Finding a Topic
Collections of Potential Interest to Students
The WLA holds a wide range of collections that might be of interest to students working on History Fair projects. Many of our collections also contain a variety of materials, including documents, correspondence, photographs, videos, oral histories, and more! Be sure to check out our finding aids for a complete list of our collections.
During our normal operating hours, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. and Tuesday from 11 a.m.–7 p.m., we welcome students to visit us, see our collections, and consult with staff in person with no appointments required.
History Fair Topics
Topic ideas from the WLA collections may be found in several ways. Check out the handout: Resources at the WLA: Chicago Metro History Fair 2015-2016 . Other potential subjects for History Fair may be found at the WLA Digital Collections which include Feminism in Chicago: The Connie Kiosse Papers; Sister Therese Langerbeck: Astrophysicist and Scientific Trail Blazer (Mundelein College Collection); Women in Science Digital Collection; Visions: A Highlight of Chicago Women Artists; Mercedes McCambridge: Actress & Activist; Peggy Roach: Civil Rights Pioneer; Women in Politics and Diplomacy; Missionary Work; Women and Social Justice; and the Mundelein College Collection. The digital collections contain a small amount of the records for that person or specific topic, with many more primary sources available upon a visit to the WLA.
Exploration, Encounter, and Exchange and the WLA Collections
The following collections may be of particular interest for students searching for a topic on this year's History Fair theme: "Exploration, Encounter, and Exchange."
There are two online collections that also may provide topic ideas and feature primary sources:
Women in Science in the Archives: focuses on the contributions women have made to the field of science over the past 100 years, highlighting several key collections in the Women and Leadership Archives, including the Alice Bourke Hayes, PhD Papers, the Katherine DeLage Taft Papers, the Mundelein College Archives, and the Visiting Nurse Association North Records
Women and Social Justice: focuses on the contributions of women through a variety of social justice activities in the 20th and 21st Centuries in the United States including women’s rights, civil rights, peace movements, workers’ rights, homelessness, poverty, business ethics, and healthcare reform.
In what ways have women contributed to significant scientific explorations and discoveries? The WLA’s collections feature individual women and organizations that were pioneers in the fields of science and mathematics, particularly in the concentrations of: astrophysics, botany, chemistry, and biology. Several of these women were also trailblazers for the promotion of educating women in the sciences and mathematics. Click on the collection titles for more information.
Mundelein College Collection
-BVM Faculty, Sister Mary Therese Langerbeck
The WLA’s collections include records and papers of women and organizations that fought oppression for Latino communities in Latin American countries as well as in the United States. The women below participated in activities that strove to fight for the civil rights of Latinos in the United States and abroad in various forms, including work for the United Farm Workers Movement, starting a school for underprivileged children in Ecuador, and striving to improve the lives of refugees escaping from oppressive political regimes
Diplomacy and politics are very literal ways that leaders can encounter and exchange ideas in order to improve the lives of the citizens of their country. Many of the women featured in the WLA collections held political office or represented America in some form or another in foreign relations. The collections include women who served as alderman, councilwomen, senators, and consultants for U.S embassies. In addition, our collections also feature the important work of the Chicago Chapter of UNIFEM: United Nations Development Fund for Women. Click on the links below for more information.
Which issues of social justice have the women in our collections encountered? Our collections include issues of homelessness, the prison system, oppression in the church, education, civil rights, United Farm Workers, disability rights, and economic justice. How did the exchange of ideas concerning the equality and livelihood of different minority groups lead to substantive social change? Click on the collection titles for more information.