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Asian Women's Institute - North American Office Records

Call Number: RG 106
Scope and Contents

These records provide fascinating documentation of the creation and development of an organization devoted to the self-realization of women in Asia through education. The AWI and its American support agency emerged at the same time, but now the AWI continues only as an Asian-led organization. The evolving interchange of leadership and power between Asian and American women documented in these records is of interest. The issues addressed by the AWI during the years documented by this collection included career options for Asian women, peacemaking, and leadership development. The AWI published the periodical Asian Woman, sponsored research projects, and in many other ways contributed to mutual exchange and cooperation between the Asian women's colleges it supported. This record group also includes much valuable information about the individual women's colleges in India, Iran, Japan, Korea, Lebanon, and the Philippines that were AWI members.

Series I through V of this record group are parallel streams of documentation, each covering the same years, but from different angles. Series I, History and Overview, traces the events and proposals leading to the establishment of the Asian Women's Institute, gives a succinct view of the evolving policies and activities of the AWI, and documents the relationship of AWI to other organizations. Many of the documents in this series are duplicated in other series, but have been drawn together here to provide an overview of the organization's development.

Series II, Meeting/ Committee Records, includes records of the Asian Women's Institute and its American support agencies. The organizational hierarchy of the archives is a bit confusing because it reflects the interplay between the Asian Women's Institute, its North American support agency called the Association of North American Cooperating Agencies of Overseas Women's Christian Colleges (and later name changes), and the Committee of 75, which had primarily a fundraising function. Subseries headings in Series II indicate which of these groups is being documented.

Series III, Correspondence/ Administrators' Files, contains the administrative files of the Committee of 75 (based in Boston) and the New York office of the AWI/Association. The International Office of the AWI sent carbon copies of correspondence to the New York office, so general AWI records are also included in the Association files.

Series IV, Conferences and Consultations, includes documentation of meetings leading up to the formation of the AWI, meetings of the Asian Women's Institute's constituents such as the Presidents' Consultations and AWI Executive Committee (as opposed to more administrative meetings of the Association support agency, which are documented in Series II), triennial conferences of the AWI, and themed conferences and seminars.

Series V, Programs and Projects, documents specific programs that the AWI sponsored. Of particular interest are the materials related to career development and leadership development among Asian women. These records complement the documentation in Series VI of the women's study centers operating at the Asian women's colleges. The documentation of Series VI by no means gives a complete picture of the work of these Asian women's colleges, but it provides a valuable record of the activities and programs of the colleges' women's study centers.

The Asian Women's Institute, the Association, and the Committee of 75 were all devoted to supporting the colleges' women's study centers and related programs and conferences. Series VII, Publications and Promotional Material, documents the methods used to spread the word about the center and programs. Of particular interest are the files of the periodical Asian Woman, which contained many substantive articles about women's issues in Asia.

Series VIII, Membership Records, and Series IX, Financial Records, contain administrative documentation of the operations of the Association and AWI, as well as documentation of efforts made to solicit grants and funds from other organizations. More material regarding the organizations with which the AWI and Association interacted is contained in Series X, Related Organizations. The material in Series X is less related to financial matters and more related to efforts of the AWI to cooperate with and benefit from other organizations, particularly Church Women United and the United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia. Series XI, Collected Material, represents the "subject file" of the organization, materials that they had gathered as resource material.

Series XII, an Addendum added in 2011, includes materials that were received with the Margaret Flory Papers, YDSL RG 86. The materials in this series overlap with those received earlier, as reflected in its subseries.

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of the Asia Women's Institute, New York Office.

  1. I. History and Overview
  2. II. Organization / Committee Records
  3. III. Correspondence / Administrators' files
  4. IV. Conferences and Consultations
  5. V. Programs and Projects
  6. VI. Colleges and Centers in Asia
  7. VII. Publications and Promotional Material
  8. VIII.Membership Records
  9. IX. Financial Records
  10. X. Related Organizations
  11. XI. Collected Material
  12. XII. Addendum
24 Linear Feet (51 boxes)
Related Names
Asian Women's Institute
Language of Materials