MS 660 - Women's League/Women's Self-Government Association/Association of Women Students
|MS 660 - Women's League/Women's Self-Government Association/Association of Women Students
|BGSU Centennial History
The records in this collection span the years 1918, the year that the Women's League was organized, to 1970, when the successor organization, the Association of Women Students, disbanded. The collection contains official minutes, officer lists, financial documents, subject files covering organizational activities and printed material from the Intercollegiate Association of Women Students.
The collection, occupying 1.5 linear feet, is an aggregate of records gathered together when the University Archives was reorganized in 1987. Ann Bowers organized, processed and prepared the preliminary inventory. This finding aid was prepared by Sara Parsons, an intern in the Center for Archival Collections in July, 1997. The collection is open to the public on an unrestricted basis.
The Women's League was formed in September, 1918, at the suggestion of the Dean of Women, Maud Sharp. It probably was an outgrowth of the Williams Hall dormitory government board organized in 1914-1915. The object of the Women's League, as stated in the 1923 Handbook, was "...to regulate all matters pertaining to the student life of its members which do not fall under the jurisdiction of the faculty." In practice, the organization established rules of conduct, dress and hours for all women enrolled in the university. Membership was automatic for all women registered as students.
The organization's constitution and structure, college regulations, student government regulations and a demerit system were published in a Women's Handbook in 1923 and annually from 1926 through 1970. The regulations and any proposed changes were voted on by the membership after approval by the Dean. The regulations were enforced by a system of House Government that covered any residence with three or more students including off-campus rooming houses. A House Chairman and proctors were elected whose main duties were to reprimand for minor offenses, enforce rules and report serious offenses to the Executive Board or the Dean.
The organization's name was changed to the Women's Self-Government Association (W.S.G.A.) in 1939 and to the Association of Women Students (A.W.S.) after its affiliation with the Intercollegiate Association of Women Students in April, 1946. Both W.S.G.A. and A.W.S. sponsored social functions. The freshman welcome and orientation, including a Big Sis-Little Sis picnic in later years, was the oldest tradition. Other long-standing functions were Leadership Banquets, Installation ceremonies and May Sings.
A.W.S. continued through the 1950's and 1960's with an organization based on residence halls and mandatory corridor meetings growing as the university enrollment increased. In the late 1960's, students' resistance to the university rules led to the elimination of restrictions on hours for women and the decline in enforcement of dress rules. The A.W.S. organization survived until Winter 1971 when it disbanded.
|Scope and Content
The records in this collection cover two separate periods in the history of the Women's League, which was later known as the Women's Self-Government Association and finally as the Association of Women Students. The minutes for the Executive Board in the years 1918 through 1946 are in bound notebooks. There is a gap in the official minutes between 1946 and 1966. The post-1966 Legislative Board minutes are loose-leaf (except for a bound April 1968 - February 1969 notebook) and may be incomplete. Many are undated. This is also true of the Rules Committee reports on proposed changes for 1963-1970.
There is little material of any type for the late 1940's or 1950's. Most of the material in the subject files is from the 1960's and covers the traditional functions of the A.W.S.: Installation of Officers, Leadership Banquet, May Sing and Freshman Orientation. A radio program script and housemother regulations are from the 1940's. Three International Parties were held in the late 1950's.
The only financial records are the Treasurer's account book and a bank book for 1924 through 1940. The printed material is from the Intercollegiate Association of Women Students in 1966, a period when college regulations were starting to be challenged. Additional material for research is available in the collection of Women's Handbooks, published in 1923 and annually from 1926 - 1970, in the University Archives.
The Women's League, Women's Self-Government Association and Association of Women Students affected the daily life of every undergraduate female student living on campus until the late 1960's. The rules that they established and enforced reflect the expectations, standards and controls placed on young women following World War I through the early 1960's.
The minutes of the early years contain the first constitution, regulations and the record of individual hearings on infractions of the rules. The late 1960's records reflect the problems the organization faced in trying to adapt to a rapidly changing college culture.
WOMEN'S LEAGUE EXECUTIVE BOARD MINUTES
WOMEN'S SELF-GOVERNMENT ASSOCIATION MINUTES
WOMEN'S SELF-GOVERNMENT ASSOCIATION DISCIPLINARY BOARD MINUTES
ASSOCIATION OF WOMEN STUDENTS LEGISLATIVE BOARD MINUTES
CONSTITUTION FOR WOMEN'S RESIDENCES HALLS AND REGULATIONS
LISTS OF OFFICERS
MISCELLANEOUS COMMITTEE REPORTS
W.S.G.A. RADIO PROGRAM
INSTALLATION OF OFFICERS
A.W.S. SOCIAL CALENDAR
MANUAL OF THE INTERCOLLEGIATE ASSOCIATION OF WOMEN STUDENTS
IAWS REGION IV DIRECTORY
IAWS REGION IV CONVENTION