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Women’s History Archives Earns Preservation Grant From National Endowment for the Humanities

Extensive collection of art and archives will undergo preservation assessment as part of comprehensive collections management plan.

Washington, D.C. – January 13, 2009 – The General Federation of Women’s Clubs is pleased to announce that its Women’s History and Resource Center has earned a $6,000 Preservation Assistance Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The grant will support a preservation assessment of the GFWC archives, special collections, and research library, which document the history of the 118-year old women’s volunteer federation.

“We are thrilled that the National Endowment for the Humanities shares our commitment to preserving women’s history,” said Rose M. Ditto, GFWC International President. “Within our archives are the treasured objects and histories of our Federation, and we are grateful for the grant funds, which will help us continue sharing our archives.”

GFWC’s collections include materials related to advocacy by club members—including some of the most prominent women of their respective eras, such as Julia Ward Howe, Jane Addams, Julia Lathrop, Alice Lakey, Mary Belle King Sherman, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Margaret Chase Smith—on some of the most important issues of the last century: women's suffrage, child labor and juvenile court laws; the Pure Food and Drug Act; the establishment of national parks; the preservation of Native American culture; peacetime uses of technology; libraries and literacy; wartime civil service; the establishment of the United Nations; and the Equal Rights Amendment.

“GFWC’s collections are full of undiscovered treasures that have enormous historical relevance,” said Gail McCormick, director of the Women’s History and Resource Center. “This grant will help us make our collections more accessible to the public while maintaining optimal preservation conditions.”

GFWC will use the grant-funded survey to develop a collections management plan to better preserve and make accessible both its historic archives and its valuable art and artifact collection at GFWC Headquarters, a National Historic Landmark that annually hosts nearly two-dozen academic researchers, more than 5000 GFWC club members, and several hundred people from the local community. Additional preservation work of the Federation is supported by the Friends of the WHRC, whose members currently contribute about $2500 annually to support the collections.

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