Oral Histories

In 1993 SWG received a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation to initiate the current Oral History Program. The grant funded workshops to train SWG members as volunteer interviewers, the purchase of professional recording equipment, transcription of some oral history interviews, and a professional staff member for the early years of the program.

The MARPAT Foundation subsequently awarded several grants that enabled SWG to continue the Oral History Program with leadership provided by members. Training workshops were held, members conducted additional interviews, and all interviews were transcribed, including several interviews of SWG members that were audio taped in 1973 and 1974 as part of the celebration of SWG’s fiftieth anniversary.

In 2012 and 2013 SWG transferred more than 80 interview transcripts to the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress (LOC); original sound recordings of the interviews on audio cassettes and digital audio DVDs were transferred to the Sound Division of the LOC. Locating the interviews at the LOC ensures that the SWG oral history interviews will be widely available to researchers interested in exploration, scientific discovery, the careers of women, and the history of SWG. One of the interviews listed below and recordings of some other interviews are under restrictions and are available only at the SWG headquarters.

Oral History Summaries

Valeria Marie Absalonova (d. 1988), geographer, writer, and lecturer. Interviewed by Eloise Engel Paananen and Helen Lillie (Marwick) on July 18, 1974, in Lillie’s home in Georgetown. Transcript and one audiotape (copyright SWG). The interview begins with Madame Absalonova talking about her research of the family of her husband, zoologist Karel Absalonova, a discoverer of prehistoric caves in Moravia. She gives an account of the bombing of her home in Brno, Czechoslovakia, in World War II, her husband being forced out of Prague’s Charles University by the Nazis, and the smuggling of her children in wooden sugar cases. Later, she and her husband traveled the world researching prehistoric caves. After her husband’s death, she continued publishing his writings. Absalonova joined SWG in 1927 in her native Czechoslovakia.

Joanruth Baumann (b. 1948), engineer. Interviewed by Donita Moorhus May 25, 2014, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania during SWG’s Triennial meeting. Transcript and digital audio DVD (copyright SWG). Initially trained as an engineer, Baumann also studied Latin American history and earned an M.B.A. in Management and Organizational Productivity at Yale University School of Management. She worked in the aerospace industry, did search and rescue work as a pilot, taught math and management courses in the U.S. and China, managed a nonprofit corporation, and started a consulting company. She has been an exchange professor in China, a People-to-People instructor in the Ukraine and an AIDS educator in Kenya. Since 2000 she has been active in developing environmental and marine programs in the Northwest, including derelict vessel and marine protection programs.

Jeanne Bellamy (1911–2004), journalist, TV broadcaster, banker, civic leader. Interviewed in 1994 by Marina Whitman. Four audiotapes and transcript (copyright SWG). Barnard College 1928–1929; BA, Rollins College, 1933. Bellamy discusses her family and childhood, the education of women, and her professional experiences as a journalist for The Miami Herald, 1937–1973, and member of its editorial board from 1977–1982. She was the first woman to chair the Sun Bank Midtown, Miami (now SunTrust) and the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, and she served as president of the Fairchild Tropical Garden Club (FTG) and was a member of numerous boards, including the South Florida Water Management District, the Montgomery Foundation, the National Audubon Society, the Nature Conservancy, and Biscayne and Rollins Colleges. Her interests included water resource management and the environment. Awarded the Thomas Barbour Medal by the FTG, 1984. Bellamy joined SWG (Florida Group) in 1982.

Dorothy Agnes Bennett (1909–1999), anthropologist, archeologist, astronomer, editor, teacher. Interviewed in 1994 by Fauno Cordes. One audiotape and transcript (copyright SWG). BA, University of Minnesota, 1930; Diploma, Institute of Archaeology, London. Bennett was the senior anthropologist with the Museum of Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley; Director of Epoch at Berkeley; and organized a Junior Astronomy Club at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. She published the first Star Explorer, a revolving chart displaying more than 500 visible stars, and edited the Golden Books series for children, including the Golden Almanac (1944) and the Golden Nature Guide Books (1950). Astronomy took her to Peru and various locations in the Pacific. Honorary member of the Geological Society of Peru and Fellow of the American Geological Society. Bennett joined SWG in 1945.

Katharine “Kay” Fowler Billings (1902–1997), geologist, conservationist, author. Interviewed September 16, 1995, by Birgit Faber Morse. Two audiotapes, transcript, and videotape (copyright SWG). BA, Bryn Mawr College, 1925; MS, University of Wisconsin, 1926, geology; PhD, Columbia University, 1930, geology. Billings mapped the geology of the Laramie Mountains of Wyoming; Sierra Leone in Africa as well as the Monadnock region, Odioue Point in Rye, and the Isle of Shoals in Portsmouth, all in New Hampshire. With her husband, she also mapped the geology of north central New Hampshire, including a special emphasis on the White Mountains National Forest. Her conservation efforts included maintaining the ecological integrity of Wellesley, Massachusetts, and the Mount Washington Valley in New Hampshire, restricting land development to prevent environmental pollution. Her efforts protected the marshlands in North Hampton, New Hampshire, preserving the Green Hills in North Conway, New Hampshire, and establishing the Science Center for Environmental Education at Odiorre Point in Rye, New Hampshire. Author of The Gold Missus: A woman prospector in Sierra Leone, The Geology of the Monadnock Quadrangle, New Hampshire, and Stepping Stones. Billings joined SWG in 1938 and received the Outstanding Achievement Award in 1996.

Arlene Diane Blum (b. 1945), author, mountain climber, environmental health scientist and activist. Interviewed by Joanna Biggar on November 24, 2009, in Arlene’s home in Berkeley, California. Transcript and two audiotapes (copyright SWG). PhD, University of California, Berkeley, 1972, biophysical chemistry. Author of Annapurna: a Woman’s Place and Breaking Trail: a Climbing Life. The interview covers her early life, education, and mountain-climbing adventures that include leading the first all-woman ascent of Denali, or Mount McKinley, in 1970 and the second American ascent of Mount Everest in 1976. Her scientific project to encourage awareness of the toxicity of flame retardants in children’s pajamas resulted in the banning of that chemical. She founded the Green Science Policy Institute and received the Purpose Prize in December 2008. Blum joined SWG (Bay Area Group) in 1981 and received the Gold Medal in 1984.

Elisabeth Benson (“Ben”) McKittrick Booz (1925-2016), writer, editor, artist. Interviewed by Ann Imlah Schneider June 22 to 25, 2009 in Ben’s home in Yvoire, France. Six audiotapes and transcript (copyright SWG). BA, Vassar College, 1946, history; MA, University of California, Berkeley, 1947, history; MA, University of Geneva, Institut des Hautes Etudes Internationales, 1949, economics. Author of several books, including The Seal of Jai and Odyssey Illustrated Guide to Tibet. The interview covers Booz’s early years in England, living in the U.S. during World War II, her return to Europe for study in Geneva, and summer work building the Yugoslav railway. Ben traveled with her husband, Paul Booz, who worked for United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, before settling in Yvoire. After her husband’s death, she and their five children returned to the United States. She was recruited to teach English in China from 1979 to 1982. Her travels and research on Central Asia, Tibet, and New Zealand are discussed extensively. The transcript of a 1987 interview with Joanne Biggar, which focuses on Booz’s time in China, is included with the 2009 interview transcript. Booz joined SWG in 1986 and received the Outstanding Achievement Award in 1993.

Ellen Sparry Brush (1933–1999), anthropologist, archaeologist. Interviewed in 1999 by Zorka Milich. One audiotape and transcript (copyright SWG). BA, Smith College, anthropology; MA, PhD, Columbia University. Brush’s work in archeology was in Guerrero, Mexico, and she participated in expeditions to the Licancabur volcano on the border between Chile and Bolivia, the Amzat area of New Guinea, and Baffin Island. She served two terms as Director of the Explorers Club and was awarded the Explorers Club’s President’s Medal for Distinguished Service. Brush carried the SWG flag in 1970 and in 1984. She joined SWG (New York Group) in 1966; served as co-chair of the SWG’s 50th Anniversary celebrations in New York in 1975; and received the New York Group Outstanding Service Award in 1996.

