Women's History Interest Group (WHIG)

  Photo Credit: Clark Hall Women's Residence, Brandon College, c 1910.  McKee Archives, Brandon University

Photo Credit: Clark Hall Women's Residence, Brandon College, c 1910.  McKee Archives, Brandon University

For many years in the 1990s, Women Historians of the Midwest (WHOM) members attending the Northern Great Plains History Conference facilitated networking among scholars, public historians, and publishers, as well promoted the inclusion of sessions and papers that addressed the histories of women and gender. The organization began hosting a popular luncheon in 1994 at the St. Paul conference. These luncheons (there was one dinner in Brandon, MB, in 1995) became a place where scholars of women, gender, and sexualities could talk about their research, their careers, and their ideas on making these histories more visible on the conference program. Barbara Handy-Marchello, representing the University of North Dakota on the NGPHC Council, requested that WHOM be allowed to sponsor sessions. The Council agreed, and in 1999 two WHOM-sponsored sessions appeared on the program. With the dissolution of WHOM, Handy-Marchello facilitated a conversation about moving forward at the 2001 luncheon in Grand Forks. What quickly became clear is that those in attendance wanted the luncheon to continue and they wanted a more visible role within the conference leadership and on programs. After selecting the name Women’s History Interest Group, or WHIG, those gathered discussed the possibility of having a representative on the NGPHC Council, and decided to put forth such a proposal. The Council approved adding a WHIG representative and WHIG-designated sessions. Handy-Marchello served as the first WHIG representative on the Council in 2002. Claire Strom (North Dakota State University) became the Council representative from 2003 to 2008. Since 2008, Lori Ann Lahlum (Minnesota State University, Mankato) has been the WHIG representative.

Today, WHIG is thriving. It continues to sponsor a luncheon, and it actively recruits and organizes papers and sessions on the history of women, gender, and sexualities for inclusion on NGPHC programs. Occasionally, it co-sponsors sessions with the Coalition for Western Women’s History. Since 2012, WHIG has sponsored a number of roundtables and sessions that address woman suffrage in the region and more broadly in the United States and Canada.

You can contact WHIG at lori.lahlum@mnsu.edu.