Inspiring Women Letterpress Prints: Voices Across Her/story

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About the Project
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Signature Event

Women’s History Month is intended to commemorate, honor and make visible the contributions of women throughout history (or better yet, her-story). But, being visible does not always equate to being legible, or being heard.

This year Women’s and Gender Studies at the College of Charleston is theming our programming in celebration of our first woman Vice President, Madame Kamala Harris, who now famously quipped to her rudely interrupting debate opponent, “Excuse Me, I’m Speaking.”

Our programming looks back and also forward, intending to make visible and legible those women and femme-identifying rebels, agitators, knowledge creators, artists, and visionaries who trailblaze for equity and justice – historically and in present day. Join us in celebrating HER-stories!

INSPIRING WOMEN PORTFOLIO was created in celebration of the centennial anniversary of the 19th Amendment. The women featured here are from many time periods, all possessing a radical spirit of creating change in the world. The portfolio was printed during the 2020 Covid19 Pandemic and was organized by Kathryn Hunter, Blackbird Letterpress. May these women continue to inspire as the uncertain future unfolds.

On August 18, 1920, the US Constitution’s 19th Amendment was ratified—declaring no citizen could be denied the right to vote based on their sex. For more than 100 years, women’s suffrage supporters had fought for this right among others, including equal pay and access to education. However, the racially divided movement did not address the intersecting inequalities of race, class, and ethnicity. Intimidation, laws, fraud, and violence blocked women of color from voting. The Indian Citizenship Act of 1924 granted voting rights, but many states denied this right to Indigenous women through the 1950s. Black women faced barriers until the Voting Rights Act of 1965. As we acknowledge the movement’s flaws, we also celebrate all women who organized, marched, and risked their lives to bring the US closer to universal suffrage. Their efforts gave women the chance to politically, socially, culturally, and economically transform this country.

This WGS virtual exhibit would not be possible without Ink Meets Paper in Charleston, SC and Blackbird Letterpress in Baton Rouge, LA.

INK MEETS PAPER is a letterpress studio in Charleston, SC owned by the wife-and-wife duo Allison and Jamie Nadeau. "Passionate about producing thoughtful, deliberate products that help to spread more love in the world," the INK MEETS PAPER team creates handcrafted stationery and cards on the same letterpress printing machines that makers used back in the early 1900s. You can learn more about INK MEETS PAPER by visiting their website.

Blackbird Letterpress is a letterpress printshop that was founded by Kathryn Hunter, a printmaker and fine artist, in 2003. After many moves and expansions, you can find Blackbird Letterpress in Baton Rouge, LA, with an expanded lineup of impressive letterpress equipment including the original Chandler & Price letterpress that has been with Blackbird since the beginning. You can learn more about Blackbird Letterpress by visiting their website.

Join WGS for a special panel and behind-the-scenes look at this virtual exhibit – featuring Jamie and Allison Nadeau of INK MEETS PAPER, Kathryn Hunter of Blackbird Letterpress, Jennifer Farrell of Starshaped Press, and Jessica Spring & Chandler O'Leary, of Dead Feminists. Panelists will discuss their involvement with this project and their careers as letterpress printers.

March 23, 5:30pmPanel: Inspiring Women Letterpress Prints: Voices Across Her/story
Pre-Register for this Zoom event:

View the Exhibit

Anita Hill Letterpress print, rendered in shades of blue and featuring text that reads "Speak Truth to Power"

Anita Faye Hill

Designed by Kathryn Hunter, Blackbird Letterpress. — Anita Faye Hill {1956 – } is a lawyer and professor of law and social policy at Brandeis University. A Yale Law School graduate, she became forever known when she publicly accused the Supreme Court nominee, Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment in 1991. In the hearings, the all white […]

Daisy Bates portrait done in black ink on cream paper, letterpress print by Kate Askew

Daisy Bates

Designed by Kate Askew, Yella Dog Press. Civil rights activist Daisy Lee Gaston Bates {1914 – 1999} was born in Huttig, Arkansas. When Bates was three years old, her mother was raped and murdered and her father left her to be raised by family friends. She married Lucious Christopher “L.C.” Bates in 1942, and they […]

Eleanor Roosevelt letterpress print, featuring black and white print of Eleanor surrounded by popular quotes

Eleanor Roosevelt

Designed by Cathy Smith, Boxcar Press. Anna Eleanor Roosevelt {1884 – 1962} was First Lady to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt who served for three terms. She greatly expanded that role from hostess to actively political in part to help FDR maintain his interests but also to advocate for others. She fought for the advancement of […]