Delores “Lorrie” Bunker (Boquist) (1927–2007), radio journalist, publicist, and artist. Interviewed by Fauno Cordes July 12, 1995, in Lorrie’s home in San Francisco. Transcript and one audiotape (copyright SWG). The interview covers her early life in Oregon and education in Colorado. She began her radio career as a copywriter at KRDO in Colorado Springs; after moving to San Francisco, she and worked in public relations and as an artist. Her works were exhibited in the San Francisco Museum of Art, the Charles and Emma Frye Museum in Seattle, and the San Francisco Art Festival. Bunker joined SWG (Bay Area Group) in 1982.

Betty Didcoct Burrill (1915-2015), geographer. Interviewed in 1974 by Delia Goetz (life and career) and in 2000 by Joanna Biggar (SWG-related). Two audiotapes and transcripts (copyright SWG). BA, Mount Holyoke College, 1938, archaeology; MA, Peabody College, 1939, library science; MA, Peabody College, 1944, geography. The 1974 interview describes Burrill’s early life, education, and career as a geographer at the United States Department of State, where she specialized in Latin America, as well as her travels on government business in Brazil, Mexico, Canada and Alaska. The 2000 interview focuses on SWG, especially her presidency. Burrill joined SWG in 1953; President, 1975–1978.

Maria Pia Casarini (b. 1950), Director of the Polar Geographical Institute “Silvio Zavatti” in Fermo, Italy, and the editor of the periodical “Il Polo” (The Pole) since 2011. Interview by Karen Kohanowich May 26, 2014, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania during SWG’s Triennial meeting. Transcript and digital audio DVD (copyright SWG). Casarini has participated in two Antarctic and six Arctic expeditions and cruises and specializes in polar history. After graduating from the Universita Cattolica, Milan, in Modern Languages (specializing in English), she received her M. Phil. in Polar Studies from Cambridge University, with a thesis on Sir Hubert Wilkins’ first attempt to take a submarine to the North Pole in 1931. Her doctoral work at Cambridge analyzed the diaries and letters of Lady Franklin to determine the role that Lady Franklin played in the searches for the 1895 lost expedition of her husband, Sir John Franklin.

Marion Stilwell Cave (1904–1995), botanist, plant cytologist and embryologist. Interviewed in 1994 by Lorrie Bunker. Two audiotapes and transcript (copyright SWG). AB, University of Colorado, 1924, romance languages; MA, University of Colorado, 1925; PhD, University of California, 1936, genetics. Cave recounts how her professional life was thwarted by sex discrimination: She was hired as a research assistant rather than put on an academic career track. Behind her microscope she began independent embryological studies on Liliaceae and cytological studies on Hydrophyllaceae and Volvocaceae. She was the author of several published studies, including one of the first studies on the number of chromosomes of algae. She was first editor of the Index to Plant Chromosome Numbers and also published a series of translations on forest legislation in a Central and South American countries. As a graduate student at Berkeley, she worked on a new application of genetics to plant taxonomy. As a botany research associate at Berkeley, she was involved in multi-year collaborations on the cytology of fungi. In 1953 she received a Guggenheim Fellowship to work with Professor Mary Pocock on the cytology of chromosomes in algae and later was a visiting research fellow at the Universidad de Concepcion, Chile. Cave joined SWG (Bay Area Group) in 1957.

Nonna Elaine Cheatham (1930-2021), naval officer, Pan Am flight attendant, and conservationist. Interviewed by Flora E. Reynolds and Fauno Cordes February 2, 1996, in San Francisco. Transcript and audiotape (copyright SWG). BA, University of California-Berkeley, 1952, social welfare and child development; MA, George Washington University, 1980, women’s studies. The interview begins with her early life in Hawaii and how the family came to California after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941. She was a Girl Scout and as an adult became an executive with the organization. While in college she took training as a reserve officer in the Navy and rose to petty officer rank. As a stewardess for the new Pan American Airways, she flew around the world and was part of one of the first regular flights over the North Pole. After graduating from Naval Officer Candidate School, she was the communications officer at the Boston Naval Shipyard and later recruiting officer in New York City and in the Navy Office of Congressional Relations, Washington, D.C. As a field representative of Earthwatch, she was involved in archaeology and ecology projects in Tonga, Hawaii, and Manchuria. Cheatham joined SWG in 1983.

Elizabeth Colson (1917-2016), anthropologist. Interviewed in 1993 by Fauno Cordes. Two audiotapes and transcript (copyright SWG). BA, University of Minnesota, 1938; MA, University of Minnesota, 1940; MA, Radcliffe, 1941; PhD, Radcliffe, 1945, anthropology. The interview traces Colson’s life from Hewitt, Minn., to El Cerrito, Calif. Her early interest in archaeology developed into social anthropology with a focus on social change and forced migration. This led to a study of a World War II relocation camp for Japanese-Americans at Poston, Arizona, and a long-term study in Africa of the Gwembe Tonga of Zambia, who were resettled from Lake Kariba Basin in 1958. Other areas of interest included North America, Antarctica, Japan, Nepal, and Australia. Awarded the Rivers Memorial Medal by the Royal Anthropological Institute, 1981. Colson joined SWG in 1972 and received the Outstanding Achievement Award in 1981.

Jane Abell Coon (b. 1929), U.S. Ambassador to Bangladesh. Interviewed by Joanna Biggar on November 8, 2002, in Coon’s home in Washington, D.C. Transcript and one audiotape (copyright SWG). BA, Wooster College, 1947. This interview covers her activities in SWG. Coon joined SWG (Washington Group) in 1981; President 1999–2002.

Fauno Lancaster Cordes (1927–2009), researcher, author, and Chief Nuclear Medicine Technologist, Mt. Zion Hospital, San Francisco. Interviewed by Lorrie Bunker July 19, 1994, in Fauno’s home in San Francisco. Transcript and two cassette tapes (copyright SWG). Fauno compiled a major bibliography of Antarctic fiction that was published in AB Bookman’s Weekly. The interview covers her early life, education at the University of California, Berkeley, and graduate work in geography at San Francisco State University. She has trekked through the Swiss Alps and traveled to Antarctica. Fauno became an enthusiastic interviewer for the SWG Oral History Program, focusing on members of the Bay Area Group. Cordes joined SWG (Bay Area Group) in 1982.

Mary T. Crowley-Carlston (b. 1947), environmentalist and founder of Ocean Voyages Institute. Interviewed by Karen Kohanowich September 29 and 30, 2012, in Mary’s office in Sausalito, California. Transcript and digital audio DVD (copyright SWG). BA, Loyola University, Chicago, psychology and philosophy. The interview covers her life as part of a sailing family; she logged more than 80,000 miles at sea in various capacities for over 30 years. Recent advocacy includes identifying and bringing to the public’s attention the floating island of plastic in the North Pacific Gyre. Crowley joined SWG in 1992 and received the Outstanding Achievement Award in 2011.

Kimberly Anne Crews (b. 1962), census consultant and adjunct professor. Interviewed by Donita Moorhus March 31, 2012, in Crews’ home in Adelphi, Maryland. Transcript and digital audio DVD (copyright SWG). MA, Georgetown University, 1985, demography. The interview covers her early life and her father’s interest in genealogy and census research that guided her to her choice of career. She presented topics on population growth and change at the National Geographic Society and made contacts that led her to SWG. Most of the interview covers her activities in the Society, especially her first term as President. Crews joined SWG (Washington Group) in 1997; President 2005–2008 and 2011–2014.

Lauramay Tinsley Dempster (1905–1997), botanist, researcher. Interviewed in 1994 by Flora Elizabeth Reynolds. Three audiotapes and transcript (copyright SWG). BA, University of California, Berkeley, 1925, botany; MA, University of California, Berkeley, 1927, botany. Dempster focused on the botany of western North America, Mexico, Central America, and South America. Numerous publications resulted in international recognition as the authority on New World plants. Member of the Biosystematics, the California Nature Plant Society, and an honorary member of the California Academy of Science. The interview covers her family background, childhood, education, and her early career in Botany. She quit working when she married and returned 16 years later, after raising her children. Dempster joined SWG (Bay Area Group) in 1963.

Ida Brevard DePencier (1893–1998), teacher, researcher, writer, traveler, lecturer. Interviewed in 1993 by Catherine Novotny-Brehm. Four audiotapes and transcript (copyright SWG). Teaching certificate, County Normal School, Menomonie, WI, 1917; AB, University of Chicago, 1928; AM, University of Chicago, 1950, education. DePencier taught social studies, history, and geography for 33 years at the University of Chicago Laboratory School. Author of The History of the Laboratory School, 1967. The interview covers her family background, childhood, education, extensive teaching experience, and travel for pleasure throughout the world. Awarded the Alumni Service Citation from the University of Chicago for over 70 years of outstanding volunteer work as a docent. DePencier joined SWG (Chicago Group) in 1954.

