Recent EWHP Grants Awarded
The 2012 Adelaide Teague Case Award honors Joan Rezner Gundersen, Ph.D., for her many contributions to the work of the Episcopal Women’s History Project. Beginning in 1982 at the first EWHP conference in Austin, Texas, with a presentation on the religious role of women in 18th-century Virginia, Gundersen has continued to advance the Project’s goals through both scholarship and leadership. She has served several terms on the Board of Directors and held key positions, including Vice President of Operations, Vice President, President, and Webster. Since the 1980s she has played a key role in organizing many of the national EWHP and Tri-history conferences. She created and coordinates the EWHP online and traveling timeline exhibit, “What would women be doing in the Episcopal Church . . .” The author of 7 books and more than 22 articles on women’s history, Gundersen left the world of academia after 30 years to join the staff of the Diocese of Pittsburgh where she has served as Treasurer, as Director of Administration, and currently as Archivist and Administrator for Property.
The Ruth Alexander Prize of $100 is given for a published work that best exemplifies the use of local or diocesan history materials in writing about women of the church. This year’s recipient is the Rev. Lauren Frances Winner, Ph.D., for A Cheerful and Comfortable Faith: Anglican Religious Practice in the Elite Households of Eighteenth-Century Virginia (Yale University Press, 2010). This book reflects the superb use of materials such as needlework, recipe books, baptismal gowns, and many other items of material culture, much of it produced by women, to illumine the practice of faith “at home” in colonial Virginia. Winner is currently Assistant Professor of Christian Spirituality at Duke Divinity School and lives in Durham, North Carolina.
The Malcolm and Pat Diesenroth Parish Award of $250 is given for outstanding efforts of a parish to preserve or tell its history, especially the stories of women who helped form its congregational life. This award is made to St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Hillsborough, North Carolina, for extensive research, documentation, and public presentations on the history of nearly 200 years of women’s work in the parish. Research topics include the woman’s working association functioning as early as 1826, the Ladies Sewing Society at work from 1866 to 1900, one of the five founding diocesan Woman’s Auxiliary branches beginning in 1882, and the successor ECW branch active until the late 1990s. In October 2011 a paper on the work and legacy of the St. Matthew’s Ladies Sewing Society was presented by Ellen Weig at the EWHP conference in Seneca Falls, New York.
Travel/Research Awards are given to encourage research and publication about the lives and work of women throughout the history of the Episcopal Church. In October 2011 a grant in the amount of $500 was awarded to the Rev. Edith Simonton Bird of Cassville, Missouri, for research on the life of Jeanne Wallace, known as “the Mountain Maid of Roaring River.” A devout Episcopalian, Wallace left New York City at age 40 for a solitary life in the Ozark Mountains where she became a source of guidance, counsel and advice for thousands of local people. Bird will use this grant for books, photocopying materials and travel to visit people who knew the Mountain Maid. Grant approval came with the request that a history paper be presented at the 2013 Tri-history Conference in San Antonio (or at a later conference) or published as an article for Timelines.