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Harvard Law School Library Exhibit Celebrates 60 Years of Women Graduates

“Women at HLS: 60 Years of Transformation” will be on view in the Caspersen Room of the Harvard Law School Library through December 13, 2013.

 
Margaret Peachy and Jane Kelly

September 24, 2013—Jane Kelly, Historical & Special Collections assistant, and Margaret Peachy, curator of digital collections, both of the Harvard Law School Library, said they felt lucky to have the opportunity to curate an exhibition that coincides with Celebration 60, the upcoming 60th-anniversary celebration of the first women graduates of Harvard Law School (HLS).

“Anyone in Historical & Special Collections would have been happy to work on this exhibition,” Kelly said, “but because we’ve been processing the Red Set Ephemera collection, we already had some amazing material we knew we could share. The flyers, invitations and brochures from the Ephemera collection do a great job of capturing campus activities, day-to-day student concerns and women’s achievements both large and small.”

“Women at HLS: 60 Years of Transformation” will be on view in the Caspersen Room of the Law School Library through December 13. The exhibit explores themes such as enrollment, campus improvements and student organizations—with a particular emphasis on the Women’s Law Association (WLA). It draws on Historical & Special Collections photographs and the recently processed Red Set Ephemera collection. The exhibition cases are filled with photographs, flyers, brochures, invitations and other items that highlight the leadership and involvement of women at HLS.

“Our main focus was on the impact women had on campus life and how their integration into the student body changed the culture here,” Peachy said. The bulk of the materials come from the 1970s through the early 1990s—and include items from the collection such as a flyer advertising a talk by Lani Guinier titled "Becoming Gentlemen," and one from the Harvard Anti-Sexist Men organization that listed “10 Things Men Can Do to End Sexism and Violence Against Women.”

Other items offered a sense of what resources were available to women during the first years that the school was co-educational, including a profile of Antonia Chayes, who served as a mentor to women students in the 1960s. “It was really interesting to get a sense of how the culture and landscape changed as more women enrolled,” Peachy said.

“Women at HLS: 60 Years of Transformation” will be on view in the Caspersen Room of the Harvard Law School Library Monday through Friday from 9 am to 5 pm through December 13, 2013.