MS - 040 : Woman's General League Of Gettysburg College
Processed by: Katherine C. Gallup, '02.
Agency History by: Christine Ameduri
An Archives and Records Management Grant from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission awarded in October of 2002 enabled Special Collections to arrange, describe, and conserve the records and 148 volumes of scrapbooks and Golden Books during 2003.
Donated to Musselman Library by the Woman's League of Gettysburg College after it officially disbanded in the mid 1990s.
The collection consists of 62 linear feet of minutes, treasurer's books, registration information, official reports, special projects, correspondence and miscellaneous memorabilia from the Gettysburg League and nine other sub-leagues from 1911 to 1995. Also included in this collection are 29 scrapbooks dating from 1911 to 1988, which provide a chronological history of the activities of the League and were created by the sub-league and general league historians in order to document the League's history and accomplishments. Materials in the scrapbooks include newspaper clippings, original photographs, official reports, correspondence, fundraising and other miscellaneous materials such as banquet menus and playbills of events benefiting the League. Golden Books, one of the largest on-going fundraising projects established by the League, makes up one of the largest series of the collection. Initiated in the 1920s, these books were a way for family and friends to memorialize their loved ones, both living and deceased, and a way for the League to raise funds for major projects. For a donation of $5 or $10 dollars, one could place the name and photograph of a friend or family member into one of the appropriate books, (Jewels [children], Honor, Memory, Students, Victory and Special Gifts) which were housed at various locations on campus at different points in time (such as Penn or Weidensall Halls), and available for public viewing. There are 86 Golden Book volumes in this series.
Early in 1905, a group of Gettysburg women associated with, or interested in Pennsylvania College, (renamed Gettysburg College in 1921) arranged to host a luncheon and provide entertainment for the graduating class, alumni, faculty and Board of Trustees during commencement week. The event was such a success, that the women formed the College Ladies Aid Society with the intention of making the one-time event an annual affair. No doubt, this Society was the catalyst for the idea of organizing Lutheran women throughout Pennsylvania for the purpose of supporting the college in its mission to keep close ties with the Lutheran Church. In 1908, Dr. Samuel G. Heffelbower, fifth president of the College asked Mrs. Mary G. Stuckenberg, widow of J. H. Wilburn Stuckenburg and benefactor of the College, if she would consider organizing Lutheran women as they were organized at other institutions for the purpose of raising funds to support various religious programs and activities on campus. Under the stewardship of Mrs. Marie Richards, the Woman's General League of Pennsylvania College was officially organized during that meeting in January of 1911. Provisional officers were elected and authority was given to draft a constitution and by-laws, arrange for a general convention, organize new leagues and transact all necessary business. This collection reflects and records almost a century of Gettysburg College history, and the first Woman's--only organization officially affiliated with and recognized by the college. It is also a prime example of the kinds of activities and movements that were occurring during the Progressive Era in Pennsylvania and the United States.
Scope and Content:
This collection provides a variety of interesting materials that give insight to both the Woman's League and the history of Gettysburg College. The majority of information listed in the following Series represents the records of the General League. However, the archive has received records and memorabilia from the Sub-Leagues as well. For the purposes of this Finding Aid, information is organized, foremost with the records of the General League, and then for the Sub-leagues according to the year of their inception. It is important to note that not all of the Sub-leagues are represented on this Finding Aid. Names of Sub-leagues were only included if there was information received from that particular Sub-league in one of the relevant categories. It follows then, that not all of the Sub-leagues included on this Finding Aid have information for each Series. In such instances, researchers should refer to General League: Series: Official Records, where records were kept on each individual Sub-league for the number of years that the Sub-league was active.
The collection is divided into ten different series: I. Constitution and Biography; II. Minutes; III. Treasurer's Books; IV. Registration Information; V. Official Reports; VI. Special Projects; VII. Correspondence; VIII. Miscellaneous Artifacts; IX. Golden Books; X. Scrapbooks
Series I: Constitution and Biography
This, the first series of the Woman's General League of Gettysburg College, provides an important overview of the purpose and history of the Woman's League. The published and recorded histories provide relevant background information regarding the inception of the Woman's League and its accomplishments. The Constitution and Handbook then provide a primary source account of the layout and procedures of the League, as well as its underlying goals.
Series II: Minutes
This series contains general information regarding the regular meetings of the Woman's General League of Gettysburg College, and then the meetings of the Sub-Leagues. These records provide a wonderful overview of the history and accomplishments of the League. It is important to note that several of the Sub-League Minutes records are incomplete or have yet to be received. Information about the meetings held in such instances will be found in the General League Minutes books or in Series: Official Reports. The General League received notices from all Sub-Leagues regarding meetings and progress, and recorded these reports in their Minutes books and Official Reports. It is also important to note that the Minutes books often contain more than a record of minutes. Several of the books contain newspaper clippings, fundraiser information, brochures, financial information, and correspondence. Where gaps are missing in other series, the Minutes books, according to corresponding years, should provide the missing links. In some instances, the Minutes series has been divided into the Sub-sub-series: Agenda Notes. The Agenda Notes correspond to the Minutes reports but are a representation of shorthand note taking rather than the original report.
