From Kitchen Table to Safe Haven: A Community Oral History Project of Domestic Violence Shelters

From Kitchen Table to Safe Haven offers scholars and community leaders an opportunity to document the history of a network of domestic violence shelters established in the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts in the early 1970s. We envision this as a three phase five year project in Franklin, Hampshire, and Hampden counties.

In 2012, the VWHC began collecting oral histories of the founders of NELCWIT (New England Center for Women in Transition) in Franklin County. A student component of this project was developed for University Without Walls by Jacqueline Castledine. Focusing on the history of NELCWIT, this course attracted students from History, Public Health, Psychology, WGSS and English. Susan Tracy continued the precedent of Jacqueline Castledine’s course the following semester with a course at Hampshire College. At the same time, Joyce Berkman supervised two related independent studies research courses.

The next phase was directed by Laura Lovett who organized students in her Univeristy of Massachusetts Oral History Seminar to collect oral histories of founders, staff and volunteers at Safe Passage in Hampshire County. They collectively produced and transcribed digital video interviews that are being processed for publication on this website.