Register of the
Alverno College
Research Center on Women (RCW)

Sr. Marian Schreiner in the Research Center on Women (RCW)

Records of the Alverno Research Center on Women (RCW), 1970-

Alverno A10.3

22.2 Cubic ft.
(54 archives boxes, 20 microfilm jackets, 35 photographs, 143 audio recordings, and 76 video recordings)


For additional information, Visit the RCW Exhibit.

SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE: The collection contains records of the Research Center on Women (RCW) dating from its inception in 1970 to the present with the bulk falling between 1970 and 1990. The collection can be divided into several subseries as follows:

1. Historical Information
2. Administration
3. Correspondence
4. Projects and Programs
5. Subject Files
6. Publications
7. Scrapbooks
8. Ephemera
9. Photographs
10. Audiovisual materials
11. Oral History Project

The majority of the materials are in the "Projects and Programs" subseries. This subseries consists of correspondence, questionnaires, programs, publicity and planning materials documenting RCW-sponsored programs such as: Careers for Women Conference, Conference of Women Theologians, Midwest Conference on Women's Studies, Project POWER (Predication of Women's Entry-Level Requirements), Sperry-Hutchison Foundation Lecture Series, Smithsonian Exhibit on Women Workers, Women in Public Life in Wisconsin, Women and Their Personal Finances Workshop, and the Women's Educational Equity Act (WEEA) Grant Project.

The "Subject Files" include materials on related organizations and programs such as: the International Women's Year and the National Organization of Women (NOW). Also found in the collection are center administrative records including correspondence, meeting minutes, departmental reports to the Alverno Board of Trustees and coordinator's reports.
The "Oral History Project" subseries includes 29 complete 2 to 6 hour audio and videotaped interviews of Alverno Students. Interviewing was a part of an RCW Interest Group project that occurred in the 1989-1990 school year with analysis of the project continuing through 1992. Topics included in the interviews are: education, experiences with family of origin, current household experiences, work life, significant people (e.g. mentors, role models), "choice" time (e.g. hobbies, travel experiences), social and political influences, personal challenges (e.g. alcoholism, reproductive problems, domestic violence), present personal strengths and coping skills, and views of the future. Accompanying each interview is a participant questionnaire with questions answered on the following: name, age, place of birth, familial background, racial background, socio-economic background and educational background. Also included are notes, minutes, correspondence and subject files reflecting project planning and findings.

The "Publications" sub-series contains a complete run of the RCW Newsletter from 1971-1974. The scrapbook documents the history of the RCW from 1970 to 1976. There is one piece of ephemera, a "Women's Rights in Wisconsin ERA" neckerchief. Photographs included are of RCW staff and from the Conference of Women Theologians.

Finally, the collection contains numerous audiovisuals. There are audio cassette tapes of sessions from the Conference of Women Theologians and the Careers for Women Conference, reel to reel audiotapes documenting a variety of RCW activities such as: the International Women's Year Observance opening dinner, Midwest Conference of Women's Studies, Conference of Women Theologians, Feminine Forum: Changing Status of Women in Latin America, Mary Lou Burg--Democratic National Committee Woman, and the Destiny of Women Panel discussion. There are also reel to reel videotapes and a few video cassettes documenting such things as the following: Women and the Labor Market, Elizabeth Janeway--Informal Discussion on the Social History of Women's Rights, Women in Politics, Women Alive, Bring Home the Ballot: Wisconsin Women's Suffrage, and Women of Age.

ARRANGEMENT: The files are organized by subseries; then alphabetically by personal name, name of Alverno Department, or by subject ; and then chronologically. Files can contain a variety of materials including correspondence, staff memoranda, reports, newspaper clippings, and other publicity materials.

ADMINISTRATIVE HISTORY: The Alverno College Research Center on Women (RCW) was established in April 1970 through the work of Sr. Austin Doherty, then Chair of the Psychology Department; Barbara Mulligan, Director of the Continuing Education Division; and Victoria Hinshaw, Political Science Instructor. It was created (as mentioned in an early press release) "in the hope of contributing empirical and historical data to the study of women." The RCW began its functioning conceptually as three centers--a resource center on women, a research center about women, and an outreach center for women.

Originally, the RCW had a physical location on campus and a paid staff. The first co-directors of the RCW were Sr. Austin Doherty and Barbara Mulligan. They had a staff of four researchers: Patricia Gorence Bach, Nancy Lewis, Betty Weirich, and Irene Winsauer. Changes to the administrative structure of the RCW occurred by 1973 as follows: there was a board of directors overseeing the functioning of the RCW with a center coordinator and staff. The original board members were: Lois Rice, Sr. Celestine Schall, Helen Lobue, and Sr. Elizabeth Ann Glysh. The RCW coordinator was Kathleen Casey Gigl. Her staff consisted of a secretary, Karen Loreck; an assistant, Katie Swonek; and a student volunteer, Claudia Porter. From 1976 until August 1978, Sandra Smith Moore was the RCW coordinator.

The physical RCW space and its collection of materials began being absorbed into the Alverno Library Media Center in 1979. By 1981, the RCW board was gone and the RCW Interest Group had taken form. This was and still is a voluntary group of about 20 Alverno faculty and staff who meet biweekly and are "committed to study, reflection, planning and working through institutional, departmental and community structures to implement and infuse throughout the curriculum and the community women's concerns and issues." Also by 1981, the material collections of the RCW, although housed in their own room, were officially a part of the Library Media Center collections and were overseen by RCW Librarian, Lola Stuller. By the Summer of 1994, the materials and the physical space of the RCW were completely absorbed by the Library Media Center: the material collection and the collecting goals were fully integrated into that of the Library and the physical space was remodeled into the Circulation/Reserves area.

RCW as a viable concept has continued to exist at Alverno. Its collections have been overseen by the Library. Its legacy has lived on through the Alverno curriculum, Career Education Center, Internship Office, Telesis Institute, Alverno Early Learning Center (Child Care), and RCW-sponsored programming on campus. Its mission has been carried out by the Research Center on Women (RCW) Interest Group. In response to a growing need for action once again, some members of the Research Center on Women Interest Group joined with other interested individuals and organizations and embarked on a project to document the status of girls in Wisconsin.They published a report in the spring of 2007. One result of that report was that an anonymous donor provided the resources to open Alverno's Research Center for Women and Girls located in Clare Hall in Fall 2009.

RCW has come full-circle. With a new name, it is once again a viable place with an extensive research agenda. The Research Center on Women Interest Group continues its important work too, but has been renamed to avoid confusion with the Research Center for Women and Girls--the Feminist Education Advisory Group (FEAG).


© 2002 Alverno College -- All Rights Reserved.
Last edited on 8/18/2021