WOMEN IN MINING was founded in Denver, Colorado, in 1972 when three women contacted mining companies, and other related firms, to ascertain interest in developing an organization to provide education about the industry. Within a few months, the fifteen charter members invited industry representatives to attend a reception featuring U.S. Senator Gordon Allott as guest speaker. That spring the group offered a public seminar, “Finding a Mine.”
In 1974 a Tucson chapter of WOMEN IN MINING was spearheaded by former Denver Chapter member, Virginia Moyer. By early 1978 the need became apparent for a vehicle to facilitate new chapter formation and to coordinate information among them; in May the Denver Chapter created an Organization and Extension Committee. A chapter was organized later that year in St. Louis, Missouri, followed in 1979 by Battle Mountain, Nevada.
It then became obvious that a national structure would be necessary for orderly, consistent growth and the committee began compiling legal information and examples of other organizational structures.
Participants from Denver, Tucson, and Battle Mountain attended a meeting in Denver in August 1979 to set general goals. At that meeting questions were developed for use in polling the membership at the chapter level. The effect of the questionnaire was to confirm the decision to develop a national structure and to establish the organization as one which would allow autonomous chapters with equal representation on the National Board.
In December 1979 chapter representatives met again to draft bylaws and develop policies. As a result of this meeting, an Advisory Council was formed comprised of two elected representatives to function as liaison between their chapter and the Council. Following review of the bylaws and several revisions, the Advisory Council met in Tucson in November 1980 to approve the final version and to establish a timetable for completion of the organizational process.
Chapters ratified the bylaws in March 1981 and elected National Executive Board representatives. The first National Board meeting was held in St. Louis in May 1981. Officers and committee chairs were elected to one year terms and National WOMEN IN MINING became a reality.
Written by Ruth D. Foster, first President of National WOMEN IN MINING
PRINTED IN FIRST ISSUE OF THE NATIONAL QUARTERLY 1981
WOMEN IN MINING HISTORY FROM 1981 TO PRESENT
The 1981-82 year opened with Ruth Foster taking the helm and with the help of the other board members formed what is WIM-National today. The first year was spent drawing up the Objectives of the Organization pulling ideas from the 5 original Chapters, Battle Mountain, Denver, Greenwich, St. Louis and Tucson as to what they wanted National to be and do for them.
The 1982-1983 National meeting was held in Denver, Co with the new board headed by newly elected President, Cheryl Olsen of Denver Chapter. During the year, a seed was planted for the sixth chapter. Betty McCann contacted Joyce Fitzgerald about a new chapter in the SW Indiana area. During that time, Joyce contacted several employees in the coal industry in the SW Indiana and Western Kentucky coal mines. In early of 1983, with the help of Debbie Schumacher, Maxine Stewart and other board members, the Kentuckianio Chapter was formed and ratified at the 1983-84 National Meeting. Amy Ruffing, St Louis Chapter member was elected president. In the fall of 1983, Maxine Stewart had been working with Suzan Wingfield from Washington, DC about a possible chapter in that area. In November of 1983 they held an organizational meeting with Joyce Fitzgerald, Maxine Stewart and Debbie Schumacher as speakers. After the first organizational meeting, Suzan Wingfield, Carol Sheppard and other women from the area started the process for the 7th Chapter of WIM. During a conference call in March, National voted the DC Chapter their approval. Debbie Schumacher KO member handed the ratification to Suzan Wingfield at meeting in March prior to the National Meeting.
The 1984-1985 National meeting was held in St Louis, MO, the first time that it was held outside of Denver. During the 84-85 meeting Joyce Fitzgerald, KO member was elected President. The WIM-National Hall of Fame was born with Maxine Stewart being the first inductee. During late 1984, the Arizona Chapter of WIM became the 8th Chapter of WIM National.
The 1985-86 National meeting was held in Evansville home of the Kentuckianio Chapter. During the meeting for the first time, a field trip was offered. The group took a tour of Peabody Coal-Lynnville Mine. They got a first hand picture of coal mining. Debbie Schumacher, KO member was elected President. Arizona and Greenwich Chapters had to withdraw from the organization due to the downsizing of the mining industry. Ruth Foster was selected to receive the Hall of Fame Award.
