I’ve long held an interest in women’s history, but that interest became a passion when I took a class with Dr. Mary Rothschild when I was in the Women’s Studies Program at Arizona State University. I took an oral history class with Mary that changed my life. Suddenly history wasn’t just boring memorization of names and dates – it was collecting living women’s stories to preserve our history. Ever since that class, I’ve let that passion continue to sizzle. In fact, it’s a big motivation for our Feminist Conversations column, as well as our effort to celebrate Women’s History Month every year here on the blog.
For those who don’t know my shero, Mary Logan Rothschild is a Professor Emerita from Arizona State University in Women and Gender Studies. She was an early leader in the Women’s Studies movement nationally and is the only person in the country who has been a Women’s Studies Program Chair or Director on her 30th, 40th and 50th birthdays. Her specialty is American Women’s History and her great love is the history of American feminism. She has been very involved in women’s oral history, the movement to include women in public history and, especially in the early decades of her career, the gender equity movement in education. I hope you enjoy reading Mary’s story as much as I have enjoyed her mentorship over the years.
1. When did you know that you wanted to be a historian?
I didn’t know I wanted to be a historian until very late in my undergraduate career, although I was a History major. For graduate school, I was accepted into the School of Social Work at the University of Washington and I wanted to work with inner city children, but I had a kind of “conversion” experience in my final year and decided I had to at least get a Master’s in History, so I applied to the History Department. Miraculously, I was offered a four-year fellowship (though I had missed the deadline to apply for financial aid) to do a PhD, so I immediately went into the PhD program. [Read more...]