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Alumnae Association records

Identifier: 7D

Scope and Contents

Collection consists of the records of the Wellesley College Alumnae Association, dating from 1880 to 1972, intellectually arranged into 8 series.

Series I. Alumnae Association subject files, 1880-1972, is the largest series, and includes records on a wide variety of topics such as Alumnae Association activities, its history (including charter, By-Laws and Consitution), publicity, the Alumnae Council, relationship with the American Alumni Council, statistics on alumnae, clubs and committees, interoffice communications (including with the President's Office), financial records, the Wellesley Magazine, alumnae directories, alumnae questionnaires, reunions, the Semi-Centennial Celebration and the 75th Anniversary Celebration, records of the Wellesley War Service Committee and relief units during World War I, records of the Graduate Council including its annual reports, its Wellesley Club Committee, and its Constitution and By-Laws. Also includes two photo albums of Alumnae Parade prize-winners and class groups, two original drawings from the Wellesley College Engagement Calendar, an Alumnae Association scrapbook (1896-1930), and two Alumnae Association guest books. The following Series II. through VII. were made distinct from Series I. as they included 10 or more files on a particular subject.

Series II. Annual Meetings, 1880-1972, includes Annual Meeting agendas from the 1966 to 1972, Annual Reports and meeting minutes from 1880 to 1927, 1935 to 1950 (with the exception of the 1942-1943 Report), and early versions of the Alumnae Association's Constitution.

Series III. Alumnae Board records, 1899-1971, includes the Alumnae Board's Annual Reports and Policy Book, biographies of Board members, records of the Class Officers Chairmen, three notebooks of the Class Presidents' Committee Chairmen, records of the Class Representatives Chairmen, Annual Reports made to the Board by the Executive Secretary and correspondence of the Executive Secretary including a "Tentative Agreement Between Board of Directors of Alumnae Association and Wellesley College." Also includes details of the responsibilities of various Officer positions, meeting agendas and minutes, records of the Nominating Committee, a 1946 Officer's Manual, correspondence of the President of the Board from 1954 to 1961, records of the First and Second Vice Presidents, and travel expense accounts from the 1950s.

Series IV. Cooperation with other institutions, 1920-1968, consists of records of collaborations and correspondence with other institutions and their alumni associations, including Barnard, Bryn Mawr, Dartmouth, Goucher, Mount Holyoke, Radclifee, Simmons, Smith, and Vassar Colleges, as well as MIT. Also includes a file on cooperation with the Seven College Conference.

Series V. Funds, 1923-1964 includes records of special funds of the Alumnae Association, the Alumnae Fund (including its history, objectives, publicity, insurance, and statistics), related statistics on alumnae from the Classes of 1879-1945, records of alumnae membership (including Life Members and the Mary Hemenway Section), records of the Durant Memorial Fund (including Committee correspondence and financial statements),and records of bequests and the Bequest Program. Also includes files on the Mayling Soong Foundation (see also collections 2BP and MSS-001), and a file on the S.S. Wellesley Victory (one of a type of cargo ships mass produced in the U.S. during World War II).

Series VI. Sales, 1896-1962 includes records of sales of memorabila such as rings, coat-of-arms pins, etchings, calendars, 'Baby's First Chairs,' Wedgwood china plates, and Wellesley Lyrics.

Series VII. Trustees, 1942-1972 includes records of Alumnae Trustee candidates and elections, records of the Alumnae Trustee Nominating Committee (including reports and correspondence), records of individual Alumnae Trustees and correspondence with College Trustees, and records of elections of Trustees at other institutions.

Series VIII. Wellesley College, 1876-1971 consists of files on the college specifically such as its Articles of Government, the Academic Council, conferences held, Tree Day history and class trees, the Committee on Long-Term Educational Policy, files on 'Distinguished Alumnae' and their accomplishments, records of events and festivities, three 'History' subject files documenting the story of the college's founding and early years, records of inaugurations, news clippings, files on the Institute of Foreign Students, Washington Interns, and the Summer Institute for Social Progress, and records of alumnae pushback against college policy regarding German faculty and exchange students just before World War II,


  • 1880-1972


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. To make an appointment to view materials, please contact the Archives staff by email at or by phone at (781) 283-3745.

