Arlene Feiner Memorial Research Grant for Women’s Studies

In dedication to the lifetime efforts and achievements of Arlene “Lena” Feiner, the Working Men’s Institute (WMI), in cooperation with the Friends of the Working Men’s Institute (FWMI) has established an annual research grant. This grant has been made possible by the generosity of the Efroymson Family Fund.

Each year, $2,500 will be granted to one recipient who shall conduct research at the Working Men’s Institute and plan and deliver a presentation to coincide with the FWMI Annual Lecture Series. The subject of the lecture should reflect and honor Ms. Feiner’s pursuits by highlighting women’s issues, efforts and accomplishments. The individuals receiving the grant will be chosen by the Grant Committee. The grant of $2,500 can be used to cover any or all associated expenses involved in researching the chosen topic and developing the subsequent presentation.

Grants will be awarded on June 2 and the resulting research and presentation must be completed within 12 months.

Grants may be used for (but are not limited to) travel, photocopying, photography, borrowing or access fees, and other research expenses. Other expenses such as child care may be included.

Research must be conducted, either wholly or in part, at the Working Men’s Institute by utilizing its archives, special collections, and/or museum holdings.

How to Apply

The application procedure will consist of a two part process. Individuals interested in participating will submit a one page Summary of Proposal that includes their interest, chosen topic and a brief summary of qualification.

If the Summary of Proposal is accepted, the individual will be invited to complete a Full Proposal. Full proposals will consist of the applicant’s Curriculum Vitae, a detailed Project Proposal, and a proposed budget for funding (please see general guidelines below for fund allocation permissions).

Who Can Apply

This grant is open to professionals, amateurs, and students of history, gender studies, sociology, and the humanities.

All possible research topics must relate to the history, efforts, accomplishments, or struggles of women.

In order to stay true to Ms. Feiner’s lifetime goal of women’s recognition and advancement, preference will be given to female scholars/researchers.

About Lena Feiner

Arlene (Lena) Feiner was born on March 23, 1937 in Spring Green, Wisconsin. She spent her childhood living and working on the family farm. Lena was the fifth of nine children in the Feiner family: seven girls and two boys. After graduating from St. Luke’s Catholic School, she attended Alverno College in Milwaukee and then Rosary College (now Dominican University) and earned a Masters degree in Library Science.

Throughout her professional career, Lena worked in several institutions including the Library of Congress in Washington DC, and in the libraries of the University of Chicago and Loyola University.

While living in Chicago, she often visited New Harmony because of its rich history, where she met and became inspired by Josephine Elliott and Jane Owen. She would finally move to New Harmony in 1997 and fulfill a lifetime dream of owning her own business. She opened The Women’s Institute and Gallery on November 17, 2000.

An active resident of New Harmony, Ms. Feiner dedicated her life and career to the advancement of women’s rights. She was a poet, librarian, feminist, and dear New Harmony friend who shall be remembered for her compassion and advocacy of women.

“We called Lena a feminist on the farm,” recalls Lena’s sister, Phyllis Feiner. “She was always a feminist. She also strongly believed in equality for all. If women are given equal pay and position with men, it would make men even more…gentlemen, because they would have the influence and exposure to women in their arenas.“
Ms. Feiner passed at the age of 83 on November 27, 2020.