AAUW advances equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research.
AAUW’s Value Promise
By joining AAUW, you belong to a community that breaks through educational and economic barriers so that all women have a fair chance.
Jamestown Branch History – 1934 to Present
On Nov. 1, 1934, Dr. Brainard (temporary chairman) with the help of Mrs. M.P. Wynkook (temporary secretary), an eight year Valley City Branch member, called together Mrs. B.H. Kroeze, Mrs. C.L. Robertson, Mrs. Ronald Thompson, and Miss Mae Crittendon to officially organize a branch. Proxy votes had been sent by Mrs. John Knauf, Mrs. August Geving, Mrs. T.W. Jackson, and Miss Magdalene Heiberg as a total of ten members was required to form a branch. A constitution was adopted and Mrs. T.W. Jackson was appointed to represent the branch at the biennial convention at Fargo on November. 7.
An appointed committee consisting of Dr. Bertha Brainard, Mrts. M.P. Wynkoop, and Mrs. T.W. JACKSON met on Nov. 14, 1934 at Dr. Brainard’s office. The Jamestown Branch of the American Association of University Women was officially chartered. Charter members were Dr. Bertha Brainard (later McElroy), Mrs. Laura (Otto) Boettcher, Mrs. Nettie (B.H.) Kroeze, Mrs. Marion (T.W.) Jackson, Mrs. Mae (Wallace) Joos, Miss Janet Joos, Mrs. Carol (E.J.) Cassell, Mrs. Lillian (August) Geving, Mrs. S.L. Mark, Mrs. Sidney Lokken, Miss Mercedes Muenz, Mrs. Mary (Joseph) Sorkness, Miss Mae Taylor, Miss Lucille Eastman (later Mrs. Joseph Black), Miss Cecelia Mohs, Miss Adeline Rosendahl, Mrs. A.O. Elstad, Mrs. Marie (C.L.) Robertson, Miss Helen Gruchella, Mrs. Cara (Norman) Fried, Miss Mary Burdick, Miss Magdalene Heiberg (later Mrs. Alf Clausen), Miss Caroline Roe, Mrs. Margaret (D.J.) Robertson, Mrs. Lois (T.Y.) Stine, Miss Adelaide Blackwell, Miss Anna Ackerman.
A membership of 23 was reported at this time and it was decided to call the first regular meeting on Nov. 19 at the home of Mrs. Jackson. At this time the group was to complete organization details, elect officers, hear the report of the state meeting in Fargo, and become familiar with the aims and purposes of the organization. Mrs. B.H. Kroeze, Mrs. C.L. Robertson, and Mrs. Joseph Sorkness were appointed as the nominating committee. The officers elected at this first meeting were Dr. Bertha Brainard – President, Mrs. Wallace Joos – Vice President, Mrs. Simon Mark – Secretary, and Mrs. E.J. Cassell, Treasurer. Members were asked to contact as prospective members, women whose BA degrees were from AAUW approved colleges and universities. Jamestown College, UND and North Dakota Agriculture College (later NDSU) were the only ND schools so approved. It would be 1963 before the four State Colleges became approved. BS degrees were not accepted in 1934 because the focus of the organization was the attainment of liberal arts degrees for women. There was a time when two year Associate degree holders were eligible for associate membership.
By 1937 membership had increased to 43 and the Fellowship Fund contribution of 93 cents per capita ranked third in the state. Membership dues were raised to $3.00.
The Jamestown Branch hosted its first State Convention on Oct. 19, 1940 and won first honors in the state for Fellowship Contributions.
Carol Cassell was elected State President in 1946 and extended an invitation for the 1947 state convention to be held in Jamestown. At that time the Jamestown Branch, only 12 years old, was the second largest in the state. Topics for the year included “Cancer”, “Infantile Paralysis”, “Arabs in Palestine”, and “Creative Arts.”
During 1950-51 dues were $5.00, and 37 new members joined the branch.
The National theme of 1957-58 was “Pioneers in Progress” and dues were now $7.50 of which, $2.50 was specified for the Fellowship Fund. The first home tour was held in the fall and tickets were $1.00. Homes shown were those of Mary Sorkness, Clara Meidinger, Marie Robertson and Chris Lee. The branch was assessed $640 for the National Building Fund in Washington, D.C.
The 25th anniversary of the Jamestown Branch was celebrated in 1959. A proposal by Margaret Hawkins to help furnish and maintain a one room school at the Frontier Village was accepted by the membership.
During the next five years home hours were continued, State hospital parties were hosted; Jamestown College Senior women were introduced to AAUW; art and photograph exhibits were sponsored; The Pioneer Village School was dedicated by Senator Burdick; a “New Member” booklet was prepared; “The Prince and the Cinderella” was presented to over 1,000 children and adults at the Crippled Children’s Auditorium; a book exchange was held at several meetings; and program topics centered on “Awareness”, “A Women Thinks”, and “Bridging the Gap between Science and the Layman”.
In 1965 dues were now $12. Program topics centered on “Revolution in Modern China”, “Law and the Citizen”, “Testing Values in a Changing Society”, and “Academic Community – New Look at Campus”. Jamestown again hosted the 28th State Convention.
During the 70’s home tours continued to be money making projects for Felllowships, the book sale was revived with proceeds to Jamestown College scholarships and local expenses. Sales of “Lollipop Soup” (craft ideas for children) and silent auctions were also money making projects. Jamestown again hosted the State Convention in 1975.
In the 80’s Dr. Anne Carlsen was honored with the change of name of the Crippled Children’s School to the Anne Carlsen School, Loretta Jung and Jane Kamletz were chosen North Dakota State “Teacher of the Year”, Elaine Kelm was named Jamestown’s “Outstanding Handicapped Citizen”, Jan Holiday marched at the ERA Rally in Chicago, Home Tour and book sales were fundraisers. Branch membership was at 113 in 1979/80, 136 in 1981/82 and 152 in 1982/83, and was tops in the state.
In the 90’s the branch underwent some changes. Leadership was changed from officers to a steering committee of members who provide branch leadership. The used book sale becomes an annual fundraising event and the tour of homes is discontinued and instead an annual tour of Jamestown gardens becomes a successful fundraiser.
In the 2000’s the branch becomes even more actively involved in promoting young girls to get involved in careers in the math and science field by providing Expanding Your Horizon’s workshops to 6-8thgrade girls for several years. Members also encouraged older than average women to go back to college with their transitions workshop. Another hot topic has been pay equity. Great strides have been made with the help of AAUW’s support in enacting laws that are more family friendly and provide more equity in pay. Branch members also held a workshop to help women learn how to successfully negotiate for pay increases. Dues are now $74 (local,state and national dues) and membership is around 34 members. AAUW Jamestown now operates a Used Bookstore, holds an annual Garden Tour, supports Tech Savvy and the Prairie School House at Frontier Village, besides having various programs that support and mission and purpose.
In its over 75 years, the Jamestown Branch has had many state officers and has traditionally led the state in membership numbers. Monthly programs to promote equity and education and offer leadership opportunities to members and the community have continued throughout its history. The branch is a strong supporter of the AAUW Educational Foundation which provides funding for fellowships and grants as well as research projects related to its mission. Locally the branch contributes annually to the AAUW Jamestown College Endowment, The Arts Center and the James River Library Foundation and other educational programs. The annual Garden Tour and the AAUW Used Book Store help to fund these donations.
The branch continues to work on equity for girls and women and is actively involved in supporting young women in the community through various causes. Please consider joining us as we work to improve the lives of women and girls.