250 years of American Business
October 5, 2002 - February 23, 2003
"Enterprising Women" brings to life the stories of some 40 intriguing women who helped shape the landscape of American business. The exhibition reinterprets the history of American women and business revealing through compelling stories of entrepreneurs from the colonial era to the present day. Artifacts and costumes, diaries and letters, business and legal documents, photographs and paper ephemera, audio recordings, and interactive technology reveal the trials and triumphs of this diverse group of inventors, innovators and trendsetters. More than 75 museums, archives, libraries, private collectors and descendants are lending to the exhibition.
Meet Katharine Goddard, print shop owner and publisher of one of the first copies of the Declaration of Independence; meet Katharine Graham, publisher of the Pentagon Papers and owner of Washington Post. Meet Madame C.J. Walker whose hair care products brought her from her slave parents' cabin to her own state next to the Rockefellers and the Vanderbilts.
New economy leaders are well represented and include Meg Whitman, CEO of the on-line auction company eBay Inc., and the first woman to head an e-commerce site; and Linda Alvarado, founder and CEO of a major construction company; and Oprah Winfrey, one of the most influential people in popular culture by virtue of her talk show and media empire.
Maria De Lourdes Sobrino is being honored as an innovator in the food manufacturing industry starting a new dessert category: the first ready-to-eat gelatin.
An interactive web site accompanies the exhibition and can be accessed at www.enterprisingwomenexhibit.org or visit www.lulusdessert.com, and link directly to the event. A number of state-of-the-art interactive stations help visitors learn more about contemporary women entrepreneurs as they are invited to literally "step into their shoes" to trigger personal video portraits.
Following its premiere at the National Heritage Museum; the exhibition will then travel to the Atlanta History Center; the Detroit Historical Museum; the Los Angeles Public Library; the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C., co-sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History; the New York Historical Society; and The Women's Museum: An Institute for the Future, Dallas.
"I am very honored to receive this recognition among distinguished women who have contributed with their knowledge and passion as entrepreneurs and innovators. I never thought that one day I would be part of the "History of Women in Business" being a mexican immigrant and living my american dream" Sobrino said.
The Schlesinger Library of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, the primary organizer of Enterprising Women, is a national resource open to all. Established in 1943, the Schlesinger is well known for its collections on the history of American women, possessing 70,000 volumes and 13,000 feet of manuscripts, and attracting scholars from all over the world. The Library's holdings of published and unpublished sources document the range of issues, organizations, and activities - from social reform movements through culinary history – in which women have been central since the beginning of the 19th century. For more information, visit www.radcliffe.edu..
"Enterprising Women: 250 Years of American Business" is made possible by generous support from Ford Motor Company and AT&T. Additional support is provided by the Cabot Family Trust, and in kind support from U.S. Small Business Administration.
Media Contacts: Whitney Espich
Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study
Telephone: 617-495-8608, 617-496-3078