Joan Challinor is former chairperson of the National Committee on Libraries and Information Science, civic leader, author, historian, and activist. Her husband, Dr. David Challinor, was Assistant Secretary for science and research of the Smithsonian Institution for sixteen years.
B. New York City Mar. 25, 1927, to Marie Thompson Ridder and Victor Frank Ridder. Attended Brearley School, New York City (1932-1945) and Wells College, Aurora, New York (1945-1947). In 1952 she married David Challinor and settled in Washington, DC. They had four children. Her husband, a conservationist and S,mithsonian administrator, died in 2008. She received her BA (1971), MA (1974), and PhD (1982) in History from American University, Washington, DC. Research specialty, colonial America; dissertation, "Louisa Catherine Johnson Adams: The Price of Ambition," biography of the wife of John Quincy Adams. Lecturer, American University (1981-1984); received Distinguished Alumni Award (1985). Research associate, National Museum of American History (1984-1990). Honorary membership in Phi Beta Kappa from Radcliffe College (1991). Has written numerous essays, edited two books, "Kin and Communities: Families in America" (1979) and "Arms at Rest: Peacemaking and Peacekeeping in American History" (1987) and was producer and project director on a documentary film about Thomas Paine, 1990s. Served on several advisory committees and worked with or supported numerous organizations, esp. library and education-related. Joined Schlesinger Library Advisory Committee, 1980 (chair, 1986-2002). Pres. Clinton appointed her to National Commission on Libraries and Information Science, 1995; reappointed 2000, interim chair July 2003-January 2004. Director of the French-American Foundation; received Medal of the City of Paris from Pres. Jacques Chirac, 1983. (Source: Laura Peimer and Camille Torres, "Papers of Joan R. Challinor, 1848, 1975-2008: A Finding Aid," Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass., October 2011, http://oasis.lib.harvard.edu/oasis/deliver/~sch01355.
Nine 16mm home movies of David and Joan Challinor and their four children. Subject matter includes family vacations in Switzerland, Iceland, Bermuda, Maine, and the family's home in Connecticut.
Challinor Family Home Movies, 1956-1965, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
2011.3030 (NMAH Acc.)
Unrestricted research access on site by appointment