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Other times by appointment


The Special Collections is located on the east side of the Library at the front of the 3rd floor.

Contact Information

Patricia W. & J. Douglas Perry Library
Norfolk, Virginia 23529-0256
telephone (757) 683-4483
fax (757) 683-5954


Women's History - Introduction

This guide describes the collections relating to women's history housed in the Special Collections Department of the Old Dominion University Library. While the collections described here are few in number, many of the collections described elsewhere have material pertinent to women's history. For the sake of space and time, however, only the collections directly related to the telling of women's history are described here.

These collections include the institutional records of a young women's home for unwed mothers, oral interviews concerning gender roles in Norfolk during the 1930's, records of an interracial organization established to address concerns within the Norfolk African-American community, an interview with a prominent member and Civil Rights activist of this organization, and the legislative, political and campaign files of the first women in Virginia nominated to seek state-wide office for a seat in the United States Senate.

The entries are arranged alphabetically, including the collection number, the inclusive dates of the collection and the collection's size.


MG 74 American Association of University Women, Norfolk Branch (AAUW).13 document cases and 9 oversized boxes.

The AAUW is a national organization that promotes education and equity for all women and girls. The Norfolk Branch began as a college club in 1902, then joined the AAUW in 1921. The collection spans the years 1902 to 1999 and includes meeting minutes, annual reports, publications, information about branch activities and scrapbooks.

MG 53 Vivian Carter-Mason Interview, 1900-1982. 4 Interviews.

Interviews of the founder and active member of the Women’s Council for Interracial Cooperation. Includes audio cassettes and transcripts that document her family history, civil rights in Norfolk, establishment of the Women’s Council for Interracial Cooperation, the desegregation crisis in Norfolk, and the experiences of Afro-Americans in Norfolk.

RG 36- 7A Faculty Wives Club, 1964 to 1986. 1 Hollinger Document Case and 1 Oversized Box.

Contains handbooks, flyers and scrapbooks of the Faculty Wives Club and Women's Association, a social and service club for wives of ODU faculty and staff.

MG 13 The Records of the Florence Crittenton Home of Norfolk, 1894-1973. 27 Hollinger Documents Cases and 7 Hollinger Drop-Front Print Boxes.

Collection consists of the institutional records of the Florence Crittenton Home of Norfolk and represents an eighty-year local effort to respond to the needs of unmarried women and their children. Includes historical material, correspondence, office files, procedural files, committee reports, financial records, and records of the Home's executive officers including the President, Treasurer, and the members of the Board. Also includes photographs, scrapbooks, and memorabilia. The collection is restricted in part and any questions regarding use should be directed to the Special Collections Librarian.

MG 60 Edythe C. Harrison, 1979-1984. 35 Hollinger Boxes.

Founder of the Virginia Opera Association and member of the Virginia House of Delegates (1979-1982). First woman from Virginia nominated to seek state-wide office for United States Senator against Republican incumbent, John Warner, in 1984. Collection consists primarily of campaign material from her unsuccessful candidacy in 1984. Other aspects of interest are her involvement with V.O.I.C.E. (Virginians Organized For Informed Community Expression), a pro-choice organization, and her service on the Subcommittee of Vocational, Technical, and Career Education and in the Virginia Foundation for Business and Education.

MG 72 League of Women Voters of Hampton Roads, 1956-1999. 32 Hollinger Documents Cases and 1 Oversize Box.

Nationally established in 1920 to help newly enfranchised women carry out their new responsibilities as voters. The Norfolk League began in 1955. The modern League is a nonpartisan, volunteer organization that promotes political responsibility through informed and active participation in government. The League studies issues, informs voters, holds forums and debates, and acts on issues they deem important. Collection consists of business and organizational material including handbooks, correspondence, newsletters, agendas, minutes, membership lists, and financial records. Also contains program material related to the action program, education fund, speakers bureau, voters service, and studies on various issues.

Norfolk Women's History, 8 Interviews.

The interviews included in this collection were conducted for the Old Dominion University History course 495/595, taught by Dr. Dorothy Johnson in the Fall of 1982. Each interview includes a brief biographical sketch of the person interviewed and a typed transcript, located in the file drawer labeled oral history/interviews. Related to women involved with religion, medicine, education, and the Girl Scout Movement in Norfolk.

