Archives and Special Collections
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Archives and Special Collections Finding Aids

Printable Finding Aid. Back to Browsing Version.

Collection Overview
Title:Faculty Wives records
Dates: n.d., 1941-1971
Call Number:A05
Volume:0.6 cubic ft. (2 boxes)
Scope and Content Abstract:The bulk of Northeastern University's Faculty Wives collection comprises Annual Reports of the Officers, 1941-1969. Also included are materials concerning the disbanding of the organization, newspaper clippings, scholarship records, and scrapbooks relating to the activities of the Faculty Wives.
Historical Abstract:Northeastern University's (NU) Faculty Wives was formed in 1941 to promote social contact among the wives of the university's rapidly expanding faculty. Etta Ell, the wife of NU's second president, Carl Ell, founded Faculty Wives. The organization sponsored back-to-school celebrations, holiday fund-raising parties, and spring luncheons. Money received from fund-raising activities supported student scholarships, building funds, and campus improvement activities. The Faculty Wives disbanded in 1970.
Arrangement:Arranged in one alphabetical sequence by subject.
Subjects and Contributors:
  • Northeastern University (Boston, Mass.). Faculty Wives.
  • Northeastern University (Boston, Mass.).--Funds and scholarships.

  • College teachers' spouses--Massachusetts--Boston--Women.

Restrictions:Student records (box 2, folder 76) are closed for 75 years from the date of creation.
Processor:Finding aid prepared by Meg Moughan, updated by Abigail Schoolman, January 1996, April 1996

Scope and Content Note

The Northeastern University Faculty Wives consists of two manuscript boxes of records, spanning the entire life of the club, 1941-71.  The original order of the records was indiscernible, so they were organized into one subject series.

Arranged chronologically, the annual reports of the officers (Box 1, Folders 1-28) from 1941 to 1969 make up the bulk of the collection.  The reports were usually written by the president and the various committee chairpersons.

Disbandment, 1970-1971 (Box 1, Folder 30) contains correspondence to and from interested club members regarding its future, membership rosters, inventory lists, and a small amount of information regarding the possible continuation of the club off-site following the disassociation with the University.

The collection also contains three volumes of newspaper clippings (Box 2, Folders 65-67).  All of this information has been photocopied in its original order.  Some information contained in these scrapbooks had torn away from the pages.  In this situation, loose clippings were reattached at the bottom of a page which corresponded with the dates on the articles.  Much of the information has faded or was torn in spots; consequently, some of the photocopies are difficult to read.

Scholarship Records, 1954-1965 (Box 2, Folder 76) contains lists of nominees, correspondence from Northeastern's Admissions Office, and letters of acknowledgment from award recipients.  Related information on scholarship decisions can also be found within the minutes of the organization.  The scholarship records folder is closed until 2040.

The Faculty Wives kept track of their annual activities and programs in two oversized leather scrapbooks.  A gift of Mrs. Ell, these two volumes chronicle the history of the organization from 1941 to 1971.  Each year is summarized in one or two pages.  The first volume (Box 2, Folder 77) contains photographs and newspaper clippings on the group's founding and the activities of its first twenty years.  Original photographs were moved to the NU Visual Collection, and photocopies were inserted in their place.  The second scrapbook (Box 2, Folder 78) is arranged similarly to the first volume.  As the scrapbooks were decaying, the pages of text were removed from the bound volumes and inserted into folders.  Unless noted, all of the pages are the originals.

Historical Note

The Northeastern University Faculty Wives was a social organization formed in 1941 by and for the wives of the University's faculty.  It spanned thirty years until its disbandment in 1970, and in that time it functioned largely as a means for faculty wives to socialize and plan events for the Northeastern family. Etta Ell, the wife of Northeastern University's second president, Carl Ell, conceived of the idea of forming an organization dedicated to promoting more social contact among the wives of a rapidly expanding faculty.  In 1941, after several preliminary meetings, the Northeastern University Faculty Wives held their first official meeting.

Among the organization's founders was its first group of officers who served from 1941 to 1943.  Mrs. Carl Ell was elected president; Mrs. Everett A. Churchill, vice president; Mrs. Charles H. Sampson, recording secretary; and Mrs. John Pugsley was elected treasurer.

The Northeastern Faculty Wives' Club (the organization's name until February 14, 1947) drew up its first set of by-laws on October 31, 1941.  The by-laws stated that the "object of this club shall be to promote acquaintance and sociability among its members and to further the interests of Northeastern University" (From the 1942 By-Laws -- Article I, Section 2 found in Box 1, Folder 29).  The founding members determined that the club would be open to the wives of all faculty members.  Meetings were planned for the second Friday of each month from October to May.  Annual elections would be held in April of each year.  Each officer could serve no more than two years on the slate, and the wife of the University president was an honorary member of the organization.

Early in the club's history, seven committees were organized as a means of accomplishing activities and goals:  Hospitality, Membership, Nominating, Program, Publicity, Scholarship, and Ways and Means.  The members of the committees, along with the larger membership of the club, worked together to plan several large events for each school year.  The group usually sponsored a back-to-school celebration, a holiday fund-raising party, and a spring luncheon.

Money received from fund-raising activities was used for three purposes.  A small portion was deposited into the club's bank account for future events and meetings.  The second portion was allotted for donations made to Northeastern University for various building funds and campus improvement activities.  The last portion was earmarked for a scholarship fund for young women.  Each year, the members of the organization selected several recipients for the award, and much of the fund-raising activity was directed towards the goal of building this fund.

In 1965, the organization conducted a survey of similar organizations associated with other universities in the Boston area.  The Faculty Wives hoped to learn what other groups did, how their membership numbers compared with those of other organizations, and how other groups were perceived within the universities they represented.  The survey's findings were discussed and written up as a formal report.

At the time of the survey, the organization's membership was declining.  Despite this, the club remained in existence for another five years.  In September 1970, the club disbanded.  At that time, it was proposed that interested members continue to meet on an informal social basis away from the Northeastern campus.

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1Annual Reports of the Officers (28 folders)1941-1969
1By-laws and Amendments1942-1970
1Cookbook: "Favorite Recipes"n.d.
1Financial Records1943-1969
1Membership Dues1970-1971
1Membership Rosters1942-1962
1Executive Board (3 folders)1942-1971
1-2Board (29 folders)1941-1970
2Newspaper Clippings (3 folders)1946-1968
2Press Releases (7 folders)1956-1970
2Programs of Activities1956-1970
2Scholarship Records1954-1965
2Scrapbook (2 folders)1941-1971
2Survey Committee Findings1965