Eugenie Clark

Designed by Yuka Petz, Letter Box Studio. — Eugenie Clark {1922 – 2015} was a mixed-race, Japanese-American ichthyologist, known for her research on shark reproduction and behavior, pioneering use of scuba diving for research, and lifelong support of marine conservation. Known as “The Shark Lady,” she was the first researcher to train sharks to press […]

Letterpress print made of overlapping, colorful letterforms spelling out the word "BULLSHIT"

Florence “Flo” Kennedy

Designed by Lynda Sherman with Leigh Riibe, Bremelo Press. — Florynce “Flo” Kennedy {1916 – 2000} was one of the first Black women to graduate Columbia Law School in 1951. After representing the estates of Billie Holiday and Charlie Parker, she turned to political activism having discovered the practice of law was not the most […]

Frances Harper

Designed by Allison Chapman, Igloo Letterpress. — Frances Ellen Watkins Harper {1825 – 1911} is remembered as a powerful teacher, poet and public speaker championing abolition and women’s suffrage.

Grace Hopper letterpress print featuring bio and snippets of her handwriting

Grace Hopper

Designed by Shelley Barandes, Albertine Press. — Grace Hopper {1906-1992} was an American mathematician, computer scientist and programming pioneer, and U.S. Navy rear admiral. She popularized the idea of machine-independent programming languages based on English, making programming more user-friendly and accessible to a wider array of users, and developed one of the first linkers which […]

Ida B. Wells

Designed by Ben Blount, MAKE Studio. — Ida B. Wells {1862 – 1931} was an African American journalist, and abolitionist who led an anti-lynching crusade in the United States in the 1890s. She was born enslaved in Holly Springs, Mississippi in 1862. Wells bravely wrote about issues of race and politics in the South. In […]

Janet Davidson Rowley letterpress print featuring chromosomes made out of antique, decorative shapes

Janet Davidson Rowley

Designed by Jennifer Farrell, Starshaped Press. — The research of Dr. Janet Davison Rowley {1925 – 2013} established cancer as a disease of acquired genetic changes. In the 70’s, she photographed the chromosomes of leukemia patients, arranged the photos in pairs (‘paper dolls,’ according to her children) and recognized that certain pairs traded sections — a […]

Joy Harjo letterpress print featuring a color portrait and a short bio

Joy Harjo

Designed by Kelly McMahon, May Day Studio. Joy Harjo {1951– } is a member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, and the author of nine books of poetry, several plays and children’s books, and a memoir, Crazy Brave. She was named the 23rd Poet Laureate of the United States in 2019, the first Native American to hold […]

Judy Woodruff letterpress print featuring quote

Judy Woodruff

Designed by Kseniya Thomas, Thomas Printers. — National treasure Judy Woodruff {1946 – } is a broadcast journalist. Born in Oklahoma, she’s currently the anchor and managing editor of the PBS NewsHour. Through Judy’s nearly five decades of reporting on politics and interviewing humans of all stripes, she has steadfastly delivered the news with integrity and […]

Lucretia Mott letterpress print made with gold ink on dark blue paper, featuring floral designs and a quote from Mott

Lucretia Mott

Designed by Sarah McCoy, The Permanent Collection. — Since Lucretia Mott {1793 – 1880} considered (and knew) slavery to be evil, she and other Quakers refused to use cotton cloth, cane sugar, and other slavery-produced goods. In 1821, Mott became a Quaker minister. With her husband’s support, she traveled extensively, and emphasized the Quaker inward […]

Marsha P. Johnson letterpress prints on bright pink and yellow paper, featuring illustration of Marsha and quote

Marsha P. Johnson

Designed by Allison and Jamie Nadeau, INK MEETS PAPER. — Marsha P. “Pay it no mind” Johnson {1945-1992} was a pioneer in advocating for transgender and gay rights. At 23, Johnson became a key figure in the events that followed the police raid on the Village gay bar the Stonewall Inn on June 28, 1969. Her […]

portrait letterpress print of May Morris standing among flowers

May Morris

Designed by Masy Chighizola, Press Relief. — May Morris {1862 – 1938} was an influential instructor, embroideress, and designer, although her contributions are often overshadowed by those of her father, William Morris, a towering figure in the Arts and Crafts movement. In a scene dominated by men, she noticed women artists were being isolated and […]

Michelle Obama letterpress print, featuring an illustration of Michelle and the quote "There is no limit to what we as women can accomplish."