Dorothy Dingley (1912–1997), educator, photographer, audio-visual specialist. Interviewed in 1994 by Flora Elizabeth Reynolds. Six audiotapes and transcript (copyright SWG). BA, University of California, Los Angeles, 1936, elementary education; MA, Columbia University, 1947, audio-visual education. The interview traces Dingley’s childhood in California, her work as a professional photographer in the United States Navy (where she produced, edited, and wrote scripts for training films in Washington, DC and Charleston, South Carolina) and as head of the National Audubon Society’s photography and film department, as well as her many years as a teacher in New York, California, and at the American School in Japan. Dingley joined SWG in 1986.

Cecilia Conrath Doak (b. 1922), public health professional and author. Interviewed by Evelyne S. Pickett on April 2 and 3, 2012, in Cecilia’s home in Palm Desert, California. Transcript and digital audio DVD (copyright SWG). MA, University of Michigan in, 1944, public health education. Author of Teaching Patients with Low Literacy Skills. The interview covers her family history going back to the Civil War, growing up during the Depression in Indiana, and education in Catholic school. After getting her master’s, she worked for the Indiana State Board of Health. She went on to work for the Public Health Committee of the Chamber of Commerce in Honolulu, Hawaii, and also was director of the Cancer Control Program there. Later, she worked on several Native American reservations, helping to set up health education programs. With her husband, Leonard Doak, she embarked on a career of tutoring illiterate adults and training medical personnel how to “tailor their message to meet the literacy levels of their patients.” Cecelia was the first of two women to receive the Commendation Medal for her work in the Cancer Control Program. Doak joined SWG in 1977 and received the Outstanding Achievement Award in 1996.

Gertrude E. Dole (1915–2001), anthropologist, historian. Interviewed in 1993 and 1994 by Helen B. Shepherd. Ten audiotapes and transcript (copyright SWG). AB, Middlebury College, 1937, biology and French; MA, University of North Carolina, 1949, anthropology; PhD, University of Michigan, 1959, anthropology. Dole’s work concerned the evolution of social organization, especially in South America, as well as ecology and conservation. The interview describes her family, childhood, education, personal life, and professional activities, including her fieldwork with aboriginal peoples (the Amahuaca of Peru and the Kuikuru of Brazil). Dole interviewed Vermont high hill farmers during the period 1973–1980 and several members of SWG as part of the celebration of its 50th anniversary in the mid-1970′s. Dole’s fieldwork, research and manuscripts are preserved at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, New York. Member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the New York Academy of Science. Dole joined SWG (New York Group) in 1968 and received the Outstanding Achievement Award in 1999.

Sylvia Earle (b. 1935), oceanographer, author, and explorer. Interviewed by Karen Kohanowich on September 28 and 29, 2012, in Monterey, California. Transcript and digital audio DVD (copyright SWG). BS, Florida State University, 1955; MS, Duke University, 1956; and PhD, Duke University, 1966. Author of several books, including Sea Change: A Message of the Oceans. Winner of Time Magazine’s first Hero for the Planet. The interview covers her leadership of the Sustainable Seas Expedition, Chair of the Deep Search Foundation, and the founding of three companies, including Deep Ocean Exploration and Research. Earle carried the SWG flag in 1985. She joined SWG in 1985 and received the Gold Medal in 1990.

Louise Hickok Emmons (b. 1943), mammalogist, zoologist, tropical biologist, and eco-ethnologist. Interviewed by Sara Rau on May 8, 2012, in Falls Church, Virginia. Transcript and digital audio DVD (copyright SWG). BA, Sarah Lawrence College; PhD, Cornell University, neurobiology and behavior. Author of over one hundred publications, of which her Neotropical Rainforest Mammals: A Field Guide has received lasting international attention. The interview covers both Louise’s early years and her education in Uruguay, Australia, Washington, Malaysia, Vermont, and New York State. She talks of her over 40 years of field research on three continents for such organizations as the World Wildlife Fund and the National Geographic, as well as her position for 32 years as Adjunct Scientist, Vertebrate Zoology, at the Smithsonian Institution. Emmons joined SWG in 1986 and received the Outstanding Achievement Award in 2002.

Pamela Ann Flowers (b. 1946), Arctic dogsled musher, explorer, lecturer. Interviewed in 2000 by Sara Rau. One audiotape and transcript (copyright SWG). Associate Degree, Houston College, 1975, respiratory therapy. The interview covers Flowers’ childhood, education, her personal growth, the decision to move to Alaska, and her involvement with sled dogs. She participated in the Iditarod race and made a 2500-mile solo dogsled expedition across the Arctic from Point Barrow, Alaska, to Repulse Bay, Canada, tracing the footsteps of the woman Anarulunguaq, a Greenland native who guided part of the fifth Thule expedition across the North American continent (in the opposite direction) in 1923–1924. She also discusses her experiences speaking to schoolchildren across the United States and Canada about her expeditions. NOTE: A videotape in the SWG archives describes Flowers’ solo expedition from Resolute Bay to the Magnetic North Pole. A second videotape at SWG records her acceptance talk when she received the Gold Medal. In 1993-94 and 1997 Flowers carried the SWG flag. She joined SWG in 1987 and received the Gold Medal in 1996.

Mary “Mickie” LeCron Foster, Ph.D. (1914–2001), anthropologist and linguist. Interviewed by Flora E. Reynolds in several sessions from January to May of 1994, in Mary’s home in Berkeley, California. Transcript and seven audiotapes (copyright SWG). PhD, University of California, Berkeley, 1965, linguistics. Author of several books, including Symbol as Sense: New Approaches to the Analysis of Meaning and The Life of Symbols. These sessions cover her childhood and close family life in Iowa, family travels throughout Europe, and her marriage to anthropologist, Dr. George M. Foster. She and George lived in Europe and Mexico and co-wrote Sierra Popoluca Speech, the report of a linguistic research project. Foster joined SWG in 1951 and received the Outstanding Achievement Award in 1987.

Peggy Golde, Ph.D. (d. 2003) anthropologist and licensed psychotherapist. Interviewed by Flora E. Reynolds and Fauno Cordes July 5, 1995 in Peggy’s home in Redwood City, California. Transcript and audiotape (copyright SWG). BA, Antioch College; PhD, Harvard University, 1963. Author of Women in the Field: Anthropological Experiences. The interview covers her childhood in Missouri. She was always interested in the arts and included them in her studies at Antioch College. For her doctoral thesis, she studied aesthetic values at a Nahua (Aztec) Indian community and worked with Dr. Daniel de la Borbolla from the Popular Arts Museum in Mexico City. She lived in the village of Ameyaltepec Queretaro, Mexico, for fourteen months, studying their language and culture. She also speaks about her Baha’i faith and the support she received from it. Golde joined SWG (Bay Area Group) in 1976.

Jeanne Gurnee (1926-2018) speleologist, writer, editor, conservationist, and land-use planner. Interviewed in 2000 by Sara Rau. Four audiotapes and transcript (copyright SWG). The interview covers Gurnee’s exploration and development of many caves, including the Kartchner Caverns in Arizona, Harrison’s Cave in Barbados, the Fountain Cave in the British West Indies, and most notably, the Rio Camuy Cave system in Puerto Rico. Author of numerous articles and co-author with her husband of Discovery at the Rio Camuy and Gurnee Guide to American Caves. President of the National Speleological Society, 1992–1994. Gurnee joined SWG in 1967 and received the Outstanding Achievement Award in 1987.

Carlyn J. Halde (1924-2014), microbiologist and Professor Emerita, University of California-San Francisco. Interviewed by Fauno Cordes January 19 and February 2, 1995, in Carlyn’s home in San Francisco. Transcript and four cassette tapes (copyright SWG). MA, University of California, Los Angeles; PhD, Duke University. The interview covers her childhood and early career teaching medical mycology in Hawaii. She received one of the first Fulbright Scholarships to collaborate on a project in the Philippines on mycology with Filipino dermatologists. She helped set up a mycology laboratory at the University of Indonesia, Djakarta, and is the founder of the Carlyn Halde Membership fund for ISHAM, International Society for Human and Animal Mycology. Halde joined SWG (Bay Area Group) in 1964.

