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Graves, Helen | University of Michigan-Dearborn Archives

Name: Graves, Helen

Historical Note:

Helen Mataya Graves was born in 1925, in Pittsburgh, Illinois. She graduated from Southern Illinois University in 1946 with a B.S. in Education. She received the Ueland Fellowship for Women in Political Science at the University of Minnesota in 1946, where she received her M.A. in Political Science in 1949.  She was married to James H. Graves from 1949-1975, and has three children. Dr. Graves was active in community organizations from 1955-1972.  She continued to be active even when she returned to graduate school at Wayne State University, from which she received her Ph.D. in 1975. Her dissertation is entitled: “New Detroit Committee/New Detroit, Incorporated: A Case Study of an Urban Coalition, 1967-1975.” 

Dr. Graves came to the University of Michigan-Dearborn in 1972 as a lecturer, and was hired as an assistant professor of Political Science in 1976.  She was promoted to associate professor in 1981. She took on the directorship of the Political Science Internships in 1973 and continued to run that program which placed over 250 students in governmental and political organizations in Toronto, Ottawa, Washington, D.C., Lansing and Detroit, as part of their study in comparative politics. Dr. Graves ran this program until her retirement in 1994.  She then ran the program at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, until 2004. Among many honors and awards, Dr. Graves has received a commendation from the Canadian House of Commons June 93, 1993, for her work with the internship programs in Ottawa, and for taking Canadian students into the Washington program as well.

Dr. Graves has been active in politics, and has written and spoken on women’s issues. Some of her papers and speeches on this and other topics are included in this collection (Box 12). Dr. Graves received the second Susan B. Anthony award from the University of Michigan-Dearborn in 1981. The award is given annually to someone who has contributed to the wellbeing of women on campus. She was a founding member of the UM-D Commission for Women.  Governor James Blanchard appointed her to serve two terms on the Michigan Women’s Commission (1986-1989).

Dr. Graves donated her papers to the University of Michigan-Dearborn in June of 2006, as she prepared to move from Ann Arbor to Providence, RI.  She participated in the university archives oral history project to interview retired faculty and staff. The transcript will be included, and a copy of the audiotape or CD as well.


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