Women’s History Month Program
March 31 @ 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm
The first program in our Bethel250 Series will take place at 1:30 pm, on Saturday, March 31, at the Bethel Inn when Dr. Rebecca White will speak about “Women’s Activism at the University of Maine from the 1940s through the 1960s.” Moving beyond stereotypes about radical women, her talk will focus on lesser-known examples of women’s activism at the University of Maine from the 1940s to the 1970s. From veterans’ wives organizing for childcare to women athletes struggling for Title IX funds, there is a rich and diverse history of effective women student, staff, and faculty organization and leadership. Based on archival university records and newspaper accounts, this presentation details the human stories of everyday activism and social change at the University of Maine.
Dr. Rebecca A. White teaches American history and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Maine. She earned her PhD in Canadian-American History from the University of Maine in 2015. Her research interests include histories of public welfare, rural women, social justice, and public health in 19th and 20th century Maritime Canada and New England. Her dissertation focused on the origin and implementation of a mothers’ allowance welfare system in early 20th century Maine and the Province of New Brunswick. These programs, which focused mainly on widows with young children, predated and provided the template for the Aid to Dependent Children programs created under FDR’s New Deal social security legislation. White used these records to demonstrate the ideological underpinnings of the legislation, including the specific and subjective criteria created to determine “moral worthiness” for aid. A portion of this research was published as “Better than the Poorhouse?: The Origins of Mothers’ Aid in Maine,” in Maine History, Vol. 51, No. 1 (Winter 2017), 39-63. She has also contributed a chapter on women’s activism to the forthcoming book, A History of the University of Maine, 1965 to the Present. Her first book project, in progress, focuses on the gendered impact of anti-tuberculosis and public welfare measures on the health, welfare, and perceived social standing of rural families in early 20th century New Brunswick.
The MBHS 2018 Women’s History Month program is free and open to the public.