American Association of University Women photograph collection, 1960-2011

Overview of the Collection

American Association of University Women
American Association of University Women photograph collection
1960-2011 (inclusive)
1 Box
Collection Number
In the spring of 1976, the papers of the Utah State Division of the American Association of University Women were donated to the Manuscripts Division, Special Collections Department, Marriott Library. Materials in this collection were obtained from the papers of State Presidents and from state and branch files, and cover the time period from 1942, the date of organization, through the early 1980s. The types of materials in the collection include photos of events and gatherings (both officail and social).
University of Utah Libraries, Special Collections
Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library
University of Utah
295 South 1500 East
Salt Lake City, UT

Telephone: 8015818863
Access Restrictions

Twenty-four hour advanced notice encouraged.   Materials must be used on-site.   Access to parts of this collection may be restricted under provisions of state or federal law.


Historical NoteReturn to Top

The American Association of University Women is an organization whose membership is composed of women with baccalaureate degrees who are committed to continuing their education informally through study groups and to providing scholarships for women who desire to obtain advanced degrees. Originally organized in 1882 as the Association of Collegiate Alumnae, the group took its present name in 1921. Structurally, the organization exists on five levels: local branch, state division, regional division, national and international federation.

The State Division of AAUW is not the parent but, rather, the creation of four pre-existing Utah branches of AAUW-- Salt Lake City, Ogden, Logan, and Brigham City-- whose representatives met in the Women's Lounge in the campus of the University of Utah on January 1942, to create a temporary state organization. By June 1942, the members of all four branches had ratified the constitution and bylaws. The state offices were all filled by September 1944. The following May, those officers met with the branch presidents at a meeting hosted by the Salt Lake Branch in the Hotel Utah.

It was hoped that the establishment of the state level organization would fill needs and strengthen the Association in Utah. The regional vice-president who assisted the Utah branches in this endeavor stressed the urgent need of organizing college-trained women in Utah to promote growth in educational aims and "to more effectively utilize their particular abilities for public good." The branches expressed need for achieving unity at the national convention and organizing more branches in Utah.

The purposes of the State Division were outlined at a board meeting as follows: 1) to interpret AAUW and the International Federation of University Women, 2) to promote AAUW program and ideals, 3) to assist the branches by visiting them and acquainting them with the materials and highlights of the state and national programs, and 4) to show correlation of the state, national, and international organizations.

The State organization has always embraced the program of the national organization in addition to adopting study topics appropriate to the state. The main state committee chairmanships to be filled at the times or organization in 1942 reveal the areas of emphasis and study that have remained important to the present-- Education, Social Studies, International Relations, Legislation, Arts, Economic and Legal Status of Women, and Fellowships. The program through the years has included study accompanied by projects and legislative lobbying.

Summer workshops held by the State Division have provided the branches with information on state and national programs and enabled the branches to contribute to program development. The annual spring state conventions have given the branches the opportunity to come together and feel their strength and unity of purpose.

The first convention was held in Salt Lake City in May 1945. Themes and key-note speech titles at the conventions in various years have included "Democracy, Indivisible," "Keeping up the Standards" (of education), "What We Can Do to Improve Health Conditions," "Freedom in the Arts," and "Status Through Stature."

Resolutions passed at these conventions show the breadth of interest in the state's program. For example, the 1958 state convention passed resolutions to explore and understand art, to evaluate state teacher training, to encourage young women to go to college, to encourage identification of gifted children in the schools and provide opportunities for them, to study economic and foreign policy, and to aid legislation for a state mental health program. In later years, resolutions included support for KUED and raising of the cultural level of mass media in the state, concern for civil rights, recognition of women in the state with advanced degrees, and support for qualified librarians in the schools.

Numerous worthwhile projects developed from the convention resolutions. The first project attempted by the State Division was a compilation of a list of reliable books about Utah and the purchase of those 14 books to send to the reading room of National Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

The traveling art exhibits were popular projects. These included exhibits from without as well as within Utah. Each AAUW branch handled the showing in its area of the state. Art airlift, a project of the middle 1960s, was an AAUW effort that made available exhibits and lectures from the Salt Lake Art Center to cities and schools throughout the state.

Early support in the Association for public libraries in the state developed until a resolution passed at the 1958 summer workshop proposed that the organization work to establish multi-county libraries. A survey was conducted which revealed a real need for improved public and school library service and personnel. The collected facts along with recommendations were published in booklet form by the state division in 1959. The association proposed that "Friends of the Library" be encouraged throughout the state to help educate the public. Later, in 1966, the Utah Library Association asked for AAUW's support in their efforts to encourage training as a qualification for recruitment of librarians.

