In the News
Political pins have been in use for at least 200 years, explains Kathryn Jacob, curator of the pin collection at the Radcliffe Institute's Schlesinger Library; the oldest pins housed there date back to the movement for women's suffrage, which will celebrate its centennial in 2020. The pins provide evidence of hard-won fights for political rights now often taken for granted.
“There were conservative and liberal activist movements [in the 1960s]. What tended to happen was that conservative activists didn’t tend to go into academia whereas the liberal activists did,” said New York Times columnist Ross Douthat during Radcliffe's "Righting the Record: Conservatism and the Archives" discussion.
"Over the course of the Civil War nearly half a million men, women, and children fled from bondage to the so-called “contraband camps” that sprang up wherever the Union Army infiltrated the Confederacy. Emancipation in the U.S. Civil War was, among other things, a refugee crisis," posits Chandra Manning, Radcliffe's Special Advisor to the Dean.
In this year of splintering ceilings for women in politics, it's good to remember Jeannette Rankin, the first woman in Congress, who was elected 100 years ago this November. Rankin—whose papers are held at Radcliffe Institute's Schlesinger Library—wanted to be remembered as the first woman to secure a congressional vote for women's suffrage, and she did open the House debate that eventually led to the ratification of the 19th Amendment.