The Maine Feminist Oral History Project (FOHP) at the University of Mainewas organized in 1992 to collect and preserve the histories of feminists of the 1960s and 1970s and of the organizations they founded to effect social change. FOHP concerns itself with local small-town or rural activism at the grassroots level, rather than with the urban or national organizations that have received scholarly attention elsewhere.
Operating as a collective under the aegis of the Women in the Curriculum and Women’s Studies Program at the University of Maine, FOHP includes among its members faculty, staff, and students of the University of Maine and of other neighboring institutions of higher education, as well as other members of the local community.
The Maine Feminist Oral History Project received training, consultation, and technical assistance from the Notheast Archives of Folklore and Oral History of the Maine Folklife Center, where recordings and transcripts of its oral histories will be deposited.
Since mid-1992 FOHP has devoted most of its attention to the history of the Spruce Run Association, one of the nation’s oldest organizations founded to advocate for battered women and to combat domestic violence.
With support from the Maine Humanities Council, FOHP collected the oral histories of over thirty founders and others intimately connected with the early years of Spruce Run, then created the script of a readers theater, “The ‘Somebody Else’ was Us” with excerpts from these histories.
This script is now available to the public (PDF), and it is finding use throughout the country both in Women’s Studies courses and in volunteer training for domestic violence workers. For this “notable contribution toward ending domestic violence” FOHP was honored by the governor of the State of Maine in 1994.
An article on Spruce Run (PDF), written by two members of the FOHP, was featured in the 1998 newsletter of the NCADVoice, on the front page of an issue dedicated to the history of the movement.