page top
Collection Summary
Administrative Information
Publication Rigths:
Organizational History
Scope and Content
Separated Materials
Container List
Series 1 - State Division: Early (1920-1955)
Series 2: Corporate Representative (UVM)
Series 3: Burlington Branch

American Association of University Women, Vermont State Division Records

Collection Summary

University of Vermont Libraries. Special Collections Burlington, Vermont 05405-3596
American Association of University Women, Vermont State Division
American Association of University Women, Vermont State Division Records
Dates [inclusive]
11 cartons
Shelf location
Located in the Library Research Annex
Papers, correspondence, reports, financial records and publications from the State Division, the University of Vermont Corporate Representative, and the Burlington branch of the AAUW, whose purpose was to foster educational opportunites for women.

Preferred Citation:

[Identification of item], American Association of University Women, Vermont State Division Records, Special Collections, University of Vermont Library

Return to Table of Contents

Administrative Information

Publication Information

University of Vermont, Bailey/Howe Library, Special Collections 1989 


Collection is open for research.

Publication Rigths:

Copyright has been assigned to The Bailey/Howe Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Curator of Manuscripts.

Acquisition Information

Gift of the American Association of University Women, Vermont STate Division,1986, 1989 

Return to Table of Contents

Organizational History

The national American Association of University Women was founded in 1882 as the Association of Collegiate Alumnae (ACA) by a group of women college graduates whose purpose was to foster educational opportunities for women. They restricted membership to those who had graduated from an institution of higher education which had, in their judgement, not only maintained high academic standards but had encouraged and recognized women in their programs.

In1920, the University of Vermont received accreditation from ACA, joining eighty-five other colleges. In the spring of that year, UVM's first full-time dean of women, Pearl Randall Wasson (1878-1922), met with a group of other eligible college alumnae in Vermont to discuss the formation of a state branch. On October 6, 1920, sixty-seven women met in Burlington High School and formally initiated the Vermont branch of ACA. (The ACA changed its name to the American Association of University Women in 1921 to bring it and its organization into line with other groups belonging to the International Federation of University Women.) By 1921, membership had reached 100; Grace Coolidge, wife of President Calvin Coolidge, was designated as the 100th member.

Unlike most states which organized local branches before the state division, Vermont started at the state level. In 1921 and 1922, three local branches were formed in Burlington, Middlebury, and Montpelier. They were joined by Rutland and St. Albans in 1923, Bennington and Brattleboro in 1927, and Randolph in 1928. Barre separated from the Montpelier branch in 1949, St. Albans re-formed a branch in 1973, and Windsor branch established in 1978.

Early on, Vermont AAUW established standing committees to address and act on important issues in Vermont education. One of their first priorities was to encourage young Vermont women to enter college. Members worked with their high school alma maters to improve college preparation. They also concentrated on the improvement of Vermont's rural schools. In 1922, they began working with the Vermont State Board of Education to assess the quality of the state's 1100 one-room schoolhouses. The Better District Schools Association BDSA) was established in 1924 to campaign in towns and in the Legislature for better support of these schools. They awarded scholarships for continuing education and enlisted and Federated Women's Clubs, the SAR and other women's groups and PTAs to adopt needy schools.

The encouragement of excellence in Vermont education at all levels has remained a feature of Vermont AAUW. In 1941 a fund was established in memory of AAUW members Marion Gary (18?-1941), who had been influential in the BDSA, and Annadora Baer Tupper (18?-1941), who worked to establish fellowship programs for graduate education of women. The Gary-Tupper Fund made loans to rural schoolteachers who wished to further their education. It also made an annual award for teaching excellence to one-room schoolteachers in the state. This award continued until 1975, by which time the demise of the rural school in Vermont had made it obsolete. It was replaced by the Hazel M. Wills Memorial Award for teaching excellence in Vermont elementary and secondary schools.

At this time, it presents Progress in Equity Awards to colleges in Vermont that have made advances towards encouraging the entry of women into non-traditional professions. In 1988, both the state and national AAUW selected Vermont Technical College for this award for its innovative "Women in Technology" program bringing high school girls into contact with women in the fields of science and mathematics.

