Skip to main content

The Women's Center Oral History Collection

Identifier: MSS-302

Scope and Content

As part of the 40th Anniversary of The Women's Center in 2013, Jane Ryan began a series of oral history interviews of women who founded, volunteered, received services, or worked at the Center, located in Marquette, Michigan. Taken together the oral histories describe how and why women organized and established the Women's Center. Interviewees discuss the nature of early educational workshops and programs benefiting women and families in the Marquette area. Recipients of the Center's services summarize the life changing effects these services had on them. Interviews with current and former staff members provide firsthand accounts on operational procedures and the evolution of the Center over time. The following interviewees shared their experience with the Women's Center: Priscilla Burnham, Jacqueline Dalt, Rosa Diddams, June Easton, Norma Greenwood, Holly Greer, Gail Griffith, Sue Kensington, Sally May, Carolyn McDonald, Patricia Micklow, Martha Parks, Kathy Peters, Karlyn Rapport.


  • Creation: 2013 - 2014


Conditions Governing Access

No restrictions. Open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

See the Copyright Transfer event for a list of which interviews have oral history release forms.

Permission to publish material from the records of The Women's Center Oral History Collection must be obtained from the University Archivist. The University Archivist may be reached by phone at 906-227-1225, or e-mail, The University Archivist may also be reached in Room 126 of the Learning Resource Center, Northern Michigan University, Marquette, Michigan.


In 1972, Sally May, Gail Griffith, Holly Greer, Karlyn Rapport, and Patricia Micklow, known as the "Founding Mothers," held a conference at Northern Michigan University titled "The Changing Role of Women in the 70's.” It was organized in collaboration with Sarah McClellan, Marilyn Gorski, and Mary Soper. This conference led to the establishment of the Women's Center, which in 1973 became an official program of Northern Michigan University's Office of Continuing Education as a social and educational support group for women. The Center provided public educational workshops and programs such as assertiveness training, active listening, and a displaced homemaker program; it also offered sexual assault counseling and support services and fielded a sexual assault response team. Some of the Women’s Center staff and volunteers, notably Holly Greer, Karlyn Rapport, and Marilyn Marshall, were responsible for founding the Spouse Abuse Shelter Project, an independent non-profit organization offering a refuge for victims of domestic violence; this organization became part of the Women’s Center in 1986 and was renamed Harbor House in the early 1990s. Northern Michigan University ceased its funding of the Women's Center in 1980 owing to budget cuts. However, the Women's Center was reorganized as a non-profit community-based organization by the Women’s Center Community Advisory Council that same year and, after a period of transience, the Women’s Center found a permanent residence in the Marquette community in 1986.


23 recordings

Language of Materials



The Women's Center Oral History Collection is sorted into four series: The Founding Mothers, Volunteers, Training and Services, and Women's Center Staff.

Custodial History

Jane Ryan conducted and produced the oral history interviews. She donated these interviews to the Central Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan University Archives.

Related Archival Materials

Researchers may be interested in the following related archival collections: John X. Jamrich papers, MSS-050; Office of the President, General Subject Correspondence, Record Series 0200-01; Office of the Vice President and Provost for Academic Affairs, Record Series 2000-01.

View This Collection Online

This collection is part of UPLINK, the Upper Peninsula Digital Network. You can see it on the UPLINK website here.

The Women's Center Oral History Collection
Anne M. Krohn
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Central Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan University Archives Repository

Harden Learning Resources Center 126
1401 Presque Isle Ave
Marquette 49855 United States
906-227-1333 (Fax)


This collection guide includes collections from member organizations of UPLINK (the Upper Peninsula Digital Network) as well as the Central Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan University Archives. UPLINK collections document the history of the Upper Peninsula broadly, while the Central UP & NMU Archives focuses on such topics as Northern Michigan University history, the local iron mining industry, and the politics, economics, religion, environment, and culture of the Central Upper Peninsula region.

These finding aids will give you an overview of the contents and context of each collection. Finding aids only exist for collections that each organization has shared with UPLINK or (in the case of the NMU Archives) for processed collections. For a more comprehensive list of collections that might help with your research, please contact the relevant heritage organization(s) directly.

Northern Michigan University
1401 Presque Isle Ave. • Marquette, MI 49855-5301 • 906–227–1000
© 2018 by the NMU Board of Trustees. NMU is an equal opportunity institution.