Tribute to Earl Harris

A beloved member of the bi-college community, retired Blue Bus driver Earl Harris died on August 2. Born in Washington State on April 22, 1933, he came to Philadelphia as a small child. As a young man, Harris worked in carpentry, construction and with the Philadelphia Port Authority. He joined Bryn Mawr's transportation department in 1989, first driving the Swarthmore van before taking over the Blue Bus. In a profile for the magazine Inside Out, which she founded, Kirin Kalia '97 wrote: "Students tell him their problems; Earl offers advice. He receives postcards when students travel and copies of their theses if he asks for them. Sometimes Earl offers his pearls of wisdom and psychic predictions out of the blue."

"Earl was a great bus driver and friend, well liked by students, staff and faculty. One of a kind," said Associate Director of Transportation, Stephen Green, who also spoke at a memorial service held at Philadelphia's Faith Tabernacle Baptist Church on Aug. 8. Earl Harris is survived by his immediate family and a host of other loving relations and friends.

Emeriti faculty organized

Bryn Mawr's emeriti faculty, who seek opportunities to remain involved in the College, began regular meetings in the spring of 1999 with the assistance of Paul Shorey Professor of Greek Richard Hamilton and Associate Provost Suzy Spain '63.

Professor Emeritus of History and Fairbank Professor Emeritus in the Humanities Arthur Dudden recruits emeriti to present talks and lead discussions. Last year's speakers included College administrators on retirement benefits followed by a discussion led by Professor of Social Work and Social Research Lenard Kaye on issues of retirement. The year's programming also included a workshop on financial planning for retirees. Faculty speakers included Professor Emeritus of Chemistry Geor ge Zimmerman, The Problems of Explaining One's Own Research; Professor Emeritus of Economics and Mary Hale Chase Professor Emeritus in the Social Sciences Helen Hunter, A Stock Market Economy?; Samuel and Etta Wexler Professor Emeritus in Economics, Richard DuBoff, A Social Security Crisis-True or False?; M. H. Case Professor Emeritus of Social Sciences, Social Work and Social Research and Professor Emeritus of Social Work and Social Res earch Philip Lichtenberg, Dealing with Bigots; and Professor Emeritus of Social Work and Social Research Jane Kronick, The Shock of Doing Research in Eastern Europe.

Leslie Clark Professor Emeritus in the Humanities Phyllis Bober writes that she is "Not truly retired, only from Bryn Mawr, and have been so extremely busy since 'retirement' teaching, writing, and participating in international conferences that I can scarcely recall much of it!" She will lead an Alumnae Association trip to Sicily next year. The nine years since the retirement of Marjorie Walter Goodhart Professor Emeritus of History John Salmon also have been "an intense period of research and publication." He follows the careers of former graduate and undergraduate students and very much misses "the experience of teaching such students, whose intelligence and enthusiasm were unsurpassed at other universities, including Cambridge, where I taught before coming to Bryn Mawr." Milton C. Nahm Professor Emeritus of Philosophy George L. Kline last year received the Award for Distinguished Contributions to Slavic Studies from the American Association for the Adva ncement of SlavicStudies for his extraordinary career as scholar, translator, colleague and teacher. Professor Emeritus of Psychology Howard Hoffman had an exhibition of watercolors and portraits, "Laughing Matters" at Tyme Gallery, Havertown, PAin October. Last year he wrote the prologue to Startle Modification:Implications for Neuroscience, Cognitive Science and Clinical Science, a book that grew out of findings on modification of the startle reaction he first reported in the 19 60s. The Bulletin will continue to bring readers regular news of our emeriti faculty. Look for more updates in future issues.

Presidential Medal of Freedom

A Presidential Medal of Freedom was awarded on August 9 at a White House ceremony to Mildred McWilliams Jeffrey, who received a two-year Certificate (equivalent to a master's of social work) from Bryn Mawr's graduate department of Social Economy and Social Research in 1934.

A lifetime pioneer for workers', civil and women's rights, Jeffrey became a union organizer in Philadelphia in 1935 for the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America. In 1945, she became the first female department head of the United Auto Workers union. In the 1950s and 60s, Jeffrey became more active in the civil rights movement, marching with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and registering voters in Mississippi. In the 1970s, she helped establish the National Women's Political Caucus, fighting for ratificatio n of the Equal Rights Amendment, child care and equal pay legislation.

The Detroit resident-known to friends and associates as 'Millie'-is also the subject of a historical documentary, "The Secret to Change," released this fall by the National Women's Education Fund.

Jeffrey received her bachelor's degree from the University of Minnesota, where she became active with the student YWCA, known for its strong support of civil rights issues. Her involvement with related YWCA programs exposed Jeffrey to the plight of women factory workers who coped with low wages, long hours and lack of respect from others. Jeffrey says that "a wonderful" YWCA secretary at UM, Lois Wildy, "suggested that I apply to Bryn Mawr, knowing my interests in the labor movement, social and economic is sues."

Mildred McWilliams Jeffrey with First Lady Hillary Clinton before the Medal of Freedom Ceremony.

