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Women making history

By Staff | Mar 9, 2016

Dr. Amy Shaner Rogers

Editor’s Note: This is the first of a four part series recognizing the achievements of some local women in honor of Women’s History Month this March.

HUGHESVILLE – Women currently searching and studying “Women in History,” are themselves destined to become women in history. Mary Sieminski and Dr. Amy Shaner Rogers are two of several researchers well known to our readership.

Sieminksi, a Williamsort native and retired librarian, is manager of an online archive of source material related to the the history of women in Lycoming County. The effort is aptly called, “Lycoming County Women’s History Collection.”

Dr. Rogers, a Hughesville area native, created a curriculum using the resource material as a study guide.

Both women are connected with Lycoming College and the Snowden Library. All continue to add to the thousands of pages available and also place photographs online as they become available. The dates of materials sought have been moved forward up to and including 1950.

Mary Sieminski

The first work of the grant approved program was to locate and glean materials at the Lycoming County Historical Society and the James V. Brown Library in Williamsport. There they located identities of women in volunteer and reform organizations, education, the arts, and also the workplace. In addition, city directories listed clubs for women.

Sieminski and her associates have crisscrossed the county visiting historical societies and libraries. The manager has also been on the speaker’s circuit to organizations raising awareness.

During a recent engagement at the the meeting of the East Lycoming Historical Society (ELHS), the deluge of snow did not deter the twenty attendees on February 15.

“Diaries, letters, minute books and photographs may remain in the attics and basements of private residents,” she told the group.

The speaker made reference of the former Shindel Mill in Hughesville. As early as the 1920’s, textile mills and garment factories provided jobs for many women. Well into the sixties, clothing manufacturers such as Glamorize in Muncy, were posting ads for workers in The Luminary.

“The factory owners often resided in big east coast cities. They placed factories here to obtain cheaper labor,” Sieminski said.

In March 2015, a special first issue of a magazine by the Williamsport Sun-Gazette was titled “Women of Distinction.” The highly regarded magazine found its way to coffee tables and shelves with books in many homes. Attending the ELHS meeting, Denise Gray of Hughesville, spoke with the writer saying she keeps her copy handy, opening it often for re-reading.

You may learn more about the activities of county women by reading Sieminski’s column published the second Sunday monthly in the Sun-Gazette.

It has been said of Sieminski, “She gives above and beyond what is expected.” As proof of that sentiment, when presented a speaker’s honorarium at ELHS, she said, “This will go back into the project.” Of Sieminski, Rogers said, “She is such a lovely lady and has a passion for the study of local history.”

DR. ROGERS has been in the teaching profession for over 20 years. She has earned degrees at Lycoming College, Bloomsburg University and a PH.D. at Penn State University, where she specialized in Curriculum and Instruction.

Her experience includes being a secondary social studies teacher and literacy coach. Currently, she is Director of Teacher Education at Lycoming College where she is also a Certification Officer, and Associate Professor.

Rogers is serving her second term on the Board of Directors for the East Lycoming School District. Prior to her current situation, Rogers taught a class in local history at Hughesville High School. “I am hoping to get more involved in local history soon, as I miss teaching and learning about our local community,” Rogers concluded.