This year marks Arkansas Press Women’s 75th anniversary. Founded in 1949 by Roberta Fulbright, we remain true to our mission: supporting and empowering communicators across Arkansas.
To take a deep dive into our organization’s history, join Wendy Plotkin in her work to preserve, highlight and celebrate the accomplishments of our members.
Wendy Plotkin became the historian of APW in 2021, drawn by the involvement of her brother, Richard and sister-in-law Helen.
She earned her doctorate in urban history from the University of Illinois at Chicago, studying how racial discrimination impacted housing development. She was also a co-founder of H-Net, an organization connecting historians through more than 100 forums, which has been running for over 20 years.
Through these opportunities, she combined her passions for history and for increasing access to resources through the internet, passions that she brings into her work as the APW historian.
“I have never felt so happy, doing the work I love so much,” Plotkin said. “I just feel very fortunate.”
Along with the ongoing digitization of APW papers and files, Plotkin has worked intensively on projects including researching the lives and careers of Roberta Fulbright, Dorothy Stuck and Nan Snow.
She also created a digital version of Horizons: 100 Arkansas Women of Achievement, published by APW in 1980. (The book can be accessed here.)
For the 75th anniversary of APW, Plotkin designed a calendar featuring articles, photographs and additional historical documents outlining the organization’s impact on the state and region. She said she felt as if the project was a perfect culmination of her previous three years working as historian.
“When I sat down and began to look at the papers, oh my god, there was so much material,” Plotkin said. “I looked at them with a historian’s eyes. I found a lot of material that was just perfect to be displayed online and in something like a calendar.”
For Plotkin, the history of APW impacts the mission that unites members and draws new communicators to the fold. It also helps leadership to see the challenges the organization has overcome in order to shape future goals.
“This is the perfect time for APW … I feel that an organization with the rich history of APW, especially its founder who is somewhat unique, will attract people, and people will be willing to stay on as members longer if there is a strong sense of identification with the organization.”
“I believe our history will be important, not just for Arkansas historians but I think anybody who studies the history of journalism or of women in general will find it interesting,” Plotkin said.
The 75th anniversary calendars have been mailed to APW members. If you have not received a calendar or would like to receive one as a non-member, please contact Wendy Plotkin at firstname.lastname@example.org.