Welfare reform conference

Having been unable to attend, I was thrilled to read about the welfare reform conference held Feb. 28 through March 1 in the last issue (Summer '02) of the Bulletin. The astute criticism and inventive, politically sound, humane suggestions based on firsthand experience that were presented by the speakers are in the truest Bryn Mawr tradition as exemplified by, among others, Gertrude Ely.

I was equally happy to learn from Alicia Bessette's article, "The Creation of Value," about Miss Ely's work in New Mexico with Elizabeth Sergeant in the 1920s. Miss Ely had been the most wonderful friend and mentor to me and my children for the last 12 years of her life and we thought we knew almost everything about her. Ha. Still full of surprises, because when we knew her she was so very much involved with her current projects-1953 to 1968.

Miss Ely told me once of her aunt taking her when she was only 6-years-old to hear Jane Addams, an experience she never forgot, nor could we ever forget Miss Ely-a brilliant, joyous, fearless worker for justice yet conscious always of individual strengths and needs within the largest of crises-and such fun! Reading about the conference that Bryn Mawrters this year had the privilege of attending today gave me hope-which has been in short supply.


Modest Proposal
By Adele MacVeagh Bourne
(For a conservative amendment to TANF, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families)

For the intrepid volunteer
Who ventures forth in all weathers,
Wet and cold and drear,
Helping those with draggled feathers,

Something simple to repair,
With neither motor, gas, nor gear,
An 18th century sedan chair
Providing jobs out in fresh air.

Alternative to welfare,
For those at end of tethers,
Such innovation would make clear
The heavy burdens that they bear.

When price of food is much too dear,
And there is no clear solution,
This modest proposal might ward off
The need for revolution.

I nearly recycled the Summer '02 Bulletin without noticing the piece on the welfare reform conference held at the College 2/28-3/01/02.

Beats me why this well-written and topical article that might have provoked lively discussion (Women! Work! Marriage! Education! Money! Class! Race! Politics!) was buried under "College News" on page 26 behind the book reviews instead of being the issue's lead.

The conference attracted first-rate speakers, including Frances Fox Piven, US Rep. Patsy Mink, and Peter Edelman. It was cosponsored by the College's distinguished Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research and its new Center for Ethnicities, Communities and Social Policy, both far less familiar to many alumnae than they should be.

Here was an opportunity to emphasize the College's vigorous commitment to prepare its students to meet the challenges of our times. I regret that it wasn't given a higher priority in our alumnae magazine.


Editor's note: Feature articles for the Summer '02 issue had been pulled from our Winter '01 issue for September 11 coverage and reslotted before the welfare reform conference was announced. The conference itself took place after the Bulletin's normal copy deadline, but we opened up space in the College News section and flagged the article on the front cover because we thought it important to bring coverage to our readers in a timely fashion.

Call for diaries from 1940-65

I am a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst writing a dissertation about female college students in the 1950s with a particular focus on campus culture, the intellectual environment institutions of higher education provided, and the importance of dating/sexuality in students' lives. I am therefore looking for primary sources and in particular students' diaries and letters from the years 1940-1965. If Bryn Mawr alumnae still have material from their student lives I would greatly appreciate it if they could contact me by mail, e-mail or phone: Babette Faehmel, 1157 North Pleasant Street, Amherst MA 01002; babette_faehmel@yahoo.com; (413) 549-5191.


We welcome letters expressing a range of opinions on issues addressed in the magazine and of interest to the extended community. Letters must be signed in order to be considered for publication. We may edit letters for accuracy, length and civility.

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