May 27 , 2020 I  I 616-574-7307
Walk Actually & Meet Virtually with GGRWHC
Since our first walking tour of a month ago, spring has sprung right into summer! And this beautiful season is the perfect time to acquaint yourself with downtown Grand Rapids women’s history in bronze--and to scroll down for information below about our virtual annual meeting in June and board members past and future!

Now, m eet the Women Legends Walking Tour, which joins the earlier Legacy Landmarks Tour on their brand-new website landing page !
Tours webpage,
The new  Women Legends Walking Tour of downtown Grand Rapids includes five sculptural sites featuring seven women. On our web link , find a map, clear directions, and short biographies about the pioneering scientists, an activist seamstress, First Lady, early female CEO, and national YWCA leader who helped build our city and who currently loom over us from their pedestals. 
Adulation: The Future of Science , statue
The five Grand Rapids sculpture sites--one is actually a sculptural grouping of three women-- can be visited on foot or bicycle; but only two, easily by car. You would want to park and view the sculptures from their different angles anyway. Note the level of detail in Anna Sutherland Bissell’s clothing and jewelry, for example, and how she steps slightly upward as she enters a new phase of life after the death of her business partner husband. 
Anna Sutherland Bissell, statue
Linger with these community figures, and look around. Maybe you will find something we missed! Read more here about how Grand Rapids stacks up in a world that has honored its women even less in statuary than in the history books! Hint—we look fairly good, all things considered. But it’s a relatively new experience to honor women in public spaces. Traditionally, they appeared only as allegorical or mythical figures, like blind Justice. 

So it’s time to catch up--honor them with a visit!
Long-time GGRWHC board member Mary Seeger represented us on the initial Community Legends advisory committee. We have her to thank for planting ideas for honoring women, pushing for decisions, and keeping us informed about unveilings. Sometimes it seemed a little cloak-and-dagger, which especially suited this mystery buff.
Mary Seeger
In June of 2019 we lost Mary Seeger, a board member of twenty-two years; and her loss remains significant. This week we honor her memory during the week of her May 29th birthday, and we will commemorate her in our upcoming hard copy newsletter and at our virtual annual meeting on June 8th. 

Please read more about Mary Seeger here , mark your calendars for 5:30 pm on Monday, June 8th, and sign up for our hard copy newsletter .
Virtual annual meeting on Monday, June 8th, at 5:30 pm – watch for Zoom instructions in next week’s electronic newsletter and in your mailbox! Anyone who has sponsored us financially is, according to our bylaws, a “member” and entitled to vote. Join now , meet with us on the 8th, and participate in the election of this year’s board nominees! Read on~
Women’s History Wednesdays!
On this special Wednesday we are delighted to feature three board nominees for 2020! It is fitting that we will be joined afresh by the accomplished Julie Hoogland and Kathleen VanderVeen, and by our essential continuing board member Melissa Fox, during such a centennial year for women’s history. Never forget about the hundredth anniversary of the 19th Amendment on August 26th!  
Melissa Fox
Past GGRWHC board president and current webmistress Melissa Fox  is a freelance writer and researcher who has published articles in  Michigan History Magazine  and  West Michigan Modern  on topics related to Grand Rapids history, including architecture and design, furniture history, and notable Grand Rapidians. For the broader local history community, she has also coordinated History Detectives, a full day of programming sponsored by a consortium of local history organizations. Besides serving as president of the Greater Grand Rapids Women's History Council and managing its communications, she has contributed to a massive GGRWHC project on the Woman’s Committees of the Council of National Defense during WWI. Her program “Riding the Rails on the Children's Special: Weighing and Measuring Babies along Michigan's Interurban Lines” has been presented locally and for the Midwestern History Association in 2018. Recently, she has bolstered GGRWHC centennial work celebrating the 19th Amendment with an overview program on Grand Rapids women's suffrage history and has researched "the commerce of suffrage," including the discovery of a local 1910 Cargill Company postcard collection. Fox worked in libraries for ten years, most recently as a librarian in the History and Special Collections Department at the Grand Rapids Public Library, with whom she will partner for Reading into Suffrage History this fall.
Julie Hoogland
West Michigan native Julie Hoogland's three-decade career in journalism took her to California and Vermont before she came home to culminate her work as editor of  MLive  and  The Grand Rapids Press  from 2012 through 2016. As  Press  editor, among her many roles was spearheading attention to women's issues. We first met Julie in 2014 when she oversaw coverage of our centennial program on the 1914 take-over of the  Grand Rapids Press . “Oversaw” is right! She switched out the 2014 masthead for the 1914, a first in the newspaper world as far as we know! And that was just the start—the very next year she championed the cause of honoring Pearl Kendrick and Grace Eldering with more front-page news about women! During the 1930s, Kendrick and Eldering, with laboratory assistant Loney Clinton Gordon, had developed the first successful vaccine for whooping cough in Grand Rapids. When in 2019 Julie’s editorial support and the  Press  articles had resulted in the unveiling of a Legends statue of the three women (see above!) , Julie was again instrumental by leading GGRWHC efforts to shed new light on their work, winkling out a broader race history in their lab, and tracking down surviving relatives so they could attend the ceremony. 
Kathleen VanderVeen
A colleague and very close friend of the GGRWHC’s Mary Seeger, Kathleen VanderVeen joined Grand Valley State University in 1991 and is currently an associate vice president in the Division of Inclusion and Equity. Not only does Kathleen oversee compliance issues as a university officer for the Americans with Disabilities Act, she has already helped us to see how we need to make a few changes ourselves! Also an adjunct faculty member in the School of Communications, VanderVeen holds a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from WMU and a master’s degree in College Student Affairs Leadership from GVSU. We met Kathleen first when, as a representative of GVSU’s Women’s Resource Center during the 1990s, she was involved with university programming for GGRWHC’s splashy, community-wide Women’s History Month programs called Legacy. (This was such a big effort that Legacy occurred only every three years.) Recently, Kathleen served for over ten years on the board of the Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Kent County. 

Hats off to Julie, Melissa, and Kathleen!
GGRWHC’s program year honoring the 19th Amendment centennial has been interrupted by the coronavirus outbreak. We regret especially the loss of the August 26th celebration, but please stay tuned. And, for now, please stay home and stay safe. Celebrate with the Greater Grand Rapids Women’s History Council virtually and in print!

Watch for Women’s History Wednesdays via this electronic newsletter, follow us on Facebook, watch for our monthly features in Women’s Lifestyle Magazine , and click here to receive our hard-copy newsletter and become a supporting member of GGRWHC!
Stay home and stay safe--but celebrate with us virtually and in print! 
GGRWHC |   | 616-574-7307
Hats off to the historical women who have 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 supporter of the Greater Grand Rapids Women's History Council, consider investing in our work as a volunteer or with an annual donation .  Visit our  website  for more information and the ability to donate online.