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



December 22, 2014

GGRWHC Board of Directors

Falinda Geerling,
Ruth VanStee,
Connie Ingham
Janet Brashler 
Jennifer Bryant 
Jo Ellyn Clarey
Susan Coombes 
Sharon Hanks
Kyle Irwin
Mary Seeger
Ruth Stevens
Jill Straub
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Important Dates Early in 2015 for 
Local Women's History Buffs  

Early in the New Year  when the busyness of the holidays is over, come and indulge yourself in your love of local women's history. The GGRWHC is sponsoring several programs, so save the following dates just for you and perhaps a friend or two.

GGRWHC is a sponsor of the 2015 History Detectives. Marcella Beck tells the story of GR's first female architect, Fannie Boylon.

Saturday, January 17, 2015. An award-winning event returns to the Grand Rapids Public Library--History Detectives. From 2 p.m. - 2:45 p.m. the GGRWHC sponsors Marcella Beck who is presenting the story of Fannie Boylon: The Legacy of Grand Rapids' First Female Home Designer. During her time, The Grand Rapids Herald referred to Boylon as the "only woman home designer in Grand Rapids." Between 1910 and 1930, she and her husband Fred built around 1,200 houses, all designed by Fannie. Come for a look at Grand Rapids' first female, self-taught architect and the homes she designed. The complete schedule and other information can be found on our web site

GGRWHC 2015 Programs Bridge Black History Month and Women's History Month 

Thursday, February 12, 2015. For Black History Month, the GGRWHC is sponsoring the program, The Exciting Early History of African American Women's Clubs in Grand Rapids, 7 p.m. at the Gerald R. Ford Museum. This program is also co-sponsored by the Gerald R. Ford Museum and Grand Rapids Historical Society

In 1907 five African American women's groups hosted the convention of the State Federation of Colored Women's Clubs in Grand Rapids. Delegates from all over Michigan were welcomed by the mayor and treated to trolley tours and receptions. Who were these enterprising women representing a minuscule percentage of the city's population? Only now are we piecing together their story from the rich social ferment fostering the emergence of women onto the nation's public stage. Among the host clubs in 1907 was a new group for younger women, the still-continuing Grand Rapids Study Club.

Sunday, February 15, 2015. This year the GGRWHC is sponsoring the first part of a two-part program for the annual Grand Rapids Public Library's Black History Month event, Taste of Soul. The 1:30 p.m. session is entitled Growing up in Auburn HillsLocal community leaders Beverly Grant and Ellen James will reflect on their experiences growing up in the Auburn Hills neighborhood of Grand Rapids. Auburn Hills was developed on the Northeast side of Grand Rapids in the 1960s by black community leaders who persisted in developing the subdivision in spite of segregation, institutional racism, and strong opposition from neighbors and other community leaders.  


Grant and James will be joined by Jennifer Metz of Past Perfect, Inc. and Mary Edmond, a retired educator who began teaching in the Grand Rapids Public Schools in the 1960s.  They will provide perspectives on historical patterns of housing segregation in Grand Rapids and the obstacles faced by the developers of Auburn Hills.


This segment will also feature a first look at some media content from the Auburn Hills--History of Racial Equity in Grand Rapids from Jeremy Moore, Joel VanKuiken, Kyle Lim, and Denise Evans. These filmmakers represent the Greater Grand Rapids Racial Equity Network, the sponsor of the second part of the program, which begins at 3:30 p.m.

For more details, visit our web site.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015. GGRWHC annual celebration of Women's History Month.  The schedule is: 5 p.m. hors d'oeuvres & wine ticket bar ($5/glass); 5:30 p.m. brief 2014-2015 annual report and election of new board members; 5:45 p.m. program TBA. The event is at the Women's City Club, lower level auditorium, 254 E. Fulton St. It is free and open to the public. Free parking is available on the south side of the building or in the lot on Lafayette Ave.

Watch for more details on our web site

Annual Membership Drive

During the week of February 1, 2015, check your snail mail or email for our annual membership letter. 



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 first Tuesday 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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Forward this newsletter! Friends can sign up to receive it by clicking the button in the left hand margin. Don't assume they are with us--with every technological shift, we miss people.


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!