Minnesota Women in Sports

Grantor: 
E.L. & E.J. Anderson Foundation
Grantee: 
Kathleen Ridder
Project Duration: 
Jun 13 2000 to Apr 27 2005
Project Description: 

In the spring of 1999, sixteen women agreed to participate in a book, a collection of essays titled “Minnesota Women in Sports.” The authors attached great importance to the project because they believed strongly that that women’s sport history, of both individual and team competition, along with the history of women’s sport organizations, should be preserved for future generations. Each essay tells a distinct and compelling story of the aspirations, achievements, and frustrations of a career, and exhibits the author’s personal commitment to equality for women. It describes what motivated the author to join the sports arena (e.g. family, school, the women’s movement, coincidence, money, and/or mentors) and when she became visible in the sports world. It reviews the inequities that the author faced in the sports field, including both overt and covert discrimination, the specific conflicts that arose, the absence of sufficient funds, and the lack of media support.

This collection of memoirs adds a new and significant dimension to the record of Minnesota women’s experience in the twentieth century. The media has covered highly visible athletic achievements of women when they happened, but has rarely provided background material that elucidates the hurdles that women athletes overcame to achieve victory. The stories in this book are intended to remedy that deficiency.

The sixteen women who contributed to the book are: Janet Allen (figure skating), Jeanne Arth (tennis), Margaret Chutich (research), Gertrude Fink (bowling), Jean Freeman (swimming), Marion Bemis Johnson (basketball), Eloise M. Jaeger (University of Minnesota), Judy Mahle Lutter (sport and health), Dorothy McIntyre (high school athletics), Sandra Peterson (recreation), Patricia A. Stringer (softball), Beverly Vanstrom (golf), Chris Voelz (intercollegiate athletics), Jean A. Brookins (editor), Barbara Stuhler (editor), and Kathleen Ridder (introduction).

The project resulted in the publication of Minnesota Women in Sports: Leveling the Playing Field (North Star Press, 2005).