Kristin has done several talk-backs after sponsored viewings of the film, Iron-Jawed Angels.

Amy Dunham Strand is Director of the Jane Hibbard Idema Women's Studies Center and Assistant Professor of Women's Studies at Aquinas College. She has taught courses in composition, literature, women and environment, and women's political rhetoric and has co-directed the "Sister Story" oral history project on the lives of women living in religious community. Her first book, Language, Gender, and Citizenship in American Literature, 1789-1919 (Routledge 2009) was the result of her research in the intersection of ideas about gender and language in American literature and culture.  Always using historical context in her study of literature, language, and gender, she has published and presented on the the rhetoric of 19th century women's petitioning in the U.S., women's writing instruction in U.S. settlement houses, American dialect, and Catharine Sedgwick's writings.

By profession a literary scholar, Jo Ellyn Clarey co-edited a book titled Short Story Theory at a Crossroads (1989) before redirecting her path into the world of local women's history. For over twenty years she has searched out lost Grand Rapids women and forgotten events: among them, Emily Burton Ketchan and leaders of the early Michigan suffrage movement; the career of history-changing early attorney Elizabeth Eaglesfield; nineteenth-century women physicians; and 1890s African American women's clubs. She has served on the boards of the Greater Grand Rapids Women's History Council, the Grand Rapids Historical Society, and the Grand Rapids Historical Commission. Winner of the Baxter Award in local history, she has also coordinated programming on women's history for numerous institutions and academic conferences across the city, state, and nation.

Grand Rapids native Susan Johnson Coombes attended Michigan State University, majoring in Communications. Following university, she worked in local radio prior to moving abroad where she spent time in Europe, Africa and Asia. While residing in Nigeria she was a member and then president of the International Women's Association. During her two years in the Netherlands she worked as an information specialist on the Eastern Scheld Works (a storm surge barrier being built on an artificial island). Her 14 years in Asia were divided between Singapore and Hong Kong; where she worked in the international PR/Communications industry. She was also active in the local theater scene and served on the Board of Directors for the American Community Theatre. Back in the US Coombes lived for 13 years near Seattle and served two terms as a City of Issaquah Arts Commissioner. Currently, she is the retail manager for the Grand Rapids Art Museum.

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Bylaws Amendments
The following changes will allow us to extend the services of talented and willing secretaries and treasurers, such as we currently have. While the board has not discussed the other offices extensively, it feels generally that keeping term limits for the president and vice president would force the organization to do a better job with leadership succession plans, difficult because of the wide-ranging ambitions of our wholly volunteer organization.

Note the sections in brackets.
Please email  [email protected] with any questions you wish to raise before the meeting. 

Article IV 
Section 4.2   
Terms, Removal and Vacancies
An officer shall hold office for two (2) years and until a successor is elected or appointed and qualified or until the officer's death, resignation, or removal. [REMOVE: Officers may not serve more than two (2) two-year terms, consecutively.]
Section 4.3  
Unless the board shall determine otherwise, the president shall be the chief executive officer and shall have general supervision . . . shall perform such other duties as may be assigned by the board of directors. [ADD: The president may not serve more than two (2) two-year terms, consecutively.]
Section 4.4  
Vice President
The vice president shall have such power and shall perform such duties as may be assigned by the board of directors. [ADD: The vice president may not serve more than two (2) two-year terms, consecutively.]

To review our current bylaws, click here.  


Wednesday, March 30,  5-7 p.m. 
5:30 Brief annual meeting followed by 
a celebratory program,
Shattering Glass Ceilings 
Women's Elective History in Grand Rapids, 1888-2015 
presented by Deirdre Toeller-Novak
Special Guest: Mayor Rosalynn Bliss 
Women's City Club (lower level auditorium) 
              254 East Fulton Street  
Parking: on the  west of the building or in the lot on the east side of Lafayette SE, just south of Fulton Street 

Free and open to the public
For more details about all these events and programs,  
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Join us or Update your Membership!  

Not a current member of GGRWHC?   Register or renew your membership and help offset the expenses associated with annual research and programs. Your membership helps to set the record straight on the women who've made history here in our community.

GGRWHC Board Meetings

Board meetings are held on the second Wednesday of the month at 5:30 p.m. at the Vanderveen Center for the Book at the Grand Rapids Public Library. If you have suggestions for programs, oral histories, or other items, please email us or plan to attend a meeting.



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Thank you for your interest in preserving and celebrating the history of the many phenomonal women who've helped to shape West Michigan!  If you aren't already a member of the Greater Grand Rapids Women's History Council, consider showing your support through annual membership.  Visit our web site for more information and the ability to register using Pay Pal online!

Hats off to the historical women who've shaped West Michigan!