1908, Harriet Barraclough—Relief Society president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS; a.k.a. “Mormon”) Halifax Ward, Leeds, England—taught the women in her religious community to be “lifters and not leaners” (Halifax Ward, Folder 1, p. 58). This communication, documented in a handwritten minute book, falls within various definitions of technical and professional communication (TPC), as the practice of TPC “creates both knowledge and value [which]...comprehends the good of the community in which the practice has a history” (Miller, 1989, p. 69). TPC occurs within communities, and “forges connections between new and existing knowledge” (Durack, 1998, p. 181). TPC is not always associated with the public workplace and can be found within the workplace of the home (Durack, 1997), extra-institutional hobby communities (Kimball, 2006), and religious institutions (Petersen, 2014b). In fact, scholars have argued against defining workplaces and professionalism so narrowly as to avoid examination of documentation and discourse that occurs in varied contexts (Durack, 1997; Petersen, 2014a). In that mode, this article examines the three existing minute books from the Halifax Ward Relief Society of the Leeds England Stake that cover the society’s activities from 1907 to 1921. The minute books document the work and therefore create recognition for women’s unseen labor, highlight the creation of identity within an organization, and illuminate the mediating discourse of society leaders. I argue that TPC is an ideal site for examining the kind of “agency [that] takes place within structures” (Brekus, 2016, p. 33).
Petersen, Emily January
"Beyond Biography: Using Technical and Professional Documentation to Historically Contextualize Women’s Agency,"
Journal of Rhetoric, Professional Communication, and Globalization: Vol. 9
Available at: https://docs.lib.purdue.edu/rpcg/vol9/iss1/4