Letter to Jane Gould from Martha Peterson, 1973

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Tcl Jane Gould FROM Martha Peterson suaficf Women's Conference DATE July 18, 1973

I have read with interest the minutes of the June 20 Planning Meeting for the Academic Conference at Barnard in the spring.

Two questions occur to me as I read the minutes. First, should a com- mittee be set up to determine focus, content and papers and presenters of the Conference. If it is to meet a high standard of scholarly excellence, a care- fully selected small group of respected scholars probably should have considerable responsibility in deciding what is to be presented and who is to do it, else the Conference may well be just another rap session. Of course if the Conference_ is to be one to enable Barnard to identify those interested from whom a smaller group can later be selected to provide leadership, the screening is of less importance.

Secondly, I hope the general planning group will arrange the Conference in such a way that we will feel comfortable in inviting potential donors to it. That means careful arrangement of meeting places, appearance of details like programs, registration, coffee hours, lunch, hostesses! I'm sure Florence Ander- son of Carnegie was pretty well turned off by Barnard at the Women's Conference at Riverside Church. I'd like to have her back if we can do what we're doing with style. She might be so pleased by our progress, she would help. It does occur to me that the gap between meeting Barbara Hertz, Annette Baxter, Pat Graham, Jane Gould and attending an event that has not been carefully planned at Barnard is considerable!

Pre-planning for publicity is essential too. It wouldn't hurt to build in a few natural attractions for the media if we wish our leadership recognized. My own feeling, confirmed by past experience, is that there is not much news worthiness in doing what we do naturally.

You can see that from my point of View there are some difficult decisions to make. If we want real intellectual stature, attractiveness to donors and public recognition, we should guarantee we ge it by careful planning. It is in these areas that we have failed in thewpast. If we want to plan casually, then we probably can have an interesting day, but should not be dismayed by lack of recognition!

You asked for reactions -- you now have mine!

cc: Barbara Hertz