Rallying for Women’s History in December

In accordance with tradition, the Junto met in mid-December to hear from one of the Library Company’s long-time shareholders and members in support of the Program for Women’s History.This year’s speaker was Lisa Unger Baskin, whose extraordinary collection on the history of women from the 1500s through the 1800s went to the Duke University Libraries in 2015. In her talk “Collecting against the Highspots,” she showed how building a knowledge base and having a personal vision are of paramount importance for a collector. Over many years, Lisa Baskin acquired lesser-known works by female scholars, printers, publishers, laborers, scientists, authors, artists, and political activists, and then brought their significance to light.

For example, on one occasion Lisa Baskin found a pamphlet about an 1834 murder trial. One of the people testifying was a woman named Isabella. Thanks to knowing that Isabella was the early name of the preacher Sojourner Truth, Lisa Baskin “scooped” the pamphlet. On another occasion, thanks to knowing that the inscriber “M. M.” was May Morris, the daughter of one of the key figures in the English Arts and Crafts Movement, she acquired an extraordinary copy of one of William Morris’s Kelmscott Press books.

It was truly inspiring to hear about Lisa Baskin’s zeal and commitment to women’s history. Forty-five people were in attendance, including Penn State professor Lori Ginzberg, who will be leading the NEH Summer Seminar on women’s history here at the Library Company next July.

In 2016, the Library Company raised $11,050 from fifty-three donors who contributed to our Annual Junto Campaign, a special annual appeal that supports new acquisitions. These proceeds will allow the Program in Women’s History to continue our own efforts of “recovering” women’s history here at the Library Company.

Junto 2016

Cornelia King 
Chief of Reference and Curator of Women’s History