Fostering friendship, and the exchange of ideas, among a global network of feminist historians.
Promoting the interests of women historians, their allies and friends.
The Berkshire Conference of Women Historians is a non-profit organization incorporated in the State of Maryland. It exists solely for the promotion of scholarship and to support the activities of women in the historical profession. All contributors receive an official tax receipt issued by the Treasurer as part of our tax exempt, non-profit IRS designation as a 501c3 organization.
The Berkshire Conference of Women Historians was founded in 1930 to promote the interests of women historians within and outside academia. In recent decades, the organization has taken a leading role in promoting the history of women, gender and sexuality. But members, and those who attend the triennial conference, need not specialize in the history of women, gender or sexuality, to find that the organization provides colleagueship and professional support.
Our triennial conference (the Berkshire Conference on the History of Women, Genders and Sexualities, or “Big Berks”) is the largest women’s history event in the world. The organization also runs an annual retreat (the “Little Berks”), which draws between 50 and 60 members for a weekend of socializing, business and scholarship. Learn more about our meetings.
Both the Big and Little Berks have traditionally served as venues for networking, friendship, and intellectual connection across generations. Committees – article and book prize juries, as well as the committees that support the triennial conference – provide robust opportunities for our membership to participate in the work of the organization.
The Berkshire Conference created its first constitutions in the 1950s. In 1981, we incorporated as a 501(3) c, allowing us to accept tax-deductible donations and create an endowment. Although our primary membership is in North America, we have members from around the globe and are a hub for international networking. We also promote the visibility and careers of women scholars by giving five annual awards: two first book prizes; two article prizes, and a graduate student fellowship awarded jointly with the Coordinating Council on Women’s History (CCWH).
The Berkshire Conference elects a President every three years; her most public role is to produce the next conference, but she also sets the agenda for the organization during her term. The Vice President is responsible for steering the Little Berks, its communication with the membership and its committees. The Board of Trustees and the officers (the President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer), form an Executive Committee.
Major initiatives that are consistent with the Bylaws are proposed by, or to, the Executive Committee, which acts on them, sometimes in consultation with the full membership. If adopted, initiatives are referred to the appropriate committee, or assigned to an ad hoc committee established specifically to move the project forward. Terms of office are normally three years. A three-person Nominating Committee, appointed by the president, proposes a slate of candidates that are then voted on by the membership at the next business meeting.