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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 271

Records of the American Association of University Women. Boston Branch, 1886-1978


Constitutions and bylaws, histories, minutes, etc., of the Boston Branch of the American Association of University Women.


  • Creation: 1886-1978

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Boston Branch of the American Association of University Women is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Authorization of publication or quotation requires the written permission of the President of the Boston Branch of the American Association of University Women as long as the organization exists. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


4.46 linear feet ((9 + 1/2 boxes, 1 card file) plus 1 supersize poster)

The records include constitutions and by-laws; histories; minutes of Branch, annual, and executive committee meetings; annual reports, correspondence, and other records of officers and committees; yearbooks; lists of officers and members; programs; announcements of meetings; news-letters; financial and fellowship records; and papers relating to Branch participation in other Association of Collegiate Alumnae and American Association of University Women activities. The arrangement is outlined on the following paper. Various records, including minutes and officers' records, are incomplete, especially for the period following 1960. Additional fellowship papers are available in the Massachusetts State Division records (MC 260).

The contents of two Association of Collegiate Alumnae scrapbooks were removed, unfolded, and placed in acid-free folders for preservation. Information in pencil, enclosed in brackets on some documents, was added by the archivist ; felt-tip and ballpoint pen additions were made by the Branch historian, Helen LaVey, in 1976-1977.


The American Association of University Women (AAUW) had its beginnings in Boston during the late 19th century as the Association of Collegiate Alumnae (ACA). Mrs. Emily Talbot and her daughter Marion, both residents of Boston, thought that college-educated women should join together in an organization which would be of service to the community and would further educational opportunities for women. This vision was shared with other college women in Boston, and on November 8, 1881, seventeen alumnae of eight colleges met at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and decided to organize formally. Those at the meeting included Marion Talbot, Alice Freeman (later Alice Freeman Palmer), Ellen Richards, Anna Eugenia Felicia Morgan, and Margaret Stratton. Notices sent to all New England and New York City alumnae of the colleges represented at the first gathering brought 66 women to Chauncy Hall School, Boston on January 14, 1882. As the Association for Collegiate Alumnae, the women adopted a constitution and elected officers. At the first post-organization meeting, held on March 11, 1882, first president Jennie Field Bashford described the Association's purpose: "The members have organized in order better to utilize their privileges in personal education and to perform their duty in respect to popular education." Local branches were soon formed; the first to be formally recognized was the Washington Branch in October 1884. In 1889, the Western Association of Collegiate Alumnae, which had been organization in Chicago a few years earlier, merged with the Association of Collegiate Alumnae. The Southern Association of College Women joined with the Association of Collegiate Alumnae in 1921 to form the American Association of University Women. The archives of the Association are housed in the national headquarters in Washington, D.C.

The Boston Branch was established at a meeting held on October 2, 1886, when a constitution was adopted and officers were elected. The Branch first organized formal committees in 1890; they undertook such tasks as investigating conditions in the Boston public schools and in public laundries, surveying salaries of college-educated women, studying domestic management, aiding settlement work, and participating in war relief. Also in 1890, the Boston Branch organized the College Club for purely social purposes. Boston was one of six American Association of University Women branches which in 1930 joined with two college clubs (unrelated to the College Club) to form the Massachusetts State Division of the AAUW. The Branch was not incorporated in Massachusetts, however, until August 1964. Active members have included Fannie Fern Andrews Abigail Eliot, and Ellen Richards.


The collection is arranged in four series:

  1. Series I. General records.
  2. ___A. Administrative
  3. ___B. Non-administrative
  4. Series II. Officers' records.
  5. ___A. President
  6. ___B. Recording secretary
  7. ___C. Corresponding secretary
  8. ___D. Treasurer
  9. Series III. Fellowships.
  10. ___A. Boston Branch Association of Collegiate Alumnae Graduate Fellowship
  11. ___B. Annie Ryder Memorial Fellowship
  12. ___C. American Association of University Women (AAUW) Fellowships
  13. Series IV. Committees.
  14. ___A. Administrative
  15. ___B. Other; includes standing and ad hoc
  16. ___C. Topics of study
  17. ___D. Areas of interest

Physical Location

Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 46-4, 47-19, 48-17, 52-8, 55-1, 56-16, 56-67, 56-84, 56-133, 56-148, 57-14, 57-52, 57-108, 58-43, 58-65, 74, 1181, 69-17, 70-11, 70-94, 74-123

The records of the Boston Branch of the American Association of University Women were deposited in the Schlesinger Library beginning in February 1946 by various branch members.

Related Material:

There is related material at the Schlesinger Library; see see the American Association of University Women. Massachusetts State Division Records, 1930-1976 (MC 260), the Additional records of the American Association of University Women, Massachusetts State Division, 1921-2007 (MC 597), and the American Association of University Women Audiotape collection, ca. 1960-1971 (T-358).


The following items have been removed from the collection:

  1. The History and Sources of Percy's Memoir of Goldsmith, by Katharine C. Balderston, London, 1926; returned to donor, November 1978.
  2. "Democracy on the Short Waves," by Webb Waldron, reprinted by Reader's Digest, September 1941; returned to donor, November 1978.
  3. International Federation of University Women Newsletter, December 1966, July 1977; deposited in Schlesinger Library files, July 1978.
  4. Massachusetts Citizen's Conference on Improving the Administration of Justice (summary), March 23-25, 1972; removed, July 1978.
  5. Simmons Club of Boston membership directory and program; removed, July 1978.
  6. Leaflets from Citizens for the Boston Public Schools and the International Student Association of Greater Boston; removed, July 1978.


  1. Box 1: IA.1-IA.19
  2. Box 2: Card File.
  3. Box 3: IA.20-IA.38
  4. Box 4: IB.1 - IB.17, IIA.1-IIA.3, IIB.3-IIB.22 (excluding volumes)
  5. Box 5: IIB.1v, 2v, 4v, 7v, 8v; IID.1v, 3v
  6. Box 6: IIB.23-IIB.60; IIC.1-IIC.2; IID.2, IID.4v, IID.5
  7. Box 7: IID.6v-IID.10v
  8. Box 8: IID. 11 - IID.16; IIIA.1-IIIA.7; IIIB.1-IIIB.7; IIIC.1-IIIC.2
  9. Box 9: IIIC.3v - IIIC.8; IVA.1-IVA.13
  10. Box 10: IVB.1-IVB.42
  11. Box 11: IVB.44-IVB.50; IVC.1-2; IVD.1-2


  1. Andrews, Fannie Fern - IVB.11.
  2. Arnold, Sarah Louise - IB.2.
  3. Channing, Eva - IVB.10.
  4. Dukakis, Katherine - IVB.49.
  5. Dukakis, Michael - IVB.49.
  6. Fuller, Alvan T. - IB.2.
  7. Howe, Leonora - IVB.7.
  8. Kennedy, John F. - IVB.34.
  9. Lodge, Henry Cabot - IB.2.
  10. McCormack, John - IVB.34.
  11. Peters, Andrew J. - IVB.18.
  12. Richards, Ellen - IID.11, IVB.9, IVB.11-13.
  13. Schlesinger Library

Processing Information

Processed: July 1978

By: Katherine G. Kraft

American Association of University Women. Boston Branch. Records of the American Association of University Women. Boston Branch, 1886-1978: A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description
Processing of this collection was made possible by with funds provided by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

The preeminent research library on the history of women in the United States, the Schlesinger Library documents women's lives from the past and present for the future. In addition to its traditional strengths in the history of feminisms, women’s health, and women’s activism, the Schlesinger collections document the intersectional workings of race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class in American history.

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