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DeKalb Business and Professional Women's Club Records


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Administrative Information

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DeKalb Business and Professional Women's Club Records, 1927-1981 | Northern Illinois University

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Collection Overview

Title: DeKalb Business and Professional Women's Club Records, 1927-1981

ID: RHC/RC/099

Extent: 2.0 Linear Feet

Date Acquired: 10/10/1980

Subjects: Business and Professional Women's Club, DeKalb Business and Professional Women’s Club, Professions, Women, Societies-- DeKalb, Women, Women--Societies and clubs.

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The DeKalb Business and Professional Women’s Club Records comprehensively document the history of the organization from 1927 to 1970.  Club histories (Box 1, Folder 28-29) and topical office files supply additional historic data through 1977.  Meeting minutes (1927-1970), presidents’ meeting notes (1949-1962), and treasurer’s record books and reports (1946-1969) detail club programs, legislative endorsements, and contributions to local and national charities and other community organizations.  Scrapbooks and yearbooks highlight club projects and agendas.  Of particular interest is the correspondence urging support for appointing women to executive and government positions (1950-1957) and the group’s efforts to stop “communistic practices” in the United States (1950’s).  The collection is of excellent quality for research on women and local history.

Collection Historical Note

The DeKalb Business and Professional Women’s Club, sponsored by the Aurora and Batavia Clubs, received its charter in September 1927.  The eighty-four charter members elected Cora Schoonmaker the first president; Mrs. E. L. Boardman, Mrs. Inez Nevins, Luella Custer, and Margaret Otis served as vice president, treasurer, recording secretary, and corresponding secretary, respectively.  The adopted constitution and by-laws declared the organization’s goals as elevating the standards for women in business, promoting the interests of business and professional women, bringing a spirit of cooperation to women of the working world, and extending women’s professional opportunities through education.  To achieve these objectives the group offered educational scholarships, supported legislative proposals beneficial to women (e.g., E.R.A.), scheduled meeting presentations and lectures detailing social problems and concerns, donated funds to numerous community charities and sponsored the organization of the Rochelle B.P.W. Club in 1968.

Several members of the DeKalb Club played prominent roles in achieving the organization’s goals.  Marguerite Mihm, the most active participant, served on the State Committee for the Celia M. Howard Fellowship Fund (1951-1952, 1960-1963), presided as Co-Chairman of the State Federation Membership Committee (1954-1955), and in the community, became Treasurer of the DeKalb Sanitary District (1963-1964) and the DeKaib Park District (1965-1966).  Other members served in state and district positions including the Radio and Television Committee of the State Federation, the State Rules Committee, Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the District, the State Federation Board, Secretary/Treasurer of the District, and the District Nominating Committee.  In addition, at least one member appeared at a national, state, regi nal, or district meeting each year.  Evelyn Merritt managed to attend an International Convention in Vienna in 1930.

Over the years, the DeKalb B.P.W. Club endorsed many issues of national importance. During the late 1950’s the members supported resolutions and bills attacking communistic practices in the United States and some mailed magazines to universities in other countries to counteract communism.  An Equal Pay Bill for women and men raised interest as early as 1946. Other measures endorsed included the Child Labor Amendment (1927), the Motor Driver License Act (1928, 1930), entering the United States in a World Court (1929), the March of Dimes Movement (1928), and the call for a Constitutional Convention (1944).  The DeKalb B.P.W. Club continues to support and work for any proposed legislation, charity, or scholarship which can insure the quality of women’s lives in the DeKalb community, the state, the nation, and the world.

Subject/Index Terms

Business and Professional Women's Club
DeKalb Business and Professional Women’s Club
Professions, Women
Societies-- DeKalb
Women--Societies and clubs.

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: Mary Anderson

Acquisition Method: Mary Anderson, President, donated the DeKalb Business and Professional Women’s Club Records to the Regional History Center on October 10, 1980.

Box and Folder Listing

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[Box 1],
[Box 2],

Box 2
Volume  1-5: Scrapbooks (5 volumes), 1937-1973
Item 1: Membership Pennant (1), 1961

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[Box 1],
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