www.ggrwhc.org   | 616-574-7307
History Detectives
Sleuthing for Local History
Saturday, January 20
Grand Rapids Public Library, Main
9:30 - 4:00
A free day-long award-winning event.
Stay all day, order lunch,
or pick and choose from the list below .

Don't miss GGRWHC's session at 10:30 !
 Elective Detectives & Crowdsourcing
Grand Rapids Women’s Histor y.
Details below.
Sessions on Grand Rapids History
9:30 – 10:15 AM
Welcome to the Madison Square
Don Bryant
Sponsored by the Western Michigan Genealogical Society

While researching his church's first hundred years for This Far by Faith: The Unfinished Story of Madison Square Church (2017), Don Bryant discovered surprising connections among people, organizations, and events that characterize the Grand Rapids neighborhood in which the church was planted in 1914. As the first business district outside downtown, the Square's long history provides fodder for compelling looks at the area’s past; and Bryant illustrates why knowing local history can impact the present and how it can connect to one's family background in personal, exciting, and rewarding ways.

Don Bryant is a life-long resident of Grand Rapids, avid genealogist, local historian, and past president of the Western Michigan Genealogical Society.
10:30-11:15 AM
Elective Detectives & Crowdsourcing Grand Rapids Women’s History
Julia Bouwkamp & Jo Ellyn Clarey
Sponsored by the Greater Grand Rapids Women’s History Council & Grand Rapids City Archives

The historical charting of Grand Rapids women's runs for public office beginning in 1887 is upending conventional wisdom and offering surprises about dates, the numbers of races, and the identities of losers. This unique historical accounting hopes to inspire cities across the nation to create their own comprehensive elective histories. Julia Bouwkamp and Jo Ellyn Clarey will report that now  Her Hat Was in the Ring, a national crowdsourcing project, has invited local researchers to share their data with the world, to help others complete and complicate American women's history by seeking out every woman who ran before 1920. 

Jo Ellyn Clarey has long been associated with GGRWHC and recently has coordinated the Council's participation at regional conferences and overseen intern help on the women's elective history project.
Julia Bouwkamp, graduate of Calvin College in history, interned with the Michigan Historic Preservation Network, has been a historical interpreter at Colonial Michilimackinac in Mackinaw City, and through VISTA, worked with Wayland Main Street, an historic preservation agency. A new board member, she has become the GGRWHC intermediary with Her Hat Was in the Ring project.
*Limited Seating - Space is limited and seating is offered first come, first served. There will be an overflow room available with a simulcast video presentation.
11:30 AM-12:15 PM
Marking History: State Historical Markers in Grand Rapids
Jeff Neumann 
Sponsored by the Grand Rapids Historical Commission

Located around Michigan are over 1700 historical markers that tell the story of the state and its people. Each and every one of them provides a wonderful reminder of our history and offers insights about where we are headed. Fifty of the historical site markers are located in Kent County, both in and around Grand Rapids. We will take a virtual tour within the city limits of Grand Rapids to seek out and highlight these hidden gems that represent a great deal of our local area’s history.

Jeff Neumann is a master electrician and a retired professor of Electricity & Electronics who now has a summer business, GR Paddling, a kayaking & canoeing enterprise. His interest in local history arose while providing local historical information to his customers.
12:15-1:00 PM - Lunch
Reserve a boxed lunch! Try to call 616.988.5492 or email [email protected] by January 10 (orders made after the deadline may be accepted for a limited time). Cash payment $10 is due at the event. Choose a turkey, ham or vegetarian sandwich (make it gluten-free). Also included: fruit cup, pasta salad, cookie, condiments and bottled water.
1:00 – 1:45 PM
African Americans in Early Grand Rapids
Ruth Van Stee
Sponsored by the Grand Rapids Historical Society & Kutsche Office of Local History at Grand Valley State University

From 1850 to 1920 African Americans in Grand Rapids were a steady one percent of the city’s rapidly growing population. Ruth Van Stee will introduce this vibrant community’s broader population before providing snapshots of business, cultural, and political leaders. She will also discuss how she explored some of her examples: a wealthy business man; a women's club leader active in the Woman's Christian Temperance Union movement; and a citizen serving with the YMCA overseas during WWI, and others.

Ruth Van Stee, retired from work in the local history archives of the Grand Rapids Public Library, serves on the GGRWHC board. She has researched and presented on women business entrepreneurs in Grand Rapids, the 1914 Suffrage Edition of the Grand Rapids Press, and area Woman's Christian Temperance Unions.
2:00 – 2:45 PM
Dress Discoveries: Fashion and the Voigt Family
Andrea Melvin
Sponsored by the Grand Rapids Public Museum

Peer into the incredible closet of a prominent Grand Rapids entrepreneurial family, the Voigts. The collection of over 600 items of personal dress date from the 1890s through the 1970s and include pieces rarely appearing in museum collections, particularly the active wear and clothing worn privately in the home. The garments will be used to explore the fashion, culture and society of Grand Rapids from the Victorian Era to the middle of the twentieth century and help weave together the personal stories of the Voigt family, Carl and Elizabeth, their six children, and extended family.

Andrea Melvin is the Collections Curator at the Grand Rapids Public Museum and has been digging around the museum’s closet since 2009. She is currently managing the museum’s efforts to catalog and digitize its clothing collection. Analyzing historical fashion, she uncovers their hidden stories.
3:00 – 3:45 PM
The North End Gets a Name
Michael Page
Sponsored by the Grand Rapids Public Library

Through day-to-day accounts in Loren M. Page’s journal, kept from 1847 to 1852, get a peek at life at the “north-end” of early Grand Rapids, now the Creston neighborhood. Accounts in the diary provide a detailed and personal look at upper and lower class life in the young city, and will be supplemented by photographs and maps. Recently donated to the library archives, the journal recounts Page’s travels from Grand Rapids to Ontario and Sacramento, as well as the long-time investment of the Page family in the Creston neighborhood for the last 70 years.

Michael J. Page, born and raised in the Creston neighborhood, has worked for St. John’s Home and the City of Grand Rapids, the last 10 years as staff support to the Grand Rapids Historic Preservation Commission.
Limited parking is available in the Library parking lot and
is free with a validated parking lot ticket.
GGRWHC |   www.ggrwhc.org   | 616-574-7307
Hats off to the historical women who've shaped West Michigan!
Please take a moment to forward this message to others you know who may be interested in Women's History. If you've received this message as a forward, consider joining our mailing list in order to receive future updates about programming.

Thank you for your interest in preserving and celebrating the history of the many phenomenal 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  website  for more information and the ability to register using PayPal online!