The 1986-87 National meeting was held in Battle Mountain. The Board Members got a first hand picture of gold mining in the west with a tour of Battle Mountain Gold. During the tour, each one in the group got to hold a gold bar. Our hotel didn’t have any telephones or wake up service so Betty McCann who had the only alarm clock became our official wake up service. Debbie Schumacher was elected National President for a second term. Lois Brooks was awarded the Hall of Fame.
The 1987-88 National meeting was held in Washington, D.C. giving attendees a different view of mining, by showing us the government side and their impact on mining. We got a first hand experience of the opening of the Senate and a tour of the Smithsonian. During the meeting, National voted to accept males as regular members instead of associate members. It was decided that each chapter would have this option. Kathy Lamping, KO Chapter was elected National President and Debbie Schumacher was given the Hall of Fame Award. During the year, the Winnemucca and Chicago Chapters were approved by the National Board.
The 1988-89 National meeting was held in Denver, Co. A procedure was established that annual board meetings would switch from east to west. The Board members was taken to Cotter’s Uranium mine. The highlight of the tour was all of us got to use a single leg jack. Pat Kemper, Denver was elected National President. Ohio Chapter was voted in as new chapter of WIM. Ruth Miller and Betty McCann were selected for the Hall of Fame. Pat was the first President to travel to each Chapter and participate in some of their functions.
The 1989-1990 Annual Meeting was hosted by the Kentuckianio Chapter. Pat Kemper was elected her second term as National President. At this meeting, the Hall of Fame Award was changed to the Distinguished Service Award with a revolving plaque that will have each recipient’s name and year engraved on a plate attached to the large plaque. This award is given at the Annual Meeting held during the first quarter of our New Year for the previous year. Susan Wingfield was the first recipient of the DSA.
The 1990-1991 Annual Meeting was held in Winnemucca, NV. Joan Jones, St Louis member was elected National President and Pat Kemper was awarded the DSA. During the meeting, it was voted that we open the National meeting to all members of the Organization. The start of the10th Anniversary of the National organization was celebrated at this meeting. Prospective California Chapter sent representatives to learn more about WIM.
The 1991-1992 National Convention was hosted by the Ohio Chapter, celebrating our 10th Anniversary and marking the 1st convention open to the general membership. Maxine Stewart, Denver member was elected National President with Barbara Pike and Shirley Evans receiving the DSA. The convention was highlighted by tours of AEP’s Central Ohio Coal a surface operation and Meigs Long wall unit. Mr. James McAvoy of the National Coal Council was the keynote speaker for the first convention. California Chapter was ratified by National at this convention. The Education Committee had secured a booth at the National Science Teachers Regional Convention to be held in December in Reno, NV. The booth was a huge success and by the next National Convention, plans to do more education on a national level were going forward. WIM-National also had a booth at MINExpo in Las Vegas, Nevada, thanks to the American Mining Congress.
The 1992-1993 National Convention was hosted by the Denver Chapter. Linda Baggott, St Louis member was elected National President with Debbie Schumacher being selected for the DSA. A tour of Amax’s Climax Moly mine where molybdenite is mined was included. During the winter of 1993, the idea to form a foundation for the educational arm of WIM was born. With the work of Linda Baggott, Jackie Dorr, Arloa Woolford, and Debbie Schumacher, the bylaws and objectives where written and passed on for final edit with the National Executive Board.
The 1993-1994 National Convention was hosted by St Louis Chapter. Linda Baggott was elected a 2nd term as National President. During the 1994 year, the Educational Foundation received their approval by IRS as a Section C3 not-for-profit organization and the educational arm of WIM-National. It was a giant step for us to get a foundation to conduct the educational activities of the organization.
The 1994-1995 National Convention was hosted by the Battle Mountain Chapter. Jackie Dorr, Denver member was elected the National President. Linda Baggott and Robert Shanks received the DSA. Tours included a barite mine and a working cattle ranch for a look at another industry that utilizes our public lands. We were also treated to some Cowboy Poetry.
