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The Sixth Millennium Evening at the White House Women as Citizens: Vital Voices Through the Century

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The President and First Lady hosted the sixth Millennium Evening at the White House on Monday, March 15, 1999. Millennium Evenings at the White House are a series of lectures and cultural showcases hosted by the President and First Lady that highlight the creativity and inventiveness of the American people through our ideas, art and scientific discoveries. These Evenings are part of the national efforts of the White House Millennium Council to commemorate the turn of the millennium by "Honoring the Past--Imagining the Future."

As the nation celebrated National Women's History Month, the President and Mrs. Clinton hosted this next Millennium Evening on the history of American women in civic life in the 20th century. The Evening's discussion focused on three themes: women as volunteers and reformers, women's struggle for rights, and women in public/civic life. The presenters for the evening were Professor Nancy Cott, Professor Alice Kessler-Harris and Dr. Ruth Simmons.

Nancy Cott is the Stanley Woodward Professor of History and American Studies at Yale University, where she has taught since 1975. She received her Ph.D. in History of American Civilization from Brandeis University in 1974. Presently, she is spending the year in Palo Alto, California, at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences. Her publications include: A Heritage of Her Own: Towards a New Social History of American Women, co-editor; The Grounding of Modern Feminism; A Woman Making History: Mary Ritter Beard Through Her Letters; and numerous articles. Dr. Cott is also the series editor of the eleven-volume Young Oxford History of Women in the United States. She has received Guggenheim, Rockefeller Foundation and NEH fellowships, and lectures widely at academic conferences and on college campuses. Recently, Dr. Cott appeared as a featured scholar on the PBS special "One Woman, one Vote." Her current research focuses on the history of marriage and public policy in the United States.

Alice Kessler-Harris is a Visiting Professor at Columbia University where she holds a joint appointment in both the History Department and the Institute for Research on Women and Gender. She received her Ph.D. in History from Rutgers University in 1968. Currently, she also holds her appointment as Professor of History at Rutgers, where she directed the Women's Studies Program from 1990 to 1995. She is described as one of the foremost labor historians in the country and has played an important role in the establishment of women's studies. Dr. Kessler-Harris has authored and edited over ten books, including: A Women's Wage: Historical Meanings and Social Consequences, and Women in Culture and Politics: A Century of Change. One of her main subjects is how working women have understood their world. She has received fellowships from both Guggenheim and Rockefeller foundations, and from NEH.

Ruth Simmons is President of Smith College, an appointment she has held since 1995. Prior to Smith, Dr. Simmons served as Provost of Spelman College, and Vice Provost, Associate Dean of the Faculty and Acting Director of African-American Studies at Princeton University. She received her Ph.D. in Romance Languages and Literatures from Harvard University in 1973; her teaching and writing has centered on the literature of francophone Africa and the Caribbean. Throughout her career she has been recognized as a leading practical feminist and educational administrator. She is active in a wide range of educational, charitable, and civic endeavors and holds honorary degrees from a number of colleges and universities, including Amherst, Dillard, UMass Amherst, Dartmouth and Princeton. She also serves on numerous boards, including Clarke School for the Deaf, Pfizer, Inc., and Metropolitan Life Insurance. In 1996, she was named a CBS Woman of the Year, NBC Nightly News' Most Inspiring Woman, and Glamour Magazine's Woman of the Year. In 1997, she was awarded the Centennial Medal from Harvard University.

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Millennium Evenings

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