Michelle Obama

Designed by Molly Douma Brewer, Ice Pond Press. — “If there’s one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s the power of using your voice,” Michelle Obama {1964 – } wrote in her bestselling memoir, Becoming. In 2018 Michelle Obama championed voting by co-chairing the non-profit/non-partisan “When We All Vote.” The mission is to increase participation […]

Molly Ivins portrait letterpress print with yellow floral accents

Molly Ivins

Designed by Dori Boone with April Bryant, Side Track Press. — Molly Ivins {1944-2007} was an American journalist known for her sharp use of humor. Molly made it her life’s mission to speak truth to power at all levels of government. She was a vocal challenger to the Iraq War, active in the Amnesty International Journalism […]

Yellow and black letterpress print designed to look like a Nina Simone concert flyer at Carnegie Hall

Nina Simone

Designed by Kyle Durrie, Power and Light Press. —  Nina Simone {1933 – 2003}, born Eunice Kathleen Waymon, was a pianist, composer, singer, songwriter, and civil rights activist. “The High Priestess of Soul” excelled at the piano at a young age and was awarded scholarships to study classical piano (her true love) with prestigious private […]

Patsy Takemoto Mink letterpress print, featuring small portrait of Patsy surrounded by rings of text

Patsy Takemoto Mink

Designed by Mandolin Brassaw, Grapheme. — Patsy Takemoto Mink {1927 – 2002} was the first woman of color elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and the first Asian American woman to serve in Congress (D-Hawaii). She served from 1965-1977 and from 1990-2002. As a congresswoman, she fought for gender and racial equality, affordable childcare, […]

Pauli Murray letterpress print featuring a large yellow bird and the world "HOPE"

Anna Pauline “Pauli” Murray

Designed by Jessica Spring & Chandler O’Leary, Dead Feminists at Springtide Press. — Anna Pauline “Pauli” Murray {1910 – 1985} was a civil rights lawyer, poet, gender-queer icon, and the first African-American woman ordained an Episcopal priest. At 16 she enrolled at Hunter College, then law school at Howard University. Though she graduated first in her class, […]

RBG letterpress print featuring her iconic "collar"

Ruth Bader Ginsberg

Designed by Tammy Winn, The Red Door Press. Ruth Bader Ginsburg {1933-2020} was a U.S. Supreme Court Justice and only the second woman to be appointed to this position. Affectionately and passionately known as RBG, Judge Ginsburg was a trailblazer for women in the legal profession and in the workplace as a lawyer and a […]

Shirley chisholm letterpress print featuring a hand making a 'peace' sign

Shirley Anita Chisholm

Designed by Nancy Hill, Hazel and Violet. — Shirley Anita Chisholm {1924 – 2005} was an American politician, educator, and author. In 1968, she became the first black woman elected to the United States Congress, representing New York’s 12th congressional district for seven terms from 1969 to 1983. In the 1972 United States presidential election, […]

Sister Corita Kent letterpress print featuring a portrait and her famous rules of design

Sister Corita Kent

Designed by Rachael Hetzel, Pistachio Press. — Civil rights activist Sister Mary Corita Kent {1918 – 1986} was a nun, Pop artist, designer, activist, and educator. During the social upheavals of the 1960s and 1970s Kent created silkscreens that promoted messages of love, tolerance, social justice, and peace. In 1985, shortly before she succumbed to […]

Susan B Anthony letterpress print featuring quote and decorative details

Susan B. Anthony

Designed by Jessica Peterson, The Southern Letterpress. — Susan B. Anthony {1820 – 1906} was born in Adams, Massachusetts and died in Rochester, New York, 14 years before women were given the right to vote with the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920. She spend her life dedicated to women’s suffrage, traveling the country to […]

Susan O’Malley

Designed by Stephanie Carpenter, Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum. —  Susan O’Malley {1976 – 2016}, a San Francisco–based artist and curator, created work that was socially engaged, participatory, and public. Her colorful and optimistic art was produced in prints, billboards, and a wide range of other media. O’Malley’s work was renowned, both nationally and internationally. She […]

Sylvia Rivera letterpress print featuring long passages of quotes overplayed with the phrase "y'all' better quiet down!"

Sylvia Rivera

Designed by Kadin Henningsen, Meanwhile…Letterpress. —  Sylvia Rivera {1951 – 2002} was a Latina American transgender rights activist. She co-founded the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR) with Marsha P. Johnson, a group dedicated to helping homeless young drag queens, gay youth, and trans women. She was a fierce advocate for queers of color, low income […]

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