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Candace Jean Andersen @mycandacejean
, 35 tweets, 14 min read Read on Twitter
Hey Twitter I'm on a mission:

The woman in this photo was an attendee at a 1971 International Conference on Biology of Whales.

She is the only woman, & the only one captioned "not identified" in the article I found the photo in. All the men are named.

Can you help me know her? An unnamed woman, mostly hidden, among a group of men at a 1971 International Conference on the Biology of Whales, Skyland.
Thanks so much for all the retweets, everybody!

Here is a close-up of Mystery Woman, unfortunately mostly blocked from the camera.

The conference was in June (1971) in Virginia, with participants from 10 countries.

Why is *the only* woman listed as "not identified?" Arg!
Hey @smithsonian! Please see above. 👆🏻A clue came in suggesting this woman worked in administration at the #Smithsonian. Can you help us out?
Okay Twitter: updates!

She's not been confirmed yet.

An attendee of the conference told @bluewhalenews this woman is definitely NOT Suzanne Montgomery Contos, as many were/are! suggesting. Big thanks for that info.

Then, @themediawitch was in touch with Suzanne herself.
Suzanne—who helped coordinate the 1971 conference & aided in MANY ways surrounding the event—agreed to take a look at our pictures to see if she can remember who this woman is.

Massive thanks to @themediawitch for reaching out to Suzanne.
While we wait, other names have come in!

A few of you have suggested **Matilene Spencer Berryman** (December 8, 1920–May 6, 2003). Seems plausible!

This was my first time hearing about Matilene. If it's your first time too, I encourage you to look her up! Read about her!
📢 Ahem, Twitter:

Word came in from Robert (Bob) Brownell, conference attendee, back-middle in photo, who said Mystery Lady may have been admin.

"She worked for Clyde Jones at Fish and Wildlife Services in the early 1970s," he said.
"Reach out to Clyde to confirm!" I yell to myself...

...but unfortunately Clyde Jones has passed away.
Well, @AllenZiphiid72 reached out to *Don Wilson* (Curator Emeritus of Mammals at the Smithsonian).

Don agreed with what Bob had written:

"Her name is **SHEILA JONES**..." maiden name Minor. She worked as a Collections Technician in mammals with FWS.
In the meantime, @themediawitch received more info from Suzanne Contos...

(As a tangent, I just had to add these charming blips I found about Suzanne as written by Ray {her then boss?} & Potter, attendees. She must've been such a big help during, before, & after the conference!)

Suzanne told Peg that (Sheila's?) boss died (confirms what Bob & Don told Dee).

Suzanne then reached out to her former boss (G. Carleton Ray), **who took the photo.** Ray was certain she (Sheila?) wasn't officially "invited." He too thinks she was support staff.
Suzanne Contos thinks we've hit a dead end.

Bob and Don think Mystery Woman's name is most likely Sheila Minor.

What do you think, Twitter?
Do we assume she's Sheila?

Do you think the photo was a quick snapshot, and she just happened to be there?

I wonder what all her papers are?
Did she significantly contribute to the conference?

If she worked for Fish & Wildlife Services then, I wonder what she's doing now?
I've arrived at something BIG!
I'll be right back!✨
📢 Okay, okay.. SO, some lovely ladies with @smithsonian are *on top of things,* and Deborah in Archives ordered a box from their off-site storage facility that contains a folder named "Sheila Minor, 1972-1975."
She'll send me relevant scans of those contents once it arrives. (!)
🗒️ AND, they found for me the transcript of the conference proceedings. (!!)

(Sheila was not listed in the transcripts, however.)

But but but...
...Clyde Jones was listed!
Remember? He's the guy our new friend Bob said was Sheila's boss.
(RIP, Clyde.)
Also, SI found receipts for Skyland Lodge, the hotel conference attendees stayed at. Clyde again!
(I went back to our original photo, and found Clyde standing there! Doh!)
Guess who else Smithsonian ladies found a receipt for from Skyland Lodge at the time of the conference..?


A ✨Mrs. Sheila M. Jones.✨



Just, hang on! BRB!
Alright Twitter, I was waiting for more info to come in to share with you, but I’ll just give you what I’ve got.

If more comes I can always add to the thread, right? Right.

So. The Big Thing?
✨ Mystery Woman is in fact Sheila.
*Sparkles! Confetti!*

🌈 And I verified that because I’ve been in touch with her!
*Rainbows! Unicorns!*

(Thanks so much to @straightAstoner and @themediawitch for narrowing the search.)

But, most importantly…
…Shelia was NOT “just admin.” Oh no.
This is *just a fraction* of what I know thanks to scans sent to me by the A+ Deborah in Archives w/ the @Smithsonian; info dated 1972–'75:

She was a Biological Research Technician for Smithsonian Institution in (at least) 1972 & '73; a position which required a BS or MA degree.
There were many reports typed/filed/presented, lots of lab and field work, and it required working with formulas that make my brain nervous because they look like this:
She participated in a two-island study of the mammals inhabiting the Poplar Islands in 1973–1974, and presented her findings at the 55th Annual American Society of Mammalogists Meeting in 1975.

This included her belief of natural extinctions of some species on the islands.
She was a guest at K-12 schools; speaking at elementary schools and giving lectures in high school Biology classes.

She helped lead field trips and children’s study groups.
She typed up several memorandums with ideas for enriching educational visits, presentations, lectures, and field trips for children.

(Like, can I get a "the real Ms Frizz!")
She was appointed to the Smithsonian Women’s Council.

She was a member of the American Society of Mammalogists.

(All this is still just the years between 1972–1975.)
And, the info given to me by Sheila herself:

At the time this photo was taken, Sheila had a BS in Biology.

She was working in her first position with the Federal government.

Her boss, Clyde Jones, took her to that conference.
She later pursued environmental science, and received a MS from George Mason University.

She worked for several Federal agencies in a 35-year career, and retired as a GS-14 from The Office of Environmental Policy & Compliance, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, DC.
Sheila is a wicked-smart babe.

I'm so happy we found her together, Twitter.
If Sheila finds time to send me anything else, I'll share what she says is okay to share in this thread.

But, I hope in reading it & all the sleuthing within, you've been inspired to learn about some of the women that have been named here.
There were quite a few, but Matilene Berryman, Melba Caldwell, and Joan Murrell Owens come to mind.

Also, a link to a list + bio page of African-American women in STEM was shared by @kaywhyem:…
And for now... that's the end of our story.
Thank you, Twitter, for helping me know Sheila!
*signs off*
Okay Twitter, stepping in with a PS that I should’ve clarified sooner:

Our girl’s maiden name is
✨Sheila D. Minor.✨

(From pic above.)
I didn’t share her current last name because that’s up to her.

Jones was an old married name.

Maiden is important. Share that.
(Side-stepping back in here to say: this pic shows Sheila’s birth name. ✨Sheila D. Minor.✨ Jones became an old married name.)
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