Women at Hope College in the 1930's and 1940's

Women At Hope in the 1930's and 1940's

At the heart of our project, we hold the goal to uncover the truth about the lives of women at Hope in the 1930’s and 1940’s. We strive to give the accurate account that these women deserve based on the records at the Joint Archives of Holland and through the research of other authors. By pouring over enrollment records, sorority scrapbooks, presidents’ files, women’s personal collections, the student newspaper, the Board of Trustees Minutes, and many more sources, our research team analyzed the daily lives of women during the early to mid 20th century in order to best share their stories. In the midst of national crises, Hope women created opportunities for themselves, resulting in the creation of multiple female organizations, a large number of women majoring in STEM, and participation in campus social events. We also attempted to understand the way in which these women looked at events such as the Great Depression and World War II in order to best understand their perspectives and most accurately tell their stories. 

This project originally was inspired by a question by our researcher, Maria Seidl. She wondered what Hope looked like for women when the men left during World War II. How did this crisis and change in the student population change their way of life? As we talked in our research group, this question began to expand. How did the Great Depression impact women in the Hope Community and how did that differ from how World War II affected their daily lives? These broad questions drove our research and allowed us to gather an abundance of both qualitative and quantitative data that approaches these two time periods from many different angles to create a network of analyses of how these women’s lives truly looked. While a historian can never create a perfect, whole picture of the past, analyzing the preserved pieces of their lives allows us to approach an incomplete but incredibly important view of their experiences.

On this website, we invite you to investigate these questions with us, allowing different angles and various connections between concepts to lead you through our discoveries in order to hopefully come to your own new conclusions. First we ask you to visit our diversity acknowledgement, as we ran into frustrating limitations in the scope of our research that excluded a number of different communities and cultures based on race and socio-economic status. 

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