Program Specialists Amy Winter and Mary Wise conceived and curated the digital exhibit "And Yet She Persisted: Women at UNM and Across New Mexico" for the Digital Initiatives and Scholarly Communications (DISC) office in Zimmerman Library.
"And Yet She Persisted" is a web-based assemblage of nearly 1,000 records housed in Zimmerman. It highlights the accomplishments of women from the University of New Mexico and across the state.
The digital exhibit uses sources such as graduation records, historical documents, biographies and interpretive essays from the library to show the role women have historically played in New Mexico.
"The University of New Mexico Digital Initiatives and Scholarly Communication department was working to digitize the historic theses and dissertations completed at UNM," Wise said. "The librarians, staff and our awesome work-study students who worked in DISC included robust metadata — data about data — including advisor signatures."
The project grew as the creators found more data and records regarding women in the form of graduation records, dissertations, theses and records of professors.
"We started scanning the historical theses of education from kind of the beginning of UNM time back in the late 1800s," Winter said. "I noticed as I was just sort of processing them that a lot of the authors were women, which I didn't expect."
"And Yet She Persisted" debuted in 2018 during Women’s History Month in honor of Garnett Stokes — UNM's first female president. While the exhibit was neglected for a few years, Winter hopes to begin working on it again soon.
"There's some interest because of the anniversary of the 19th Amendment that's coming up next month," Winter said. "We may be able to get some more participants in and write some biographies of women."
One feature in the digital exhibit includes 38 brief biographies of the state's most influential and groundbreaking women. Among the women biographed are professors, archaeologists, writers and influential civil rights leaders.
"It is my sincere hope that site visitors understand the rich contributions that women have made to the Land of Enchantment," Wise said.
The women biographed experienced many of the issues that some women today face. Among them were victims of sexual harassment, women deciding between careers and families and women faced with high unemployment rates.
"The most interesting thing was every single woman, when I went into the special collection (and) looked at her papers, there was some story that she had that was really contemporary," Wise said.
The exhibit also considers how the state and university were affected by World War I and World War II, as well as the influx of people from the eastern United States to New Mexico, where clean air was a common retreat for those suffering from tuberculosis.
"I think that there's obviously a lot of interest in immigration, but I think that we haven't really looked a lot at sort of how people came from the eastern U.S.," Winter said. "I think it'd be cool to look at some of those migrations and motivations for people moving here from the eastern U.S."
The digital exhibit stands as an example of what is possible with the resources at Zimmerman and encouragement to students doing research projects to use the resources available at the DISC office.
"I hoped in doing the project to demonstrate the range of humanities research skills that our program can support for students," Winter said. "I really would like students to know that they can come talk to us about projects like that."
Loreena Cain is a beat reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @loreena_cain