Carole Stentz Hickman (b. 1942), paleontologist, Professor of Integrative Biology, University of California, Berkley, curator, researcher. Interviewed June 12, 1996, and December 6, 1999, by Flora Elizabeth Reynolds and Fauno Cordes. Six audiotapes and transcript (copyright SWG). BA, Oberlin College, 1964, geology; MA, University of Oregon, 1968, geology; PhD, Stanford University, 1975, geology. Hickman’s research includes marine gastropods, the analysis of form in living and fossil organisms, and other aspects of marine invertebrate biology. Her geographic areas of include Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, and Polynesia. She has published papers on topics such as the analysis of form in living and fossil organisms and on marine gastropods. The interview covers her family background, childhood, education, professional experience, and problems she encountered as a faculty wife at a college with an unfriendly attitude toward her efforts to pursue her own academic career. Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Hickman joined SWG (Bay Area Group) in 1979.

Jeannette Hilleger (b. 1919), teacher, lecturer, photographer. Interviewed in 1993 by Jill Cherneff. One audiotape and transcript (copyright SWG). BA, Occidental College, 1940, German and history. The interview covers the early years of SWG’s Southern California Group, Hilleger’s experience as Chair, duties of SWG officers, and the value of the organization. SWG archives include brief summaries of the SWG Southern California Group meetings, 1987-1993. Hilleger joined SWG (Southern California Group) in 1967.

Helen Kennedy (b. 1944), botanist and plant taxonomist. Interviewed by Evelyne Stitt Pickett September 5, 2012, in Kennedy’s home in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada. Transcript and digital audio DVD (copyright SWG). PhD, University of California, Davis, 1974. Author of Diversification in Pollination Mechanisms in the Marantaceae, Systematics and Pollination of Closed-Flowered Species of Calathea, and Flora of Ecuador. Dr. Kennedy began field studies of plants in Costa Rico, Panama, and South America while still in graduate school. She became the curator of the Summit Gardens Herbarium in Panama, and, after receiving her doctorate, she worked at the Chicago Field Museum for three years and then returned to Panama and Columbia to research the Prayer Plant family, Marantaceae. Kennedy joined SWG in 1977 and received the Outstanding Achievement Award in 2011.

Edith McChesney Ker (1924–2003), photographer. Interviewed in 2000 by Ann Imlah Schneider (SWG-related). One audiotape and transcript (copyright SWG). BA, College of William and Mary, 1945, Spanish, French and government. The interview briefly discusses Ker’s youth and professional experience, especially her travels to New Zealand, Canada, and Kenya, where she lived for many years, and her life as a photographer with a special interest in wildlife. The East African Wildlife Society used her photographs for Christmas cards and calendars and the Whitman Publishing Company illustrated several children’s books with her photographs. The main body of the interview relates to her activities with the SWG. Ker joined SWG in 1980 and received the Washington Group’s Meritorious Service Award in 1993; President, 1996–1999.

Maria Starczewska Lambasa Koshel (b. 1935), geographer and professor of geography at Hofstra University. Interviewed by Zorka Milich February 10, 1994, in Maria’s home in Bell Harbor, New York. Transcript and one cassette tape (copyright SWG). PhD, Hofstra University, 1971, geography. The interview follows her early life in Poland during the Second World War and the Polish uprising. In 1958 she went to New York City to live with an aunt and uncle, who had emigrated before the war. She studied English at Columbia University and decided to remain in the U.S. to study geography, enrolled in graduate school and received SWG’s Adelene Moffat Fellowship, which helped her complete her Ph.D. Koshel joined SWG (New York Group) in 1976.

Erika Rawitscher Kunkel (1926-2022), botanist, museum educator, artist, and ecologist. Interviewed by Flora E. Reynolds and Fauno Cordes November 13 and 22, December 13, 1996, and March 14, 1997, in Berkeley, California. Transcript and four cassette tapes (copyright SWG). PhD, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil. Author of A Day at the Berkeley Bay Front. Kunkel was born in Germany; the family emigrated to Brazil shortly after Hitler came to power. At age 21 she went to Stanford University to study marine biology. While living in New York City, she was a museum educator at the American Museum of Natural History and decided to begin graduate work in botany at the University of California, Berkeley. Years later, while living in Munich, she studied art and drawing, and her focus shifted from botany to art and environmental issues. Kunkel joined SWG (Bay Area Group) in 1977.

Anne LaBastille, (1935–2011) wildlife ecologist, land-use planner, writer, photographer, lecturer, and wilderness guide. Interviewed in 2000 by Elizabeth S. Brownstein. Three audiotapes and transcript (copyright SWG). BA, University of Miami; Ph.D., Cornell University, wildlife ecology. Author of numerous books and articles, including Woodswoman, Woodswoman II, Beyond Black Bear Lake, Mama Poc, Wilderness World of Anne LaBastille, Birds of the Mayas, Woodswoman III, and Jaguar Totem. She discusses her childhood and formative experiences, early years of guiding eco-tours, and her conservation efforts, particularly in New York and in Central and South America. She discusses her work as a commissioner for the Adirondack Park Agency and also makes observations on the writing life and development of her library of wilderness literature. LaBastille joined SWG in 1956 and received the Gold Medal in 1993.

Jean H. Langenheim (1925-2021), biologist, plant ecologist, researcher. Professor Emerita, Biology, University of California at Santa Cruz. Interviewed in 1994 by Fauno Cordes and Flora Elizabeth Reynolds. Two audiotapes and transcript (copyright SWG). BS, University of Tulsa, 1946, Biology; MS, University of Minnesota, 1949, botany; PhD, University of Minnesota, 1953, botany. Langenheim’s research focused on the chemical defenses of tropical and Pacific Coast plants. She also studied amber as a botanical source through geographic time and the international interactions in science technology, with emphasis on South and Central America, Africa, and Australia. Member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and Botanical Society of America. Honors include the Distinguished Nieuwland Lectureship (University of Notre Dame, 1991) and Fellow with the Institute of Advance Studies (Australian National University, 1981). Langenheim joined SWG (Bay Area Group) in 1976.

Rebecca Lee (b. 1942), polar explorer, author, photographer. Interview by Frances Maclean May 26, 2014, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania during SWG’s Triennial meeting. Transcript and digital audio DVD (copyright SWG).Lee in 1985 was the first Chinese woman to visit Antarctica. She was so overwhelmed by its beauty she spoke to the land, promising to return. She has been back four times. She has also traveled to the Arctic twice and once to Mount Everest, which she regards the earth’s third polar region, again the first Chinese woman to visit both places. Because Lee’s adventures and contributions to environmental science are well documented in books, articles and on film, many of which she authored and produced, this oral history focuses on her personal life, and the heart and spirit that motivates her. Lee received the SWG Gold Medal at the Triennial in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in May 2014.

Clara Egli LeGear (1896–1994), librarian, cataloguer of maps, author. Interviewed in 1988 by Jane Case Williams and Catherine Griggs. Interviewed in 1991 by Carol Zachary. Three audiotapes and transcript (copyright SWG). BA, MA, George Washington University, library science. LeGear spent her career (1914–1961) in the map and manuscript division of the Library of Congress, where she was involved in cataloging, reference, acquisitions, bibliography, and administration, ultimately serving as head of the Reference and Bibliographic section. After retiring, she served eleven years as an Honorary Consultant. She discusses her travels to South America, especially Rio de Janeiro, representing the Library of Congress. LeGear joined SWG in 1932 and received the Outstanding Achievement Award in 1990.

Leila Hadley Luce (1926–2009), writer, editor, author, researcher. Interviewed in 2000 by Marina Whitman. One audiotape and transcript (copyright SWG). Author of numerous books, including Give Me the World, 1958; How to Travel with Children,1965; Manners for Children, 1965; Fielding’s Guide to Traveling with Children in Europe, 1972, and Journey with Elsa Cloud, 1997. Book reviewer for Palm Beach Life magazine, 1970–1972, and associate editor Saturday Evening Post, 1968–1970. Associate editor of Diplomat magazine, 1966–1968. The interview touches upon Luce’s family background, childhood, marriages and children and also provides a description of her multi-faceted career and her travels all over the world. Co-founded and served as Chairman of the Board of Advisors for Wings Trust, 1994. Luce joined SWG (New York Group) in 1973.

