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HERstory! Women in Science, Technology and Business

Tuesday, February 11, & Wednesday, February 12, 2020

9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Science, Technology and Business Reading Room

Adams Building, Fifth Floor

This post was authored by Sean Bryant, Science Reference Librarian, and Nanette Gibbs, Business Reference Librarian, of the Science, Technology, and Business Division.

Stephanie Kwolek
Mary Timms
Oakton, VA
Image used with permission.

On Tuesday, February 11th, and Wednesday, February 12th, 2020 from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. the Science and Business Reading Room will highlight our newest reading room display, HERstory! A Celebration of Strong Women in Science, Technology and Business, with the fabric art quilts of the HERstory collection. For these two days only, the reading room will host 47 fabric art quilts inspired by the lives and achievements of outstanding women.

Nichelle Nichols: The Next Generation
Joanne Bast
Littlestown, PA
Image used with permission.

Many of the fields in the sciences, technology and business have long been considered the domains of men, with the accomplishments and even the participation of women relegated to footnotes. But, women have made enormous contributions to the sciences, technology and business. Chemist Stephanie Kwolek discovered Kevlar, the fabric used to make bullet-resistant vests. Actress Nichelle Nichols changed the business of television production with the non-stereotypical role of Lt. Uhura, the first for a Black woman, and then used her celebrity to serve as recruiter for NASA, inspiring minority astronauts. FDA pharmacologist, Frances Oldham Kelsey, refused to approve use of the drug thalidomide for morning sickness in the United States without full testing for side effects, limiting the impact of a drug which turned out to cause significant birth defects.

In recognition of these and many other inspirational women, our display pulls together books from the Library’s collections featuring the women and the fields they influence and images of fabric art quilts similarly inspired and drawn from the book, HERstory Quilts: A Celebration of Strong Women.

Integrity: Frances Oldham Kelsey, PhD, MD
Bobbe Shapiro
Eagle Lake, TX
Image used with permission.

HERstory author Susanne Miller Jones and the individual fabric artists drew the inspiration for their fabric art quilts from women who inspired them personally, ranging from close family members to celebrities, and from historical suffragists to modern entrepreneurs.

The quilts of HERstory honor women from all walks of life, of many different ages, professions and races, but perhaps none more deservedly so than an African American seamstress who refused to give her seat to a white man on a bus. In honor of Rosa Parks and to celebrate the Library’s new exhibition, Rosa Parks: In Her Own Words, our display highlight will include HERstory’s fabric art quilt inspired by Rosa Parks, It All Started on a Bus, by Carole Nicholas.

It All Started on a Bus
Carole Nicholas
Oakton, VA
Image used with permission.

The quilt images included with this post are used with permission.

Books from our collections will be on display from January 27th through February 28th.


Please contact Nanette Gibbs at 202-707-3166 or [email protected]

Request ADA accommodations 5 days in advance at 202-707-6362

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