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Supporters Ensure the NWHP’s Mission

In 2018, the National Women’s History Project begins our 38th year of “writing women back into history.”  However, given the times we live in, we have had serious concerns about whether we would be able to continue our work past 2020.  The future seemed somewhat daunting – until something amazing happened. 

The story of the National Women’s History Project (NWHP) is quintessential women’s history, and like women’s history, it has seen cycles of successes and challenges.   

In 1980, we spearheaded the movement for National Women’s History Week, and in 1987 for March to be officially recognized as National Women’s History Month.  Also beginning in 1980, as one of the few groups championing women’s history, we received a series of federal grants to produce materials recognizing women’s achievements. 

We incorporated as a non-profit and when our grant support ended we continued to fund our work through the increasing sales of women’s history materials and books.  We served as clearing house because  there were very few other sources for this information.  The ever-expanding interest in women’s history encouraged us to grow from a grassroots advocacy group to a national educational organization. 

Our women’s history mail-order catalog expanded to 32 pages and we distributed over 100,000 copies a year.  Our success did not go unnoticed. Ten years later, publishers were producing many more titles on women and the new internet giant, Amazon, began offering deep discounts.  Over the course of only a few years, our sales revenue dropped by 75%.   

In response, we developed A Woman’s Place is the Curriculum conferences, which were held in many states.  We mobilized our Women’s History Network and we conducted women’s history training sessions for teachers and educators throughout the country.  

In 2001, with the enactment of the No Child Left Behind Act, school districts virtually eliminated women’s history from their curricula and, as a result, our revenue again dropped dramatically.  Nevertheless, with the generosity of our supporters, we persisted. 

During one of our most challenging times, our former board member Margaret Zierdt, a lifelong teacher and volunteer librarian, helped us weather the financial storm by donating funds from the equity in her house.  

And… the story gets even better

This October Nancy Skinner Nordhoff, a 2006 NWHP Honoree, sent us a check for $25,000.  To say this gift buoyed our spirits would be an understatement.  It allowed us to pay off all debts and confidently embrace planning for our future. 

Then in the beginning of December, Dolores Carr, a retired teacher/librarian and women’s history advocate in Kansas, stepped in to substantially aid the NWHP by leaving a bequest that will help see the NWHP into the future. 

Dolores retired in 1985 but continued to tell the stories of women’s lives and promote women’s history. A few years ago, at the age of 89, Dolores gave a National Women’s History Month presentation on one of her historic Kansas sisters, “Who Was Mary Elizabeth Lease: Kansas Homesteader, Mission Teacher, or Political Activist?”  An “honorary president for life” of the Friends of Wellington Public Library, Dolores passed in May at age 93.  She was active in the First Christian Church, Sumner County Literacy for Life, WARTA, NOW, League of Women Voters, NARVE, and OWL.  

Dolores Carr’s life exemplifies our 2018 theme, Nevertheless She Persisted.  We are so grateful to have been remembered by this amazing woman.  Her generous bequest of $147,000 will enable the National Women’s History Project to establish an endowment to help ensure that women’s historic achievements are valued, honored, recognized and celebrated in ways that have been, until now, reserved for men’s accomplishments.  

We deeply appreciate all the support that you and these generous benefactors have given to the NWHP.  You provide us with the tools we need to take the next steps to realize our vision of a just and equal future for women.  


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