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Preservation...safeguarding the treasures

     
Sewall-Belmont House, Washington, DC
image of the Sewall-Belmont House Since 1929, the Sewall-Belmont House has served as headquarters for the National Woman's Party, founded by Alice Paul, one of the most significant figures in the fight for the American woman's right to vote. Paul employed dramatic techniques-White House demonstrations, hunger strikes, and relentless political pressure-to achieve victory just before the 1920 election. The Sewall-Belmont House, a national historic landmark documented by the Historic American Buildings Survey, received one of the first Save America's Treasures grants from the National Park Service to rehabilitate and restore the building, which today is a museum open to the public and provides educational programs and research collections.
 
historic image of Jane Addams Hull House Jane Addams/Hull-House Photograph Collection, University of Illinois-Chicago
In 1889, Jane Addams (1860-1935) and Ellen Gates Starr co-founded Hull-House in Chicago. One of the first settlement houses in the United States, the facility provided daycare for the children of working mothers, an employment bureau, an art gallery, libraries, and classes. Adams became a prominent national and international advocate for social justice, civil rights, and world peace, receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931, the first American woman so honored. The National Park Service, through a Save America's Treasures grant, helped preserve a collection of 5,000 historic photographs and 32 yearbooks that document the work of Hull-House, now a museum and part of the University of Illinois-Chicago. The house has been documented by the Historic American Buildings Survey.

image of Pearl Buck House Pearl S. Buck House, Perkasie, Pennsylvania
Pearl S. Buck was the first American woman awarded both the Pulitzer and Nobel Prizes for literature and the only American woman to win the latter. A prolific writer, Buck was also a longtime advocate of cross-cultural understanding, women's rights, and racial harmony, as a means of achieving world peace. Her home, a 19th-century stone farmhouse is now a national historic landmark and museum. In 2005, the National Park Service awarded a Save America's Treasures grant to aid in the repair and reinforcement of the Pearl S. Buck house.
 
image of Eudora Welty house Eudora Welty House, Jackson, Mississippi
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Eudora Welty bequeathed her Jackson home to the State of Mississippi when she died in 2001. The house contains all of her belongings and her large, comprehensive library. A national historic landmark, the Eudora Welty house received a $251,000 Save America's Treasures grant in 2002 to upgrade inadequate electrical, plumbing, and fire suppression systems and address water damage to some interior features. The restoration of the house is part of a larger effort by the state to encourage tourism by promoting its literary heritage.

image of the M'Clintock house M'Clintock House, Seneca Falls, New York
On July 16, 1848, Mary Ann M'Clintock hosted a planning session for the First Women's Rights Convention at her home in Seneca Falls, New York. At the session M'Clintock, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and others drafted the Declaration of Sentiments. Using the Declaration of Independence as model, the document proclaimed that "all men and women are created equal." The Declaration of Sentiments was ratified on the second day of the convention and signed by 100 men and women. Now part of Women's Rights National Historical Park, the M'Clintock House was documented by the Historic American Buildings Survey and has received a Save America's Treasures grant in 1999 to restore the building's interior. The house is also featured in a National Park Service Teaching with Historic Places online lesson plan and a Discover Our Shared Heritage travel itinerary.


 
image of Susan B. Anthony Susan B. Anthony House, Rochester, New York
Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906) began her career as an activist in 1849. An abolitionist before and during Civil War, Anthony broke with the movement after the war when it became clear that Constitutional amendments would grant African American males full citizenship, but not white women. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton formed a militant wing of the women's rights movement. Throughout it all, her Rochester home served as her headquarters. In the house's front parlor, Anthony was arrested for illegally casting a ballot in the 1872 presidential election, trying to force the Supreme Court to question the 15th Amendment's constitutionality. Now a national historic landmark, the Susan B. Anthony house museum has been documented by the Historic American Buildings Survey and received a 2001 grant to restore the home's interior and conserve historic furnishings. The house is featured in the National Park Service's Places Where Women Made History online travel itinerary.

Free Library of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
image of the Free Library of Philadelphia The Free Library of Philadelphia, established in 1891, placed Philadelphia among the first American cities to institute a non-subscription public library system for the benefit of its citizens. At first the libraries operated out of store-fronts and vacant buildings, but in 1903 Andrew Carnegie funded the construction of 25 branch libraries. Motivated by his own immigrant experience, Carnegie believed that given a good work ethic and the proper tools, anyone could be successful. Many of the city's libraries were built in neighborhoods that were home to immigrant populations. In 2008, the Free Library announced branch closures, including some of the Carnegie-funded buildings still serving their original neighborhoods. The Preservation Alliance of Greater Philadelphia and local preservationists managed to delay the closings and hope to use documentation created by the Historic American Buildings Survey to advocate for their continued use by the Free Library system.
 
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image of the Little Liberia house
Little Liberia
Houses owned by Mary (1815-1883) and Eliza Freeman (1805-1862) are the only remnants of "Little Liberia," a settlement of free African Americans in Bridgeport, Connecticut, that began in 1831 and reached its highest population just prior to the outbreak of the Civil War.
 
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