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American Association of University Women (AAUW) Records, Harrisonburg, Virginia Branch

Identifier: SC 0211
  • Not requestable

  • Staff Only

Scope and Content

The American Association of University Women (AAUW) Records, Harrisonburg, Virginia Branch, 1929-2017, document the activities of Harrisonburg's local AAUW branch and include administrative records, meeting minutes, bylaws, membership records, financial files, publications and newsletters, annual conference materials, scrapbooks, ephemera, and photographs.

Researchers should note that while there is a discrete series for Financial Files, other series, specifically Administrative Files, also contain documents related to the financial goings-on of AAUW. Cross-referencing related series is encouraged. Similarly, the absence of a Correspondence series does not denote a lack of correspondence. In fact, correspondence is likely located in most series.


  • 1929-2017


Access Restrictions

Collection is open to research with the exception of media for which reformatting is pending. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection. Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the James Madison Special Collections Library to use this collection.

Use Restrictions

The copyright interests in this collection have been transferred to the James Madison University Special Collection Library. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library Reference Desk (

Administrative History

The American Association of University Women (AAUW) was founded on November 28, 1881 when Marion Talbot and Ellen Richards met in Boston, Massachusetts along with 15 alumnae representing eight colleges. The aim of this first meeting was to discuss the needs of college-educated women and to broaden opportunities and assist women in higher education. The organization is nonpartisan and nonprofit with more than 170,000 members. The mission of AAUW is "to advance gender equity for women through research, education, and advocacy." Membership in AAUW is open to anyone holding a two-year associate degree or higher from an accredited college or university, or equivalent.

The Harrisonburg branch of AAUW was founded on April 15, 1929 in Alumnae Hall on the campus of the State Teachers College at Harrisonburg (now James Madison University). The branch was organized with 15 charter members including Virginia Harnsberger, librarian at the State Teachers College, who was elected its first president. During the 1940s, the branch established and provided continued support for the Virginia Harnsberger Memorial Fund to furnish the Children's Room at the new Rockingham Public Library. In addition to membership dues, the recipe book Recipes of the Shenandoah Valley, first published in 1959, served as a primary funding source for branch activities and outreach. Since 1975, the branch has held regular book club meetings. Current branch initiatives include equal rights and equal pay advocacy as well as voter registration. In partnership with JMU, the branch organizes "Girls Can," an annual STEM conference and career fair for middle school girls.


9.56 cubic feet (27 boxes)

Language of Materials



The American Association of University Women (AAUW) Records, Harrisonburg, Virginia Branch, 1929-2017, document the activities of Harrisonburg's local AAUW branch and include administrative records, financial files, publications, annual conference materials, scrapbooks, and photographs.


The collection is arranged into six series with Series 1: Administrative Files arranged further into four subseries. These subseries are not arranged in any particular order in relation to each other. Series 3: Causes, Activism, and Education and Series 4: Publications are arranged alphabetically. All other series and subseries are arranged chronologically. Exceptions to the chronological arrangement were made in order to pay respects to the original order and to group like materials together.

  1. Administrative Files, 1929-2015
  2. Financial Files, 1969-2007
  3. Causes, Activism, and Education, 1965-2008
  4. Publications, 1968-2011
  5. Conventions and Programming, 1968-2017
  6. Scrapbooks, Photographs, and Ephemera, 1929-2011

Acquisition Information

The collection was donated in three separate accessions with the first and largest (13 boxes) donated in November/December 2011 by AAUW members Lorie Merrow and Tina Updike. The second accrual was donated in November 2015 by Rosmarie Palmer. The third accession was donated in April 2019 by Thomas Duval.


  • "Our History." American Association of University Women, (accessed September 19, 2019).

Processing Information

In order to streamline the process of applying collection numbers, Special Collections staff completed a large-scale renumbering campaign in 2017-2019. This collection was previously cataloged as SC 5036.

During this time, the collection was also reprocessed in order to simplify the intellectual arrangement, increase discoverability through better description, and better stabilize the materials through physical rehousing. Significant changes to the collection include the weeding of bank statements, canceled checks and check stubs, receipts, and deposit slips. Their research value is minimal and furthermore the financial activities of AAUW are documented in the bound account books and membership files which were retained. Additionally, duplicate materials, primarily multiple copies of newsletters and publications, were also discarded.

Loose copies of the Harrisonburg Branch Yearbook and branch newsletters, originally associated with the 1929-1947 scrapbook, were filed with like materials in Series 1 and Series 4 respectively.

When the collection was originally processed in September 2012, the pages of the 1929-1947 scrapbook were separated from the boards and photocopied. The original scrapbook, boards, pages, and photocopied pages are all retained.

A Guide to the American Association of University Women (AAUW) Records, Harrisonburg, Virginia Branch, 1929-2017
Jessica Strawn and Cara Lundgren, Tiffany Cole
September 2012, October 2019
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2019-09-20: To reflect changes and updates to collection during reprocessing. See Processing Information for more details.

Repository Details

Part of the James Madison University Libraries Special Collections Repository

820 Madison Drive
MSC 1706
Harrisonburg Virginia 22807
(540) 568-3612