Mary E. Godfrey (1913-2007): Penn State’s First African American Full-Time Faculty Member

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Art educator Mary Godfrey was notably the first African American full-time faculty member hired at Penn State in 1957. In 2005, however, the extent of Penn State’s archival records on Godfrey consisted of one index card in the Special Collections’ card catalog that read “Godfrey, Mary E.: Retires after 22 yrs of service.” In this article, I address issues around the making of art education histories and the archival representation of contributions to the field by and about marginalized groups. I present findings from a sustained archival study involving the collection and interpretive analysis of Godfrey’s archival papers, eventually accessioned in 2008, and interview data from two dissertation studies. Assuming a role of citizen archivist, I also provide a case for why archives matter, calling for art educators to take responsibility in assisting archivists in furthering the archival mission by contributing to and diversifying the art education historical record.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)234-245
Number of pages12
JournalStudies in Art Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 3 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


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