Saturday, January 28, 2017, 9:30 AM – 4:00 PM

 *Limited Seating – Space is limited and seating is offered first come, first served. There will be an overflow room available with a simulcast video presentation.

 The first presentation of the day this year features the Dutch immigrant population…

9:30 – 10:15 AThe Dutch Immigrant MidwifeM

Present, But Not Counted: Dutch Immigrant Midwives in Grand Rapids

Janet Sjaarda Sheeres

Sponsored by the Greater Grand Rapids Women’s History Council

Though stories of male physicians are adequately represented in medical histories, accounts of female midwives have been woefully neglected. And what histories of early American immigrants ever ask, “Who delivered the babies”? Adding to her body of work on invisible Dutch women, Janet Sjaarda Sheeres has uncovered ten midwives working in late-nineteenth and early-twentieth-century Grand Rapids, and thirty more in other Dutch colonies. She will address why these women chose work delivering babies; who their clients were; what hardships they faced; and why they are not in our histories. Sheeres’ findings also shed light on midwives serving other ethnic communities and why they have been sidelined in early historical records.

This presentation is part of the 2017 History Detectives program on Saturday, January 28, at the Ryerson Auditorium, Grand Rapids Public Library.