The Association of Women Students: Advocating for Women

Good news! The Indiana University Association of Women Students records have been processed! This  student group formed in 1895 as the Indiana University Women’s League. The organization’s name changed to the Association of Women Students in 1927 and remained active until sometime around 1969. This collection primarily covers the group’s activities in the 1960s, a time in which many things were changing for women in the United States.

Prominent in the collection are records relating to the work of the AWS to change women’s hours on campus in the early 1960s. These hours imposed curfews for women, limiting the time that they were allowed to spend outside of the residence halls, required women students to get permission to go out of town or to spend a night away from their respective halls, and put regulations on male visitors. Keen on ridding the campus coeds of these restrictions, AWS wrote proposals, surveyed students and their parents, surveyed other Big Ten universities, and sought approval by the appropriate entities. The following is a proposal drafted by AWS, circa 1965:

Hours ProposalThe AWS was successful in instituting a senior privilege system, whereby upperclasswomen and women students 21 and over and in good standing had unrestricted hours, and women under 21 could have unrestricted hours with parental permission.  Here are the hours regulations, circa 1967:

Hours RegulationsIn the fall of 1967, the Student Senate declared that putting hours restrictions on women but not on men was discriminatory and  in violation of the Student Bill of Rights. That resolution appears as follows:

Resolution on Hours Regulations

Much more information on the movement to change hours regulations for women can be found in the Indiana University Association of Women Students records, Collection C478, at the IU Archives. Interested? Give a call!

World War II Affects School of Journalism

John Stempel and Ernie Pyle

The newly processed Indiana University School of Journalism Chair’s records in the IU Archives is a rich collection that documents the school during its many changes. As I worked through the collection, however, what I found particularly interesting is the bounty of records about the school and World War II, and one file in particular showcases the war’s impact.

Around 1943, the Journalism War Program was instituted under the chairmanship of John E. Stempel. With men being drafted left and right and vacancies in the profession piling up, the need for journalists increased drastically. To help with this, the then-Department of Journalism began to offer a condensed course of study in Journalism, reducing the length of time to graduate from four years to two and two-thirds. In order to do this, students would have to attend school year-round. In addition, an eight-month high school program was established so that, should participating students be eligible and wish to attend IU to study Journalism, one year’s worth of study would have been completed. Also, these students could potentially get work with weekly newspapers where they may not need workers with the higher level of experience.

WWII School of Journalism Curricula
The curricula offered for the Journalism program during WWII

For more information on this program and other aspects of the School of Journalism from 1922-1976, contact us about access to this newly processed collection! Also take a look at our other prominent collection documenting the School of Journalism, 1911-2008, Collection C142!

It’s Women’s History Month!

It’s March, which means not only is spring just around the corner, but also that it’s Women’s History Month! In addition, this year marks the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the Indiana University Office for Women’s Affairs. In honor of both of these events, I’d like to highlight one of the archives’ collections – Indiana University Office for Women’s Affairs records, 1971-1985, bulk 1972-1980. But first, I would like to mention that there is a display in celebration of these events as well in the lobby of Wells Library. I collaborated on the display for an internship project and anyone who is interested should take a little time to check it out!

Focus Newsletter
The first Focus newsletter, 1977

For anyone who’d like to conduct research on women’s issues or the OWA, or for those who are just curious, the aforementioned collection would be a great option to investigate. The collection covers the office’s early years and consists of five boxes made up of four series, some of which are divided into sub-series. The series are as follows: Reference files, 1964-1981; Focus newsletter, 1977-1979; Program development, 1971-1983; and Administrative subject files, 1975-1985. Pictured at right is the first Focus newsletter, just one of the finds within the collection. Copies of later newsletters are also available in the collection, and all of these are featured on the “Women’s Issues in the News at IU” poster in the library’s lobby. For more information on the contents of the collection, please feel free to take a look at the finding aid.

More information on women, women’s issues and the OWA can also be found in the archives’ reference files. Take advantage of Women’s History Month and come see what the archives have to offer!