From the beginning, Vermont AAUW has exerted considerable influence as a lobbying organization on the local, state, and national levels. Education issues have remained important; others have changed over the years as the times and the issues changed. Some of the issues supported included maternal health and child welfare legislation in the 1920's, and neutrality of the United States in the 1930's, social welfare and aid to refugees in the 1940's, consolidation of school in the 1950's, and civil rights legislation in the 1960's. In recent years, state and local branches, following the national organization, have taken stands, some of them controversial, on the environment, the Equal Rights Amendment and other women's issues such as abortion and pay equity.

The programs of the local branches have focused on current affairs on the state, national and international levels, particularly those which affect women. They have carried out and responded to the goals set forth by the national AAUW. The Burlington branch papers that are a part of this collection show that branches sponsor a wide range of programs of both an intellectual and a civic nature. As with the state division, equality of women and other women's issues have always been an integral pert of their program.

From 1924 to 1952, Vermont AAUW held an annual College Week, in the latter years reduced to one or two days, which was a combination of planning meeting, reunion of college alumnae and a program of speakers on topics of the day. College Week was held on college campuses throughout Vermont. Speakers included educators and state government leaders, both women and men, form Vermont and other states. Paul Dwight Moody, president of Middlebury College; Mary Jean Simpson (1888-1977), Vermont legislator, 1924-1926 and dean of women at UVM, 1937-1954; and Harry F. Perkins (1877-1956) of UVM, sponsor of the Vermont Eugenics Survey of the 1920's, were among the varied speakers from this state.

College Week served as an inspirational source for Vermont AAUW; and, in the words of its historian Catherine Nulty (1890-1964), for the "forming of new friendships, renewing of old ones, educational conference on matters local and national, above all the feeling that college women should and do work together."

Vermont AAUW has had some of Vermont's prominent women in its ranks. In the early years, Mary Jean Simpson, writer Dorothy Canfield Fisher (1877-1958), UVM professor and founder of the Burlington community center which bears her name, were all active in the state division. Simpson and Fisher in particular took leading roles in BDSA and the improvement of rural schools. Fisher was also a frequent speaker at conventions. In a speech at the New England Division AAUW Conference held at UVM in 1922, she warned women "not to try to do everything at once in the characteristic American fashion, dissipating energy like quicksilver from a broken thermometer."

In more recent times the membership has included Madeleine Kunin, Governor (1984-1991) of Vermont. The spouses of well-known Vermont men have also played significant roles, particularly in the early years: Hazel Wills, wife of the Vermont governor (1941-1945) William Wills; Annadora Baer Tupper, wife of Frederick Tupper, professor of English at UVM; and Helen Stafford, wife of Governor (1959-1961) and Senator (1971-1988) Robert Stafford, to name a few.

One of Vermont AAUW's most important contributions to the advancement of women has been its participation in fellowship funding of women seeking graduate degrees. The state records show that Vermont was one of the highest per capita contributors to the AAUW Educational Foundation, which endowment has contributed millions of dollars to support American and foreign women in their studies. One of Vermont AAUW's leaders, Mariafranca Morselli, has served on the Educational Foundation Regional (1979-1980) and International (1988-) Fellowships Awards Committees. Local branches have established scholarships and fellowships for teachers and other women continuing their education.

