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Yale Dames records

Call Number: RU 1065

Scope and Contents

The records consist of meeting minutes, correspondence, directories, member lists, and historical material documenting the activities of the Yale Dames.


  • 1942-1972


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.


The records are arranged by accession.

Associated Materials

Women Affiliated With Yale Records (RU 73). Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library.


5.25 Linear Feet (4 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


The records consist of meeting minutes, correspondence, directories, member lists, and historical material documenting the activities of the Yale Dames.

Biographical / Historical

In 1926, Mrs. Wilbur Cross, wife of the dean of the graduate school, and Mrs. Robert Corwin, also a faculty wife, began taking an active interest in the group. They were assisted by Mrs. Avery Cross. Meetings were often held in the Cross home and the membership grew substantially. It was at this time that other faculty wives were invited to be sponsors and were soon to add many activities.

In 1930, Professor Edgar Furniss became dean of the graduate school. Dean and Mrs. Furniss became interested in the Dames and made available for their meetings the women's lounge in the graduate school. The organization grew rapidly and was soon had to move its meetings to the faculty lounge.

As a rule, meetings were held in the afternoons followed by tea. Dames prepared the tea and food and faculty wives and sponsored were asked to pour. Many activities were planned, including plays, picnics, and dances. Special interest groups were formed, assuming responsibility for a series of programs in which the members participated. By 1936, evening meetings were held in addition to the afternoon meetings. The high spot of each year's program was the big dinner meeting at which a prominent person was invited to speak. Mrs. Franklin Delano Roosevelt was one such guest.

During the war, as registration dropped, the Dames became a very small organization. It was decided that Dames return to the small home meetings and the sponsor group would disband. Following the war, wives of Yale's undergraduates were invited to join the organization. Teas became large evening meetings with a program in Strathcona auditorium followed by refreshments in the tower where the crowd spilled over into several rooms. Meetings continued to be held in Strathcona hall until 1955 when they returned to the graduate school.

Membership declined in the late 1960s, as the women's movement led many women away from traditionally sex-determined roles. The organization changed its name to Women Affiliated with Yale (WAY) in 1977 and opened its membership to all women connected with the university except undergraduates.

General note

Forms part of Yale Record Group 40 (YRG 40), Records of Yale clubs, societies, and organizations.

Processing Information

Yale University records are arranged and described at the accession level by the creating office. The University Archives creates collection level descriptive records, but typically does no further arrangement and description at the accession level.
Guide to the Yale Dames Records
Under Revision
compiled by Daniel Hartwig
January 2008
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

Yale University Library
P.O. Box 208240
New Haven CT 06520-8240 US
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(203) 432-7441 (Fax)


Sterling Memorial Library
Room 147
120 High Street
New Haven, CT 06511

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