Conditions Governing Use

The Wellesley College Archives welcomes researchers to use materials in the public domain, to make fair use of copyrighted materials as defined by copyright law, and to request permission to use works whose copyright is held by Wellesley College. All materials from the Archives, regardless of copyright status, should be attributed to the Wellesley College Archives, Library and Technology Services when cited, quoted, or reproduced.

Biographical / Historical

The Wellesley College Alumnae Association (WCAA) was chartered in 1880; the founding of the Association was a joint effort of the Classes of 1879 and 1880 and took place June 23, 1880. The first elected Officers of the WCAA were: Miss Bingham, Class of 1879, as President; Miss Bates, Class of 1880, Miss Montague, Class of 1879, and Miss McCoy, Class of 1879, as Vice Presidents; Miss Stickney, Class of 1880, as Secretary, and Miss Peirce, Class of 1880, as Treasurer. The first annual meeting of the WCAA was held on June 27, 1881, at Hotel Wellesley, Wellesley, MA. At this first annual meeting, it was voted to spell their name as the 'Alumni Association' (with an 'i' vs. 'ae'), but this decision was reversed back to the 'Alumnae Association' the following meeting (June 28, 1882).The WCAA was incorporated in 1916; it is an organization independent from Wellesley College. Its purpose as stated by the incorporators is: "to extend the helpful association of student life and to maintain such relations to the college that we may efficiently aid her upbuilding and strengthening, to the end that her usefulness may continually increase." The WCAA gained representation on the Wellesley College Board of Trustees in 1893, with the inclusion of three Alumnae Trustees. The Graduate Council was created in 1911 to act as advisors to the larger association. A permanent Alumnae Office was created in 1915 with a full time Executive Secretary and assistant. The WCAA assisted with the incorporation of the Student Aid Society in 1916, as the two organizations worked cooperatively. As of 1922, the Alumnae Association had five Officers, each serving two year terms; the five officers appointed an Executive Secretary. The WCAA's work involved maintaining records of addresses of alumnae, managing the publication of the Alumnae Quarterly and biennial Alumnae Directories, and arranging twice-yearly Graduate Council meetings and an annual WCAA meeting. At that time in the early 1920s, there were about 2200 dues-paying members. Current membership (as of circa 2021) is close to thirty-five thousand, including active members, associate members (some non-degree candidates and Continuing Education/Davis Scholars), and honorary members. During the 75th Anniversary Fund campaign (1952) the WCAA's fundraising mission changed, and since then Wellesley College's Office for Resources (currently the Development Office) has been responsible for fundraising for the college. Currently the WCAA has increased representation on the college's Board of Trustees, including four alumnae trustees, one young alumnae trustee, and the President of the WCAA.

[Information from: "About the Association" webpage, URL:, and 7D file: "History (includes 1921-1922 fact sheet), 1883-1952," Box 1, Folder 17.]


15.6 Linear Feet (9 cartons, 4 boxes, 5 oversize boxes)

Language of Materials



Collection is physically arranged in alphabetical order by file title. Collection is intellectually arranged in into 7 series: Series I. Alumnae Association subject files, 1880-1972; Series II. Annual Meetings, 1880-1972; Series III. Alumnae Board records, 1899-1971; Series IV. Cooperation with other institutions, 1920-1968; Series V. Funds, 1923-1964; Series VI. Sales, 1896-1962; and Series VII. Trustees, 1942-1972. Separate series from Series I. Alumnae Association Subject Files were created in cases where there were 10 or more files on a particular subject.

A 1982 accession has been integrated into the existing collection (May 2021), maintained physically in original order at the end of the collection (boxes 12, 13, and Oversize 1), and intellectually integrated into the above 8 series by subject.

Related Materials

See also the collection Alumnae Fundraising records (7F).
Wellesley College Alumnae Association. Alumnae Association records, 1880-1972: a guide.
Finding aid created by Natalia GutiƩrrez-Jones, Project Archivist. Collection had existing folder titles and arrangement by former unidentified Archives staff, which has been slightly revised during creation of finding aid.
2021 April
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Wellesley College Archives Repository