Mary Dolores Keating Manzoli (1918– 997), economist. Interviewed by Josephine Meeker December 18, 1994, in Manzoli’s home in Bethesda, Maryland. Transcript and one audiotape (copyright SWG). George Washington University, 1942, Economics. The interview covers her early and professional life including observations of SWG and her activities during the time that she was a member. After graduating from college, she worked for the Latin American Division of the Department of Commerce, where she spent time in Chile, Peru, Mexico, and Central America doing research for the government. Manzoli joined SWG (Washington Group) in 1975; President 1987–1990.

Laurie Marker (b. 1954), environmentalist, conservationist, and a leading world expert on cheetahs. Interviewed by Frances Maclean on May 20, 2012, in Washington, D.C. Transcript and digital audio DVD (copyright SWG). BS, Eastern Oregon University, 1990; PhD, University of Oxford, UK, 2002. Marker has written for several publications. Known as the Cheetah Lady, she has made her life work the conservation of cheetahs, and she travels the world as a lecturer on the plight of the cheetah. The interview covers her early life and work as a veterinary assistant at the Wildlife Safari in Oregon. At the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., she helped create and became director of the NOAH Center, New Opportunities in Animal Health Sciences. Marker joined SWG in 1990 and received the Gold Medal in 2008.

Helen Lillie Marwick (1915–2003), Scottish author, journalist. Interviewed in 1973 by Eloise Engle. One audiotape and transcript (copyright SWG). MA, Glasgow University, 1938, history and geography. The interview focuses on Marwick’s view of journalism as a profession, rather than her life and career. However, her 1999 autobiography, A New Kind of Life, in the SWG Library Collection, helps to fill that gap. Under the name Helen Lillie, she wrote numerous books for adults and teenagers. She wrote for newspapers, including the Glasgow Herald (Scotland), where her column “Helen Lillie” discussed life and events in Washington DC, where she lived for many years. In addition to her autobiography, her publications include The Listening Silence, 1970; Call Down the Sky; Home to Strathblane, 1993; Strathblane And Away; The Rocky Island, 1998; A New King of Life, 1999; and History on My Doorstep, 2000. Marwick joined SWG in 1969.

Katharine Douglas Massel (1910–2002), journalist, civic leader. Interviewed in 1994 by Flora Elizabeth Reynolds. Two audiotapes and transcript (copyright SWG). BA, University of California, Berkeley, 1931, political science. The interview describes Massel’s long career in journalism with Time, Life, Fortune, and World War II’s Office of War Information and the OSS. She also worked at the Department of State on programs for women in developing countries, which she continued later through the League of Women Voters Overseas Education Fund. After she moved to California, she became involved in local issues in Monterey County, including adult literacy, libraries, and the environment. Massel joined SWG in 1964.

Elizabeth McClintock (1912–2004), botanist, curator, researcher, and teacher. Interviewed in 1994 by Lorrie Bunker. One audiotape and transcript (copyright SWG). BA, MA, University of California, Los Angles; PhD, University of Michigan, botany. McClintock specialized in the taxonomy of seed plants and the distribution of flowering plants, especially California native plants. The interview covers her family background, education, and career, including her experiences as a curator in the Botany Department of the California Academy of Sciences and her involvement as a key founder and supporter of the Strybing Arboretum (San Francisco, CA). Editor of the Journal of the California Horticultural Society, 1945-1975. Associate editor of the Journal of Pacific Horticulture, which published three of her articles in a continuing series on the trees of Golden Gate Park. McClintock joined SWG in 1964.

Margaret Mead (1901–1978), world-famous anthropologist and author of many books and articles. Interviewed in 1974 by Gertrude Dole and Jeanne Gurnee (SWG-related). One audiotape and transcript (copyright SWG). BA, Barnard College 1923; MA, Columbia University, 1924, psychology; PhD, Columbia University, 1929, anthropology. Mead was Curator of Ethnology at the American Museum of Natural History in New York and taught at Columbia University for many years. In this interview, done as part of SWG’s 50thanniversary celebration, Mead insists that she will answer only questions about SWG, deflecting other questions by referring her interviewers to her C.V. and her book Blackberry Winter: My Early Years (1972). The interview touches upon her experiences as an anthropologist in an era when women were not welcomed in the field and describes her work during World War II. SWG proved to be a good way for her to socialize and exchange ideas with her Museum colleagues, many of whom were married to SWG members. Mead joined SWG in 1928 and received the Gold Medal in 1942.

Carol Meyer (b. 1949), archaeologist. Interviewed by Frances Maclean on May 22 and 25, 2012, in Dr. Meyer’s home in Hinsdale, Illinois. MA, University of Chicago, archaeology, 1973; PhD, University of Chicago, Near Eastern languages and civilizations, 1981. Author of Bir Umm Fawakhir. She begins the interview with an extensive coverage of her ancestors back to the French and Indian War. After receiving her master’s, she did archaeological work in England before returning to the University of Chicago. She was involved in a project to walk out ancient trade routes near Teotihuacán, Mexico, which included taking aerial photos of the routes. She studied artifacts at Nippur and Diyala and at the National Museum of Iraq in Baghdad. Post-doctoral work included excavations at Quseir al-Qadim on the Red Sea Coast, the port of Myos Hormos in Egypt, and Jordan. Meyer joined SWG in 1987 and received the Outstanding Achievement Award in 2002.

Eileen “Lea” Pike Michaelov (1922-2018), British Women’s Auxiliary Air Force pilot and librarian. Interviewed by Donita Enright May 14, 2004, in Palm City, Florida. Transcript and two cassette tapes (copyright SWG). The interview covers her life in England as the daughter of a World War I pilot, experience in boarding school, and a short time at the University of London before joining the Air Force in 1940 as a code and cipher officer. She also talks about her years in the Broward County system libraries. Michaelov joined SWG in 1979 and later became a charter member of the Florida Chapter.

Luree Miller (1926–1996), writer, editor, author of many books and articles. Interviewed in 1995 by Joanna Biggar. Three audiotapes and transcript (copyright SWG). Reed College, 1944–1946; BA, Stanford University, 1948, history; MA, George Washington University, 1977, women’s studies. The recording of the first interview (covering her early years up to age 31) was defective, but the narrative was reconstructed by the interviewer with the help of Miller’s family and friends. The transcript picks up with her arrival in Dacca (then East Pakistan) as a United States Foreign Service wife with a young family and household to manage. It continues with her development as a writer as her husband’s career took them to Bombay and other places in the Indian sub-continent. Her story continues in England, where she wrote On Top of the World: Five Women Explorers in Tibet. After her husband was posted in Washington, DC, in the 1970′s, Miller enrolled in a master’s degree program. Miller joined SWG in 1977; President 1990–1993.

Janice Jones Monk (b. 1937), research professor and social scientist. Interviewed by Ellen Hansen on June 13, 14, and 15, 2012, in Janice’s home in Tucson, Arizona. Transcript and digital audio DVD (copyright SWG). BA, University of Sydney, Australia, 1958; MA, University of Illinois, 1963; PhD, University of Illinois, 1972. Co-author of Practicing Geography: Careers for Enhancing Society and Environment and co-editor of The Desert is No Lady: Southwestern Landscapes in Women’s Writing and Art. Monk discusses her early life in Australia and her immigration to and education in the United States. She was the associate director (1980 to 1983) and then executive director (1983 to 2004) of the Southwest Institute for Research on Women (SIROW). Monk is viewed as one of the founders of feminist geography. The Association of American Geographers established the Jan Monk Service Award, and she received the AAG Lifetime Career Honor. Monk joined SWG in 1978, and was winner of the Outstanding Achievement Award in 2008.

Helen Lenneham Muir (1911–2006), author, journalist. Interviewed in 1995 by Donita Enright. One audiotape and transcript (copyright SWG). Muir wrote for the Yonkers Herald-Statesman (starting at age 18), New York Evening Post, New York Evening Journal, Miami Herald, Saturday Evening Post, and Nation’s Business. The interview covers her family background, childhood, career and marriage, as well as her role as a co-founder of the SWG Florida Group and some of its early members. Geographic areas of interest include Ireland, Scotland and France. She has a special interest in libraries including the Coconut Grove Library Association. She was inducted into Florida’s Women’s Hall of Fame in 1984 and received the Trustee Citation of the American Library Association in 1984. Muir joined SWG (Florida Group) in 1981 and received the Florida Group Meritorious Service Award in 1996.

