MS - 085: The Mary Dolheimer Collection of Women's Commission Papers (1985-2001)

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MS-085: The Mary Dolheimer Collection of Women’s Commission Papers (1985-2001)

Inclusive Dates: 1985-2001

Processed by Krystal Thomas

March 2007

Link to Full Finding Aid - PDF

Provenance Donated by Mary Dolheimer, January 27, 2003

Agency History

The President’s Commission on Women, which became known simply as the Women’s Commission, was commissioned in late 1984 though it did not begin to function until the 1985-1986 school year. The Commission grew out of monthly faculty women’s dinners and a realization that a forum was needed for women’s voices to be heard on campus. The formal charges laid before the commission by the President were to incorporate women’s issues into the curriculum, make recommendations concerning resources needed by women, and to heighten awareness of women’s issues and needs among the campus community. Its membership was designed to include faculty, support staff and students, both men and women, in its roster in order to take into account all women on campus and their concerns.

Over the years, the Women’s Commission has tackled the issues of faculty salary equity, maternity/paternal leave policies, child care needs, the salaries and treatment of part-time staff and faculty, and equity issues with admissions, financial aid and athletics. It played an important role in the establishment of a Women’s Studies program on campus, which was founded in 1987. It also began the Women’s Center which created a space for women of their own on campus. The Commission also awarded grants which were available to all campus members, mostly for service-learning projects, but it also used its grant money to fund speakers and events on campus which had awareness of women’s issues as one of its goals. Though its visibility on campus lessened over the years, the Women’s Commission brought the issues of women to the attention of the entire campus community and brought about change where it was needed.


Mary Dolheimer worked at Gettysburg College for thirteen years. She held several different positions while on campus. Her first was as an administrative assistant in the public relations office; her last was as director of media relations. Ms. Dolheimer became involved with the Women’s Commission through her work on the board of child care which started Gettysburg’s Growing Place. Ms. Dolheimer then served as chair of the Women’s Commission for two years, during which the child care issue was resolved by moving the center onto campus and contracting the Hildebrandt Learning Center to handle the day-to-day running of the center. She is currently the director of marketing and media relations at Elizabethtown College and has held that position since 2004.

Scope and Content

The contents of the collection include reports, memos, minutes, agenda, budget reports, grant requests and other various miscellaneous materials from the Women’s Commission’s long tenure on campus. Included are the Climate Study of 1986 and the Reassessment that followed in 1990. Also included are minutes from subcommittees tasked with budget concerns, planning the annual Women’s Dinner or other current concerns of the Commission that year. A History of the Women’s Commission written by the summer intern Meredith Bowne during the summer of 1996 is included and is a good source on how to approach the collection as a whole.

The collection also includes extensive documentation of the part-time faculty survey, including all the original surveys and drafts of the final report. All involvement in other issues such as maternity/parental leave, child care needs, equity in admissions, financial aid and athletics is documented here as well, including the final reports by the Commission on each topic.

Miscellaneous documents concerning the Women’s Center are also included such as newsletters, semester schedules and early reports from the Center after it was established in the late 1980s.

The collection has been organized, as Ms. Dolheimer organized it, by year. Wherever possible, original order has been kept within the years. 

Link to Full Finding Aid - PDF