March is Women’s History Month, and if you are looking for primary sources, especially ones related to local women’s history, New York Heritage is the place to look.
UB’s University Archives has been digitizing a series of women’s history collections, and just in time for Women’s History Month, the latest collection is now online: Zonta International. The name may not be familiar to you, but the Zonta Club of Buffalo was the first club (founded in 1919) in what is now Zonta International, a leading global organization of women professionals. The collection includes 200 photographs, documents and other items showing the club’s history.
UB’s first collection in the series was the Twentieth Century Club. This was one of the first private clubs for women in the United States, and was founded in 1894. The collection chronicles not only the history of events in Buffalo, but also the enormous societal changes which have occurred in its lifespan.
The remaining collection in UB’s series is Junior League of Buffalo, the local chapter of the worldwide volunteering organization for women. The chapter is still going strong and will be celebrating a centennial in 2019.
Other WNY institutions have appropriate collections for this topic as well. The Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village has a collection of the League of Women Voters of Amherst. The materials, from BNHV’s holdings, include newsletters, newspaper articles, publications, meeting minutes and scrapbooks.
Heading out a little farther across the state, here are two more collections of note. Women of Fayetteville is from the local history room at the Fayetteville Library. In addition to photos of daily life from the 19th century, it includes the archive of the Coterie, a women’s study group established in 1885 that continues to meet regularly to this day.
The Lesbian Herstory Archives is an archive located in the NYC area. The digital collection includes snapshots, professional photography, and found images. Many of the materials came to us from women who simply wanted their images saved, their lives remembered.
If your library or institution is doing any activities related to Women’s History Month, make sure to visit these digital collections and recommend them to your patrons too.