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



March 1, 2017

GGRWHC Board of Directors

Mary Seeger,
Jo Ellyn Clarey
Susan Coombes
Connie Ingham
Ruth VanStee
  Newsletter editor 

Jennifer Bryant 
Jo Ellyn Clarey
Kristin Du Mez 
Connie Ingham 
Kyle Irwin
Mary Seeger
Ruth Stevens 
Amy Dunham Strand 
Julie Tabberer
Kate van Liere   
Ruth Van Stee

Deirdre Toeller-Novak
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Women's History Month 2017!
You'll be hearing from us weekly this month, and our website ( will be updated regularly. Keep checking! Now scroll down and start marking your calendars for Women's History Month. See you soon-we hope starting this Saturday!

Find the Midwife! 
Discovering Midwives in Online 
and Offline Records
by Janet Sjaarda Sheeres

Saturday, March 4th, 1:30 pm
Grand Rapids Public Library

On Saturday, March 4th,  Janet Sjaarda Sheeres will build on her January program at  History Detectives  with a workshop for the Western Michigan Genealogical Society. 

To date, Janet has located over forty-five immigrant midwives who served in Dutch colonies across the United States. She will use her findings to aid in the discovery of midwives from other early ethnic communities and share practical research tips to overcome the difficulties of finding these women who were often sidelined in early historical and census records. Click here for information at WMGS

An independent scholar and author, Janet Sjaarda Sheeres is also associate editor of  Origins, the the journal of the Calvin College Archives. Since she began writing thirty years ago, she has published over 70 articles in national and international journals. Her biography,  Son of Secession: Douwe J. Vander Werp, was published by Eerdmans in 2006;  The Not-So Promised Paradise: The Dutch Colony in Amelia, Virginia 1868-1880, in 2013; and her edited and annotated synodical minutes of the Christian Reformed Church from 1857 to 1880, in 2014. There is actually some humor in the latter!

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See the March issue of  Grand Rapids Magazine for a fine article on researching family origins. Janet Sheeres's March 4 th program will add a resource not mentioned: midwives' records! Who thinks of those, any more than they consider "who delivered the babies"?! The article also includes nice photos of GGRWHC member Nan Schichtel, board member Julie Tabberer, and recent program presenter Will Miner!

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March 29th  
Annual Reception and Program

Before and Beyond the Bricks and Mortar:
The 1908 Blodgett Home for Children and the 
Programs It Has Housed

by Cindy Laug & Diana Barrett

Wednesday, March 29 th
5:00 - 7:00 pm
ICCF Assembly Hall, 920 Cherry Street SE 

We will honor the nineteenth-century women's organizations that created and managed the children's programs behind the construction in 1908 of the Blodgett Home--currently the ICCF, our host building for the day. Guided by local historians Cindy Laug and Diana Barrett, we will see how those programs proliferated in the twentieth century and led to Mary Free Bed taking over the building for rehabilitation projects. 

Appropriately, our event on March 29th will offer an opportunity to visit a building beautifully rehabilitated itself. There we will toast the recent 125th anniversary of the Mary Free Bed Guild, whose members in 2016 were inducted into the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame. Free admission and free parking. Please join us, but please reserve: 616-574-7307 or [email protected].

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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 4:30 p.m. in 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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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 (click on the button in the left column above!) in order to receive future updates about programming.

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!