From The Story of the Southwest Central Region, 1926-1966

The Missouri Division published this booklet to mark the 40th anniversary of the organization of the Region.  The information about Missouri was collected and supplied by Mrs. Charles R. Bell, Maryville, who was the Missouri representative on the Regional History Committee.  The volume was dedicated to the devoted leaders and loyal members in the five state divisions of the Southwest Central Region by Regional Vice-President Gladys Hicks Newman (1959-1965).  Archivist Marion Logue of the AAUW Educational Center, in a letter of March 1966, wrote:  “Evidently the Southwest Central Region is unique insofar as a history is concerned.  I am unable to find any evidence that any other region has produced a history.  I speak for the AAUW Archives when I say that we will be looking forward to receiving copies of your publication.”

The Kansas City Branch, formed in 1893, was listed as the oldest branch in the Southwest Central Region.

Organization of the Missouri Division was completed at a convention in St. Louis held November 3-4, 1921.  Members present represented the existing branches:  Kansas City, St. Louis, Columbia, Springfield, Maryville, and Warrensburg.

The 1922 AAUW national convention was held in Kansas City.

A crisis occurred at the close of the first decade, when the Division’s state funds of $390.05 were lost as a result of the failure on April 8, 1930, of the bank where the funds were deposited.  The story is a dramatic one with many procedural questions involved.  The ending is happy, for in the report of April 1931, the president, Mrs. J. C. Mills, stated:  “Through the generous contributions of the convention delegates, state board members, and branches, all bills were paid without borrowing funds.  The Division is completing its fiscal year with a substantial balance to its credit.”  (The bank was able to refund some of the losses to make the ending even happier.)

Missouri Division Presidents and Regional Vice Presidents:

Dr. Mary Alice (Mrs. J. C.) Parrish, Vandalia, 1921-1923, was the organizer of the Division.  She called the first state meeting in 1921 as Sectional Director of AAUW and organized new branches.  As the first division president, she appointed state committees to work with branches in the fields of Education, Legislation, International Relations, and Fellowships.  She and her board initiated the project that resulted in the passage of a state law requiring pre-schools.

Miss Ruth Fitzgerald, Warrensburg, 1923-1925, revised the first Division constitution, built up the treasury, and organized more branches.

Mrs. Roscoe (Frances N.) Anderson, who was born in Jefferson City, MO, graduated in 1906 with a B.A. from the University of Missouri, and was a St. Louis Branch member, was SWC regional vice-president (sectional director) from 1923-1926.  She served in the early 1920s as the Association’s recording secretary, as well as the Nominating Committee chair for the 1927 national convention in Washington, DC.

Mrs. Philip S. Elliott, Kansas City, 1925-1928, sent out the first bulletins and added 3 branches.  The Division contributed its share to the AAUW Headquarters Building fund.

Mrs. J. C. Mills, Jr., Kirksville, 1928-1931, undertook for Missouri its share in raising the Million Dollar Fellowships Fund; the Bulletin was printed.

Mrs. David Hoover, Joplin, 1931-1933, and her board developed study groups in the branches; organized a speaker’s bureau; revised the Branch Officers’ Handbook; surveyed sources of financial aid for college undergraduates; and instigated a study on the education crisis.

Mrs. Roy V. Coffey, St. Louis, 1933-1935, further developed study groups and achieved financial stability.  There were 1,611 members.

Mrs. Paul W. Paustian, Columbia, 1935-1937.  Under her administration, Division members corresponded with IFUW members in 37 countries to increase international understanding.

Dr. Blanche H. Dow, Maryville, 1937-1939, instituted Area Conferences and the broad study of education with every branch participating; conducted a state-wide survey of economic and legal status of women in Missouri.  Fellowships support by all 32 branches.

Mrs. David C. Maxwell, Fayette, 1939-1941, and her branches contributed to War Relief Fund and sponsored a traveling exhibit of American paintings on tour and in two art centers.

Miss Lillian L. Stupp, St. Louis, 1941-1943, began “Know Your Schools project throughout the state, did a study of “Social Aspects of Defense,” and added to the War Relief Fund; 40 branches reported.

Dr. Laura Julia Nahm, Warrensburg, 1943-1945, and her board promoted further extension of library services; 16 branches studied US foreign policy.  During war restrictions, state convention was conducted “by mail.”

Mrs. Theodore Knox, St. Joseph, 1945-1947, revised and printed the Division Constitution; published a 25-year history of the Division, edited by Dr. Margaret Ruth Lowry; reported enthusiastic branch support for International Study Grants following World War II.

Mrs. T. D. Blake, Salisbury, 1947-1949, resumed area workshops after the war; awarded memberships in AAUW as a courtesy in recognition of outstanding graduating senior woman in AAUW-approved colleges in Missouri; 100 percent Fellowships and Grants support among branches.

Dr. Alice Parker, St. Charles, 1949-1951.  During her term there was a study of mental hospitals that resulted in the groundwork for legislation on this subject; began a study of segregation; Division bylaws revised.

Miss Willia Whitson, Kirksville, 1951-1953, reported all branches supported federal aid to education and aid to libraries bills; promoted legislation for mental hospitals.

Miss Chloe Millikan, Maryville, 1953-1955, initiated a program procedure for AAUW fields of study, which was a forerunner of AAUW’s new structure adopted in 1965; also initiated annual branch presidents’ conferences.

Mavis Holmes, Cape Girardeau, 1955-1957, added two branches; Fellowships per-capita giving was increased.

