The Department of Archives and Records Management has recently made available for research the records of the Faculty Women’s Club of Saint Louis University. A full collection finding aid can be found at http://archives.slu.edu/repositories/2/resources/210. Donated by long-time SLU employee, volunteer, and advocate for women Miss Mary Bruemmer shortly before her 2016 retirement, this collection provides valuable insight into the early activities of women on SLU’s campus.
The Faculty Women’s Club was organized in 1939 by Mrs. Leo R. Kennedy, the wife of the Dean of the School of Education and Social Sciences. At that time lay faculty were being hired in large numbers to enhance the existing faculty, which had been primarily Jesuit. Because most of these new faculty members came to Saint Louis from other cities, they had few acquaintances in the area. Mrs. Kennedy recognized the need for a support and friendship group for the wives of the (then almost exclusively male) faculty, who were at home raising young families, and for a social organization to improve the campus atmosphere. As the faculty of Saint Louis University began to include more women during the middle of the 20th century, the group evolved to serve both the wives of male faculty members and female faculty themselves, organizing myriad luncheons, fundraisers, and other social events in support of these two groups of SLU women.
The Faculty Women’s Club records document the history and accomplishments of the Club from approximately one decade after its inception until shortly after its formal dissolution in 2004. Highlights of the collection include original copies of its charter, bylaws, and other foundational documents, as well as extensive publicity materials related to the many events held by the Club during its 65 years of activity.
In addition to the Faculty Women’s Club records, the Archives will soon make available the records of the Saint Louis University Women’s Council, the Women’s Commission, the Ladies Hospital Auxiliary, and the Mary Bruemmer Papers.