The status of women was a basic concern of the state division. In 1950, AAUW had been instrumental in getting a woman appointed to the University of Utah Board of Regents. The State Chairman of the Status of Women suggested, in 1952, the preparation of a list of women qualified to serve on a public policy-making boards and commissions. Such a list was drawn up from the branch membership cards and was still maintained in 1967. Also, in that year the state board requested by resolution that both political parties write into their platforms a plank favoring the appointment of qualified women to such positions of trust and responsibility.

With such consciousness raising, success came but more in the area of elections. An Ogden Branch member was elected to the U.E.A. Board of trustees in 1955. The Salt Lake Branch helped elect a woman to the Board of Education three years later, while Ogden placed a woman to the city council in the same year. Several years later (1967), the state division president was appointed by the governor to serve on the Committee on the Status of Women in Utah.

Maintaining their momentum, in the summer of 1960, the State Division cooperated with several agencies to present a workshop at Utah State University Summer School on "Women's Role in Community Development".

A desire to recognize and honor the achievements of women developed into an idea for an annual award to be given an outstanding woman of the state. The first tribute was given to Miss Myrtle Austin, former Dean of Women at the University of Utah. Another award was not given until 1965, when several changes were made. The nominees, submitted by each branch president, were no longer required to be members. Also, at that time the name became officially the "AAUW Woman of the Year Award". Another name change occurred in 1967 when the present name "Distinguished Woman Award," was decided upon.

In these papers, the record of AAUW's stand on equal rights is sketchy but interesting. In 1947 the National Association announced that it was against the Equal Rights Amendment because the amendment would abolish protective legislation. With the national organization against E.R.A., no state division or branch could support it in the name of AAUW. However, AAUW women were interested in legislation that would demand equal pay for equal work and were involved in such efforts within the organization in 1953-1954. By the 1954 Convention, "support of measures to promote the fullest participation of women in all social, economic, and political life, and to prevent discrimination in employment and property rights on the basis of sex or marital basis," and "support of measures for equal pay for equal work" were both part of the National Association's legislative program, and subscribed to by the Utah State Division. This approach continued through the 1960's with no evidence appearing in these papers of the Utah State Division concerning the change in the organization to come in the 1970's.

Reference was made in the March 3, 1962, State Board Minutes of a survey which the state division conducted, with the help of the branches, to determine the availability of jobs in Utah to women with higher education degrees. (No publication of the findings appears in this collection.)

Always concerned with any aspect of education, the state association began a project to gather information on scholarships in 1953 which culminated in the publication of 8,000 copies of a booklet that was widely distributed throughout the state.

This effort was followed by a study of finances used for education, with each branch forming a study groups in its region. This information was ultimately funneled to the 1955 White House Conference on Education. Branches completing the survey were: Kaysville, Spanish Fork, Ogden, Brigham City, Salt Lake City, South Davis, and Provo.

At the thirteenth annual state convention in 1957 a panel was held on the gifted child. Four women leaders in education from throughout the state each spoke of the child on a different level, stressing early recognition, individual attention and scholarship.

In 1964 a Standards for Admission Study was undertaken. The purpose was to identify the entrance requirements of the universities of the universities and colleges in the state. For several years starting with 1967, the State Division sponsored an expository writing competition in which high school students submitted essays of 500 words on the teme of "Each Man is My Brother." The Branches could offer prizes to the students whose essays merited being forwarded to the State Division for final judging. The state winner was awarded the prize of $25.00.

A most significant aspect of the AAUW program, the Fellowship Program could be considered the life blood of the association. The members help capable women take their place in the realms of scientific discovery and higher learning through the monetary awards given to graduate women who have almost achieved their goals. For many years no other organization gave such help to graduate women.

Utah's record of giving to the Fellowships Program has always been impressive. In 1948, the Association in Utah gave $584 more than any other mountain state except Colorado. By 1955 the Utah Division withdrew from the Rocky Mountain Fellowship Fund when that fund had reached its share of the million dollar goal. Between the years of 1956 to 1966, contributions to the AAUW Fellowships Program by Utah's Fellowship total from 1967 alone was $2729.40.

Women who had received AAUW International Fellowships visited branches throughout the state from time to time. One International Fellow from Taiwan, Mrs. Frances Nyew, who was a doctoral candidate in Education at Brigham Young University, spoke to the 1967 state convention in connection with the year's study topic on China.

