The Women of Summer

An Unknown Chapter of American Social History

This National Endowment for the Humanities documentary captures an historic moment when feminists, unionists, and educators came together to pursue a common social ideal. The Women of Summer is their emotionally riveting and previously untold story. From 1921 to 1938, seventeen hundred blue collar women participated in a controversial and inspired educational experiment know as The Bryn Mawr Summer School for Women Workers. The program forever changed their lives and has left a legacy meriting public awareness.

Funded by such prominent capitalists as the Rockefellers, DuPonts, and Carnegies, the School introduced women workers of every race and nationality to the realm of humanistic and political thought, including Marxism and trade unionism. In the end, it was considered too radical by its funders and was discontinued, but not before it had exerted a profound influence on its faculty and students, producing union, community and government leaders.

This film tells the story of the summer program as seen through the eyes of the alumnae fifty years later at a specially planned reunion. Folksingers Holly Near and Ronnie Gilbert are on hand to celebrate the occasion. Time has not dimmed the spirit and intellect of the graduates, who talk with passion about their lives in factories, mills, and unions. They recount the experience of living through the Depression, the trial of Sacco and Vanzetti, and the New Deal.

The Women of Summer is a story of class and race uniting on the common goals of education and social justice. It is a living demonstration of the power of education to improve lives.


Booklist, Editor's Choice, 1987
Golden Athena, Athens International Film Festival, 1986
CINE Golden Eagle, 1986
Winner, Social Studies, National Educational Film Festival, 1986
Women in the Director's Chair, 1986
Second Place, San Francisco International Film Festival, 1986


"This ambitious social documentary will captivate viewers." Booklist
"Exceptionally well made film... highly recommended for women's studies and U.S. social history." - Library Journal
"First rate documentary" - The New York Times
"This is more than an account of those women... it is an extraordinary view of the United States between the World Wars. Recommended." - Landers Film & Video Reviews
"A good example of how history can be used creatively and intelli- gently in film." - Cineaste


Type Price
Streaming Access (1-year) $149.00
Streaming Access (3-year) $299.00
Streaming Access (Perpetual) $499.00
DVD $350.00
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