Vermont AAUW State Presidents
Date  President
1920-1921  Elizabeth Isham
1921-1922  Ellen Crampton
1922-1925  Ellen Ogden
1925-1929  Marion Gary
1929-1933  Annadora Baer Tupper
1933-1937  Alice Burrage
1937-1941  Hazel Wills
1941-1943  FlorenceMorse
1943-1946  FlorenceBoyse
1946-1949  Constance Abraham
1949-1951  Alice Brown
1951-1953  Mrs. Robert Tracy
1953-1955  Hazel Wills
1955-1959  Genieve Lamson
1959-1963  Sally Maybury
1963-1965  Jane Hobson
1965-1967  Helen Brown
1967-1969  Kathleen Webb
1969-1971  Miriam Bell
1971-1973  Mrs.Norman (Rose?) Barlett
1973-1975  SabaFoster
1975-1979  Joanne Crisman
1979-1983  Norma McShane
1983-1985  Lynn Whalen
1985-1987  Linda Morris
1987-  Gudrun Hutchins
Burlington Branch Presidents
Date  President
1922-1925  Hattie Forbes
1925-1927  Bertha Terrill
1927-1929  Brenda Cameron
1929-1933  Julia Smith
1933-1937  Sarah Holbrook
1937-1939  Constance Holden
1939-1943  Constance Abraham
1943-1945  Nelle Adams
1945-1947  Mrs. F.J. Sichel
1947-1948  Mrs. R.B. Wentworth
1948-1949  Winifred Stone
1949-1950  Mrs.Myer Perelman
1950-1953  MarianneMuse
1953-1957  SallyMaybury
1957-1959  Mary Leonard
1959-1963  Kathleen Webb
1963-1965  Mrs. Ernest Stark
1965-1969  Constance Miles
1969-1971  Mrs. Roger Spaulding
1971-1972  Mrs. Norman Bartlett
1972-1973  Mrs. John Cleary
1973-1975  Estelle Dean
1975-1977  Lynn Whalen
1977-1981  Pat Allen
1981-1983  ?
1983-1985  LindaMorris
1985-1987  Margaret Schaub
1987-1989  Trudy Schlemmer

Return to Table of Contents

Scope and Content

The Vermont AAUW collection consists of the organization's papers, correspondence, reports, financial records and publications. Its content spans all levels from the local, or branch, to the international. For this reason, it has been divided into three series: state, corporate representative and Burlington branch.

The first series (eight and one-half cartons) contains material associated with the Vermont state division. This series is grouped by state presidents in chronological order of term of office with the exception of the material dated before 1955.

Because the original files from the early years often overlapped several presidential terms, and the material was more sparse than some of the later presidencies, it has been grouped into a single subseries entitled "Earl (1920-1955)".

The early files and the files within each president's term are broken down into "National Materials" papers from the national AAUW and "State Files." Arrangement is alphabetical. Files concern state offices and committees, records of the Gary-Tupper Fund and other state programs, officer and membership lists, and convention reports. Because the early state material was collected and sorted by several Vermont AAUW members, it was not always possible to identify which of the materials comprised the files of a particular state office; therefore, officers' files are labeled as such only when correspondence or other evidence identifies them.

The second series (one-half carton) contains the files of the UVM Corporate Representatives of the AAUW, an office established on this campus in 1974. It is linked with the state division, along with the corporate representative of other Vermont colleges, via the state Corporate Relations (now the College/University Relations) chair. Because it is not a state office, it has been placed in a separate series. Its most recent officers, Mariafranca Morselli (1975-1979) and Lynn Whalen (1979-) have, indeed, been active at all levels of the AAUW organization, and their papers can also be found in the state division series as officers.

The third series (two cartons) contains the records of the Burlington branch. Like the "Early" subseries in the division records, the original files usually overlap several presidential terms. This subseries is arranged not by president but alphabetically by office/subject, essentially in the same way as the state presidential subseries. There are two sets of files with an index and numbered subject headings labeled "President's files" dating from the late 1950s to the mid- 1960's. These represent the active and inactive (mostly earlier in date) presidential files of that period, probably passed down through several presidencies.

The records from the presidencies of Genieve Lamson (1955-1959), Sally Maybury (1959- 1963) and Lynn Whalen (1983-1985) are by far the most substantial. By contrast, material from 1963 to 1983 is quite sparse. The extent of the earlier presidents' records can perhaps be attributed to the efforts of several women of that period who collected, preserved and organized the Vermont division papers for archival purposes. The most active of these were Gwen Carpenter, a charter member and state officer; Kathleen Webb, president from 1967-1969; and Katherine Nulty, state historian, 1955-1959. That these three women preserved many of the papers from the earliest days to the mid-1960's is evidenced by the recurrence of their names on newsletters and other items. Nulty's shorthand notes can be found in numerous files. She began a state division history, the notes and rough typed draft of which can be found in the Lamson subseries.

