The Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women is celebrating Women’s History Month 2008 with an exhibit highlighting the historical achievements of Brown and Rhode Island women. Disturbances: An Exhibit of Select Materials from the Christine Dunlap Farnham Archives is on view at the John Hay Library from Friday, March 14, through Wednesday, April 9, 2008. It is free and open to the public.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — In celebration of Women’s History Month, the Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women presents an exhibition highlighting the historical achievements of Brown and Rhode Island women, as well as feminist theorists across the country.Disturbances: An Exhibit of Select Materials from the Christine Dunlap Farnham Archives will be on view at the John Hay Library from Friday, March 14, through Wednesday, April 9, 2008. An opening reception will be held on Thursday, March 13, at 6:30 p.m. Both the reception and the exhibition are free and open to the public.

“Sharing the Christine Dunlap Farnham Archives with the community is a fitting way to observe and celebrate Women’s History Month,” said Bernicestine E. McLeod Bailey ’68, chair of the Archives Committee of the Pembroke Associates Council. “Spanning several generations of activists and scholars, the collection recognizes the courage and intrepidity of women who dared to challenge and thereby disturb the status quo – through interrogation, agitation, and persistence.”

Overcoming barriers: Annie Peck, refused admission to Brown University in the 1870s, gained fame as a mountaineer.
Overcoming barriers Annie Peck, refused admission to Brown University in the 1870s, gained fame as a mountaineer. Credit: Christine Dunlap Farnham Archives
Featured in the exhibit are the stories of such figures as Nancy Elizabeth Prophet, a Native-American/African American sculptor who battled with poverty and her own inner demons to create lasting works of art, and Annie Peck, who was refused admission to Brown in the 1870s but went on to become a celebrated mountaineer. The exhibit highlights the successful efforts of Sarah Doyle, the moving spirit behind the Rhode Island Society for the Collegiate Education of Women, and the highly controversial work of such feminist scholars as historians Joan Wallach Scott and Louise Tilly and literary scholars Naomi Schor and Elaine Marks. Each of these theorists questioned conventional approaches to knowledge and contributed to making gender and sexual difference crucial categories of analysis. Also on display will be artifacts bearing witness to the bold Pembroke College and Brown University women athletes who insisted on playing “men’s” sports, such as hockey, and activists who staged walkouts to protest racial injustice on campus.

The exhibit and opening reception are co-sponsored by the Pembroke Center Associates, the Sarah Doyle Women’s Center, and Friends of the Library.

The John Hay Library is located at 20 Prospect St. The exhibition is open to the public during normal library hours: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday (except March 24–28, when the library closes at 5 p.m. during spring break). The library is also open Sundays from 1-5 p.m. (except March 23 and 30).

The Christine Dunlap Farnham Archives

Housed in the John Hay Library, the Christine Dunlap Farnham Archives focuses on 19th- and 20th-century Brown and Rhode Island women and their organizations. In addition to correspondence, diaries, photographs, newspapers, yearbooks, and memorabilia, it also includes a collection of oral history tapes and videos. The materials on women are located throughout the University Archives and Special Collections. There is a 500-page Research Guide to the Christine Dunlap Farnham Archives, which includes more than 1,000 entries describing the collection.

Included within the Christine Dunlap Farnham Archives is the Feminist Theory Papers collection, inaugurated in 2002, which preserves the legacies of prominent feminist thinkers. This collection continues Farnham’s commitment to women’s achievements by documenting the contributions of feminist scholars to cutting-edge research.