The Jamestown Branch was issued a charter in 1915, although the local branch did not organize until 1921. On Wednesday, Oct. 5, 25 college/university women from the Jamestown area met in the high school library to form a local branch of the AAUW. Eight days later, on Oct. 13, they held their “first regular meeting,” elected officers, appointed a committee to work on the Constitution, and appointed a representative to attend a meeting of the North Atlantic Division of the national organization in New York City Oct. 29. Colleges represented among the membership included Oberlin, Wellesley, Bryn Mawr, Cornell, Syracuse, Mt. Holyoke, Elmira, Smith, Vassar and Goucher.

Membership in AAUW was limited to women graduates of approved colleges and universities. Strict rules applied in order to be deemed an approved institution:

    • Equal remuneration for both men and women of the faculty;
    • Centralized dormitory accommodations for women;
    • Dean of women shall, rank higher than instructor;
    • Woman on board of trustees; and
    • Scholastic requirements.

Article I of the AAUW Constitution and bylaws stated that nationally the organization “shall be called the Jamestown Branch of the American Association of University Women.” However, locally, it was known as “the Jamestown College Women’s Club.” Its stated purpose was “to unite the college women of the vicinity, for work on the educational, civic and social problems of the community,”- as well as to cooperate with the national organization.

In February, 1922, the College Women’s Club entertained the girls of the senior class and also post graduate students of the high school at a Valentine tea. They encouraged the young women to continue their education and discussed various colleges with them. It was a tradition they continued for many years.

Jamestown residents have become very familiar with the annual What’s New Fair, which raises funds for scholarships to help young women attending college. It is a tradition established in the first’ year of the organization’s history. Initially, the ‘fund was a loan that was expected to be repaid at the recipient’s “convenience.” The first fund-raiser was an’ “entertainment held April 1, 1922. It netted almost $2O0 for the fund.

The first recipient of a branch loan was Pearl Anderson, a junior at Cornell, in January 1923 She ‘was granted a second’ loan in October. Marion Spencer was the second recipient to assist her at Carnegie Institute of Technology. In 1928, the third loan recipient was Pauline Stitt, who was studying to become a doctor at Ann Arbor. Her co-recipient was Dorothy Rhoda, attending Albany Teachers College.