Norfolk Women's Oral History Project, 2 Bound Volumes with transcripts for 17 interviews.

Focusing on sex roles of the 1930's, as influenced by the Great Depression, this project produced tapes of 17 interviews and an additional recording of speeches and music. Special Collections has the typed transcripts and a detailed subject index in the file drawer labeled oral history/interviews. The subject index covers such subjects as abortion, adoption, Afro-Americans, chauvinism, contraception, co-habitation, child care, dating, divorce, education, feminism, job discrimination, marriage, menstruation, parenting, pregnancy, religion, sex, venereal disease, and virginity. These subjects, however, only scratch the surface of different topics covered and indexed from the interviews.

RG 17-28B1 Carolyn H. Rhodes, (1925-). 29 Hollinger Document Cases, 1 Extra Long Document Case.

English and Women's Studies professor at Old Dominion University. The documents include course descriptions, grant reports, meeting minutes from various women's groups, information pertaining to the Title IX hearings, books, journal articles, newspaper clippings, newsletters and pictures. Other items include award plaques and posters.

MG 57 U.S.S. Vulcan (AR-5), 1941-1984. 5 Hollinger Document Cases.

By a matter of hours, Vulcan became the first non-hospital ship in the Navy to receive women officers on November 1, 1978. The first contingents of enlisted women arrived in December 1978 and January 1979. In September 1979, Vulcan left Norfolk for the Navy's first Mediterranean cruise with a mixed crew. Includes material on the Women in Navy Ships (WINS) program.

MG 20 Margaret White Papers, 1954-1964. 1 Hollinger Document Case.

A teacher in the Norfolk school system during the desegregation crisis who was active in the effort to reopen the schools. Collection primarily relates to the CBS documentary, "The Lost Class of ’59," of which Norfolk was the focus and the follow-up documentary by CBS, "The Other Face of Dixie," a report on the situation of newly integrated schools. Includes correspondence, newspapers clippings, and magazine articles. Noteworthy is a flyer titled, "Vote For Public Schools, Vote For Petitioning the Governor", notifying the citizens of a drive to petition the Governor to reopen the closed schools.

RG 7- 9A Women's Center, 1978 to 2004. 1 Hollinger Document Case.
Documents the Women’s Center, which provides information and support to older and/or returning women students through courses, programs, conferences and support groups.  The collection contains newsletters, course and event fliers, memos, a listing of courses offered each semester, photographs, newspaper clipping.

RG 17-28A The Papers of the Women's Studies Department, 1978-2005. 3 Hollinger Document Cases.

The collection contains administrative and financial documents, course descriptions, and department sponsored event flyers and brochures.  The bulk of the collection features Women’s Studies News, events, and courses offered throughout its duration.

RG 17-28A1 The Papers of the Friends of Women's Studies, 1986 - 2005. 1 Hollinger Document Case.

Friends of Women's Studies was established in 1986 to support and ensure the development of the Women's Studies Department. Included are administrative materials including by-laws and correspondence; news articles; newsletters; event invitations; information on grants and scholarships; and a few photos.

MG 54 Women’s Council for Interracial Cooperation, 1945-1960. 1 Hollinger Document Case.

Founded in 1945 as an interracial organization designed to address concerns with education, health, and housing among the Afro-American community. Includes correspondence, the organization’s constitution, annual reports, minutes, speeches, programs, membership lists, pamphlets and booklets, magazine articles, newspaper clippings and photographs. Of note is a transcribed panel report titled, "How Norfolk’s Closed Schools Were Reopened" and Susan Slaughter’s personal account of, "The First Fifteen Years of the WCIC."

MG 76 YWCA of Hampton Roads. 13 Hollinger Boxes and 26 Oversize Boxes.

The YWCA (Young Women's Christian Association) is the oldest and largest women's membership organization. The YWCA of South Hampton Roads first started as housing for working girls in 1893. Throughout their history, the YWCA chapters of Hampton Roads have advanced their purposes of empowering women and fighting racism by running women's shelters, camps, workshops, and various other programs. The collection consists mainly of photos, scrapbooks, and newspaper clippings, as well as some business and historical records of the organization.

Revised: 11/5/2009