Even after graduating, Rebecca Fisher ‘18 continues to contribute to Haverford’s campus life and culture. In 2021, she designed and led the People’s History of Haverford College Tour with Jill Stauffer, associate professor and director of Peace, Justice, and Human Rights. The tour looks to tell a different story about Haverford than the one that is told on most college tours. It covers topics such as Quaker’s historical relations with the Lenape people, boycotts held by the Black Students League in the 1970s, and how BIPOC community members have contributed to Haverford.
Now, she is serving as this semester’s Tuttle Creative Resident. That program brings artists to campus, and facilitates presentation, engagement, and discussion about art with the student body. Fisher is using this opportunity to continue her exploration of Haverford’s history by designing an exhibit in Lutnick Library, with objects and artifacts, provided by Quaker & Special Collections, relating to her own tour.
“In Perpetuity: An Exhibit Related to A People’s History of Haverford Tour” is currently on display in the Magill Wing of the library, and will be on view until the end of the semester. Materials from the exhibit were provided by Quaker & Special Collections, and many were used as sources by Fisher as she initially constructed the tour. Sarah Horowitz and Liz Jones-Minsinger were responsible for selecting the objects on display and writing their descriptions.
“The goal of the exhibit is to show people how the information for the tour was gathered, share these stories with people who aren’t able to take the tour, and to encourage those who are interested in the stories represented to come do further research and explore even more Haverford stories,” explained Horowitz, head of Quaker & Special Collections.
The exhibit contains photographs of campus boycotts, newspaper articles from the early 20th century, issues of the Haverford student yearbook containing information and images of some of the first students of color/, and letters that provide a testament to Haverford’s exclusionary practices. The sources give a history of increasing representation and diversity on campus.
Working with Quaker & Special Collections isn’t the only way Fisher is engaging with Haverford’s community this semester. In addition to giving 12 tours throughout the semester, she will also be visiting nine classes across the English, Visual Studies, and Peace, Justice, and Human Rights departments.
“Students from different disciplines will be researching and proposing their own additions to the tour,” Fisher explained. “Their work will end up in the library exhibit. I’ve been working with professors to find readings and design assignments that make sense for various classes in different disciplines. Over the summer, I met with professors to discuss how my work could best be integrated in syllabi.”
Fisher lives in Philadelphia, where she runs Beyond the Bell Tours with Joey Leroux ‘18. Their top-rated touring company, which focuses on inclusive tours that are representative of Philadelphia’s history and diversity, was founded while at Haverford as part of the HIP Summer Incubator Program
“Our cornerstone tours are the Badass Women’s History Tour and the Gayborhood // LGBTQ History Tour,” she said.
Fisher is committed to “putting the people back in people’s history,” as per Beyond the Bell’s website. Both at Haverford and in Philadelphia, she has told stories of underrepresented groups, and she will continue to do so to advance understanding and knowledge.