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Women's History Collection

Eleanor Roosevelt and Margaret M. Bryant

Facts about South Carolina Women

Did you know that women in South Carolina were instrumental in:
  • Securing state appropriations for public libraries?
  • Promoting legislation to establish the Children’s Bureau of South Carolina to provide for the regulation of child labor?
  • Helping establish the South Carolina Board of Social Services and the South Carolina Department of Labor?
  • Lobbying for legislation to establish compulsory school attendance and laws to establish governmental standards for the enrichment of bread and flour?

Why the Women’s History Collection?

Winthrop was among the first institutions to actively collect material pertaining to women’s history. The study of Women’s History is a natural focus of the Manuscript Collection with Winthrop University being founded as a Women’s College in 1886 and remaining so until Winthrop became a coeducational institution in 1974. Many Winthrop graduates, local persons, and organizations have gone on to perform active and important roles as leaders and participants in clubs and organizations, home extension, social work, politics, religion, business, art, education, civic and charitable affairs, and other activities which have helped shape our state’s history. The letters, diaries, research, speeches, clippings, photographs, memorabilia, and other types of material that have been collected through the years is of interest and importance for those wanting to document the role women have had in shaping South Carolina’s rich history.

Women and the University Archives

Founded in 1886 as a teacher training institution for women, Winthrop University became fully coeducational in 1974. The Archives contains the records documenting Winthrop’s history including minutes, correspondence, yearbooks, catalogs, scrapbooks and photographs. Over 1,000 linear feet of boxed material and 1,400 bound volumes provide a valuable resource for the study of the history of women in higher education. A publication available from the Archives entitled, The Winthrop University Archives and Special Collections: A Guide to Records Relating to Winthrop University, describes the collection.

Women and the Manuscript Collection

Since 1975 the Winthrop Archives has been collecting the records of women’s organizations, societies and clubs in South Carolina and the papers of women who have made contributions to the state’s history. The department has more than 300 collections documenting the role and activities of women in various subject areas including religion, politics, business, art, community service and education. In addition to these types of records, the department also collects speeches, clippings, diaries, journals, genealogies, reminiscences and files of clubs and professional organizations.

Below is a partial list of some of the major women’s organizations which have deposited records with the Winthrop Archives. (The dates for each entry indicate the inclusive dates of the material.)

  • South Carolina Home Economics Association, 1914-1995
  • South Carolina Federation of Business and Professional Women’s Clubs, 1919-1980
  • South Carolina International Women’s Year Conference, 1976-2003
  • Women’s Club of Rock Hill, 1938-2004
  • League of Women Voters of York County, 1964-1977
  • Carolina Low Country Girl Scout Council, 1925-1981
  • ERA, South Carolina Coalition, 1970-1984
  • National Organization of Women, South Carolina Chapter, 1966-1985
  • South Carolina Federation of Republican Women, 1968-1979
  • South Carolina Association of Extension Home Economists, 1961-1978
  • Church Women United of South Carolina, 1966-1978

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