Each semester, students from UNE and other local universities have the opportunity to complete research projects using the Maine Women Writers Collection's archival materials, artists' books, periodicals and published volumes. We take materials to classes to expose more students to our resources, and we invite professors to consider holding a class in the Collection to give students a more "hands-on" research experience.
Joseph Gousse, a recent UNE graduate, completed a portion of the research for his thesis "Institutionalized Racism and the Politics of Justice: Disproportional Incarceration of Native Americans in the State of Maine" using the Donna M. Loring papers. As the first student to use this rich collection, Joseph had the opportunity to speak directly to Donna Loring about his thesis, and gained important insights using materials written by Maine's tribal leaders.
"The Maine Women Writers Collection is UNE's best kept secret when it comes to research...."
--Joseph Gousse, UNE graduate in Political Science
One of the most exciting projects that the MWWC has been involved in recently is a collaboration between book artist Rebecca Goodale, Michelle Steen-Adams in the Department of Environmental Studies, and Stephen Burt in the Department of Creative and Fine Arts. Students in Michelle Steen-Adams ENV 104 classes have the opportunity to explore the environment around them using a combination of artistic and scientific observation.
Students are offered instruction in drawing skills, have the opportunity to meet Rebecca Goodale and hear about her process of creating books about Maine's threatened and endangered plants, and view and handle the MWWC's large collection of Goodale's books. Throughout the semester, students work on their own ecological observation booklets, and create a final book to be exhibited in the Jack Ketchum Library on the Biddeford campus. This fusion of arts and science offers students new ways of looking at their environment, and provides a unique forum for building observation skills and confidence.
We have hosted classes of Book Arts and History students from USM, English classes from SMCC, and worked with English, History, Political Science, and Environmental Studies students from UNE. We are committed to supporting interdisciplinary collaboration and research, and use our collections to further this goal whenever possible.
Past projects of note:
The “Women and the American Experience” class, led by Professor Elizabeth De Wolfe, spent the Spring 2000 semester studying primary source material in the Maine Women Writers Collection. Students selected, researched, described, and transcribed original material from the Maine women Writers Collection for display and study on the University of New England Internet site.
Environmental Studies/Women’s Studies Capstone Project
Brady Potter (’06) developed an analytical annotated bibliography based on an internship she conducted in the MWWC. Her topic was women and the environment, focusing specifically on women nature writers.
English 310 Writing and Women’s Health
Professor Jennifer Tuttle (the Healy Chair and director of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program) developed an assignment for her advanced humanities course on “Writing and Women’s Health” in which students would have the option of writing their analytical essay on primary sources in the MWWC. Students wrote about a variety of items, from Abraham Myerson's The Nervous Housewife (1920) to May Sarton's journals. Many of the students focused on artist's books in which Martha Hall explores various aspects of her experience with breast cancer.