The 1995-1996 National Convention was hosted by the Washington, DC chapter. Jackie Dorr was elected her second term as National President with Carol Sheppard and Arloa Woolford receiving the DSA. A hands-on session with legislative aides to members of the House and Senate from states with Chapters was held along with a reception on the Hill. An informative tour of the monuments in our Nation’s Capitol was led by Mr. Harold Taylor, a dimension stone specialist with the U.S. Bureau of Mines. The California Chapter was re-activitated and President Jackie Dorr traveled to Boron, CA to lunch with many of the new WIM members. Unfortunately, the St. Louis Chapter decided to dissolve during the year.
The 1996-1997 National Convention was hosted by the California chapter. Carol Sheppard DC member was elected National President and Caroleta Colbern selected for the DSA. The convention was highlighted by a trip to Death Valley and the trona mines in the area. WIM National contributed a substantial donation to the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of Natural History to help fund renovation of the Janet Hooker Hall of Geology, Gems and Minerals. St. Louis Chapter dissolved during the last part of 1996.
The 1997-1998 National Convention was hosted by Ohio chapter. Carol Sheppard was elected her second term as National President. Jackie Dorr, Denver member, Phyllis Lyday DC member, and Betty Valley, Battle Mountain member received the DSA Award. Several members from both National and the Education Foundation attended the private re-dedication ceremonies at the Janet Hooker Hall of Geology, Gems and Minerals. They had their picture taken in front of WIM’s recognition plaque at the entrance to the Hall.
The 1998-1999 National Convention was hosted by Winnemucca Chapter. Melissa Willard Ohio member was elected National President. General Richard Lawson, DC member, Melissa Willard, Ohio member, and Suzan Hanel, Winnemucca member received the DSA Award. Underground gold mine tours were included at this convention.
In early 1998, Phyllis Lyday developed the WIM Web site with the help of the National Mining Association. The web site is dedicated to providing resources to the teachers along with information about the organization. We where presented the Gary Prazen Award by the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum during their annual meeting in September.
The 1999-2000 National Convention was hosted by the Denver Chapter. Phyllis Lyday, DC member was elected National President. Scotty Norman, Battle Mountain member received the DSA Award.
The meeting was highlighted by a tour of the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum and seeing the Gary Prazen Statue. National approved a donation to the National Mining Hall of Fame to become part of their Wall of Honors Logo Program and our logo is now in place on their “Wall of Honors”.
The 2000-2001 National Convention was hosted by Battle Mountain chapter. Phyllis Lyday was elected her second term as National President. Maureen Lennon California member received the DSA Award. Former Congresswoman Barbara Vucanovich (R-NV) made a presentation at the meeting on women’s oral history and a tour of the University of Nevada’s Fire Science Academy was a total success.
The 2001-2002 National Convention was hosted by DC Chapter with Karen Jass, CO member elected as National President while Vikki Michalski of the Ohio Chapter was awarded the DSA. Attendees were treated to a Baltimore Orioles baseball game enjoyed by all. In November 2001, Battle Mountain and Winnemucca Chapters were awarded the BLM Solid Minerals Education Award for the year.
In 2002-2003 we held the National Convention in Riverside, CA, hosted by the California Chapter at the historic Mission Inn Hotel. A guided tour of the hotel started off the convention and explained the unique history of the structure. Dinah Shumway of the CA Chapter was awarded the DSA and Karen Jass CO member was re-elected to a second term as National President. The attendees visited several industrial mineral sites and learned how involved it is to open a new gravel pit in California. Unfortunately later in the year, Ohio Chapter voted to dissolve due to the mergers of their major supporters and down-sizing within those companies.
The 2003-2004 National Convention was hosted by Winnemucca Chapter that included a Training the Trainer session for WIM members to learn how to do many of the hands-on activities offered by the Education Foundation. The edible geology activities are the biggest hit with both students and adults. Karen Jass became our first three-term National President and representatives from our first Student Chapter at Missouri-Rolla were in attendance. Karen Jass was awarded the DSA.