Laura Nader (b. 1930), anthropologist, Professor of Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley. Interviewed in 1994 by Fauno Cordes. Two audiotapes and transcript (copyright SWG). BA, Wells College, 1952, Latin America studies; PhD, Radcliffe College, 1961, anthropology. Nader’s academic work has focused on Mexico and the Middle East with an interest in the law, globalization, and the anthropology of science and of large corporations. The interview covers her family background, childhood, and education and explains how she came to include corporations as a subject of research. She discusses her experience as the first woman hired by the Anthropology Department at Berkeley and her efforts on behalf of women faculty. Member of the American Anthropological Association and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Nader joined SWG in 1962 and received the Outstanding Achievement Award in 1990.

Evelyn Stefansson Nef (1913–2009), psychotherapist, author of books on the Arctic, editor, photographer, patron of the arts. Interviewed in 2002 by Catherine Novotny Brehm. One audiotape and transcript (copyright SWG). Institute for the Study of Psychotherapy, New York, 1977. Nef led SWG in the mid-1970′s and presided over the celebration of the Society’s 50th Anniversary. She describes the period when the Society relied on dues for its income, members pitched in to do the work needed, meetings were held in members’ homes, and the need to move the headquarters office from one rented space to another, before the Marvin Breckinridge Patterson provided funds for a headquarters building on Capitol Hill. She reminisces about the SWG members she knew, including Marion Stirling (later Pugh), Margaret Mead, and Eugenie Clark, and her goals as President. The interview also touches upon Nef’s own life, which is described in detail in Finding My Way: The Autobiography of an Optimist. Nef joined SWG in 1944; President, 1972–1975.

Cary Millholland Parker (1902–2001), landscape architect, architectural historian and maker of relief model maps. Interviewed in 1993 by Ada Currier, one audiotape and transcript (copyright SWG). BA Wellesley College, 1934; MLA, Smith, 1934. After college, Parker traveled with family friends to Europe and later to Indonesia, Ceylon, the Philippines, China, Japan and Burma. This first Asian travel stimulated a serious interest in trees. She worked for a private architecture office in Washington, D.C., and then for several government agencies before joining the U.S. War Department as a designer and draftsman. In 1943 she transferred to the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), where she was a supervisor of contour maps. After the war, Parker had her own landscape practice in Washington. She planned the Plaza of St. John’s College, Annapolis, and Jefferson Patterson’s Point Farm in Calvert County, Maryland. After marriage in 1954, she spent six years in Central America. In Honduras, she began to study the interrelationship of lands, plants, fauna, climate and people of that country. In Nicaragua, and later living in Guatemala, she collected orchids and studied birds. She spent three years working on the beautification of Washington with Lady Bird Johnson. A fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects, she received a Medal of Merit from the Garden Club of America. Parker joined SWG in 1972.

Mary Marvin Breckinridge Patterson (1905–2002), philanthropist, photojournalist, and cinematographer. This is a transcript of the introduction to and a talk given by Patterson to SWG on December 8, 1986. SWG member Fern Ingersoll recorded an interview after the lecture “to fill in some details.” Transcript and two audiotapes (copyright SWG). BA, Vassar, 1927. Author of My American Century: The Memoirs of Mary Marvin Breckinridge Patterson and the film, The Forgotten Frontier documenting the Frontier Nursing Service. The title of this lecture was “Three Eyes on the World,” with the eyes being a photographer’s lens, a microphone, and a pin of the U.S. great seal given to wives of ambassadors which Marvin wore as the wife of Ambassador Jefferson Patterson. Patterson spoke of her friendship with Edward R. Murrow that led to her job with CBS’s World News Roundup broadcasting from Europe as World War II was threatening. She and her husband were assigned to Peru during the war, but they returned to Belgium, Egypt, and Greece after the end of the war. Patterson also spoke of her early life and family and teacher influences. She detailed a trip to Mexico and the resulting film she made, the first professional film of the archaeological dig at Chichén Itzá. Patterson joined SWG in 1936 and received the Outstanding Achievement Award in 1987.

Anita Kelley Pearson (b. 1923), biologist, small mammal researcher. Interviewed by Flora E. Reynolds and Fauno Cordes March 24, 1995, in Anita’s home in Orinda, California. Transcript and one cassette tape (copyright SWG). BS, Swarthmore College, 1944. The interview covers her early life in Philadelphia. After college, she married Oliver Pearson, whom she accompanied on many scientific expeditions to such areas as the Caccachara Valley and the Altiplano of Puna and the mountains of Bariloche, Argentina. She is an honorary research associate at the Museum of vertebrate Zoology, University of California, Berkeley. Pearson joined SWG (Bay Area Group) in 1957.

Emily Polk (1910–2008), conservationist, author, artist, and poet. Interviewed by Flora Elizabeth Reynolds and Fauno Cordes October 10, 11, 12, 1994, in Polk’s home in Los Osos, California. Transcript and nine audiotapes (copyright SWG). Author of Buddhist Hill Temples and India Notebook. The interview begins with an extensive narrative of the genealogy of her family, early settlers of Pendleton, California, and ends with an appendix of her poetry. After studying at the Academy of Art in Portland and at the Rudolph Schaefer School of Art in San Francisco, she married architect Benjamin Polk, and they lived in England and India. After they returned to the United States, in 1970 she founded Small Wilderness Area Preservation, SWAP, which helped to save the area that became the Los Osos Oaks State Reserve in California. Polk joined SWG (Bay Area Group) in 1964.

Elizabeth Cushman Titus Putnam (b. 1933), environmentalist and national parks conservator. Interviewed by Ellen Hansen May 19 and 20, 2012, in Liz’s home on Manatuck Farm, Shaftsbury, Vermont. Transcript and two digital audio DVDs (copyright SWG). BA, Vassar College, 1955, geology. The interview covers her early life in Long Island, New York, and education at Vassar. She wrote a senior thesis about the need for a student conservation corps modeled on President Roosevelt’s Civilian Conservation Corps of the 1930s. With help from important contacts and her perseverance, the Student Conservation Association (SCA) was created. It grew into a nationwide organization with over 65,000 volunteers who care for and help to conserve the national parks. Putnam joined SWG in 1994 and received the Outstanding Achievement Award in 2008.

Sara Rau (1932-2017), writer and editor. Interviewed by Ann Imlah Schneider February 29, 2012, in Schneider’s home in Washington, D.C. Transcript and digital audio DVD (copyright SWG). AA, Stephens College, Columbia, Missouri; BA, University of Missouri. Author of A Brief Guide to Turkish Decorative Motifs. The interview covers her early life in Missouri and education. After her marriage to Bill Rau, Foreign Service Officer, they lived in Turkey, Afghanistan, Greece, and South Africa. Rau joined SWG (Washington Group) in 1977 and received the Meritorious Service Award in 2008; President 2002–2005.

Doris L. Rich (1920–2009), biographer, aviator historian. Interviewed in 2001 by Sara Rau, two audiotapes and transcript (copyright SWG). Flint Junior College (now University of Michigan at Flint), 1938–39; University of Michigan at Flint, 1939–1940; BA, American University, School of International Studies, 1972, East Asian studies. Author of Amelia Earhart: A Biography; Queen Bess: Daredevil Aviator, a biography of Bessie Coleman, the first black to get an international flying license; and The Magnificent Moisants: Champions of Early Flight, the first family of American pioneer fliers. The interview covers Rich’s childhood and education, her participation in World War II, and five decades of living overseas, largely in East Asia. From 1944 until 1983 she worked in the South Pacific and throughout Asia as a Red Cross Field Assistant, Army information officer, free-lance journalist and photographer, writer in Fodor’s Guide for Hong Kong and Taiwan, English teacher, and wife of journalist-Foreign Service officer. Postings included Guam, Korea, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Bangkok, Khon Kaen (NE Thailand) and Ghana. She also describes how she came to write best-selling biographies of pioneer women aviators (all published by the Smithsonian Press) and how she taught herself the principles of accurate biographical research. Rich joined SWG in 1990.

