Skip to main content

Women's Educational Aid Association

Identifier: 55/38

Scope and Contents

The Women's Educational Aid Association (WEAA) records document the activities and operation of the organization. The series fills twelve boxes, including one card file box and three drop front boxes, and spans the period 1871-2000. Records are arranged into nine categories: Historical Material; Board of Directors; Officer and Committee Reports; Meeting Lists, Minutes and Reports; Administrative Records; Financial Records; House Records; Scrapbooks; and Scholars (Beneficiaries) Information Cards.

Organizational records were consistently well maintained; the bulk of records dating from 1871 through 1989. Records between 1871 and 1949 were kept usually in bound volumes, while those dating after 1949 were usually unbound. Personal correspondence from scholars (beneficiaries) is greatest between 1965 and 1999. The records include a variety of formats, including journals, logs, scrapbooks, 4x5 cards.

The Historical Materials category consists of records that document the foundation and purpose of the WEAA. Records contained include: organizational histories dating from the inception of the WEAA, on April 10, 1871, through 1992; copies of the original constitution and by-laws as well as documentation of the founding officers; constitutional revisions, by-laws, and articles of incorporation dating between 1879 and 1993; and a historically significant speech given by Frances E. Willard on January 20, 1886, entitled "Help Thou Women", stressing the need for financial support for the WEAA (box 1, folder 5).

Board of Directors materials include lists of Board Members (1967-1994) and of Officers and Committees (1974-1983).

Officer and Committee Reports (1962-2000) consist of reports from officers and committees in typed or handwritten format, generally submitted by the chair of the committee at the various meetings of the association.

Meeting Lists, Minutes and Reports include Meeting Minutes of the Board, Annual Meetings, Regular Meetings and Committee Reports, as well as Monthly Reports and miscellaneous notations concerning the organization. Records of all members and committees including the Board, for Annual, Regular and Committee meetings, dating between 1871 and 1949, were kept together in bound journal-type books, handwritten and meticulously recorded by the Secretary. Between 1949 and 1959, the Secretary continued to record much the same information in three-ring notebooks. Recording formats changed around 1960; thereafter, individual committee chairs submitted typed or handwritten reports separately, in addition to the Secretary's typed minutes. Thus the Officer and Committee Reports category and records begin in 1962. Notable in this category is one folder entitled "Monthly Reports"; a journal book, in which members of the association made notations after their monthly visits to College Cottage (1873-1875). These notations include a summary of happenings at the Cottage, needed repairs, and future goals. This category includes three journal books and two folders of loose-leaf items (1919-1959) documenting the organization in its many stages of growth. Meeting Lists (1975-1993), Annual Meeting Agendas and Minutes (1963-1990), and Special Meeting Minutes (1964-1983). In the Special Meetings folder circumstances warranting special attention by the board, such as, disciplinary matters, amendments to the Articles of Incorporation, or in depth discussions that regular meetings did not allow adequate time for, are documented. Four folders contain Regular Meeting Minutes (1963-1989).

Administrative Records date between 1904 and 2000. In this category are administrative forms, correspondence files, event planning, clippings, memorabilia, and obituaries and memorials. One folder contains a Questionnaire form given to graduating Scholars asking them about their experience with the WEAA Board. Correspondence files contain both internal and external correspondence with WEAA scholars, Northwestern University departments, and a small amount of correspondence between WEAA members. Notable within the correspondence files is a copy of a letter, written in 1904, from Andrew Carnegie to Dr. Pearsons, in which Carnegie expresses his views on philanthropy and congratulates Pearsons upon his giving (box 4, folder 9). Also notable is one folder of correspondence with the Evanston Historical Society, documenting the records that the WEAA donated to the Society's archival collection; and one folder of correspondence regarding Individual Circumstances (1970-1991) in which the WEAA reviewed requests for special financial aid; one particular case being monetary contribution for a student to purchase a new violin. Events planning is contained in one folder of Centennial Celebration (1971) records including planning notes, a copy of the event invitation, and a copy of the follow-up letter sent to all who attended, thanking them for their participation and continued support of the WEAA.

Financial Records include Treasurer's Books, an Assistant Treasurer's Book, and three folders of Financial Reports (1881-1934), as well as a Financial Review spanning forty years (1927-1967) in box 6, folder 1. Also contained in the financial records category are General Financial Records (1965-1996); IRS Records (1938-1967); Auditor's and Investment Reports (1927-1966); Gifts and Gifts-in-Memorial (1946-1979); Memorial Awards and Funds (1965-1978); and Bequests to the Association (1923-1982.

