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Women's History Month: In Loving Memory of her Little Girl: Past, Present, and Place in the Gladys Potter Garden
This month I want to highlight Women's History Month by featuring an article by Rhode Island Collection researcher and Historian, Laura Prieto. Laura is a History/Women's and Gender Studies Professor at Simmons College in Boston, MA. She visited the Providence Public Library last month to research Gladys and Josephine Potter and the Gladys Potter Garden in Providence, RI. Her goal was to write an article for a new online project called "Subjecting History." This project was created as an interactive writing process with a focus on history. Historians write up articles on various topics, post them on the project website, and give a few weeks of open commentary for the general public. The ultimate goal is to publish the articles in one volume created by the cooperative efforts of historians and the general public producing a more accurate, appealing, and down to earth historical account.
Laura's contribution to this project is an article entitled "In Loving Memory of her Little Girl: Past, Present, and Place in the Gladys Potter Garden." This touching article unearths the story of a woman's devastating lost of her child and her lifelong attempt to keep her daughter's memory alive by creating space for use by other children includng a small park in Providence and a new childrens wing at Rhode Island Hospital. Like most historical research projects, Laura's research encountered many aspects of Rhode Island history including the history of a small children's park, Jospehine Potter and her family, parks and playgrounds, women's activism inthe late 19th century, memorials and memorial plaques, and culture memory.
I found this article an interesting read and not simply because Josephine's quest to turn an urban garbage heap into a community park reminded me of a certain sad park and determined woman in the television series Parks and Recreation, but because of Laura's ability to bring a bit of the personal to an historical study of a park.
If you are interested in reading and/or commenting on Laura's article, you can access it here. Please feel free to participate in this project simply by leaving your two cents on Laura's or any of the other thirteen articles on the "Subjecting History" website.