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Clubwomen to Get Access to More GFWC History

GFWC’s treasures are always revealing themselves, and now even more of the Federation’s history is available to clubwomen thanks to a chance encounter with a single box.

WHRC Director Gail McCormick discovered the box in the WHRC Research Library; it holds 158 sheets of microfiche labeled “GERRITSEN WOMEN’S HISTORY,” containing images of GFWC magazines from 1923 to 1975. About a year ago, GFWC discovered that ProQuest, a major provider of research databases currently owns and is digitizing this collection. Since most of the GFWC magazines in the collection are still under Federation copyright, GFWC proposed that they be separated from the Gerritsendatabase to create a unique General Federation of Women’s Clubs Collection. To enhance that collection, GFWC offered to make additional publications available for digitization as well. The ProQuest board recently approved GFWC’s proposal, with digitization scheduled to move forward in 2010.  

This new collection represents a significant benefit to GFWC members, who will have free access—subscriptions generally run in the thousands of dollars per year– to this database. . In addition, ProQuest’s high quality digital images will become a permanent part of the GFWC archives, and the partnership will help promote GFWC to researchers who use ProQuest.

GFWC will share more details as they are confirmed over the next several months. In the meantime, ProQuest is offering GFWC members free access to the content that is already available in The Gerritsen Collection of Women’s History, 1543-1945, which is acclaimed to be one of the finest sources for the study of international women’s history. The collection was begun in the late 19th century by Aletta Jacobs Gerritsen, a leading feminist and the Netherlands’ first woman doctor. A limited amount of GFWC material is now in this database, primarily pre-1925, but the new access will enable GFWC members to get a sense of the potential of such a resource and identify other materials that will help put GFWC history within the context of international women’s history.

To access the collection, visit www.GFWC.org/ProQuest. Members will be required to log in to GFWC’s member database using your e-mail address and established password. If you have questions about your profile or logging in, please contact GFWC’s Membership Services Team at Membership@GFWC.org or 202/347-3168.

We hope you take advantage of this valuable resource to promote GFWC’s role in women’s history!

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