The Ebell Institute and 100 Extraordinary Women Campaign

Posted by Sika Lonner

April 24, 2024

Founded in 1894, during a time when women did not have the right to vote, attend most colleges, or own property, The Ebell of Los Angeles addressed the ambitions of its members and the needs of the greater community by providing collective volunteer-led educational, cultural, artistic and civic opportunities. Since its founding, The Ebell has been a steadfast proponent of artistic and educational accessibility, guided by its original mission: to interest women in the study of all branches of literature, art and science and the advancement of women in every branch of culture. 

130 years later, The Ebell is thrilled to announce the launch of The Ebell Institute for the Study of Women’s History in LA, its latest large-scale initiative for accessible, academic, women-centered programming. Founded on the idea that “one cannot be what one cannot see,” The Ebell Institute (TEI) seeks to develop public knowledge of both historical Los Angeles women who built the city as we know it today, as well as modern scholars and artists who are trailblazing in their respective fields.  

TEI encompasses six synergistic programs designed to foster greater public appreciation of women’s history, leadership, and impact in Los Angeles:  

  1. An annual free public symposium unearthing Los Angeles’ distinct and diverse women’s history, 
  2. Artistic and scholarly residencies at The Ebell,
  3. The Living Herstory free student matinee program, featuring original productions about important historical Los Angeles women, 
  4. An Ebell docent program,  
  5. A women’s oral history project documenting the voices of 20th century women, 
  6. Open access to and digitization of The Ebell’s extensive archives and collections of LA women’s social history 

Los Angeles has come a long way since 1894, but there is still work to be done. Today, only 6% of American monuments honor women and women’s historical contributions (UW-La Crosse) and women comprise less than 15% of standard history curriculum (East Illinois University). Of the 1200 Historic-Cultural Monuments in Los Angeles, less than 3% were designated for women’s history or women’s achievements. The Ebell is proud to be a part of that 3%, and reaffirms its commitment to changing the  narrative, and to the advancement of women and marginalized peoples in all lines of culture here in the City of Angels. 

“Find a way or make one—WE serve.” 


To support The Ebell Institute in its inaugural year, The Ebell is partnering with the national program 100 Extraordinary Women to raise $100,000 — 100 pledges of $1,000 either from or in honor of Extraordinary Women who value public scholarship and women’s history. All gifts to the 100 Extraordinary Women Campaign are fully tax deductible and directly support the Institute and program costs. To learn more or to make a pledge, visit The Ebell’s campaign page today.