House Records contain a wealth of historical documentation including College Cottage records (1871-1900) and foundation documents for Pearsons Hall (1884-1935) and Chapin Hall (1900-1905, 1937-1950). One folder holds the Chapin Hall Constitution and By-Laws (196?-1968). Four folders hold Chapin Hall Resident Logs (1901-1971) with the names of all residents and their originating home information. One folder each of Chapin Hall Resident Lists (1963-67); Chapin Hall House Rules and Regulations (1963-66); Chapin Hall Handbooks (1952-1967) including Resident Handbooks, House Mother Handbooks, and Chapter Members and House Boards Handbooks; Chapin Hall Closing Documents (1966-1968) that record the transfer of management of Chapin Hall from WEAA to Northwestern University; and one folder with a copy of the Chapin Hall Newsletter (1971). This category also contains seven folders of House Collector Logs (1880-1944). These are bound journals noting room and board payments received by each resident. Logs are of all resident homes: Cottage College, Pearsons Hall, Morse Hall, and Chapin Hall.

Eight scrapbooks are contained in boxes 9, 10 and 11. Box 9 holds Volume I (1877-1944) and Volume II (1945-1959) of three well-maintained scrapbooks with copies of correspondence, memorabilia, photos, newspaper clippings, weddings and birth announcements, in addition to other items documenting the significant achievements of WEAA scholars. Box 10 holds Volume III (1959-1972), as well as two additional scrapbooks. Scrapbook (1956-1960) largely contains newspaper clippings of achievements of scholars, as well as handbooks, photos, programs of special events scholars participated in. Scrapbook (1963-1967) contains mostly photos of fun times and events at Chapin Hall, with a few newspaper clippings throughout. Box 11 holds three scrapbooks. Scrapbook (1947-1953) is wholly comprised of newspaper clippings documenting scholars achievements and WEAA info. and events. Scrapbook (1975-1992) is a photo album of scholars senior portraits. Scrapbook (1984-1990) is a newspaper clipping album, that holds many clippings of achievements acquired and events scholars participated in, as well as WEAA organizational news.

Scholars (Beneficiaries) Information Cards (1907-1992) fill one card-file box. Information found on these cards includes past scholars' original home address as well as most current address on record, marital status and other family information. Also included on the cards are scholars' Northwestern University dates of attendance and graduation.


  • 1871-2000


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is stored off-site and requires 48 hours advance notice for retrieval. Please contact the McCormick Library at or 847-491-3635 for more information or to schedule an appointment to view the collection.


12.00 Boxes

Language of Materials



The Women’s Educational Aid Association (WEAA; organized in 1871 as the Educational Association) was founded by Evanston women to help promote the higher education of deserving students at the Evanston College for Ladies. The Women’s Educational Aid Association records document the activities and operation of the organization. The series fills twelve boxes, including one card file box and three drop front boxes, and spans the period 1871-2000. Records are arranged into nine categories: Historical Material; Board of Directors; Officer and Committee Reports; Meeting Lists, Minutes and Reports; Administrative Records; Financial Records; House Records; Scrapbooks; and Scholars (Beneficiaries) Information Cards.


Records are arranged in nine categories: historical material; Board of Directors; officer and committee reports (President and Vice President reports, followed by other reports arranged alphabetically by committee name); meeting lists, minutes and reports (minutes and reports are in chronological order); administrative records (arranged alphabetically); financial records (in several groups, each arranged chronologically, interspersed with other records); house records; scrapbooks; and scholars (beneficiaries) information cards.

Method of Acquisition

The Women's Educational Aid Association Records were donated to the University Archives, in five separate accessions, via Mark Burnette and Eden Pearlman of the Evanston Historical Society (November 22, 1996 and January 31, 1997, as Accessions #96-210 and #97-10, respectively) and Marti Bjornson (November 5, 1997, July 30, 1999, and March 17, 2000, as Accessions #97-199, 99-128, and 00-145, respectively).

Separated Materials

Approximately 2 cubic feet of duplicate and extraneous records were discarded. In addition, approximately 175 photographs dating between 1950s-1990s were separated and added to the University Archives' Photographic Collection under the general heading "Women's Educational Aid Association."

Processing Information

Vanessa L. Smith; May, 2000.
Guide to the Women's Educational Aid Association Records
Vanessa L. Smith
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Repository Details

Part of the Northwestern University Archives Repository

Deering Library, Level 3
1970 Campus Dr.
Evanston IL 60208-2300 US