G. Margaret Porter Graduate Writing Prize

Author: Linnie Caye

The Gender Studies Program Graduate Writing Prize has been renamed the G. Margaret Porter Graduate Writing Prize in honor of G. Margaret Porter, who worked as the Gender Studies Librarian at the Hesburgh Library and enabled high caliber research in gender by ensuring that students and faculty at Notre Dame have access to the very best resources in Gender Studies.


 In 1989 Bob Miller, the Director of Libraries asked if I’d like to be the liaison for new Gender Studies program.   I immediately said yes and “how much funding is involved?” Well, no funding, at least not initially. So I developed skills in begging, cajoling and laying on guilt trips to get my colleagues with funding to contribute to building a collection for gender studies across disciplines. And, it worked OK, but it was time consuming.  One of the benefits of a small budget was that I could compile monthly lists of new books in Gender Studies.  Once there was more funding and a much larger publishing output it was something that became too time consuming. 

After a few years when it was clear the program growing, the library allocated a modest amount for gender studies collections.  We could start building a better collection of journals as well as monographs.  In the late nineties I looked at circulation numbers for material primarily in the HQ section and could substantiate what I had known intuitively, that material in this call number section was used to such an extent that clearly we needed more funding, which in turn was allocated. Not a huge amount, but an improvement.  Several years ago Gender Studies as well as a few social sciences disciplines received $10,000 one-time money to improve collections.  

Some of the most noteworthy resources acquired in the past 20 years;

The History of Women microfilm collection of over 1,200 reels of microfilm that now has a record in the library catalog for each item on the microfilm;

Electronic primary resources:

British and Irish women's letters and diaries

Black women writers

Feminism in Cuba : Nineteenth through Twentieth Century Archival Documents

Latin American women writers

Manuscript women's letters and diaries

North American women's drama

North American women's letters and diaries

Victorian women writers project

Women writers online

Electronic finding aids such as Contemporary women's issues and Gender watch .

All along I have had wonderful cooperation from my colleagues in the library. None of the resources would be available if it weren’t for contributions from within the library.  I have learned immensely from working with students and faculty across the disciplines represented in Gender Studies.  I have found Gender Studies folks to be the most inclusive, generous and supportive group of people. I am especially gratified that Gender Studies has now become a major at ND.
- G. Margaret Porter (Spring 2013)