Secret Lives of Girls and Women Exhibit Visits Opens at Penn State

Story posted March 18, 2019 in CommRadio, News by Gillian Silbiger

The Secret Lives of Girls and Women exhibit has come to Paterno library. The exhibit will remain on display in the Eberly family special collections.

The Secret Lives of Girls and Women exhibit displays women’s experiences from the past. There are diaries about women’s health, beauty, intimate moments and more.

One of the diaries on display is from a Penn State student starting in 1944 and continues for five years.

Julie Porterfield, instruction and outreach archivist, finds that the Penn State student packs a lot of interesting detail in her diary including parts of her sexual life.

"It’s just really frank about her social life and sexuality," Porterfield said. "She says 'bobby made love to me real cute like and he’s so wonderful' on one date and then the next year she says 'he’s very rude and impolite to me, now pot is everything.'"

Porterfield believes it’s a very interesting example on something that contemporary students can relate to.

Sarah Fede, research services archivist assistant, said that her favorite part of the exhibit is a section discussing women accused of witchcraft.

“All throughout history women have been persecuted against for being or suspected of being a witch and now its kind of cool to see like how nowadays people are so into witchcraft and define themselves as a wicken and everything,” Fede said.

Many items displayed in the exhibit have details of things seen as too taboo or inappropriate for the time. The exhibit will be on display through September 1.



Gillian Silbiger is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism, you can reach her at