Mrs. Otto Seymour, Joplin, 1957-1959, began AAUW Educational Center Building Fund campaign for average goal of $10 per member.  Division members were hostesses to the National Convention in Kansas City in 1959; Mrs. F. R. Olmsted was the general chair of arrangements.

Mrs. Oran Major, Smithville, 1959-1961, observed Missouri’s 40th anniversary; the Division reached its Building Fund goal; conducted a survey on the problems of aging; compiled list of increasing sources of financial aid for undergraduates in Missouri colleges.

Gladys Hicks (Mrs. Olney D.) Newman, who received her B.A. and M.A. degrees at Baylor University, Waco, TX, was living in Missouri when she became the SWC regional vice-president in 1959.  However, prior to her marriage to a banker of Kansas City and subsequent move, she had served as dean of women at Baylor University for 11 years until 1958.  Previously, she had been dean of women for 10 years at Howard Payne College, Brownwood, TX, which institution conferred upon her the Honorary Doctor of Letters degree.  She was elected Texas Division president for 1957-1959, but moved to Missouri in late 1958.

Mrs. John R. Schroder, Hannibal, 1961-1963, conducted successful area meetings; analyzed AAUW new structure proposals; headed large Missouri delegation to 1963 Denver National Convention when Dr. Blanche H. Dow, president of Cottey College, Nevada, MO, was elected association president.

Dr. Blanche Hinman Dow, born in Louisiana, MO, received her B.A from Smith College and her M.A. and Ph.D. from Columbia University.  A French medievalist, she did further study at the Sorbonne.  She was Missouri Division president from 1937-1939.  She was selected as president of Cottey College, Nevada, MO, in 1949 and retired in 1965.  She served as the SWC regional vice-president from 1949-1953; Association first vice-president from 1953-1957; chair of the AAUW Committee on Structure, which was adopted at the 1963 convention in Denvery, from 1959-1963; and as Association president from 1963-1967 when there were over 160,000 members.  In 1965 she headed the AAUW delegation to the Brisbane, Australia, Conference of the International Federation of University Women, for which she had served as treasurer.  She was appointed as a member of the United States Commission for UNESCO for 1965-1968.  In 1966 she was serving as the president of the Educational Foundation.

Mrs. Nolan Chapman, Chillicothe, 1963-1965, and her board had the responsibility of establishing AAUW’s new program structure, adopted in 1963 in Denver; branches were enthusiastic in support of a new regional fellowship endowment named for Dr. Blanche H. Dow; began Volume II of the division’s history (1946-1971).

Mrs. F. Randall Olmsted, Kansas City, 1965-1967.  During her current administration, emphases were placed on the following:

    • The Division worked for and helped pass the bill on the status of women, “Equal pay for equal work”

    • Economic Opportunity Act and Operation Head Start

    • Study of Missouri Court Reorganization Plan

    • Awareness of legislation

    • Continuing tremendous growth of the Fellowships Program in Missouri

    • Evidence of interest in drama, literature, art, and music in many branches

In January 1966, Missouri had 4,409 members and 68 branches:

Branch Organized Branch Organized
Belton 1959 Bloomfield 1959
Blue Springs 1948 Boonville 1937
Branson 1963 Braymer 1954
Brookfield 1959 Cameron 1958
Canton 1963 Cape Girardeau 1922
Carroll County 1939 Carthage 1926
Chariton County 1941 Chillicothe 1930
Columbia 1907 Dexter 1959
Dunklin County 1952 Eldon 1947
El Dorado Springs 1949 Fayette 1929
Ferguson-Florissant 1963 Franklin County 1938
Fulton 1922 Gallatin 1945
Grandview 1958 Hamilton 1954
Hannibal 1938 Harrison County 1941
Hickman Mills 1956 Houston 1954
Independence 1940 Jackson 1946
Jefferson City 1926 Jefferson County 1952
Joplin 1926 Kansas City 1893
Kirksville 1922 Lexington 1949
Liberty 1938 Louisiana 1939
Marceline 1959 Marshall 1927
Maryville 1918 Moberly 1939
Nevada 1929 Neosho 1965
North Kansas City 1945 Oregon 1938
Parkville 1935 Polo 1954
Poplar Bluff 1956 Raytown 1954
Richmond 1946 Rolla 1930
St. Charles 1933 St. Francois County 1929
St. Joseph 1925 St. Louis 1898/1901
Salem 1947 Sedalia 1940
Sikeston 1940 Slater 1937
Smithville 1947 Springfield 1908
Trenton 1938 Vandalia 1922
Warrensburg 1920 Waynesville 1963

AAUW Qualified Institutions:

As listed in the AAUW 1965-1967 Membership Booklet, baccalaureate and higher degrees granted by the following colleges and universities within Missouri met the Association’s requirements for AAUW membership:

Avila College, Kansas City

Central Methodist College, Fayette
Central Missouri State College, Warrensburg Culver-Stockton College, Canton
Drury College, Springfield Evangel College, Springfield
Fontbonne College, St. Louis Harris Teachers College, St. Louis
Lincoln University, Jefferson City Lindenwood College, St. Charles
Maryville College of the Sacred Heart, St. Louis Missouri Valley College, Marshall
Northeast Missouri State Teachers College, Kirksville Northwest Missouri State College, Maryville
Park College, Parkville St. Louis University, St. Louis
Southeast Missouri State College, Cape Girardeau Southwest Missouri State College, Springfield
Stephens College, Columbia Tarkio College, Tarkio
University of Missouri, Columbia University of Missouri at Kansas City
Washington University, St. Louis Webster College, Webster Groves
William Jewell College, Liberty William Woods College, Fulton

(under construction)

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