"Bryn Mawr was idyllic,"Jeffrey says. "I was a very naive young woman from the Mid-west, had never been East. It opened up whole new worlds for me, intellectual, cultural, historical vistas-Valley Forge and the Brandywine, incomparable Philadelphia with its symphony and museums. Also, after working 40 hours a week while finishing an undergraduate degree in four years, plus campus activity, I was exhausted. Bryn Mawr was a completely different environment, both relaxing and challenging." Inspiring faculty i ncluded Social Economy and Research department chair Dr. Susan Kingsbury, a pioneer in the suffrage movements and social causes including child care. Case work experiences, such as helping a young married fur worker adjust to the stress of his irregular employment in a highly seasonal industry, led her to the decision that "I wanted to change the world, not help people adjust to it. ... I treasure my two years at Bryn Mawr," Jeffrey says.

Bryn Mawr taking over Harvard?

An item in the September-October issue of Harvard magazine quips that even as the university is merging with Radcliffe, Bryn Mawr alumnae are "busy taking over" the big Crimson. Hannah Holborn Gray '50 is a member of the Harvard Corporation; Drew Gilpin Faust '68 is dean-elect of the Radcliffe Institute; Mary Maples Dunn, Ph.D. '59, is acting dean of the Radcliffe Institute; Myra Mayman '66 is founding director of the Office of the Arts; < STRONG>Anna Lo Davol '64, M.D., is a physician at the University Health Services; Linda A. Hill '77 is Donham professor of business administration at the Business School; Rosabeth Moss Kanter '60 is professor of business administration at the Business School; Emily Townsend Vermeule '50, Ph.D. '56, is Zemurray and Zemurray-Stone Radcliffe professor; the late, "great" Agnes Mongan '27 was director of the Fogg Art Museum; Ma tina Souretis Horner '61 is a past president of Radcliffe; and Sally Hoover Zeckhauser '64 is Harvard's administrative vice president. Zeckhauser is the new chair of the Bryn Mawr board of trustees, Gray is former chair, Hill and Faust are trustees of the College, and Davol and Mayman are former trustees.

70 years to go for equal rights?

Most of the 800 plus in Goodhart auditorium already knew what Gloria Steinem told them on the night of September 14. And she told them that, too: "... my foremost role is bringing you all together to discover you didn't need me in the first place." Still, Wonder Woman herself could not have sparked more energy.

At least one alumna in the audience thought Steinem was doing some "rewriting of history" in avowing that the women's movement always supported marriage. But Steinem argued that portrayal of the women's movement as anti-marriage and anti-sex is the result of a failure on the part of its opposition to imagine an equal relationship between a man and a woman. "The right wing was moderately successful in portraying the movement as anti-marriage," she said, "so although I've been writing other people's wedding ceremonies for 30 years and working hard to try to make marriage laws equal, there's still the irrational notion out there, as though marriage were always the same thing. We're anti- unequal marriage. To be against pollution is not to be against air." Steinem even sees this borne out in reactions to her September 3 marriage to South African born anti-apartheid activist David Bale, who met Steinem last year at a Los Angeles benefit for Voters for Choice, a political action committee she co-founded. "David is a good feminist," she said. "Long before I met him, he was working for a battered women's shelter in California, for Voters for Choice, for animal rights, and he raised his own children."

Asked during a press conference what she's said that she's tired of hearing thrown back at her: "Ironically, it's what I didn't say, but probably wish I had said! I never said, 'A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle.' The credit should go to a wonderful Australian woman named Irina Dunn, who adapted this from the saying 'Man without God (or 'religion' in some versions) is like a fish without a bicycle.' I think it's funny. The truth of the matter is that women need men but not any more t han men need women."

Steinem said that the next struggles for today's students are for equal parenthood and perhaps same-sex marriage. "If you decide to marry, you have a right to marry a man who is willing to be a full parent, not just help," she said. "It's the only way we are going to be able to show children that men and women are equally capable of nurturing, and until they know that, they will grow up replicating these dehumanizing gender roles. ... Our opposition tends to point out that this is pretty deep radical stu ff in its implications. And indeed, that may be the one thing they're right about."

She refused to answer students' requests for advice about what to fight for and how: "... feminism is about self determination and looking at your own life. I've tried to name some of the symbolic areas, but I could not have predicted much that has happened, with the Internet, for example.... Even if what I told you was right, it wouldn't allow you to develop the muscles of deciding." She said earlier in her press conference that "young women are more likely to say that they're feminists than older wom en, which I think is contrary to the perception, but I do think there is a pattern that women are the one group that grows more radical with age, because you have to be in the labor force, have kids to discover what the problems are. Also, we lose power as we get older whereas women gain power."

At 10:30 p.m. Steinem was still signing books and programs in Goodhart, with a smile and conversation for each student in a line that snaked around the auditorium.

Steinem last spoke at Bryn Mawr in 1985 as part of its centennial celebrations. "Then, as now, the place was packed with students 'hanging from the rafters'," said Carol Joffe, visiting professor of sociology and Anna Howard Shaw Lecturer, who introduced her. Steinem was selected by the student body and brought back to campus by the new Student Speaker Committee, founded by Nora McGann '02, Caitlin Piccarello '03, Amy Peltz '02, and Devika Prasad '01.

