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Ramapo College Receives Unique Collection of Images Memorializing Historic Women

(PDF) (DOC) (JPG)March 1, 2021

Penny Colman talking at microphone

MAHWAH, N.J. – Noted author and photographer Penny Colman has donated her unique and extensive collection of images of landmarks to historic women to the School of Humanities and Global Studies at Ramapo College. Colman will discuss her work in a virtual event titled “Where Are the Women?” on Thursday, March 25 at 6 p.m. To view the event, log on to

“The Penny Colman Collection of Women’s Historical Landmarks” was conceptualized 30 years ago with simple questions: Where are the women? In particular, were women’s names and deeds recognized, as were men’s, with statues, signs, plaques, roadside markers, memorials, artwork, or on gravestones, except as a ‘wife’?

“The School of Humanities and Global Studies at Ramapo College of New Jersey is thrilled to announce the donation of the Penny Colman Collection of Historical Landmarks to Women,” said Ramapo Assistant Professor of History Sarah Koenig, who organized the event with Ramapo Associate Professor of African American History David Colman and Cathy Moran Hajo, director of the Jane Addams Papers Project at the College. “This one-of-a-kind collection of photographs and research notes offers an invaluable window into how and why people in the U.S. and abroad have chosen to memorialize particular figures in particular times and places. It also offers a unique view into Colman’s own life and work, giving students a chance to walk in the footsteps of an experienced researcher.”

The Penny Colman collection will also be digitized, said Koenig, who chairs the HGS Digital Humanities Committee. “Once this rich archive is digitized, Ramapo students and faculty will be able to use digital tools to expand the reach of the collection by making it fully searchable and accessible to the public. We will also be able to add new ways of experiencing the archive through data visualizations that highlight connections between particular people, organizations, places, and monuments,” noting that Hajo will oversee the digitalization project.

Koenig added that as Americans continue to debate the meaning and value of historical monuments across the nation, the Penny Colman Collection will allow Ramapo students and faculty to contribute to these conversations through innovative research and hands-on learning.

After many intentional road trips, Colman amassed an extensive collection of 35 mm slides, prints, and jpegs documenting landmarks for an A-to-Z list of women from economist and educator Edith Abbot to antislavery activist, Civil War scout and spy Harriet Tubman to premier athlete Babe Didrikson Zaharias. Colman’s images have been reproduced in articles and books and appear in her popular slide presentations, including “On the Trail of Suffrage Landmarks” for the Women’s Rights National Historical Park. Her 2019 road trip through England and Scotland, “In the Footsteps of Suffragettes,” is documented on her blog, Images also appear on Instagram @pennycolmancollection.

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About Ramapo College

Ramapo College of New Jersey is the state’s premier public liberal arts college and is committed to academic excellence through interdisciplinary and experiential learning, and international and intercultural understanding. The comprehensive college is situated among the beautiful Ramapo Mountains, is within commuting distance to New York City, was named one of the 50 Most Beautiful College Campuses in America by CondeNast Traveler, and boasts the best on-campus housing in New Jersey per Established in 1969, Ramapo College offers bachelor’s degrees in the arts, business, data science, humanities, social sciences and the sciences, as well as in professional studies, which include business, education, nursing and social work. In addition, the College offers courses leading to teacher certification at the elementary and secondary levels, and offers graduate programs leading to master’s degrees in Accounting, Applied Mathematics, Business Administration, Contemporary Instructional Design, Computer Science, Creative Music Technology, Data Science, Educational Leadership, Nursing, Social Work and Special Education, as well as a Doctor of Nursing Practice.


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