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Ruth Helm Osborn papers

Identifier: MS2278-UA

Scope and Contents

This collection contains reports, photographs, articles, brochures, slides, and scrapbooks. The scrapbooks contain photographs, correspondence, newspaper and magazines articles about Dr. Ruth Osborn and GW's Continuing Education for Women Program. These materials date from 1963-2005. Some of this material relates to the Columbian Women organization. These materials arrived in several donations from Ruth Osborn and have been divided into series related to both her work as an educator of women and the Continuing Education for Women program that she founded at GW.


  • Creation: 1956-2005
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1963 - 1980


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Some material may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the patron's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections.

Biographical / Historical

In 1964, Dr. Ruth Osborn (February 17, 1919 - October 30, 2009) created "Developing New Horizons for Women" a program that became the prototype for women's education programs in the 1960s and 1970s. The GW College of General Studies began the New Horizons for Women in 1964 with a noncredit orientation class of twenty women. "The purpose of the workshop, referred to as 'developing new horizons for women,' is to assist women to develop their potential: by enabling them to understand themselves as individuals and as women by exploring educational, occupational, and community service opportunities; and by analyzing and solving problems encountered when entering the educational and occupational world." (Operation Update, National Business Woman, October 1965). The focus of the GW program was mature married woman students many of whom had bachelors degrees, but had stopped their education and career following their marriages. She directed the GW Continuing Education Center for Women from 1964-1979 and focused her career on making education accessible for married women. Dr. Osborn was an active member of the organization Columbian Women. She received her B.S. from the University of Minnesota and an M.A. and Ed.D from GW. She retired in 1979. In 1998, GW honored Dr. Osborn with a distinguished alumni award.


14 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



This collection contains photographs, slides, scrapbooks, articles, audio cassettes, and correspondence related to the work and life of Dr. Ruth Osborn. Dr. Osborn founded and directed the women's continuing education program at GW titled "Developing New Horizons for Women" from 1964 until her retirement in 1979.


Organized into 5 series: Scrapbooks, Personal papers, CEW records, Articles, and Columbian Women Scholarship Fund.

Physical Location

Materials may be stored off-site, and may require additional retrieval time. Please contact the Special Collections Research Center for more information.

Other Finding Aids

Those interested in researching the Columbian Women will find useful

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Ruth Osborn, 2009 [2009.068]. This collection also consists of previous donations by Ruth Osborn to the University Archives in 1999 and 2008.

Preliminary Guide to the Ruth Helm Osborn papers, 1956-2005
Partially Processed
Finding aid prepared by Special Collections Research Center, The George Washington University
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center, The George Washington University Repository

George Washington University Gelman Library
2130 H Street NW
Washington DC 20052 United States of America