Women’s History Institute 2022 Summer Research Fellows

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To kick off Women’s History Month, the Selection Committee of the Women’s History Institute has the pleasure of announcing the names of the 2022 Summer Research Fellows. Elizabeth Bradley, HHV’s Vice President of Programs and Engagement, summarized the selection process: “Each year, the number and quality of the applications has increased, so the committee’s choice is more difficult and requires more deliberation. This is our fifth year of the program and we so appreciate the careful consideration of the candidates by each committee member.”

Margaret Holmes (she/her/hers) has been awarded the Margaretta (Happy) Rockefeller Fellowship. She earned a BA in History from Mount Saint Mary College in 2017 and is currently an MA Public History student at SUNY Empire State College School for Graduate Studies. She has worked in the field of museum education since 2018. Her research project will focus on the lives of Irish women who immigrated to the Hudson Valley and “examining their relationship to the nature of femininity and the definition of home through the lenses of gender, class, race, and ethnicity in 19th-century America.” Margaret plans to study the Irving Collection and Hoffman Family papers, as well as the kitchens, servants’ quarters, personal possessions and household objects of the sites. As her proposal states: “These [Irish] women cared for children, fed families, maintained the grand estates, and upheld the domestic ideologies of their employers while far from their own familiar ways of life and facing all manner of obstacles and prejudices. Pursuing a deeper understanding of their lives pulls their histories out from their sequestered quarters, giving a broader perspective to the experience of 19th-century immigrant women in New York State and…the rich history of the Hudson Valley.”

Lawrence Lorraine Mullen (they/them/theirs) is a PhD student in the English Department at the University at Buffalo, where their research is currently on 19th-century American Gothic literature. They received their BA from Temple University in English with a minor in Creative Writing and their MFA from Arcadia University in Creative Writing. Their fellowship proposal places emphasis on HHV’s collection of architecture plans, as well as accompanying materials from the pamphlet files and Van Cortlandt Family collection in order to document and trace the construction of the home within women’s domestic and social lives. Their proposal pays close attention to a definition of “domestic life” that includes the lives of female servants and enslaved women—those who are intentionally out of sight, or absent from domestic narratives. Ultimately, their project aims “to bring to light the intermingling of different types of labor and domesticities as house design as used by the women of the home (wives, mothers, and daughters, etc.) is different from house design as used by women working in the home, who also happen to live there.”

Both fellows will spend time at HHV over the course of the summer, examining materials in the library and archive with Research Librarian Catalina Hannan and making site visits for behind-the-scenes tours with Associate Director of Collections Jessa Krick. Hannan who works closely with the fellows as they conduct their research, eagerly awaits the start of the fellowship season. “Every summer the fellows help us to see aspects of our collection with a new lens,” Hannan commented. “We look forward to welcoming them to Historic Hudson Valley and to their discoveries.”