Edith Anna (“Jackie”) Maslin Ronne (1919–2009) Antarctic pioneer, writer, lecturer. Interviewed in 1993 by Fauno L. Cordes. Four audiotapes and transcript (copyright SWG). Interviewed in 2002 by Elizabeth Smith Brownstein. One audiotape and transcript (copyright SWG). Wooster College, 1936–38; BA, George Washington University, 1940, history and English. Ronne was the first woman to set foot on the continent of Antarctica, and she wintered-over there in 1947–48 as a member of her husband Finn Ronne’s Antarctic Research Expedition at East Base on Stonington Island. The 1993 interview describes her family background, childhood, education, and activities after her Antarctic experience, but the bulk of the interview provides a detailed personal account of the expedition, its planning and preparation and various personalities, including Admiral Richard Byrd, who were involved. Her account also refers to other historical events involving Antarctica and polar exploration. She carried the SWG flag to the South Pole in 1971 for the celebration of the 60th anniversary of Amundsen’s reaching the pole. Ronne joined SWG in 1948; President 1978–1981.

Anna Roosevelt (b. 1946), anthropologist, Curator of Anthropology, Field Museum of Natural History, Adjunct Professor, Anthropology, U. of Illinois. Interviewed in 1996–97 by Frances Maclean. Five audiotapes and transcript (copyright SWG). AB, Stanford University, 1968, history; MA, Columbia University, 1974, anthropology; MPhil, Columbia University, 1976, anthropology; PhD, Columbia University, 1977, anthropology. Roosevelt’s newsworthy discoveries in Amazonia led her to conclude that the Americas were populated by humans centuries earlier than assumed. The interview covers her childhood inspirations, mentors, and the steps which led to her discoveries, as well as reaction by rivals. Author of Mound builders of the Amazon, Parmana, The Ancestors: Native Artisans of the Americas. Received a MacArthur Fellowship in 1988. Roosevelt joined SWG in 1977 and received the Gold Medal in 1999. Dr. Roosevelt’s permission is required for access to this oral history. Contact SWG Headquarters for instructions.

Ruth B. Russell, political scientist, international economist, and environmentalist. Interviewed by Flora E. Reynolds and Fauno Cordes July 17, 1994, in Berkeley, California. Transcript and one cassette tape (copyright SWG). BS, University of California, Berkeley, 1932; MA, University of California, Berkeley, 1934. Author of A History of the United Nations Charter. The transcript covers Ruth’s early life, when she was chosen to be part of a lifetime study by Lewis Terman of children with high intelligence scores. While she was studying at Berkeley, the dean of her college, Henry Grady, was appointed to the new Reciprocal Trade Division in the Department of State, and in 1934 Ruth came to Washington to work in his office. She also worked for the Brookings Institution and was in the Foreign Service Auxiliary at the London Embassy. Her career included working with Secretary of State Cordell Hull and other Depression Era figures. After retirement, she returned to California to do volunteer work for the United Nations Association and for the Alta Bates Hospital Hospice Program. Russell joined SWG in 1982.

Gertrude Emerson Sen (1890–1982), author and editor of Asia magazine. Interviewed by Ada Currier October 20 and 21, 1977, in Almora, Uttar Pradesh, India. Transcript (copyright SWG). Ph.D., University of Chicago, 1910. Author of Voiceless India and Pageant of India’s History. The daughter of a professor of classical languages and a professional musician, she grew up in Illinois, New York and France. After college, she taught in Japan before becoming a foreign journalist. While visiting in India, she began a friendship with Mohandas Gandhi and spent time in his Sabarmati Ashram. In New York she met Dr. Boshi Sen; they were married in Calcutta in 1932. Dr. Sen founded the ViveKananda Laboratory to help tribal people of India. Mrs. Sen was recognized as one of 40 women who rendered distinguished service to India, and she also received the Padma Bhushan Award. She is co-founder of SWG with Marguerite Harrison, Blair Niles, and Gertrude Mathews Shelby in 1925.

Mary Shepherd Slusser (1918-2017), archaeologist, anthropologist, and art research assistant. Interviewed by Elizabeth Smith Brownstein March 21 and April 14, 2012, in the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery of Asian Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. Transcript and digital audio DVD. BA, University of Michigan, anthropology, 1942; PhD, Columbia University, 1950, archaeology and anthropology. Author of The Antiquity of Nepalese Wood Carving: A Reassessment and Nepal Mandala: A Cultural Study of the Kathmandu Valley. Dr. Slusser and her husband began a life of travel in Puerto Rico, where she taught at the University of Puerto Rico. Her career with the Bureau of Intelligence Research of the State Department brought them to Latin America and Asia. When her husband was sent to Vietnam, she was assigned to research and write about Indochina. In Nepal, she discovered the true age of a group of Nepalese wood carvings of the 12th century which she wrote about in her book. She also founded the Patan Museum of Nepal. King Mahendra of Nepal presented her with the Most Puissant Order of the Gurkha Right Arm. Slusser joined SWG in 1974 and received the Outstanding Achievement Award in 1984.

Valene Lucy Smith (b. 1926), professor. Interviewed by Donita Moorhus December 2, 2014, in Washington, D.C. Transcript and digital audio DVD (copyright SWG). Smith began traveling with her parents at age five. With a bachelor’s degree in Earth Sciences, at age 20 she began her college teaching career at Los Angeles City College, where her classes were filled with veterans who had extensive travel experience. To gain credibility with her students, she started spending summer vacations traveling “to see the world,” and she earned a master’s degree in Geography from UCLA in 1950. Valene’s travel experiences led her to both a special interest in tourism and anthropology. In 1966, she received a PhD in Anthropology from the University of Utah. From 1967-1998, Valene was Professor of Anthropology at California State University, Chico; since 1998 she has been Professor Emeritus and Research Professor. In 2010 the Valene L. Smith Museum of Anthropology at Chico opened.

Lily Spandorf (1919–2000), artist. Interviewed in 1994 by Charlene James-Duguid. One audiotape and transcript (copyright SWG). Graduate of the College of Applied and Fine Arts, Vienna. The interview describes Spandorf’s experience studying art in Italy, where she blossomed as an artist, her decision to exhibit her work in the United States, including Washington, D.C., where she eventually settled, and her travels throughout Europe, the former Soviet Union, and Nepal during which she painted city scenes, landscapes, and people. A well-known Washington artist, she painted numerous White House scenes, including the lighting of the Christmas tree and the Easter egg roll, and many old Washington buildings about to be demolished. She designed the second Christmas stamp for the United States Postal System. The White House Historical Association and the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute and Forum in Minneapolis have acquired her drawings and paintings, and others were exhibited in Presidential libraries. Her drawings appeared in The Washington Post, The Georgetowner, The Evening Star, and the Washington Times. Spandorf joined SWG in 1974.

Catherine “Kay” Hauberg Sweeney (1914–1995), patron of science, especially botany; concentrated her efforts on the preservation and scientific use of “The Kampong,” formerly the eight-acre estate of the plant explorer and collector Alexander Graham Bell Fairchild. Interviewed in 1993 and 1994 by Georgia Tasker. Two audiotapes and transcript (copyright SWG). BA, University of Illinois, natural history (geology); graduate work, University of Arizona, 1935–36, ecology. The interviews cover her family, early education and travels, university studies, early married life with Edward Sweeney, trips to Africa (including meeting the Leakeys) and South America, and acquisition of “The Kampong,” which she later donated to the National Tropical Botanical Garden. She mentions being on the board of the Arnold Arboretum (Harvard University), American Association of Botanical Gardens and Arboreta, the World Wildlife Fund, the Fairchild Tropical Garden, and the National Tropical Botanical Garden. Sweeney joined SWG (Washington Group) in 1950 and later was active in the formation of the Florida Group.

Fosiee Tahbaz (b. 1939), plant physiologist, politician, ecologist, and women’s rights activist. Interviewed by Flora E. Reynolds and Fauno Cordes February 20, 1995, in Berkeley, California. Transcript and audiotape (copyright SWG). PhD, the Sorbonne. Author of Weed Biology. The interview covers her early life in Iran. Her father was from a respected Iranian family, and her sisters and brothers were all well educated. She studied at the University of Tehran and was hired to be a botany instructor there before winning a scholarship to the Sorbonne. She left Iran during the 1979 revolution and moved to California, where she eventually became the senior museum preparator at the Jepson Herbaria, University of California, Berkeley. Tahbaz joined SWG in 1987.

