Upcoming Fall Women’s History Programs

There are several upcoming programs at the Evanston History Center (225 Greenwood Street) with a Women’s History focus. See below for brief descriptions and links to find out more. Hope to see you there!

The Founding and Evolution of The Infant Welfare Society of Evanston
by Arden Handler, DrPH

Tuesday, September 12, 2023, from 12 pm to 1 pm
Seating is limited. Registration is required.

Join us for a lunchtime presentation by Dr. Arden Handler. Dr. Handler will discuss her research on the history of the Infant Welfare Society of Evanston (IWSE), founded in 1913 by volunteers who began distributing milk to impoverished families with infants and toddlers. By 1918, the society opened prenatal and pediatric health clinics in Evanston and provided home visits from nurses for disadvantaged families. As a result of these efforts, infant mortality in Evanston was reduced from 60 deaths per 1,000 births in 1918 to 31.2 in 1936.

Dr. Handler, an expert in Maternal and Child Health (MCH), will discuss IWSE’s evolution, within the context of a progressive maternalistic frame and an understanding of how the growth of local public health infrastructure was fundamental to the basis of action to address infant health during this period. She will also highlight the local-federal relationship and the complex dynamic of institutions dominated by middle-class white women and their association with the populations served in the development of the field of MCH.

Women’s Work at the 1893 World’s Fair
by Diane Dillon

Thursday, September 21, 2023, at 7 pm
Seating is limited. Registration is required.
Admission: $10, Free for EHC members

Join us for a presentation by Diane Dillon exploring the range of contributions women made to the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Dillon will discuss the work of Bertha Palmer and the Board of Lady Managers, the protest of Ida B. Wells, the design of the Woman’s Building by architect Sophia Hayden, and the Congress of Representative Women, staged as part of the World’s Congress Auxiliary

Diane Dillon is a scholar-in-residence at the Newberry Library. Her research fields include American art, architecture, and visual culture; World’s fairs; the history of cartography; and Chicago’s history and culture. She curated an exhibition about the World’s Columbian Exposition for the Newberry in 2018. Dillon holds a Ph.D. in the history of art from Yale University where she completed a dissertation on the 1893 World’s Fair.

Postcards to Lady Alice by Reverend Dr. Michael C. R. Nabors

Tuesday, October 24, 2023 1 PM – 2PM  (Doors open at 12:45 am)
Seating is limited. Registration is required.

Join us for a presentation by the Reverend Dr. Michael C. R. Nabors, Pastor, Second Baptist Church. Pastor Nabors will discuss his family history that centers around the life of his great grandmother, Alice Ampey Jones Easton Scruggs- affectionately called “Lady Alice” – and a group of postcards she received and collected from about 1902 to 1910. The postcards offer a remarkable glimpse into one Black family’s life and experiences.

Alice arrived in Evanston in 1892 after being born and raised on a farm in southwestern Michigan. She was self-assured, independent and a professional seamstress and corset maker.  In her early twenties, she was a rapidly, up-and-coming “dressmaker” with a growing reputation in the Chicago and Evanston area.  She would meet and marry her third husband and she worked to put him through Dr. Scholl’s School of Podiatry in Chicago. Together, they would become part of a small and successful group of African American Evanston residents who helped found the Emerson Street YMCA, played a significant role in the leadership of Ebenezer AME Church and were part of the social elites in the Black community.

This presentation is a snapshot of eight years of Lady Alice’s life, though she would spend 67 years of her life in Evanston. The postcards depict a much larger view of Black life beyond Evanston and Chicago. In fact, details show that Lady Alice had both knowledge and networking around the world.  Lady Alice died on May 5, 1959, and is buried at Somerset Memorial Cemetery.

Reverend Dr. Michael C. R. Nabors is senior pastor of the historic Second Baptist Church in Evanston, Illinois. The 139 year-old Church is one of the oldest African American congregations on the North Shore. Dr. Nabors teaches Homiletics and Qualitative Research and Theological Writing at Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, IL. He served as Director of the Master of Divinity and Student Life Programs at Ecumenical Theological Seminary in Detroit where he was professor of Homiletics and African American Religious History. He has taught at Ashland Theological Seminary, Calvin Theological Seminary, and Marygrove College.