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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 367; T-166

Records of the Massachusetts Association for Women in Education, 1925-2000


Minutes, reports, correspondence, etc., of the Massachusetts Association for Women in Education (formerly the Massachusetts Association for Women Deans, Administrators, and Counselors), a professional organization for women in secondary and higher education.


  • 1925-2000

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research. An appointment is necessary to use any audiovisual material.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the records created by the is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

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


9.38 linear feet ((22 + 1/2 file boxes) plus 2 folio folders, 6 photograph folders, 14 audiotapes)
As the administrative work of the Massachusetts Association for Women in Education consists primarily of providing conferences and other programs for its members, the bulk of this collection pertains to programs and membership. Additional material, which was received between 1985 and 2003, mostly from former officers, was added to the collection in February 2015. These are housed in #140-245. All other files remain in the same order. Folders are listed in intellectual, not numerical, order. This collection was previously cataloged under Massachusetts Association for Women Deans, Administrators, and Counselors.

Executive Committee minutes (#13-30, 143-182) and reports (#11) of the president provide the best overall picture of the organization's work. The Program Committee files and correspondence, which include some minutes, add to an understanding of its changing purposes.

The completeness of the files varies depending on what records were saved by various officers. Some years and some individuals' activities are well documented, while others are barely represented. Most of the more active women held a number of elected positions; the records kept by each of them therefore appear in a number of committee files. There are minutes from each membership meeting since April 1925 (#13-30, 143-182). The Executive Committee and the Program Committee are consistently represented in the records. Other committees met irregularly or else kept no records. In the late 1970s new ad hoc committees were organized.

A number of positions and committees have overlapped in their responsibilities. The vice-president has assisted the president when needed, done public relations and publicity for conferences, served as liaison with other groups and as the representative of the organization at meetings of other organizations, and overseen constitutional revisions. In 1980 two committees were formed: Public Relations, which took over the publicity work for conferences, and Executive Handbook, with the vice-president as chair (#86-88, 110, 226-227).

In 1964 a Placement Service Committee (#114) had been formed to provide members with employment opportunities and help educational institutions find counselors, deans and personnel workers. This committee lasted only two years but was the first to take on responsibility for individual members' professional advancement. The Job Bank Task Force (#115), Career Advancement Resources (CAR; #116, 217), Professional Issues Committee (or Professional Issues Interest Group; #117, 118, 221), and Connections East and West (#119-124, 228-234) later provided similar opportunities for professional growth.

The Membership Committee has recruited actively. Its work has included reaching new constituencies, contacting NAWDAC members who had moved to Massachusetts, sending renewal notices, introducing new members at meetings, and keeping lists up-to-date. A membership survey from 1950 (#94) provides information on types of employment, degrees, and work histories of fifty-four members; another survey from the 1980s is in #225f.

Records of the National Association for Women Deans, Administrators, and Counselors are at Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio.

Folder titles in quotation marks are those of the donor.


The genesis of the Massachusetts Association for Women in Education began in 1921 with an informal group of high school deans, women who were interested in the status of women and girls in education and were pioneers in the student personnel profession. In late 1924 the group became the Massachusetts Branch of the National Association of Deans. In 1928 the group became independent of the national organization and was renamed the Massachusetts Association of Deans and Advisors of Girls. Early meetings were convened during the meetings of the Association of Junior and Senior High School Principals. The aims of the group were to determine the duties of dean (a new position for secondary schools) and to discuss societal influences on, and opportunities for, adolescent girls. The preface to the 1972 Constitution and By-laws (see #2, 140-141) includes the early history, with a list of presidents from 1924 to 1976 (see also #4, 142). In the fall of 1961 the name was changed to include Counselors (Massachusetts Association of Women Deans and Counselors), and in 1973 to the Massachusetts Association of Women Deans, Administrators, and Counselors (MAWDAC). By 1991 the name had changed to the Massachusetts Association for Women in Education.

Meetings were held annually in the spring until 1937, when a fall meeting was added. Annual meetings included discussion of organizational business, a presentation by an outside speaker, and a report from the national (National Association of Women Deans, Administrators, and Counselors) meeting, if a member had attended. Executive Committee meetings were called when necessary. In 1964 MAWDAC discontinued its co-sponsorship of annual conferences with the Secondary School Principals Association. It continued to sponsor two large membership meetings a year. Committee meetings and additional programs were scheduled periodically; they provided "networking," information, and support.

In 1946 the Membership Committee initiated a drive to attract college deans to MAWDAC, but until the late 1950s members were almost entirely from secondary schools, except for several from the state teachers' colleges and Lasell Junior College. From 1924 until 1949 presidents of MAWDAC came from secondary schools. From 1951 until 1974 the presidency usually alternated between college and secondary school members; since then the presidents have been college and university women.

The issues raised in the minutes and the titles of the programs held over the years parallel the larger society's interest in the education, counseling, and guidance of girls and women. In the early years, when counseling and guidance were new fields, the founders of MAWDAC were interested in sharing experiences and learning from each other. They were concerned with helping their students expand their horizons through education. In the late 1940s and 1950s the coordination between college admissions personnel and high school personnel increased. The array of educational and guidance issues raised at MAWDAC conferences included admission at women's colleges, college entrance tests, financial aid and scholarships, preparing women for the transition to college, and increased communication between guidance and admissions offices.

According to a 1983 brochure, "MAWDAC is a professional organization for women in all levels of education.... The purpose of MAWDAC is to provide programs, information and services which enhance the personal and professional growth of its membership. Anticipating the changing needs of its members, the Association acts to assure a strong and equal role for women in all aspects of education." The motto is "to serve women in education and the education of women."


The records have been grouped as follows:
  1. I. History
  2. II. Executive Committee
  3. III. Program Committee
  4. IV. Membership Committee
  5. V. Other committees
  6. VI. Financial records
  7. VII. National Association for Women Deans, Administrators, and Counselors
  8. VIII. Miscellaneous material

Physical Location

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

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 84-M175, 85-M125, 88-M43, 91-M46, 91-M137, 92-M115, 93-M131, 95-M104, 97-M57, 2003-M103

The records of the Massachusetts Association for Women in Education were given to the Schlesinger Library by the Massachusetts Association for Women in Education between October 1984 and August 2003.


  1. Box 1: 1-9
  2. Box 2: 11-20
  3. Box 3: 21-35
  4. Box 4: 36-55
  5. Box 5: 56-73
  6. Box 6: 74-82
  7. Box 7: 83-92
  8. Box 8: 93-101
  9. Box 9: 102-111
  10. Box 10: 112-125
  11. Box 11: 126-135
  12. Box 12: 136-139
  13. Box 13: 140-147
  14. Box 14: 148-154
  15. Box 15: 155-160
  16. Box 16: 161-167
  17. Box 17: 168-172
  18. Box 18: 173-174, 176-180
  19. Box 19: 181-187, 189, 191, 193-194
  20. Box 20: 195-198, 200-205
  21. Box 21: 206-222
  22. Box 22: 223-224, 226-236
  23. Box 23: 237-245

Processing Information

Processed: March 1985

By: Nancy Falk

Updated: February 2015

By: Anne Engelhart
Link to catalog
Massachusetts Association for Women in Education. Records of the Massachusetts Association for Women in Education, 1925-2000: A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

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