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Belvidere Business and Professional Women's Club Records


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Belvidere Business and Professional Women's Club Records, 1932-1980 | Northern Illinois University

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Collection Overview

Title: Belvidere Business and Professional Women's Club Records, 1932-1980

ID: RHC/RC/122

Extent: 2.5 Linear Feet

Date Acquired: 01/31/1981

Subjects: Belvidere (Ill.), Belvidere Business and Professional Women's Club, Business and Professional Women's Club, Women, Women--Societies and clubs., Women in the professions.

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The records in this collection partially document the history of the Belvidere Business and Professional Women’s Club from 1932 to 1980, with the bulk of the material dating after 1950.  A major portion of the meeting minutes is missing (1940-1973).  Nevertheless, information on club activities during this time is available in the club history, newsletters, newspaper clippings, and scrapbooks.  The correspondence, financial records, and membership lists and statements contain further information on the group’s organizational policies, fund raising projects, and community concerns.  Finally, files on the Equal Rights Amendment, club ceremonies, foundation donations, state and national legislation, and National Business Women’s Week reveal local and national club policies and efforts to better women’s lives throughout the world.

Collection Historical Note

Sponsored by the Rockford Business and Professional Women’s Club, seventeen women gathered to organize the Belvidere B.P.W. in 1932.  On March 5, 1935 the group received their charter.  The members elected Rita McMillan, Margaret Whalen, Elizabeth Shattuck, Jennie Barringer, and Lenora Woodburn the first club officers.  Each member worked for the club’s objectives--as business and professional women they should fit themselves to assume real leadership in thinking on economic problems, with a view toward helping in the establishment, through scientific methods, of conditions which assure to women, and to men as well, the fullest possibilities, opportunities, and rewards tor the development of their capacities. 

Throughout its history, the club actively involved itself in civic affairs.  In 1936-1937 members sponsored a Brownie Girl Scout Troop and in 1938-1939 supported the building of a swimming pool in Belvidere.  The group initiated an educational loan fund for female high school graduates in 1938.  In 1942-1943 the club sewed for Red Cross, attended a nursing class, owned $l2,800.49 worth of war bonds, and sponsored a silk and nylon salvage drive.  During the 1950’s members promoted many study classes, cleaned up some “no-good” literature being sold on local news stands, and donated $500 to St. Joseph Hospital.  The club also devoted meetings to a study of the United Nations, printed milk bottle caps urging local citizens to vote on election days, and studied the “equal pay” status of men and women in local industries. 

The club’s continuing cooperation in community fund drives and contributions to local citizens through scholarships, charitable donations, and educational classes, helps insure the fulfillment of the club’s objectives today.

Subject/Index Terms

Belvidere (Ill.)
Belvidere Business and Professional Women's Club
Business and Professional Women's Club
Women--Societies and clubs.
Women in the professions.

Administrative Information

Repository: Northern Illinois University

Access Restrictions: There are no restrictions on access to the collection.

Use Restrictions: Property rights in the collection belong to the Regional History Center; literary rights are dedicated to the public.

Acquisition Source: Patsy Meyer

Acquisition Method: Patsy Meyer, President, donated the Belvidere Business and Professional Women’s Club Records to the Northern Illinois Regional History Center on January 31, l98l.

Related Materials: Researchers should note that the Regional History Center holds several other B.P.W. Clubs’ records which can provide additional information on the organization.

Box and Folder Listing

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Box 3
Volume  1-7: Scrapbooks (7 volumes), 1932-1976

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