Both sisters fought for better treatment of children, women, immigrants and the poor. They did much of their work in Chicago, but their ties to Nebraska remain strong; upon her death in 1957 Edith left most of her estate to the Grand Island Public Library, which is now named for her.
Last year, The University of Nebraska Press published The Grace Abbott Reader, which is a collection of some of Grace Abbott’s most important and influential writing. A launch party for the book will be held on Tuesday, March 24 at 5 p.m. on the University of Nebraska at Omaha campus. The event will include a reading from the book, as well as an exhibit of quilts made by young Sudanese refugees living in Grand Island. The refugees – all girls – were paired with accomplished quilters in Grand Island and instructed to design a quilt block that represents their dreams and memories, said John Sorensen, one of the editors of The Grace Abbott Reader and the executive director of the Abbott Sisters Project. The intent of the program is to help the girls feel more welcomed in their new community, he said. A documentary about the project is in the works.
Additionally, the Edith Abbott Public Library in Grand Island will be the setting for this year’s Abbott Sisters Day festivities on Sunday, March 22. Events will begin at 2:30 p.m.