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A Finding Aid for the Ferris Dames Records 1956-1974

Collection Summary

Collection Title: Ferris Dames Records

Creator: Ferris State College. Ferris Dames.

Dates: 1956-1974

Abstract: The Ferris chapter of the National Association of University Dames was founded in 1956 to establish and strengthen bonds of friendship among student wives of Ferris Institute; to help develop and provide for special interests of its members; and to stimulate general culture among its members. Functions included educational programs and social activities. Records include administrative records, membership lists, and programs.

Language: English

Quantity: 0.5 cubic feet; 1 half records center box

Identification: UA 33.45.10

Repository: Ferris State University Archives and Records Management Program

Historical Note

The Ferris Dames began in 1956 with the following goals: to establish and strengthen bonds of friendship among student wives of Ferris Institute, to help develop and provide for special interests of its members, and to stimulate general culture among its members. Through the Dames organization, many student wives were able to become involved in campus activities and achieve a connection to both campus and community in service.

The first constitution and by-laws were written for the organization in 1956, based on the constitution of the National Association of University Dames (N.A.U.D.) The constitution was reviewed and amended in the spring of 1958, 1960, and 1966. Along with N.A.U.D, Dames was sponsored by and affiliated with the Association of Ferris Women (the faculty wives organization). Representatives of Dames met with Dean of Students Donald Rankin in January 958 to formalize the groups rules for operating on campus. Since it was not a requirement for a Dame to be a student at Ferris Institute, Dames was ruled a quasi-official student organization and did not have to follow all of the rules of an official student organization.

Each month Dames held two meetings: a business meeting and a social meeting. Following each business meeting was a program put on by a member of Ferris faculty or a local entrepreneur. These programs included a doctors' panel and demonstrations of cosmetology, Tupperware, flower arranging, and other skills. Social events included holiday parties with homemade refreshments, tea parties, bake sales, white elephant sales, bowling outings, and potluck dinners. To raise funds, Dames put on an annual fashion show, collected dues, and held dinners and dances.

Dames gave back to the community through some of their social events. They made decorations for a rest home and also made a children's' toy box for a local hospital.

At its conception, Dames had just over 40 members. The organization grew in popularity and by 1965 it had over 80 members.

Scope and Content Note

The Ferris chapter of the National Association of University Dames was founded in 1956. The members of the organization are student wives helping to put their husbands through university, hence the name "Dames". They retained this name throughout the organization's existence.

Dames served primarily a social function, but the group hosted several educational programs as well. Such programs include travel photo lectures and doctors' panels. Social functions included annual initiation and graduation ceremonies, the latter of which were attended by wives of graduating students. Graduating Dames were given "PHT" degrees, which stood for "Putting Hubby Through". Other social programs were tea and coffee parties, meetings of interest groups, dances, and sporting events. Information about programs is available in the program file and planning file. Materials from select programs are available in the programs file as well. Events were held on campus.

Information about organizational structure is located in the membership lists, officer lists, advisory board membership lists, and committee membership lists. The collection contains correspondence, meeting minutes, planning notebooks, and schedules spanning the years 1956-1974.

There is no indication of the existence of Dames after 1974, but there is also no information about if and when Dames decided to disband.


The papers are contained in a single series.

Access Information

Conditions of Access

The Ferris Dames 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 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

Heddy Rossi Papers (UA 24.10.50)

Scrapbook. FI Playhouse. January 1948-April 1950. Scrapbook Collection.

Administrative Information


Footnotes and bibliographic references should use the following format:
[Item], Folder, Box. Ferris Dames Records. Ferris State University Archives. Big Rapids, Michigan.

Provenance (Acquisition Information)

These records were donated either by the organization, or a member of the organization prior to 1980. There is no record of the transfer.

Processing Information

The Ferris Dames Records were processed to the folder level by Christina Collins in April 2005. A finding aid was prepared in a word processing format and converted to EAD 1.0. A collection level MARC-21 record was prepared and placed in the library online public access catalog. Description based on Describing Archives: A Content Standard (Chicago: Society of American Archivists, 2004).

Separated Materials

Two photographs of the Association of Ferris Wives (the sponsoring organization) were removed and placed in the University photograph collection.

Technical Requirements

This collection consists of typed and handwritten papers. There is no specialized software required for viewing.

Content Listing

Series 1. Subject Files. 1956-1974.

This series consists of approximately 1.5 cubic feet of files. Records include membership lists, programs, news clippings, meeting minutes, and other materials about the organization.

The records are arranged alphabetically by subject or name.

Box Folder Contents
1 1 Advisory Board. Agendas; minutes. 1958-1964.
1 2 Advisory Board. Membership lists. 1956-1964.
1 3 Alumni newsletters. 1959-1961.
1 4 Audits. 1966-1968.
1 5 Brochures; fundraising. Undated.
1 6 Business meetings. Agendas; minutes. 1958-1964.
1 7 Business meetings. Agendas; minutes. 1965-1974.
1 8 Commencement. 1958-1969.
1 9 Committees. Membership lists. 1959-1972.
1 10 Constitutions and bylaws. 1956-1966.
1 11 Correspondence. 1958-1969.
1 12 Executive Board. Minutes. 1958-1962.
1 13 Executive Board. Minutes. 1962-1970.
1 14 Initiation; installation services. Undated.
1 15 Interest Groups. Membership litsts. 1957-1963.
1 16 Membership lists. 1958; undated.
1 17 Newsclippings; press releases. 1958-1964.
1 18 Officer lists. 1956-1969.
1 19 Planning notebooks. 1963-1967.
1 20 Programs. 1958-1973.
1 21 Promotional; publicity materials. 1968-1973.
1 22 Rankin, Donald. Meeting. 1958.
1 23 Schedules for programs. 1962-1966.
1 24 Special interest groups. Officer lists. Undated.