Minerva puts military women's history on front line


April 21, 2000|By Peg Adamarczyk | Peg Adamarczyk,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

SUNSET BEACH resident Linda Grant DePauw has a mission to the world to provide information on the role of women and the military.

"From the very beginning, women have played various roles in wars, from behind-the-lines support to front-line duties," says DePauw, 60, professor emeritus of American history at George Washington University.

DePauw has dedicated her professional life to supporting development of the little-known field of women's military studies. "Accurate information about women in the military has not been widely published or talked about generally," she says.

To address that concern, DePauw established the Minerva Center in 1983 as an educational and research corporation devoted to the study of women in war and in the military.

Since its inception, the center has focused on publication, turning out periodicals dealing exclusively and extensively with matters relating to women and the military -- in-depth academic articles, first-person accounts, oral histories, reviews, fiction and poetry.

While the center serves as a major source for researchers on the subject worldwide, getting the information to the general public has not been easy, says DePauw, its unpaid director. "Our activities are educational, not political."

As the author of several books on the subject, including "Founding Mothers: Women of America in the Revolutionary Era," "Seafaring Women" and "Battle Cries and Lullabies: A Brief History of Women in War from Prehistory to the Present," DePauw has deepened her interest in helping women veterans of more recent times record their stories.

"These women have a story to tell, and we need to record it before it is gone," she says.

On May 11 -- the 60th anniversary of the Battle of Monte Casino in Italy -- the Minerva Center will release "The Horror Trains: A Polish Woman Veteran's Memoir of World War II," by Wanda Pomykalski of Hillsboro, Calif.

Though she completed the manuscript more than 10 years ago, Pomykalski, who served with the Polish army, was unable to find a mainstream publisher interested in bringing her story to the public.

"Although women's war stories are filled with as much passion and drama as those of men, military history has always been dominated by male voices, so even the best books about women have difficulty finding a publisher," DePauw says. "We are proud to have been the ones to give Wanda's story to the world."

Information: 410-437-5379 or www.minervacenter.com.

Solley PTA fund-raiser

Solley Elementary PTA will have its third annual Walk 'n Fest at 9 a.m. April 29 on the half-mile track behind the school at 7608 Solley Road. "It will be a day of fun, food and games for the family, rain or shine," said Pat Delawder, PTA spokesman.

Walkers with $15 or more in paid pledges will receive a T-shirt. Several prizes will be awarded to pupils who collect the greatest amounts in pledges, and a prize to the class with the most walkers.

Louie, the Bowie Baysox mascot, will visit and play a game of kickball with the students.

At 10 a.m., the games area will open, staffed with teachers, volunteers and students. Families can play putt-putt golf, toss a baseball, hunt for treasure or lollipops, make a craft, or create a spin-art masterpiece.

Also featured will be raffles, door prizes, and demonstrations by A. J. Bartlinski Karate Supercenter, the Orchard Beach Volunteer Fire Department and the Maryland Rocket Cheerleaders. The Solley Recorders musical instrument group will perform.

Maryland Transportation Authority Police will offer free fingerprinting.

A silent auction will feature several sports items, including a football signed by legendary Baltimore Colts quarterback Johnny Unitas.

Proceeds will benefit the school's computer lab and media center. Information: 410-222-6473 during school hours next week, or 410-360-0217.

Poster contest winners

East Anne Arundel Lions Club has announced the winners of its local competition in the Lions 12th International Peace Poster contest, held to help emphasize the importance of world peace to young people everywhere.

This year's theme was "A New Beginning of Peace."

Pupils at Chesapeake Bay and George Fox middle schools were invited to participate.

The winning artists were Thomas Stamos, a 13-year-old from George Fox, and Laura Bente, 12, of Chesapeake Bay Middle. Each received a $50 savings bond and a first-place certificate.

George Morris, club president, said he was impressed by the amount of effort exhibited by the pupils. "Thirty-six posters were submitted," he said. "It's obvious that these young people have strong ideas of what peace means to them. I'm proud that we were able to provide them with the opportunity to share their visions with all of us."

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