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UA 021.462 Guide to the North Carolina State University Student and Other Organizations, Graduate Dames Records, 1948-1980

The collection is arranged alphabetically by activities or functions and then by academic calendar year. Where multiple years are listed, there are some gaps in date ranges.
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Graduate Dames.


3.5 Linear feet

General Physical Description note

4 archival boxes, 2 oversized flat boxes


For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Special Collections Research Center Reference Staff external link.



Acquisitions Information

Transferred by the Graduate Dames, North Carolina State University.


Processed by: Lea Walker;machine-readable finding aid created by: Lea Walker

Scope and Content Note

The collection contains the constitution, minutes, correspondence, work plans, directories, and publications of the Graduate Dames, a women’s social, cultural, and service society at North Carolina College State College (later North Carolina State University). Yearbooks published by the National Association of University Dames include annual reports from the Raleigh chapter beginning in 1951.

Historical Note

In March 1948, Mrs. R. K. Waugh organized the Graduate Dames of North Carolina State College (later North Carolina State University) as a social and cultural outlet for the wives of graduate students. Six wives of faculty members were instrumental in the founding of the chapter. They were Mrs. H. A. Stewart, Mrs. D. B. Anderson, Mrs. J. H. Hilton, Mrs. Fred Barkalow, Mrs. D. W. Colvard, and Mrs. W. G. Cochran. The society became an affiliate of the National Association of University Dames when it ratified the national constitution on September 1, 1949.

The concept of an organization for graduate students’ wives had originated in 1896 at Harvard University. From there, the idea spread to the University of Chicago and later to other institutions across the United States. In the 1920-1921 school year, the independent wives’ clubs at the University of Chicago and University of Iowa corresponded with one another about their mutual aims and experiences. They wrote a constitution and founded the national society in February 1921. The constitution provided that the national headquarters would rotate from one chapter to the next, in order of constitution ratification dates. In 1933-1934, the University of Chicago introduced the annual yearbook, which included reports from each chapter on its activities. By 1967, the national organization had grown to ninety-eight chapters.

Initially, monthly meetings of the North Carolina State chapter were held at the Vetville YMCA, where program topics included cooking, care of children, and homemaking skills. In October 1954, the chapter organized a baby equipment loan program for all married students at the university, including undergraduates. Other service projects included clothing drives for needy children, holiday parties for children from orphanages, and funding drives for charities such as the March of Dimes and state mental facilities. The club also produced a newcomer’s guide to Raleigh, which it distributed to its members and shared with the State's Mates, a similar club for undergraduate married students.

In the 1960s and 1970s, the Dames printed several cookbooks and established a food cooperative for members. Annual fashion shows and craft fairs featured the sewing and artistic handiwork of members. Program topics broadened to address health and legal issues, consumer information, financial planning, substance abuse, job opportunities for women, equal rights, racial and religious prejudices, North Carolina literature and folklore, and international holiday traditions. Special interest groups within the chapter included a book club, a bridge club, and a swimming group. Covered-dish suppers, picnics, and parties included husbands and families in club activities. Membership in the Raleigh chapter was eventually extended to female graduate students.

In 1980, the North Carolina State chapter of the Graduate Dames disbanded, due to waning membership and interest. Remaining club funds were donated to D.H. Hill Library for the purchase of books to be used by graduate students.

Access to Collection

This collection is open for research; access requires at least 24 hours advance notice.

For more information contact us via mail, phone, fax, or our web form.


Special Collections Research Center
Box 7111
Raleigh, NC, 27695-7111


(919) 515-2273


(919) 513-1787

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], North Carolina State University Student and Other Organizations, Graduate Dames Records, UA 021.462, Special Collections Research Center, North Carolina State University Libraries, Raleigh, NC

Access to Collection

The nature of the NCSU Libraries' Special Collections means that copyright or other information about restrictions may be difficult or even impossible to determine despite reasonable efforts. The NCSU Libraries claims only physical ownership of most Special Collections materials.

The materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to U.S. Copyright law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source.

Access to Collection

This collection may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which North Carolina State University assumes no responsibility.

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