Two of our graduate students, Leslie Peck & Lewis Whilden, presented papers at the Barnes Club Conference in Philadelphia this year. Their presentations are described below. Women and Poverty in the Progressive Era: The Story of Sarah and Nellie Tiffany. by Leslie Peck Poverty, and the issues that surround it have long been a part of American political, cultural, and religious discourse. But as theologians, civic leaders, and charity organizers debated about the causes of poverty and what should be done about it women struggled to earn a living, provide for dependent children, and balance culture and gender norms in a society that has often left them unsupported and on the margins. This paper follows the lives of two such women: Sarah and Nellie Tiffany. It follows their stories through newspapers, orphan asylum records, census records, personal correspondence, and family lore. In addition, it places their experiences in the larger context of women’s issues in the early twentieth century. But this is also a family story, and demonstrates that family history can be treated as – history. It also reminds us that old family stories can teach powerful lessons. “Reimagining Communities in the Image of Righteousness: The “Friends of Education” and the Fight for Public Instruction in New Jersey” by Lewis Whilden Inspired by a job imitating a 19th century schoolmaster for children, my Barnes conference presentation explored the early history of the fight for public education in the state of New Jersey. What emerged from the documents was a popular, upper middle class Antebellum activist movement called the “Friends of Education,” who used public meetings and newspapers to compel the New Jersey Assembly to pass a limited law in 1829, “An Act to Establish Common Schools.” Steeped in the language of moral reform and the Second Great Awakening, the Friends sought to remake the world in their own image, showing as much concern for the preponderance of drunken schoolmasters as they did for the illiteracy of the poor. As Jacksonians swept the statehouse in the 1830s, the Friends 1829 law would be repealed, but their actions established a thriving “common school lobby,” whose efforts eventually led to publicly funded instruction for all children in New Jersey.