OAH-NPS Projects Spotlight Women’s History

March 15, 2024

To celebrate Women’s History Month, the OAH will highlight a number of our collaborative projects done in partnership with the National Park Service. Through the month of March, OAH.org will feature an innovative project that furthers our collective understanding of women’s history. 

Life and Labor at Weir Farm (posted March 15)

The OAH recently completed the Historic Resource Study of Laborers at Weir Farm National Historical Park,1882–1957. The Historic Resource Study (HRS) was produced in collaboration with the National Park Service and written by Rachel Boyle, Ph.D., and Hope Shannon, Ph.D.

This HRS centers the lives of laborers on the Weir Farm, the home and studio of American impressionist painter, Julian Alden Weir, from 1882 to 1957. The study especially highlights the experiences of women workers, in particular the lives and daily work of domestic servants hired by Anna and Ella Weir. In the third chapter of the HRS, the authors connect the efforts of domestic laborers on the Weir Farm to larger contemporary trends of Irish women’s work as domestic servants in the United States. The fourth chapter also focuses on the lives of women laborers and utilizes oral histories from the Bass children (whose mother undertook unpaid labor on the Weir Farm) to construct narratives of labor and leisure.

After Julian Weir’s death, it was his wife and daughters who oversaw farm operations, and it was the labor of female domestic workers that allowed the farm to function. By focusing on their everyday lives and labors, the HRS centers these women as influential actors in history and while deepening our understanding of life and labor in this era.