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Columbian Women records

Identifier: RG0027

Collection Scope and Content

Materials in this collection include scrapbooks, reports, correspondence, financial records, constitution and by-laws, photographs, and meeting minutes. They range in date from 1894 to 2009, and were transferred to the University Archives by the historians of the Columbian Women.

There is historical materials related to Columbian Women in MS2278. These materials were gathered by member Dr. Ruth Osborn.

Note: Not all series are processed. Ask staff for assistance.


  • Creation: 1894-2009
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1916 - 2006

Restrictions on Access

Some records may be restricted.

Restrictions on 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.

Historical or Biographical Note

In 1894, a fire at Ford's Theater took the life of the father of Mary Chapin, one of the original thirteen women to attend Columbian University (it became The George Washington University in 1904). So that she could continue her education, the women students, under the guidance of Professor Charles Munroe, formed a group called "Columbian Women," and raised money for Mary to finish her studies. Membership was open to women students, alumnae, and wives of faculty, trustees, and officers of the University.

The major aims of the organization are the advancement of women at the University and the promotion of the interests of their alma mater. The major portion of Columbian Women's activities is the support of its Scholarship Fund for women students. The first fund was established in 1897 and since then hundreds of young women have been helped through this Fund. Three first ladies of the United States have been interested in the scholarship program - Mrs. Calvin Coolidge, Mrs. Herbert Hoover, and Mrs. Harry Truman. Mrs. Truman entertained Columbian Women members at a White House tea while her husband was in office. Over the years, the organization has also given generous gifts to the University itself, including the hospital, Women's Athletics, and the University Library.

Many distinguished women have been members, among them novelists Dorothy Betts Marvin (wife of former GW President Cloyd Heck Marvin), Mary Roberts Rinehart and Margaret Truman, Judge Sarah T. Hughes, who administered the oath of office to President Lyndon Johnson after President John F. Kennedy's death, aviatrix Jackie Cochran, and the Director of the U.S. Mint, Eva Adams.

N.B. This history note was written in 2005


16 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Collection includes scrapbooks, reports, correspondence, member lists, constitution and by-laws, photographs, and meeting minutes.

Collection Organization

Organized in eight series: Columbian Women, records, 1916-1980; Columbian Women, records, 1988-2003; Scrapbooks prepared by Columbian Women historians; History of Columbian Women, scholarships and applications, minutes, correspondence, and treasurer's reports; Treasurer's records, correspondence, and Scholarship Committee; Directories, events, and history; Videotapes; and Ramona Stoltz papers.

Acquisition Information

Materials acquired through transfers from Columbian Women.

Preliminary Guide to the Columbian Women records, 1894-2009
Partially Processed
University Archives, Special Collections Research Center, The George Washington University
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