Collection ID: C209
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Collection context


American Association of University Women. Bloomington Branch (Ind.)
The American Association of University Women, Bloomington Branch was established on 12 February 1913 as the Association of Collegiate Alumnae with 60 charter members. They later became the AAUW in 1921. The goal of the group was to improve the status of women in higher education and to debunk myths concerning women academics. This collection is comprised of correspondence, financial records, governance files, meeting notes, reports, and scrapbooks. The collection also contains numerous subject files including those relating specifically to the Bloomington branch, and those relating to the Indiana and national divisions of the organization. These files contain materials on the history of the organization, various programs, committees, membership, conventions, and publications relating to the organization.
4 cubic feet (4 boxes)
Materials are in English
Preferred citation:

[Item], American Association of University Women, Bloomington Branch records, Collection C209, Indiana University Archives, Bloomington.


Biographical / Historical:

The national organization known as the American Association of University Women was founded in 1881 to promote the expansion of women's opportunities in education and employment. Established in Washington D.C. as the Association of Collegiate Alumnae, the organization sought to combat prejudices against women in academics and in the workplace by publishing studies debunking myths about the "damaging" effects of education on a woman's health and by exploring women's opportunities in traditional and non traditional careers. The organization also raised money for the funding of fellowships for women to pursue advanced degrees and to conduct research.

Today, membership is open to anyone who holds a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution. The A.A.U.W. has a membership of 150,000 individuals with approximately 1,500 branches nationwide. The organization conducts business on many fronts including education, international relations and politics. The A.A.U.W. consistently endorses legislation that promotes women's opportunities in the workplace and academic settings such as Title IX, the Higher Education Amendments of 1986 and the Civil Rights Restoration Act. In 1981 the A.A.U.W. established the Legal Advocacy Fund for the financial assistance of women seeking to combat sexual harassment and sex discrimination in the workplace. The A.A.U.W. also established the Education Foundation to fund research and fellowships for university women and the Eleanor Roosevelt Fund, expanding their focus to include K-12 Education.

By 1987 the organization extended its membership to include men holding college degrees. Today, the organization continues to support women's education and employment efforts through financial assistance, research, and the promotion of legislation to combat all forms of discrimination.

The installation of a branch of the American Association of University Women was delayed in Bloomington, as Indiana institutions went unrecognized by the National Organization until 1912. A woman's eligibility was governed by her school's acceptability under the national organizations guidelines which called on institutions to provide students with a variety of course offerings and diverse library holdings, while at the same time maintaining membership in national organizations, and equal pay rates between the male and female faculty. When Indiana University finally gained acceptance under the A.C.A.'s, as it was then still known, guidelines activity to establish a Bloomington Branch commenced. The Bloomington Branch of the A.A.U.W. began 12 February 1913 under the name of the Association of Collegiate Alumnae, and the branch changed its name accordingly when the national organization of the A.C.A. adopted the title of the American Association of University Women in 1921. Sixty women signed on as charter members of the Bloomington Branch, mostly young women who had recently received their college degrees. They originally met every second Wednesday of every month in the Student Building. In the early years of the group, they were unable to raise money for substantial fellowships, but did sponsor an annual essay contest through the English Department for university women, and also sponsored a discussion contest that awarded nominal prizes to cover the cost of books.

By the 1940s and 1950s the branch had a more solid foundation and was able to raise more funds, sponsor international fellowship recipients and conduct community based fundraising efforts. The Bloomington Branch remained active throughout the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, promoting community involvement, educational diversification, and women's occupational issues. The Bloomington Branch of the A.A.U.W. always stayed politically involved, pushing forward important legislation for the betterment of women's experiences in education and the community.

Throughout the years the Bloomington Branch was active in the Indiana Division, the Great Lakes Region, and the A.A.U.W. national organizations, with four of its branch members going on to become Divisional Presidents. Also noteworthy was one of the Bloomington Branch's charter members, Nellie Showers Teter, who became Indiana University's first woman Trustee.

The Bloomington Branch of the A.A.U.W. was disbanded in July 1996.

Scope and Content:

With materials which date from 1907 through 1997, the contents of the American Association of University Women collection is comprised of three series: Administrative files, Subject files, and Scrapbooks.

Series one, the Administrative file series (1916-1997), is comprised of five subseries: Correspondence, Financial records, Governance files, Meeting notes and Reports. Correspondence (1916-1997) includes incoming and outgoing correspondence that organized chronologically and according to the correspondence. Financial records (1949-1996) includes materials such as budgets, receipts and reports. The third sub-series, Governance files (1925-1993) is comprised mostly of bylaws and charters of the Bloomington Branch and the Indiana Division of the A.A.U.W. The Meetings notes (1939-1996) sub-series contains board meeting agendas and minutes, branch meeting minutes and bulletins, secretarial materials, and State Board meeting minutes. The fifth sub-series, Reports (1937-1992), is composed primarily of Annual Reports, Branch Reports, and Treasurer's Reports. Correspondence written by and addressed to Indiana University President, William Lowe Bryan, has been removed and filed in his presidential collection under the heading "A.A.U.W." Correspondence to or from William Lowe Bryan after he resigned as president of the university (June 1938) remain in the collection.

Series two, Subject files (1907-1996), are organized alphabetically by folder title. These files include branch histories, information on programs, calendars, fellowships and scholarships, membership information, A.A.U.W conventions, and several publications. The newsletters are arranged chronologically with the A.A.U.W. Bloomington Branch Newsletter running from 1969-1985. The newsletter was re-named the Bloomington Leaf in 1985 and in this collection the span continues through 1992.

Finally, Series three, Scrapbooks (1941-1988), contains the Scrapbook materials of the Bloomington Branch, and is comprised mostly of newspaper clippings cut from the Bloomington Herald Telephone and the Indiana Daily Student from the 1940s through the 1970s.

Photographs from this collection have been transferred to the Archives Photographs Collection. Please ask a member of the Archives staff to see them, if interested.

Acquisition information:
Part of collection donated to the Indiana University Archives by Betty Yoder and Dolores Lahrman, Accessions 0401 and 98/042. Accessions 7193 and 7194 added to the collection in 2008.
Processing information:

Processed by Nicole M. Mares

Revised by Carrie Schwier

Completed in 2002 . Revised in 2008


The collection has been organized into three series: Administrative files, Subject files, and Scrapbooks.

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Collection is open for research. Advance notice required.


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[Item], American Association of University Women, Bloomington Branch records, Collection C209, Indiana University Archives, Bloomington.

Indiana University Bloomington
Herman B Wells Library E460
1320 East Tenth Street
Bloomington, Indiana 47405-7000, United States
Indiana University Bloomington