The American Association of University Women at NMU

The American Association of University Women (AAUW) is the nation’s leading voice promoting equity and education for women and girls. Since our founding in 1881, AAUW members have examined and taken positions on the fundamental issues of the day — educational, social, economic, and political.

Beginning in 1953, any female student from Northern Michigan College could apply to be a member of AAUW, providing her a sense of community, assistance, and a voice. Before ’53, such an opportunity was scare available to students here on campus. Prior to the school’s acceptance, Northern had not met certain requirements set by AAUW to become associated: Inadequate health and housing facilities for female students and too few women in high faculty ranks and administrative positions.

Miss Ethel Carey, who at that time served as Dean of Women at Northern, heard these concerns directly from the students she counseled and took action. Shortly after accepting President John Munson’s job offer in 1924, Carey had a room adjacent to her office remodeled for Northern’s first school nurse, Martha Hatch. Mrs. Hatch was able to administer free flu and smallpox vaccines, free tuberculosis x-ray checks, and aided students who required serious hospitalization with student funds. In 1948, Northern’s first dormitory for women, Carey Hall, opened with nurse Ada Vielmetti’s Health Center occupying a four-room suite inside. Thus, work could begin on application to AAUW.

As members of AAUW, female faculty, staff, and supporters could attend nation- or state-wide conferences during their time in the association. Attendees of the various conventions were distributed “Convention Daily” booklets, which detailed their schedules.

Each 6-page booklet served as a news digest as well, often including lists of recently admitted university associations, articles concerning speeches made by AAUW leadership, or event schedules/recaps. Most of the news would probably have little relevance to the overall history of the organization, but I find the bulletins interesting peeks into the “in culture” of AAUW members of the 1950s.

“What’s In A Name?” asks a small endcap. “AAUW is being called names. A taxi driver looking up at the sign… remarked, “Oh, the Active American Union of Workers is meeting, and they all seem to be women.” A recurring section, “Honestly, It’s True…” made many allusions to current events with a humorous twist: “…that intemperance has been a national issue for a long, long time. At least Dr. Rosamonde Ramsay Boyd found enough material on the problem to do her M.A. thesis on the subject, ‘Drinking Customs in South Carolina 1663-1830.” Another issue reads, “…that every session of the AAUW Convention is attended by a sprightly young fellow with no college degree nor background. He’s Reddy Kilowatt, the symbolic thunderbolt on your convention ball point pen. He’s attending as the delegate of Northern States Power Company.”

These moments of witty rhetoric and general fun are sprinkled throughout the pages, but in no way take away the professionalism of each newsletter. Equity and education of women and girls was still at the heart of these publications. One 1953 issue included a briefing on past First Lady Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt’s lecture tours abroad, who sent a message to the convention: “Education is invaluable for a free people; in fact, it would be impossible without education to have a really successful form of democratic government.”

To learn more about the history of the AAUW, contact the NMU Archives ( or (906) 227-1225) or stop in to see our Marquette branch records, MSS-163. If you are interested in becoming active in the Marquette AAUW branch, please contact Membership Co-Chair and NMU Dean of Library and Instructional Support, Leslie Warren (

Mending: Before, During, and After!

One of my favorite parts of working at the Archives is mending. As a trade off with the library that happened Winter 2017, the archives ended up with mending duties. The library sends all of their damaged books down to the archives, and we fix them using various methods, and tools.

My specific title in the archives is Arrangement and Description Specialist, which entails organizing, weeding, and foldering documents in a way that will make it easy for researchers to find information in the future. As much as I love my job, it can get repetitive and slow. Lucky for me, I get a two hour break every week to mend books. I don’t know if it is my love of books that makes mending so enjoyable, or the instant gratification of seeing a book go from damaged to fixed.

I wanted to share that feeling of satisfaction, so here is a series of before and after photos of books that I have successfully mended.

Book #1 only had a broken hinge, so all it needed was some hinge tape on the inside cover.

Our supplies shelf is overrun with mending materials and other archival materials. Here’s the one with tape!

Book #2 had a worn spine and edges, so I used fabric tape to protect the edges and spine. We have tons of different colored tapes, so I chose the one I thought looked the best. In this case, black on black.

Book #3’s text block had to be removed because both hinges were loose. I fixed this by using double stitch tape to secure the text block to the cover. The white tool next to the book is a bone folder, used to smooth out bubbles and secure tape.

Book #4 had the same problem as #2: Worn spine and edges. So, I used fabric tape to protect them. In the background, you can see the very official jars of glue we use to secure the tape.

As you can tell, books often fall apart in predictable ways. Book #5’s text block came unattached from its cover (like in #3) so I used double stitch tape to secure it back on.

Book #6’s edges were very worn, and the spine needed extra protection. So, I used fabric tape to cover the edges, spine, and corners to protect them from future damage.

This final book doesn’t have an after photo (because I forgot to take one), but here it is in the process of mending. The spine had disconnected from the cover, and needed to be attached, so I used fabric tape to reattach them.

If you want to see some more mending photos, check out the slideshow below! To read more in-depth about the processes we use, there’s a past Northern Tradition post about that, too. See it here: Feature Spotlight: Mending

This post was written by Eliza Compton and formatted by Emily Tinder.

Archives on TV!

Following their thought-provoking debate on digital preservation at this semester’s second Evening at the Archives event, Marcus, Dan, and Leslie were invited to appear on WNMU-TV’s Media Meet! Marcus Robyns, the University Archivist, chats with Dan Truckey of the Beaumier Heritage Center and Leslie Warren, the Dean of Library and Information Sciences, about digital preservation in archives, museums, and libraries. Hear these discussions and more, all hosted by Bill Hart, at this link!

The University Archives is run by Marcus Robyns, pictured above.