The GFWC Archives document the historical development of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs. The collection is arranged by record groups that mirror the GFWC’s organizational structure. Within record groups, materials are arranged in series that generally identify types of records. Whenever possible, the original order established by the records’ creators has been maintained.
The chronological coverage of the entire collection is about 1889 to the present. Most record groups have been processed through about 1992, but not all. Most of the records are contained in bound volumes or paper files, but other formats include photographs, audio-visual material, and artifacts. The Board of Directors Minutes and GFWC Publications record groups, which are two of the most important research sources, are nearly complete in chronological coverage.
Due to limited space and resources, the WHRC does not actively collect the administrative archives of GFWC member clubs. The WHRC does provide assistance to GFWC member clubs in locating appropriate state and local repositories for these materials. The WHRC maintains records on where member clubs permanently preserve their archives. WHRC does hold a small collection of GFWC regional, state, local, and international club documents for which no appropriate repository was immediately identified at the time of donation. These materials have been identified as Special Collections.
The GFWC Archives is arranged in the following record groups and related series:
- Founding Documents, 1889-1934
Records of GFWC's founding and some records of its “mother club” Sorosis.
- Constitution and Bylaws, 1890-
GFWC's constitution and bylaws, reflecting changes over GFWC’s history.
- Board of Directors Records, 1890-
These records, primarily minutes of GFWC's administrative bodies, are nearly complete.
- Presidents' Papers, 1890-
The papers of GFWC's presidents pertaining to their administrations. These records become more complete beginning in the 1920s.
- Publications, 1889-
GFWC magazines and other publications.
- Convention Records, 1896-
Proceedings of GFWC national meetings and regional conferences.
- Resolutions and Legislation, 1892-
GFWC resolutions on issues and records of legislative action.
- Membership Records, 1890-
Membership directories and statistics.
- Program Records, 1904-
Records of GFWC's programmatic areas of work. The bulk of these materials consist of special project materials of GFWC departments, divisions, and committees.
- Financial Records, 1912-
Significant financial and property records.
- Junior Records, 1928-
Records pertaining to GFWC's clubs for younger members.
- Public Relations Records, 1932-
Public relations bulletins and press releases.
- Anniversary Records, 1941-
Records of anniversary celebrations commemorating milestones in GFWC's history.
Photographs of GFWC founders, presidents, conventions, and other activities of the Federation.
- Audio-visual Material
Videotapes, slides, audiotapes, films, filmstrips, and record albums documenting GFWC programs and history.
Pins, badges, buttons, and other small memorabilia directly related to the mission and activities of GFWC.