Dr. Elaine Hedges joined Towson State College (TSC) in 1967 as an assistant professor in the English Department.
Her work was deeply rooted in feminist ideas. As an editor with the Feminist Press, she advanced the publication of Charlotte Perkins Gilman's classic "The Yellow Wallpaper" as an independent work, separate from the anthologies in which it usually appeared. This helped cement the novel, as Hedges wrote in the afterward, as "a small literary masterpiece" and Gilman as "one of the most commanding feminists of her time."
In the early 1970s she began working with another English faculty member, Sarah Coulter, to create a set of Women's Study courses at the college. By 1973 TSC was home to one of the first Women's Studies departments in the country.
By the time Hedges retired in 1995, the Women’s Studies program “had grown to include 40 faculty members, 50 courses, and reached an average of 2,000 students a year“, according to her citation in the Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame. Today the Women's Studies program is known as the Department of Women's and Gender Studies.
written by Felicity Knox, Archives Associate, Spring 2021