Our 2004-2005 National Convention was hosted by the Denver Chapter in Colorado Springs, CO. Visits included tours of the Western Mining Museum, Cripple Creek and Victorville with a tour of the Ashanti Cripple Creek Gold Mine. Betty Peters, CA member was elected as the National President and Sally McLeod, Battle Mountain and Sharon Kirts of Colorado were awarded the DSA. Our second WIM Student Chapter was approved at Virginia Tech and we welcomed them into our organization.
The 2005-2006 meeting was hosted by the Battle Mountain Chapter in Ely, Nevada and began with a field trip to Round Mountain Gold. The attendees also were treated to a Shakespeare presentation at the restored Eureka Opera House and a tour of the new Quadra Robinson Mining operation in Ely, NV. Betty Peters was re-elected as the National President and Joyce Pulliam-Fitzgerald was awarded the DSA.
The 2006-2007 National Convention was hosted by the DC Chapter but held in St. Louis, MO in conjunction with the SME Annual Meeting. Many members of our Student Chapters were in attendance and a tour of the Olin Brass Factory and the Winchester Ammunition Plant were included. Not only were we able to see the rolls of the various alloys used to mint our coins, but follow the brass to the Winchester Plant to watch bullets being manufactured. The Foundation was given an exhibit booth for the SME Annual meeting and several stayed to work the booth. Adele Abrams, DC member was elected as our National President.
The 2007-2008 National Convention was again hosted by the DC Chapter on their home ground. Meetings were held in Silver Springs, MD. Due to the lateness in the year, not all National Representatives were able to attend but a good time was had by all. Speakers included Mark Ellis, President of Industrial Minerals Association of North America; Patricia Silvey, Director of the Office of Standards and Regulations for Mine Safety and Health Administration; and Adele Abrams, past National President and a busy Safety Attorney. A visit to the Annenberg Hall of Geology, Gems and Minerals was on the schedule and many visited other memorials on the mall. Scotty Norman, NV member was elected National President.
The California Chapter hosted the 2008-2009 National Convention in Avila Beach, CA, with field trips to a nearby quarry and a winery on a reclaimed mine site, the beach to walk along, interesting speakers and a wonderful job by the CA Chapter, all in attendance had a great time. Scotty Norman of the Nevada Chapter was re-elected as the National President and it was approved to have the next National Convention in Rolla, MO to be hosted by the Student Chapter. Susan Yadon of the Nevada Chapter was awarded the 2008 Distinguished Service Award.
The 2009-2010 National Convention was the first to be hosted by a Student Chapter. The WIM Student Chapter of Missouri University of Science & Technology (formerly University of Missouri - Rolla) organized an outstanding convention. A field trip to Doe Run’s Brushy Creek Underground Mine was on the schedule, along with an exceptional talk by Dr. Paul Worsey, a well-known explosive expert and professor at MS&T. The students also set up a great fireworks display for all of us. Scotty Norman was elected to her third term as National President.
The 2010-2011 Convention was hosted by Denver Chapter in Golden, Colorado. A trip to the Henderson underground molybdenite mine as well as a V.I.P. tour of the Geology Museum at the Colorado School of Mines were included. Guest speakers on the history of mining in some areas of Colorado were enjoyed by all. Jann Higdem, an At-large member from Idaho was elected as the National President.
The 2011-2012 Convention was hosted by Nevada Chapter at John Ascuaga’s Nugget in Sparks, NV. The WIM Education Foundation put on a training session for all attendees to instruct them on how to do some of the activities on their website. An all day field trip consisted of an open-pit gold mine, a geo-thermal power plant and time to explore the early history of mining in Nevada in Virginia City. The Director of the Wm. Keck Museum at University of Nevada, Reno talked on the John Mackay family and the silver tableware the family commissioned Tiffney’s to produce with the silver from their mine. That evening a reception at the museum allowed attendees to see some of this silverware. A true Basque dinner was then enjoyed by all. Two members received the 2010 Distinguished Service Award, Christine Johnston of Denver and Stephen Tibbals of Nevada. Betty Mahaffey of Denver was elected as the National President.