The First Twenty Years: An Illustrated History of the Early Days of the MINERVA Center
The First Twenty Years: An Illustrated History of the Early Days of the MINERVA Center
Dr. Linda Grant De Pauw conceived the idea of publishing a journal on women and war and women in the military on the evening of December 7, 1982 at an event sponsored by the Women’s Equity Action League. Nonna Cheatham, a retired Navy officer and one of Dr. De Pauw’s students, suggested that the professor produce a “newsletter for former members of DACOWITS.” Dr. De Pauw thought that with equal effort something more ambitious could be achieved. A few weeks later, after lining up authors to write news, book reviews, and articles, she was folding, stamping, and mailing the first solicitation for subscribers to MINERVA: Quarterly Report on Women and the Military.
 About sixty subscribers were signed up by March 21, 1983 when volume I, number 1 of MINERVA was ready to mail. Dr. De Pauw had typed the copy, had it reproduced at a Xerox shop, stapled the cover, typed up gummed labels, licked stamps and envelopes, and hauled the result to the post office in a nifty folding cart.
Comments about the first issue included the observation that it was impressive, but that there would never be enough material to fill a second issue. But there was, and in the spring of 1984 Dr. De Pauw got her first assistant–an IBM computer with two floppy disk drives and a dot matrix printer. It made typing the journal much easier and even printed the labels–if the blessed thing would work. Much prayer and gnashing of teeth and eventual success.
On June 2, 1984, Dr. De Pauw convened the Conference on Women in NATO forces at the George Washington University where she was Professor of History. Presenters included Dr. Sue Mansfield, Dr. Barton Hacker, Dr. M. C. Devilbiss, Dr. Clara M. Lovett, Captain Natalie Stewart-Smith (USAR), Valerie Eads, Dr. Cynthia Enloe, Dr. Judith Stiehm, Nancy Goldman, BG Wilma L. Vaught (USAF), Sergeant Major Karen Erickson (USA) and June Willenz. 
During the noon break, Dr. De Pauw, Dr. Devilbiss, and Lynda Van Devanter went to lunch and formally declared the existence of The MINERVA Center which would expand activities supporting women’s military studies beyond the journal.
In February 1986, Debra E. Morgenstern came to work part-time for MINERVA. Deb is also known as MOUSE, the acronym for her business: Morgenstern’s Own Unique Services Enterprise. Subscribers over the years know her as “Minerva’s Assistant,” and more recently as the managing editor of the journal and production editor for our line of books.