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World Center for Women's Archives (WCWA)

Identifier: MS-069

Content Description

Papers generated by the World Center for Women's Archives including correspondence (carbon and originals), research materials, 1500+ notecards, and reprints focused on American women of science. The collection also includes approximately 30 radio scripts from the Works Progress Administration's Federal Theater Radio Division broadcasts, "Women in the Making of America" and "Gallant American Women." Members of the WCWA assisted in the research for the broadcasts.


  • Creation: 1918 - 1945


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to researchers.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright of these materials may not be held by Connecticut College. Copyright to materials created by others may be owned by those individuals or their heirs or assigns. Researchers are responsible for identifying the copyright holder and securing permission to reproduce copyrighted materials beyond “fair use” before publishing.

Biographical / Historical

For five years, from 1935-1940, the World Center for Women’s Archives (WCWA) collected materials focused on the historical accomplishments of the modern woman. The organization was founded by Mary Ritter Beard (feminist, historian) and Rosika Schwimmer (Hungarian feminist, author), with the goal, according to Beard to,“see this Center established and the finest possible collection of records assembled - records of individual struggle, aspiration and social achievement (or failure if such there be) and records of organised struggle, aspiration and achievement (or failure if such be)."

The membership of the WCWA included notable women such as Mrs. Vincent Astor, Alice Stone Blackwell, Fannie Hurst, Alice Paul, Georgia O'Keeffe, and Eleanor Roosevelt. The offices of the organization were located in Manhattan at 285 Madison Avenue, and the working members created exhaustive lists of information about professional women, their accomplishments, and professional organizations with whom they were affiliated. Due to lack of funding, the WCWA was disbanded in 1940, and the materials the organization compiled disseminated to various organizations and universities, including Connecticut College, Radcliffe College, Smith College, and the American Association of University Women.

The WCWA collection at Connecticut College contains a substantial part of the women of science accessions compiled by the WCWA, and includes extensive research records as well as 1500+ notecards with meticulous details about women of science and scientific organizations. Also present in the collection are numerous correspondence to and from Mary Ritter Beard, correspondence and reprints of Florence Sabin’s publications; and correspondence and reprints of the publications of approximately 50 other notable women of science who donated their collections to the WCWA.

The collection additionally contains approximately 30 radio scripts from the Works Progress Administration's Federal Theater Radio Division broadcasts, "Women in the Making of America" and "Gallant American Women" which ran from 1939-1940. The programs were co-sponsored and broadcast by the Women Activities Division of NBC. The programs sought to highlight women's work and achievements "toward establishing and preserving the American way of life, and their contributions to the arts, sciences and the economic progress of the nation."

The "Women in the Making of America" series was written by Jane Ashman, and researched by Eva Hansl, Program Supervisor at NBC, in cooperation with the World Center for Women's Archives.

The "Gallant American Women" series was written by Eva Hansl and Mary Beard served on the reviewing committee.


Kimbell Relph, Anne. "The World Center for Women's Archives. 1935-1940." Signs 4, no. 3 (1979): 597-603, 597.

Belkin, Nathalie, "If We Were Without A History: The Preservation of Women’s History -- Collection, Development and Continuing Importance," Provenance, Journal of the Society of Georgia Archivists 33 no. 1 (2015).


10 Boxes

Language of Materials



This collection contains papers generated by the World Center for Women's Archives pertaining to American women of science.


Collection is arranged into five (5) Series. Series I is correspondence and research related to the formation of WCWA, including correspondence to and from Mary Ritter Beard and Margaret White; Series II consists of the Florence Sabin accession, including correspondence and reprints of Dr. Sabin's professional articles; Series III consists of the remainder of the accessions received by WCWA related to women of science (approximately 50); Series IV consists of 1500+ notecards prepared by the WCWA related to professional scientific organizations and women of science; Series V consists of radio scripts from the WPA Federal Theater Radio Division broadcasts.

Condition Description

Fair to good

World Center for Women's Archives
Jenifer Ishee
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Linda Lear Center for Special Collections and Archives Repository

Connecticut College
270 Mohegan Ave
New London CT 06320 United States