Check out the recording of our April 29th presentationA Woman Called Harriet, by our very own Gloria Van Hof.  

Women have battled cruelty and injustice from the beginning of time, in foreign lands and right here in the U.S. where they fought to abolish slavery, often a great risk to themselves and their families. Gloria’s presentation focused on the personal stories and contribution of seven of these courageous women, all named Harriet.

Gloria grew up in Aliceville, Alabama and moved to Illinois in 1974 and McHenry County in 1976. She earned an Associate Degree in Industrial Engineering, an Associate Degree in General Education, a Bachelor’s Degree in English, and a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology. Currently Gloria serves on the McHenry County Board and continues to volunteer for numerous organizations in
the community.

Gloria has researched, lectured, and written extensively on the Underground Railroad in Illinois and in neighboring states. She has developed curriculum and lectured at numerous schools, libraries, historical societies. A few of the universities where Gloria has lectured include: Loyola University, Roosevelt University, and the University of Chicago.

Gloria has organized several Underground Railroad tours in McHenry, Lake, and Cook Counties. She has been introduced as an “Expert on the Underground Railroad” to audiences in Illinois and Wisconsin. Her publications include Heroes and Heroines of the Underground Railroad, Contributors to the Cause and The Underground Railroad Had Depots Here.

Gloria’s fascination with the Underground Railroad began in 1980 with a question from her late daughter, Anginetti Urch, who was eight-years-old at the time. Netta had just returned home after spending the night with a classmate who lived in the stately mansion in Hebron, Illinois. Her question was: “Mom, did you know that the Mansion Farm was a stop on the Underground Railroad?”