Cooperation with other groups of similar interests has been an AAUW State Division practice. The Green Circle program which extended from the late 1960s thru the early 1970s, was adopted as an AAUW State project jointly with the National Council of Christians and Jews and the Utah Congress of PTA's. Its purpose was to promote brotherhood in young children from grades 1 through 3.

An on-going effort in joint participation with another community groups has been AAUW's membership in Women's State Legislative Council of Utah. AAUW first sent representatives to the Council in 1953. While at one time it was suggested that AAUW remove its delegates because there was some conflict in legislative programs, AAUW has retained its representation through the ensuring years.

In past years AAUW has sent representatives to such groups as the Women's Conservation Council of Utah, the Utah Association of the United Nations, the Women's Conference at the University of Utah, the Regional Consumer Conference, and the Governor's Committee on the Status of Women.

The Legislative program is designed to provide a follow through on study items at the state level. Efforts usually took the form of resolutions at the Annual State Convention. Action consisted of writing letters to legislators or actual lobbying at the Capitol for measures that AAUW could support or to which it was opposed. Areas of interest in legislation over the years have included mental health, library, service, civil rights, teacher's qualifications, education for the gifted and the handicapped, equal pay for equal work, and pollution control. AAUW exerted real influence in the passage of a library bill in 1957.

The state-wide membership totals have fluctuated over the years. At the second Annual Meeting in 1947, the membership was announced at 457; in 1954 there were 690 members. The peak occurred in 1955, with 921 members throughout the state. For several years following there were some 800 members. Then the total leveled off at 600 plus in the late 1960s.

From the four branches that existed when the Utah State Division was organized, the number grew to seventeen in 1955-- Salt Lake City (1917), Ogden (1933), Logan (1937), Brigham City (1940), Provo (1944), Kaysville (1949), Sanpete (1949), South Davis (1950), American Fork (1953), Pleasant Grove (1953), Tooele (1953), Dugway (1954), Orem (1954), Richfield (1954) St. George (1954), Spanish Fork (1954), and Cedar City (1955). Within the next three years, St. George (1957), American Fork (1957), and Dugway (1958) branches disbanded. In 1962 the organization lost the Richfield Branch, but gained a new one-- Moab. It decided to disband in 1966, when the Vernal branch was organized. Cedar City disorganized in 1968, and in the next year, 1969, the new branch of Vernal decided to disband. This left 12 branches operating in 1969.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

In the spring of 1976, the papers of the Utah State Division of the American Association of University Women were donated to the Manuscripts Division, Special Collections Department, Marriott Library. Materials in this collection were obtained from the papers of State Presidents and from state and branch files, and cover the time period from 1942, the date of organization, through the early 1980s.

The types of materials in the collection include photos of events and gatherings (both officail and social).

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

The library does not claim to control copyright for all materials in the collection.   An individual depicted in a reproduction has privacy rights as outlined in Title 45 CFR, part 46 (Protection of Human Subjects).   For further information, please review the J.   Willard Marriott Library’s Use Agreement and Reproduction Request forms.

Preferred Citation

Collection Name, Collection Number, Box Number, Folder Number.   Special Collections, J.   Willard Marriott Library, The University of Utah.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


By folder and subject.

Acquisition Information

Donated in 1982, 1996, 2001.

Processing Note

Processed by Photo Archives staff.

Separated Materials

See also the Manuscripts Division in Special Collections (MS 0117).

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Container(s) Description
Box Folder
1 1 San Francisco convention
1 2 AAUW Salt Lake City Convention
1 3 Orem Branch 40th Anniversary
1 4 June 1994
1 5 Toole County
1 6 Salt Lake City Branch August 1992 social at home of Carol Wilson
1 7 American Association of University Women State Convention May 1999
1 8 Distinguished Women's Award and Legislative January-March 2001
1 9 Red Candle Tea at home of Nancy Mitchell December 13, 2003
1 10 Salt Lake Branch Meetings April 2003 - May 2004
1 11 Fellowships presentations August - September 2004
1 12 Utah State Convention 2004
1 13 Salt Lake Branch Events February - April 2005
1 14 Salt Lake City Branch August 2007-2008
1 15 Salt Lake City Branch Brunch at Carol Wilson's August 2011
1 16 Wasatch
1 17 American Association of University Women salt Lake City Branch 90th Birthday Party, May 2007

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Women in education--Utah--History--Sources
  • Women--Utah--Societies and clubs

Corporate Names

  • American Association of University Women. Utah State Division--Archives

Form or Genre Terms

  • Photographs