By Molly Murphy MacGregor
We are proud to announce that Margaret Zierdt is the recipient of the National Women’s History Project’s 2006 "Writing Women Back into History Award". This Award is made annually to an individual who has shown extraordinary devotion to recognizing the history of women's accomplishments in the U.S. through research, writing, promotion, and active participation in women's history organizations. This year’s award winner is retired elementary school teacher Margaret Zierdt of Maryland. Ms. Zierdt has been active as a writer, researcher, teacher and librarian and has consistently focused her attention on the role and condition of women throughout history.
Mr. Robert P. J. Cooney, Jr., author of “Winning the Vote: The Triumph of the American Woman Suffrage Movement,” the recipient of the 2005 award, presented this year’s honor in Little Rock, Arkansas, on October 21, 2006. As Mr. Cooney noted in his remarks as he presented the award, “This year’s honoree was a school teacher, as so many notable women have been in our history, and are today. In addition, she has championed forgotten and little known women, and set as her own personal goal, 'writing women into history' years before the National Women’s History Project was organized. Many have read and referred to the results of her research without knowing she was the one responsible for the work.”
Ms. Zierdt is the author and creator of the Celebrate Women poster which identifies the birthdays of notable women for each day of the year (often listing more than one). This poster, which has been distributed in the thousands, is now in its third revised publication. It is important to note that Margaret did her original research not only before women’s history was seen as an important topic, but long before the internet could have helped with her research.
Her knowledge, intellectual curiosity, and respect for the extraordinary work, courage, tenacity and boldness of women’s lives have made women’s history one of the great passions of her life. She is steadfast in making women’s achievements visible. She is a generous donor to women’s history and to progressive organizations in Maryland and throughout the country.
Although theoretically retired, Ms. Zierdt has been a key part of the NWHP . She has continued to research and write for the Project and has expanded the Project’s educational and outreach work. She has also has given critically needed and widely appreciated spiritual and financial support. Serving on the NWHP Board of Directors, she is deeply respected and loved by those of us who get to share her work and her company.
Her life and dedication epitomizes the importance of “writing women back into history.”