Her story is our story: America has more than just founding fathers

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Jill Tietjen starts with the names.

Some are familiar, like Amelia Earhart, Oprah Winfrey and Helen Keller.

Others, less so. There’s Lane Bryant, a company that would’ve been called Lena Bryant after the founder’s name except for a clerical error. Her firm produced the first commercially available maternity garment in 1904 and continues today. And Florence Seibert, whose work in developing the test for tuberculosis. Or Stephanie Kwolek, the chemist who invented the bulletproof fabric, Kevlar.

Familiar names or not, the point of Tietjen’s book, “Her Story: A Timeline of the Women Who Changed America” is that women, their stories and their accomplishments, are the story of all Americans.

Tietjen brings those stories to Whidbey Island as part of the Trudy Sundberg Lecture Series:

  • Friday, May 4, 7 p.m., WICA, 565 Camano Ave., Langley
  • Saturday, May 5, 7 p.m., Elks Lodge, 155 NE Ernst St. Oak Harbor

Both events are free and open to the public. Seating may be limited, doors open at 6:30 p.m. each night.

Tietjen said she expects the “book to be the start of many discussions and conversations related to women’s achievements throughout history. ‘Her Story’ captures the broad spectrum of human endeavor.”

Tietjen is an electrical engineer as well as author and national speaker on the history of scientific and technical women. She is a member of the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame and received the Daughters of the American Revolution History Award Medal for “Her Story.”

The choice of Tietjen and this book is well-aligned with the namesake of the lecture series. Trudy Sundberg was a beloved Whidbey Island teacher and civic activist who passed away in 2013.

Sundberg was known for her commitment as an Oak Harbor High School educator and community leader whose causes ranged from progressive politics to founding the Save Our Kids Crusade to support for the arts and promoting the Whidbey Camano Land Trust. Family members, friends and the Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation joined together to establish the Trudy Sundberg Memorial Fund to underwrite a lecture series in Sundberg’s name that reflects her many areas of interest and promote lifelong learning.

The Trudy Sundberg Lecture Series is sponsored by the Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation, Humanities Washington, Jennifer Wynn of Windermere Real Estate – Whidbey Island, Island Thrift, Davido Consulting Group, Inc., Friends of the Clinton Library, Friends of the Freeland Library, League of Women Voters Whidbey Island, Whidbey Sun and Wind, American Association of University Women (AAUW) Whidbey Island Branch, Terra Firma Wealth Management, Whidbey Island Bank and Whidbey Telecom.