When Herstory first appeared on Canadian bookshelves, it struck a chord with Canadian women. Why? Because, at the time, little information was available on how women contributed to Canadian life both historically and as we know it today.
The impetus behind Herstory is the Saskatoon Women’s Calendar Collective (SWCC), formed in 1972 by five Saskatoon women: June Bantjes, Beth Foster, Gwen Gray, Colleen Pollreis and Erin Shoemaker. Collective members pursued women’s stories through a variety of means, turning to letters, diaries, drawings, the memories of pioneers, local history rooms, archives and books written by female authors to describe the lives of women to Herstory’s readers. Today, the SWCC’s writers also interview and profile living women across Canada who contribute to life and culture in various ways.
Since its earliest days, Herstory has built a loyal following, becoming a bestseller over time and staple on research library bookshelves. Some readers see it primarily as a calendar, while others consider it an anthology—one good read per week! The first edition of Herstory appeared in 1974 and, except for 1983 and 1984, has been published every year since, for the past two-and-a-half decades by Coteau Books.
The SWCC began as a community-based co-operative with an evolving membership, a philosophy and a process that continues to this day, with volunteers who seek to ensure that history reflects the lives and achievements of women who have helped make and shape Canada through profiles, stories, poetry, photos and illustrations. More than 50 women have been involved with Herstory since 1972, ranging in age from grandmothers to women in their 20s.
If you have a suggestion for someone you think should be profiled in Herstory, contact us and tell us why and how we can find out more about that person. If we use your suggestion, we’ll give you a complimentary copy of the edition with her story.
To nominate someone for Herstory, go to our website.