Series III: Treasurer's Books
This series provides a record of all financial activities of the Woman's League of Gettysburg College. The majority of the Treasurer's books are from the General League. However, the archive has also collected some records of the Sub-Leagues as well. When the General League and Sub-Leagues books are considered together, they provide wonderful insight into how the entire organization was run financially. It is important to note that some of the Treasurer's books overlap chronologically. In such instances, separate books were kept for different funds. The Treasurer's books will provide information regarding the Golden Books, special fundraising drives, and everyday expenses. The Sub-sub-series: Financial Information, included in this series, represents receipts and accounts that were not included in the Treasurer's Books.
Series IV: Registration Information
This series contains membership information for the Woman's League of Gettysburg College. Records found in this series provide information on members and their addresses, attendance at meetings, as well as records for the Golden Books. Most of the information from this group was included with the Minutes books, or was kept with the Treasurer's books in conjunction with recording funds. Other registration information written in yearly reports can be found in Series: Official Reports.
Series V: Official Reports
This series breaks from the arrangement of the first four series, but provides a good summary of the information that was included in those series. Official Reports is broken into two different sub-series; General League Official Reports and Sub-League Official Reports, each arranged chronologically. The Sub-League Official Reports were grouped together by the General League into booklets, thus the purpose for the break from the previous Series arrangements. In Official Reports, there is information pertaining to the treasury, registry, and special projects conducted by the Woman's League. Several of the folders provide a mixture of these reports; however, some are arranged according to specific types of reports. It is important to note that there are some gaps with missing reports. Many of the Sub-Leagues included these reports in the Minutes records, Treasurer's books, or Registration Information. Search through these series to find missing gaps.
Series VI: Special Projects
This series provides information on the accomplishments and contributions of the Woman's League to Gettysburg College through their fundraising drives. This series includes correspondence, fundraising information, and strategies which correspond with the overall goal of the project at hand. In most cases, further information regarding these projects can be found in Minutes, Treasurer's books, Official Reports, and Correspondence according to corresponding dates. This series has only one sub-series considered General League; however, a large portion of the information about the contributions pertains the efforts of the individual Sub-Leagues to the overall project goal.
Series VII: Correspondence
This series contains correspondence from the General League to the Sub-Leagues and visa versa. There is also some correspondence to sources outside of the League. This series acts as a support to all of the preceding series and may provide valuable clues where there are missing holes in information. This series, as the previous, is grouped under one Sub-series considered to be General League. A large portion of the Correspondence series is included in previous series, most significantly in the Minutes records, Registration Information, Special Projects, and Scrapbooks.
Series VIII: Miscellaneous Memorabilia
This series contains a variety of artifacts and memorabilia collected by the Woman's League of Gettysburg College. Items found in this part of the collection will help supplement information regarding Special Projects as well as information about the Woman's League Conventions. There are a variety of items to be found in this series ranging from Newspaper Clippings to Photographs to Banquet Menus and even the Woman's League Gavel and Stand used at meetings and conventions.
Series IX: Golden Books
This series represents a major aspect of the Special Projects that the Woman's League participated in. Because of the quantity of Golden Books as well as their importance as a fundraiser for the financial contributions of the Woman's League to Gettysburg College, this portion has been designated as an individual series. However, it is conceptually linked to the Special Projects series. The Golden Books were incepted as a method that allowed the League to reach out to the community for financial contributions, as well as allow the community to memorialize their loved ones. The Golden Books Series contains both a documented history of the inception of the Golden Books, financial records, as well as all volumes of Golden Books, according to the particular donation, and a very useful index. It is important to note that the Sub-series of Golden Books are listed according to their inception. The General League Golden books reflect the donations collected from all Sub-leagues. However, two leagues in particular, the Baltimore Sub-league and Washington D.C. Sub-league, kept their own Golden Books as well. These two Sub-series of Golden books follow at the end of the General League Golden Books. Other information about the Golden Books can be found in the following Series: Minutes, Treasurers Books, Registrar Information, Special Projects, Scrapbooks, and Miscellaneous Memorabilia.
Series X: Scrapbooks
The scrapbook series provides a chronological history and background of the activities of the Woman's League of Gettysburg College. In the scrapbooks, one will find a plethora of information that is directly relevant and often included in the preceding series. The scrapbooks were organized and put together by the Sub-league and General League historians in order to document and maintain the League's history and accomplishments. Materials in the scrapbook collection include newspaper clippings, original photographs, official reports, correspondence, and fundraising materials. The scrapbooks are organized and divided into series which are designated first by the General League and then the Sub-Leagues according to the order in which the Sub-leagues were implemented. This organization follows with the order kept in Series: Minutes, Treasurer's Books, Registration Information and Official Reports.