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University of Pennsylvania Women's Club
Records, 1910 - 2000

UPQ 1210

6 Cubic ft.
Prepared by Amy Miller
May 2001

Access to collections is granted in accordance with the Protocols for the University Archives and Records Center.


The collection was donated by the University of Pennsylvania Women's Club in several parts: 1967 (accession number 67/71), 1970 (accession number 70/48), 1979 (accession number 14-79), and 2000 (accession numbers 2000:38, 2000:45, 2000:75). One scrapbook was originally classed as part of Office of the Recorder records.



This collection is arranged into thirteen series: By-laws, History, 1928-1996; Minutes, 1910-1965; Committees, 1965-1976; Activities, 1914-1974; Correspondence, 1968-1994; Financial Records, 1916-1995; Members, 1918-1999; Miscellaneous; Newsletters, 1973-1982; Scholarship fund, 1952-1999; Services, 1917-1989; University Tea Committee, 1914-1942; and Chronological File, 1911-2000. The Minutes and Chronological File series are arranged in chronological order. All other series are arranged first alphabetically and then chronologically within the series.



The University of Pennsylvania Women's Club originated in 1906 when Mary Spring Gardiner Frazier, wife of the Dean of the Medical School, Charles Harrison Frazier, organized an informal gathering for several faculty wives to meet every two weeks for tea. It was officially founded, however, in 1910 under the name of the Faculty Tea Club of the University of Pennsylvania. Its membership was open to the wives, mothers, daughters, and sisters of all members of the faculty, University administration, and board of trustees. The original object of the club was to "promote good fellowship among its members and throughout the University."

Over the course of its existence, the Women's Club expanded its mission from inspiring fellowship among the faculty wives to aiding new faculty members, offering services for women, funding female students' educations, and performing community service. It fulfilled its mission in the early years by organizing weekly teas during the academic year in which speakers would discuss a wide variety of topics, mostly relating to current events. During the First and Second World Wars, the club worked actively to support the war by selling war bonds and working with the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. In the 1920s, a scholarship and loan fund was established to assist women students at the University. After the death of the first president of the University in 1948, the name of the fund was changed to the Thomas S. Gates Scholarship Fund. The fund continues to the present and has aided many women students who would later become prominent such University President Judith Rodin. In 1971, the Faculty Tea Club formed a project called Resources for Women that provided assistance for women re-entering the work field. Although the name of the Faculty Tea Club had been in contention almost since its inception, the name was officially changed to the University of Pennsylvania Women's Club in 1983.

In 1942 the University Tea Committee merged with the Women's Club. The University Tea Committee was founded around 1915 with membership open to family members of the trustees and faculty. It remained active until 1932; after a ten-year hiatus, the University Tea Committee turned over its treasury to the Women's Club.



The University of Pennsylvania Women's Club Records contains material of its activities and official business. The bulk of the collection contains financial records and a chronological file. The financial records are in the form of ledgers, check stub books, banks statements and correspondence and date back to the founding of the Club in 1910. The numerous activities and lectures hosted and sponsored by the Club are documented in several scrapbooks and correspondence found in the Activities and Chronological File series. In addition to these sources, the official decisions and actions of the Club are recorded in the minute books for the years 1910 to 1925 and 1935 to 1965 in the Minutes series as well as the loose copies of the minutes filed in the Chronological File series after 1965. The collection also contains correspondence, financial records, and lists of recipients of the Thomas S. Gates Scholarship from 1952 to 1999 in the Scholarship Fund series.

The only surviving record of the University Tea Committee is in the form of ledger of the club's accounts from 1914 to 1932.

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Photo of Mrs. Thomas Gates Lloyd
Emma Barton Brewster Gates
(Mrs. Thomas S. Gates), founder of the Thomas S. Gates Scholarship Fund