A HISTORY OF THE
the charter of the Athens Branch was not granted until October 3, 1927, plans
for the organization of the Branch were under way at least a year earlier. [
Membership after that became an up-and-down affair. In the depression years with the “financial stress of the times,” as Mrs. Frederick Krecker, president, 1936-36, called it, many members were forced financially to drop out of the organization. In 1933-34, there were only 75 members, and the Branch had only eight regular meetings. It was not until 1952-1953 that membership again topped the one-hundred mark. In 1955-1956, there were 148 members; and in 1962-63, 146 members.
From the beginning the Athens Branch has been marked with what Miss Mary Helen Fretts, president, 1932-34, called a “variety and breadth of interest.” In 1935, it was recognized as one of the most active in the country. It was second in the state in the number of active study groups, fifth in contributions to the National Fellowship Fund, and fourth in per capita total to this fund. In 1951-52, it was among the top ten Ohio branches in fellowship contributions.
the Branch’s most noteworthy accomplishment in the early years was the “McGuffey Revue”, a pageant, which was written by
Dean Voigt and Dr. Edith Wray, and was produced and staged by members as a part
From the first, providing funds for scholarship and fellowships was a paramount objective of the Athens Branch. In 1929, its members pledged $1,000 to be paid to the National Fellowship Fund by 1934. In spite of the depression, this obligation was met.
“McGuffey Revue,” funds were raised in a variety of
other ways. Another historic pageant, “Historic
Ohio,” was written and staged in 1928. “
Cook books, Christmas cards and note paper; gave waffle suppers, bean suppers, bridge and canasta parties; held silent auctions, white elephant auction, cake auctions, and style shows.
years, the annual Book Fair has become the biggest source of income for
scholarships and fellowships. The first
of these was held in the spring of 1955, although an earlier used-book sale in
1949 had provided emergency funds for Chinese students attending
have provided yearly additions to the National Fellowships Fund and have
provided, since 1952, a scholarship to
Study groups have always been an active part of the Athens Branch. In 1936, for example there were nine study groups with more than ten members each, and the Ohio University Library set up a shelf for AAUW members in its periodical room. The types of study groups have chanced with the times, but the International Relations group has lived through the years. In the early years, this group held semi-monthly dinner meetings.
Other study groups have included drama; art appreciation; modern literature; a group for mothers of pre-school children, which was opened to the community; a Virgilean group, which for two years read Virgil in translation; home decoration, social psychology, book review; creative writing, creative arts, nature appreciation; current problems; French reading; German reading; play acting and reading; consumer education; status of women; music enjoyment; human relations; first aid; and photography. In 1937, all study groups were opened to the community as a public service. Unfortunately, by 1962-63, study groups had become almost inactive.
Not the least of the Branch’s accomplishment has been its own monthly publication. In 1927, the Newsletter, edited by Dr. Wray, was started. It was so well edited that Dr. Wray received congratulations from many branches and state officers and its makeup was copied for the State Bulletin. In 1934, only six issues were published, and in 1935 its size was often reduced to one page, but it still found room to print bibliographies of interesting reading for Branch members. The Newsletter was discontinued during the war years, but in 1949, the AAUW News Bulletin made its appearance. In 1951, the name was changed to the AAUW Newsletter. This continues to be published.
Other activities, traditions, and accomplishments dot the history pages of the Athens Branch. Entertaining the senior girls, sometimes twice yearly, and holding a banquet or picnic as the final meeting of the year have become traditions.
1931, the Athens Branch was hostess to the Ninth Annual Conference of Ohio
Federation of Branches of AAUW. In 1934,
the Branch instituted a successful summer program with fifty or more members
attending each meeting. In 1937, Dean
Voigt inaugurated the
Finally, the Athens Branch has contributed many state and national leaders to AAUW. In 1928, Mrs. Milo Kimball, president of the Branch, became treasurer of the State organization, and Dean Voigt was on the State Fellowship Committee. Dean Voigt later served as state president and as director (now called regional vice-president) of the Northeast Central Section. She was also chairman of the state resolutions committee and a member of the national committee on membership. Dr. Wray has served as recording secretary of the regional section as as state president; Mrs. E. J. Taylor, as state chairman of creative arts; Miss Marguerite Apple, as state corresponding secretary; Mrs. Lorin C. Staats as state second-vice president; Dr. Elizabeth B. Stanton, as Implementation Chairman, Occident and Orient; and Miss Erma I. Anderson, as state fellowships chairman.