About the National Archives

Welcome Remarks for The Girl Explorers: The Untold Story of the Globetrotting Women Who Trekked, Flew, and Fought Their Way Around

Greetings from the National Archives. I’m David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, and it's my pleasure to welcome you to today’s virtual book talk with Jayne Zanglein, author of The Girl Explorers.

Before we begin, though, I’d like to tell you about two upcoming programs you can view on our YouTube channel.

On Thursday, March 11, at noon, Bruce Levine will be here to tell us about his new biography of Thaddeus Stevens, one of the foremost abolitionists in Congress before the Civil War and firm proponent of equal rights for Black Americans during Reconstruction.

And on Monday, March 15, at 7 p.m., Julia Sweig will discuss her new biography, Lady Bird Johnson: Hiding in Plain Sight, which documents the former First Lady’s complex role as a political partner to her husband and as a vital yet underappreciated presence in the White House.

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In 1932, Marie Peary Stafford, daughter of polar explorer Robert Peary, set off for Greenland on a mission to build a monument there honoring her famous father. Film footage and lantern slides in the National Archives document this Peary expedition, and a collection of Marie Peary’s papers are in our donated materials. Before Peary Stafford set off, Harriet Chalmers Adams, the first president of the Society of Women Geographers, presented her with the society’s flag. This voyage marked the first time the flag was carried on an expedition.

Today we will hear more about the Society of Women Geographers and its intrepid members. The flag first carried to Greenland in 1932 later went to the depths of the ocean and into space, each time marking a contribution to the world’s store of knowledge.

Women scientists and explorers before the society’s founding and after have used their intellectual curiosity to enlarge our understanding of the world. I’m looking forward to this opportunity to learn more about them from Jayne Zanglein.

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Joining the conversation today is Caroline Torkildson, president of the Society of Woman Geographers. Her passions are sharing the history of women explorers, and the natural world, especially astronomy, and she has worked at science museums and various federal agencies.

Our guest author, Jayne Zanglein, is passionate about publicizing the accomplishments of women ignored by history and chronicling the challenges women face today. She is an avid researcher and has won more than 20 awards for her scholarship. For The Girl Explorers, she conducted extensive archival research and visited a dozen countries.

 Now let’s hear from Jayne Zanglein. Thank you for joining us today.