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A Finding Aid for the Association of Ferris Women Records 1955-1988

Collection Summary

Collection Title: Association of Ferris Women Records

Creator: Ferris State University. Association of Ferris Women.

Dates: 1955-1988

Abstract: The Association of Ferris Women was an organization founded in 1958 to promote fellowship and to be of service to the Ferris Dames organization. Membership was open to all women faculty and wives of faculty. The organization provided a variety of activities and monthly programs that enabled the members fostered friendship with other Ferris women. Records include administrative records, committee records, financial records, membership lists and programs.

Language: English

Quantity: 1.5 cubic feet; 1 records center box

Identification: UA 32.40.10

Repository: Ferris State University Archives and Records Management Program

Historical Note

The Association of Ferris Women (AFW) began in 1958 to promote fellowship among the members, and to be of service to the Ferris Dames organization. Membership was open to all women faculty and wives of faculty. The organization contained several committees, which provided a variety of activities and monthly programs that enabled the members fostered friendship with other Ferris women.

The organization was formed to serve as a vehicle in which the wives of male faculty, as well as female faculty, could gather together and bridge the gap between the diversified members of the staff and promote camaraderie. The women maintained that in promoting this fellowship that they would be happier and in turn this would make their husbands' work life easier and promote good morale.

While the organization began as a social group where women brought sewing and knitting, it grew to be a structured group whose main goal was to welcome the annual influx of the wives of new employees and provide activities to enable them to become acquainted with the city of Big Rapids and its citizens. They also provided regular activities and programs for all Ferris women. Older members would meet with the newer members in "coffees" or other special events.

As the college expanded and became departmentalized, the group became less like a family and more of a college adjunct in the scope of their activities. The group engaged in three types if major programming aimed at getting the women acquainted with other women of similar cultural and educational backgrounds. There were general meetings, smaller meetings of interest groups, and get acquainted "coffees". The group aided members in times of emergency.

The bond which originally bound the group together was strengthened by common interest groups, which meet more frequently then the general meetings and sometimes included husbands. The groups include interests such as bridge, book review, fitness and sports, foreign cooking, record listening, sewing, theatre, and knitting. They also planned programs, such as fashion shows and other events that would interest women of the time.

The organization was disbanded in 1988 because of a shift in culture. Within these years society and the role women played within it had altered hugely. Women began losing interest in the programs and activities as America changed and they gained more rights and opportunities than they held in the initiation of the organization.

Scope and Content Note

The faculty wives organization was officially transformed into Association of Ferris Women in the late fifties, when they changed to encompass the female staff members and the expanding nature of Ferris Institute. The organization name reflected their mission of being vital in promoting fellowship between the women of Ferris State.

Information about organizational structure is located in membership lists, sporadic committee records and lists and officer/committee reports between 1957 and 1988. The changing constitution reflected the evolving organization. The activities of the organization can be traced through agendas and minutes from general meetings (1957-1988 )and from leadership board meetings (1969-1988). Financial records also help to document activities and structure. The collection also contains a series of yearbooks distributed to the members each year dating from 1955 to 1987. Finally, snapshots of club life are found in newspaper articles about the organization and correspondence files.

Researchers will not find in this collection much information about the private lives of the individual women. Also, because the group is an adjunct to the University there little information about the school itself, the school events that occurred, or about students that attended the institution. Finally, other than listing the male faculty members who had wives that were eligible for membership, there is no information about any of their spouses or their work at Ferris.

In 1988, the organization disbanded because of declining membership and a lack of interest. A separate folder of surveys includes some documentation how the female members of the Ferris community felt about the organization.

Some objects are also part of the collection. They include a gavel, stationary, nametags and a key.


The papers are divided into a single series.

Access Information

Conditions of Access

The Association of Ferris Women Records are open for research to all users in accordance with University Archives and Records Management access policies. It is available in the reading room of the Ferris State University Archives.

Conditions of Use

Requests for permission to publish material should be directed to the University Archivist. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights.

Copyright interests for this collection not have been transferred to Ferris State University. For more information, contact the University Archivist.

Subject Headings

Below are a list of names, organizations and subjects relating to the collection. Names have been taken from Library of Congress Authority headings whenever possible.

Related Materials

Ferris Dame Records (UA 33.45.10)

Administrative Information


Footnotes and bibliographic references should use the following format:
[Item], Folder, Box (or url). Association of Ferris Women Records. Ferris State University Archives. Big Rapids, Michigan.

Provenance (Acquisition Information)

The Association of Ferris Women Records were donated after the organization disbanded in 1988. The exact donor and date of gift is unknown but occurred before September 2002.

Processing Information

The Association of Ferris Women Records were processed to the folder level by Caitlin Hutchison in March 2009. A finding aid was prepared in a word processing format and converted to EAD 2.0 utilizing the Archivist Toolkit. A collection level MARC-format record was prepared and placed in the library online public access catalog. Description based on Describing Archives (Chicago: Society of American Archivists, 2004).

Technical Requirements

This collection consists of textual materials and artifacts. There is no specialized software required for viewing.

Content Listing

Series 1. Administrative Records and Artifacts. 1955-1988.

Records include correspondence, membership lists, news clippings and other organizational materials. Committee files, when the type of record is not specified, may contain a mixture of administrative documentation.

This series consists of approximately 1.7 cubic foot of files arranged alphabetically by subject/name. At the end of the series are miscellaneous artifacts such as a gavel and a key.

Box Folder Contents
1 1 Auditing committee. 1971-1976.
1 2 Board meetings. Minutes. 1969-1987.
1 3 Budget. 1958-1987.
1 4 Budget. Book. 1980-1988.
1 5 Budget. Receipts. 1961-1988.
1 6 Checking account. 1980-1988.
1 7 Communications committee. 1959-1976.
1 8 Constitutions; Installation service for officers. 1958-1986.
1 9 Correspondence. Newcomer invitations. 1965-1987.
1 10 Correspondence. Received publicity. 1971-1988.
1 11 Deposit books. 1971-1985.
1 12 Ferris Dames. 1963-1977.
1 13 Financial reports. 1959-1986.
1 14 Hospitality committee. Annual reports; newcomer commitee. 1957-1982.
1 15 Hostess committee. 1959-1982.
1 16 Hostess committee. Minutes. 1968-1969.
1 17 Hostess committee. Notes. 1961-1970.
1 18 Interest groups. 1961-1988.
1 19 Membership cards. A-Ko. 1971.
1 20 Membership cards. Kr-Y. 1971.
1 21 Membership lists. 1964-1982.
1 22 Membership lists. 1982-1988.
1 23 Membership liksts. Book. 1970-1973.
1 24 Minutes. 1968-1976.
1 25 Minutes. 1977-1988.
1 26 Miscellaneous records including: nametags, photographs, report on Inter-club Council.
1 27 Nearprint. Flyers. 1974-1988.
1 28 Nearprint. Newspaper articles. 1971-1988.
1 29 Presidential records. (Includes: Memorandum; past presidents list; reports)
1 30 Publicity committee. 1962-1979.
1 31 Program committee. 1957-1986..
1 32 Rental requests. 1975-1986.
1 33 Secretary records. 1959-1974.
1 34 Social committee. 1960-1975.
1 35 Surveys. 1985.
1 36 Vice Presidential records. 1969-1986.
1 37 Yearbooks. 1955-1987.
1 38 Gavel.
1 39 Key.