"In a world where people are increasingly becoming famous for very dubious or at the least very irrelevant actions, and where moreover we have been told that fame lasts for only the Warholian 15 minutes; how can we explain Gloria Steinem's staying power for 30 years and for being a feminist no less, that thing that is supposedly so over, so passe?" Joffe asked? "Each I have heard Gloria Steinem speak over the years, whether to workers in women's health clinics or college students, or political activist s, it's not about her; it's about the group to whom she is speaking and how she might contribute by her astute analysis to their empowerment."

"The old idea that what happened to men was politics and what happened to women was culture is gone," Steinem said. "We understand that any power relationship between two people not because of talent or experience or ability but simply because of how those two people got born -- that is politics. In this season, we must go to an electoral place, but when feminism talks about politics, we are talking about every conceivable kind of power relationship. And, we are also talking about the results of those relationships, because the results go very deep inside each of us. The good news about being humans is that we are adaptable, and therefore the species has survived, but the bad news about being human is that we are adaptable because we are incredibly vulnerable to the view of us, the estimate of us, that we absorb from the people immediately around us, from the way we are paid, the way power is distributed, from the media. So the result of the politics in the deepest sense that is still around us is that our self authority is undermined, that is the self authority of groups that are supposed to be not quite equal, for one reason or another. That self authority is undermined in order to get us to look outside for authority and to obey an unjust system. It is a circle, and I fear that the talk about self esteem, self authority, fails to recognize the external part of that circle. If you say about someone, 'She or he has a self esteem problem,' it's as of we individually manufacture this problem. We did not d o that. It is a function of the power structure outside us, and yet the literature in activism about changing that power structure often fails to recognize the internal expression of it in us. We live in an either-or culture, and so people focus on the internal-external, when it is in fact a circle, the external power structure that creates the internal life of authority, which continues to support the external conscience in injustice. Like any circle, it can be interrupted at any point It doesn't matter w hether we choose to work internally first or externally; they feed upon each other. What matters is that we all complete this circle.

She said that for her own part, she struggles with "the authority that comes with being well known. It's a constant challenge to figure out how to handle it. When people asked me for an autograph, I used to say no because I thought it was a hierarchical thing but then I realized that it seemed unfriendly, so now I say, 'If you give me yours.' It's my pleasure to turn these into organizing meetings. I know things are working when someone on one side of the room asks a question and someone on the other s ide answers it. I can just sit back."

Not surprisingly, Steinem thinks it important "that single sex education remain as a choice for girls and women who benefit greatly from having a time in their lives in which they are not peripheral but central. I also think that single-sex colleges can be think tanks for the women's movement just as African-American campuses like Howard were for the civil rights movement."

In her years at Smith College, Steinem said she "experienced a 'girls school,' not a 'women's college.' "We were all female impersonators together. We would be planning to all go to the movies together, but if a man called us up on Saturday night, even if he was 4-feet-2 with terminal acne, we would go because of the magical, mystical presence of a man… If only men had understood how little it mattered which man was standing there."

Steinem is worried about dwindling voter turnout and fears that white women are one of the last groups in the United States who vote for politicians who don't speak for them. She finds it significant that just as the civil rights movement had succeeded in breaking down the poll tax, the literacy test and physical barriers to voting, psychological barriers were built, the main one being that the candidates are all alike. "The message goes out that it doesn't matter who you vote for; meanwhile right-wing vot ers are mobilized privately. I remember watching this tactic being born as a reporter on the Nixon campaign plan in 1960; it has continued to this day on the part of the Bush campaign." Asked about the implications of overturning Roe vs. Wade, she said that this would not only bring back illegal abortions, "but it would also open us to a human life amendment, which would declare legal personhood on a fertilized egg. ... It's a way of a nationalizing a woman's body throughout her childbearing year s."

Steinem told students that had she married when she was their age, "I would have lost my name, my credit rating, my legal domicile, my ability to run a business. ... Now there is majority support on all public opinion polls for basic issues of equality [for women]. This is a huge step forward. But great social movements need to last at least a century in order to create change. I don't know how to break it to you, but I figure we have at least 70 years to go. And I suppose there will be other movements in the future before we finally have a society that treats each individual as unique instead of trying to label by sex or race or class or ethnicity or sexuality, but recognizes that each of us is made up of a million elements and that is only one of them.

She put a challenge to the audience: "If each of you promises me that you will do one outrageous thing in the cause of justice… within 24 hours… starting at 9 a.m. tomorrow.. I swear to you that I will do one, too." (We have not yet discovered what outrageous thing Steinem did, but among the reported acts of Bryn Mawr undergraduates were registering to vote and pledging to be more politically active. One revealed a physics grade -- not in fact a violation of the honor code.)

"If you feel powerless as an individual," Steinem concluded, "just look at how far we've come, and remember that the flap of a butterfly's wing here can change the weather hundreds of miles away. Each of us has enormous power, and together, we make one hell of a butterfly."

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