Route 66, or the Mother Road as John Steinbeck called it, has struck a chord with Americans and an ever-growing international audience since its inception in 1926, offering economic opportunity, adventure, as well as providing a gateway to the West. However, the narrative of the road, as conveyed by popular culture and historical works, has overlooked the experiences of women and girls. Documentary filmmaker Katrina Parks is capturing the oral histories of the women who worked and lived along Route 66 before those memories fade away.

Interviews, photographs, and links to archival sources for this project can be found on the website developed by Katrina Parks, “The Women on the Mother Road,”

The presentation will include the screening of clips of interviews and slides from Katrina Parks’s

ongoing documentary film project: “The Women on the Mother Road.” Four panelists--documentarian Parks, women’s historian Heidi Osselaer, and Route 66 experts Sean Evans and Olivia Charest--will provide commentary and answer questions about Route 66’s impact on the lives of women.

The project director and film maker Katrina Parks will share insights garnered from archival research, filming oral histories, editing interview segments, designing a website, and working with museums and other associations interested in exploring Route 66 from a new feminist angle. Arizona women’s historian Dr. Heidi J. Osselaer has conducted extensive research in the field of female politicians and businesswomen which she will apply to the experiences of women on Route 66. Sean Evans has interviewed dozens of people connected to the road and archived their interviews and photos at Cline Library at Northern Arizona University, and serves as the library’s representative to the National Park Service’s Route 66 Corridor Preservation Office. Anthropologist Olivia Charest has conducted numerous interviews with travelers about the mythology, nostalgia, and authenticity surrounding the Mother Road, and will explain why this iconic highway maintains its mystique so many years after it was decommissioned.


  • Occurred Thursday, October 12th, 2017 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm



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