Martha Hayne Talbot (b. 1932), conservationist, biologist, and ecologist. Interviewed by Zhihong Chen and Donita Moorhus May 24 and 25, 2012, and by Donita M. Moorhus August 23, 2012, at Talbot’s home in McLean, Virginia. Transcript and two digital audio DVDs (copyright SWG). BA, Vassar, 1954. Author of The Wildebeest in West Masailand, East Africa. Born and raised in California, she attended Vassar. After graduation, she worked with Elizabeth Cushman Putnam to create the Student Conservation Program and then married Lee Talbot. The couple made several research trips in Africa and Southeast Asia. She carried the SWG flag on the Nam Theun Watershed Expedition to the Anamite Mountains, Laos, in early 2007 and also in 2011. Talbot joined SWG in 1970; President 2008–2011.

Margaret Taylor (d. 2006), U.S. Information Agency, Foreign Service officer, environmentalist. Interviewed by Flora E. Reynolds and Fauno Cordes April 26, 1995, in Margaret’s home in Tiburon, California. Transcript and three cassette tapes (copyright SWG). The interview tells of her early life in California and her love of the outdoors. She majored in English literature at San Diego State College and was selected for training and a job at the Christian Science Monitor in Boston. While working in the Foreign News Department of the Monitor, she became interested in and applied for the U.S. Information Agency. In the USIA and the Foreign Service, her assignments included Greece, Israel, Indonesia, Japan, and Burma. In the Foreign Service, she worked with the Fulbright Program to send Americans abroad to study and teach. Taylor joined SWG in 1978.

Marie Tharp (1920–2006), ocean floor cartographer and geologist. Interviewed by Helen Shepherd September 21, 27, 28, October 27, November 10, and December 27, 1994, and January 25, 1997. Transcript and eleven cassette tapes (copyright SWG). Undergraduate degrees from Ohio University, the University of Michigan, and the University of Tulsa. Co-author of the World Ocean Floor Map published in 1977. This extensive interview covers family lineage going back to the 12th century and her early life in Michigan and Alabama. After graduation, she worked for Standard Oil in Oklahoma and then moved to New York, where she was hired by the Columbia University Geology Department. At Columbia, she met Dr. Bruce Heezen, with whom she collaborated until his death in 1977. Tharp and Heezen completed a mapping of the North Atlantic in 1959, and she went on to complete the World Ocean Floor Map in 1977. She has been called the Mother of Modern Ocean Floor Cartography, and her findings proved many theories of continental drift and plate tectonics. In1978 Tharp and Heezen received the Hubbard Medal of the National Geographic Society. Tharp joined SWG (New York Group) in 1971 and received the Outstanding Achievement Award in 1996.

Mary Vance Trent (1914–1998), United States Foreign Service officer, lecturer, teacher. Interviewed in 1993 by Carol Zachary. Eight audiotapes and transcript (copyright SWG). BA, Butler University, 1937, history and political science; graduate study, University of Virginia, 1943. The interview covers Trent’s upbringing in Indiana, including her selection as the U.S. Girl Scout delegate to the inauguration of the first international Girl Scout/Girl Guide headquarters in Switzerland, and her travels throughout the world. As one of the first female Foreign Service Officers in the United States Government, she served in France (1946); Norway (1947); Czechoslovakia (1949); Indonesia (late 1950′s-early 1960′s); New Zealand (1969–1972); and as the only State Department presence in the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (Micronesia) (1972–1974). The State Department gave her the Superior Service Award in 1964 and the Meritorious Honor Award in 1974. Trent joined SWG in 1977; President, 1984–1987.

Anastasia Van Burkalow (1911–2004), geologist, professor of geography, and environmentalist. Interviewed by Gertrude Dole October 9, 1979, and by Josephine Meeker April 17 and 21, 1997. Both interviews were conducted in Anastasia’s home in New York City. Transcript and two cassette tapes (copyright SWG). PhD, Columbia University, 1944, geology. Author of Fluorine in United States Water Supplies: Pilot Project for the Atlas of Diseases. Both interviews cover her early life as the daughter of a Methodist minister living in many small Midwest towns and attending many schools. After undergraduate school at Hunter College, she received her Ph.D. on D-Day and returned to Hunter to teach. She did research at the American Geological Society and for the Dupont Company as staff geologist. Musically talented, she was a church organist, choir director, and author of hymns. Van Burkalow joined SWG (New York Group) in 1950 and received the Meritorious Service Award in 2002.

Virginia Springer Guild Watkin (1925-2019), lawyer. Interviewed in 2005 by Ann Imlah Schneider (SWG-related). Two audiotapes and transcript (copyright SWG). AB, Wellesley College; LLB, Columbia University. The interview briefly discusses Watkin’s early years, law school experience, family, and employment at Covington and Burling, from which she retired as a partner. An earlier oral history interview for the Columbia University Law School covers these topics in more detail. The Columbia transcript is available in the archives of the Society of Woman Geographers. Watkin joined SWG in 1978; President, 1992–1995.

Elizabeth (Betsy) H. White (b. 1938), Asia development specialist, author, mountaineer, researcher, social scientist, teacher, coordinator of Luce Scholars Program for the Asia Foundation. Interviewed in 1995 by Flora Elizabeth Reynolds and Fauno Cordes. One audiotape and transcript (copyright SWG). Interviewed by Karen Kohanowich on September 27, 2012, in Dr. White’s home in Berkeley, California. Transcript and digital audio DVD. BA, Smith College,1960, history; MA, University of Colorado, 1972, history; Ph.D., University of Denver, 1975, international studies. Author of Women’s Status in an Islamic Society: The Problem of Purdah. The 1995 interview covers White’s childhood, education, marriage, children, and experiences in the United States Peace Corps in Pakistan and as the Asia Foundation’s Director in Indonesia and later in Pakistan. She describes her lifelong passion for mountain climbing all over the world and her harrowing rescue of an ill companion during a climb in Nepal. White’s work has focused on comparative studies of women in developing countries, with a special interest in Islam and in social change and its effect on women and development. Her geographic areas of interest include South, Central, and Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands. White continues to be an active mountaineer, having in recent years hiked across the Torres del Paine National Park of Chile, Argentina’s Glacier Park, the Aksu area of the Apmir Alai range, and the Teton Range in northwestern Wyoming. The 2012 interview covers primarily the period after 1995. White was the first woman to be awarded the Sowles Medal for Valor by the American Alpine Club, 1998. White joined SWG (Bay Area Group) in 1983 and received the Outstanding Achievement Award in 2011.

Elizabeth (Betty) Moffat White (1898–1993), world-wide traveler. Interviewed in 1992 by Luree Miller and Chris Prouty Rosenfeld. Four audiotapes and transcript (copyright SWG). The interview covers White’s childhood and education in New York City in the early part of the 20th Century and many of her experiences as a United States Foreign Service wife from 1920 to 1945 in Venezuela, Czechoslovakia, Latvia, Buenos Aires (during the 1930 revolution), Nazi Germany, British India (where she and her American diplomat husband traveled in Afghanistan, Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan, and Tibet), Morocco (in 1940), Haiti, and Peru. Upon their return to the U.S., the Whites bought a farm near Washington, D.C., where she became an enthusiastic organic farmer. After the death of her husband in 1967, White continued her world-wide travels until a few weeks before she died. White joined SWG in 1949.

Marina Duchowny Whitman (b. 1942), writer, curator, and art historian. Interviewed by Donita Moorhus on July 28-30, 2008, at the Cosmos Club, Washington, D.C. Transcript and digital audio DVD. MA, art history; PhD, New York University Institute of Fine Arts, 1978, Islamic Art. Author of Persian Blue-and-White Ceramics: Cycles of Chinoiserie. The interview covers her early life as the daughter of a Ukrainian Jewish immigrant growing up with an extended family in New York City. She has traveled the world extensively in her research, particularly of Persian Blue and White Ceramics that were exhibited in the Boston Museum, the Freer Gallery of Art, and the Metropolitan Museum. Whitman joined SWG in 1990.

Patricia Ann Woolley (b. 1932), mammalogist and professor. Interviewed by Janice Monk on December 22, 2011, in Doncaster, Melbourne, Australia. Transcript and digital audio DVD. BSc, University of Western Australia, 1955; PhD, Australian National University, 1966, zoology. The interview covers Dr. Woolley’s early life and education in Australia. After completing her PhD, she began her career at La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia, with her research of Dasyurid marsupials. As the result of her research of little known small mammals in Australia and New Guinea, a species was named for her, Pseudantechinus Woolleyae. She is an honorary life member of the Australian Mammal Society. Woolley joined SWG in 1986 and received the Outstanding Achievement Award in 1999.


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