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Women’s Topics Class Visits Rare Book Library at Winterthur

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On November 7th, Dr. Hall’s Women’s Topics class visited the Winterthur Rare Book Library to examine a collection of Godey’s Lady’s Book, a nineteenth-century magazine aimed at young women. The day began with an orientation led by Winterthur Library Director Emily Guthrie in which she explained the significance of the magazine and the proper way to handle these one-of-a-kind sources. Guthrie also addressed volunteer opportunities available at Winterthur for high school students. Each student was then assigned an issue of Godey’s Lady’s Book from the library collections and asked to examine it during a one-day visit to Winterthur. Issues of Godey’s covered everything from literature to recipes to fashion, educating young women about their proper roles in society at the time. Following this fieldwork experience, students are now working in class back at Padua evaluating the significance of their rare books as sources for studying women’s history and will present their analyses later this semester. This is the third year that Dr. Hall has taken her Women’s Topics class to Winterthur.

Reflecting on the day, students remarked on this unique experience. Senior Kate Dougherty wrote that she liked having the “chance to use original historical items.” Junior Catherine Hogan said, “Being in the reading room and looking at the actual Godey’s Lady’s Book was an amazing experience…I didn’t realize all the valuable historical resources here at Winterthur. I may consider volunteering here in the future.” Sophomore Bridget Philbin appreciated that the class, “got a glimpse of what life was like for women” living in nineteenth-century America.

 

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