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American Association of University Women records

Identifier: SSC-MS-00330

Scope and Contents

Records consist of printed material related to the AAUW and its Boston and Los Angeles branches. The collection also contains some memorabilia and audio tapes of the 1981 National Convention in Boston.

Dates of Materials

  • Creation: 1920 - 1991


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

Materials in this collection may be governed by copyright. For reproductions of materials that are governed by fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. Researchers are responsible for determining who may hold materials' copyrights and obtaining approval from them. Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with their use.

Biographical / Historical

The American Association of University Women (AAUW) was the first organization of university women in the United States. It was founded as the Association of Collegiate Alumnae (ACA) on January 14, 1882 by sixty-five women from Boston University, the universities of Michigan and Wisconsin, Cornell, Oberlin, Smith, Vassar, and Wellesley. In 1921, the name was changed to the American Association of University Women after the ACA merged with the Western Association of Collegiate Alumnae (founded 1883 in Chicago) and the Southern Association of College Women (founded in 1903). The AAUW led the movement to improve conditions and facilities for women in many colleges and universities. Early administrators used AAUW institutional admission as leverage to obtain funding for women's dormitories, to improve the salaries of women instructors, and to encourage the hiring of women in positions beyond the instructor level, as well as to promote a cordial attitude toward women students. Today the Association promotes the advancement of women's education and women in society by funding projects of branch and state divisions and individual members through research and project grants and fellowship programs. The AAUW maintains a library and an archival collection on women, supports a lobbying team on women's issues, and produces numerous publications. There are branches in every state and a membership of nearly two hundred thousand.


2.834 linear feet (5 containers)

Language of Materials



Women's collegiate association. Collection conisists primarily of printed material relating to the organization and its Boston and Los Angeles branches.


This collection has been added to over time in multiple "accessions." An accession is a group of materials received from the same source at approximately the same time.

Other Finding Aids

OCLC Number: 50118154

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection is comprised of the following accessions, some of which may not have accession records. Accession numbers: no accession number, 86S-11, 86S-114, 03S-60, 09S-97 . Accessions were received on the following dates: ?-1986, 2003-10-06, 2009-11-19.

Related Material

Additional material located in the Records of the AAUW Massachusetts Division; the Connecticut Valley Branch; and the Worcester Branch Records.

The History of the American Association of University Women by Marion Talbot and Lois Kimball Mathews Rosenberry (1931) and AAUW Journal, vols. 15 (1921)-31 (1938), Sophia Smith Collection.

Processing Information

Between September 2022 and February 2023, Smith College Special Collections renumbered many boxes to eliminate duplicate numbers within collections in order to improve researcher experience. A full crosswalk of old to new numbers is available.

American Association of University Women records
Finding Aid
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Revision Statements

  • 07/26/2017: This resource was modified by the ArchivesSpace Preprocessor developed by the Harvard Library (
  • 2017-07-26T17:48:16-04:00: This record was migrated from InMagic DB Textworks to ArchivesSpace.
  • 2021-07-09: Content description added from accession inventories

Repository Details

Part of the Sophia Smith Collection of Women's History Repository

Neilson Library
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063