A brief history of the Gary-Tupper Fund was written in 1955 by ex-president (1946-1949) Constance Abraham. Later information has been added. Copes of this typescript can be found in both the Lamson and Maybury subseries. The materials preserved in the fund files will be of interest to the researcher of the history of education in Vermont, in particular the applications submitted for the Rural Teacher of the Year award. These contain descriptions and photos of the teachers of one-room schoolhouses throughout the state.

The names of Dorothy Canfield Fisher and Mary Jean Simpson appear frequently in the early subseries. Both worked actively on the improvement of rural schools an spoke at numerous conventions. Nutly's typescript history in the Lamson subseries is the most complete record of their involvement in Vermont AAUW.

Because of Vermont AAUW's active participation in legislative programs on the state and national levels, correspondence from Vermont governors, legislators and Congressmen is sprinkled throughout the collection. Among these are Governor and Senator George Aiken (1892-1984) and Robert Stafford (1913-), Senators Warren Austin (1877-1963), Winston Prouty (1906-1963), and Patrick Leahy (1940-), Governor Madeleine Kunin (1933) and Vermont Secretary of State James Douglas. A 1952 news clipping reports that the national AAUW recommended Consuelo Northrop Bailey, Vermont's first woman Lieutenant Governor (1955- 1957) and First Vice-Chair of the Republican National Committee (1950's) to President Eisenhower for a "top government post."

Other well-known Vermonters noted in the collection include poet Sarah Cleghorn (1876- 1959), who read several poems at College Week in 1930; and UVM biochemist Alex Novikoff (1913-1987), who in 1952 participated in a science demonstration at the "Town and Country Days" program at UVM sponsored by Vermont AAUW.

Special Collections contains Manuscript holdings which will augment the material in this collection, including the papers of Mary Jean Simpson, Dorothy Canfield Fisher and Genieve Lamson (1888-1966); and the Vermont League of Women Voters.

Return to Table of Contents

Related Materials

Separated Materials

Oversize Folder Items

Oversize Folder Items
Burlington Branch - Posters
Photograph, from Cinderella, February 2, 1950
Children's Theatre of New York, Rip Van Winkle, November 19, 1952
Children's World Theatre, King Midas and the Golden Touch, October 30, 1953
Photograph from Cinderella, February 2, 1950

Return to Table of Contents

Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • American Association of University Women


  • Education--Law and legislation.
  • Education, higher--Vermont
  • Universities and Colleges Societies, etc.--Vermont
  • Women--Education--Vermont

Return to Table of Contents


Abraham, Constance. "History of the Gary-Tupper Fund". (1956). Typescript, Vermont AAUW Collection, folder 3-32, Special Collections, Bailey/Howe Library, University of Vermont.

Harvey, Dorothy Mayo. Teachers of Stature. Montpelier, VT: Leahy Press, 1982.

Nulty, Catherine. "History of Vermont AAUW" (1956). Typescript, Vermont AAUW Collection, folder 3-39, Special Collections, Bailey/Howe Library, University of Vermont.

Talbot, Marion and Lois K.M. Rosenberry. The History of the American Association of University Women. 1881-1931. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1931.

Tryon, Ruth. TheAAUW, 1881-1949. Washington: American Association of University Women, 1950.

Vermont Division of the American Association of University Women. "Fiber of Vermont". Bicentennial Exhibit (1978). Special Collections, Bailey/Howe Library, University of Vermont.

Vermont Division of the American Association of University Women. Those Intriguing Indomitable Vermont Women. Vermont AAUW, 1980.

Vermont Division of the American Association of University Women. "Women and Work in Vermont" (1985). Special Collections, Bailey/Howe Library, University of Vermont.

Return to Table of Contents