Who We Are

Our branch is established to help and support women in the Greater Philadelphia Area. Discover the history of the Valley Forge branch.

Norma Winther

In The Beginning

Norma Winther, AAUW Valley Forge Branch Historian

The purpose of this branch, as stated in our bylaws, “is to unite the alumnae of colleges and universities, which have been approved by the American Association of University Women, for practical education work: to concentrate and increase their influence in the community for the solution of social and civic problems: to participate in the development and promotion of the policies and programs of AAUW; to contribute to its growth and influence, and to cooperate in its state division and regional work.”

“In witness thereof the seal of the Association has been affixed this 12th day of September, 1956.” So states our charter officially designating us a branch in good standing of the American Association of University Women.

Group Of Women Having A Lunch Time

First Meeting

Our first meeting was on October 3, 1956, and fifteen women were present. Some members who attended the meeting are still part of the organization today, including:

  • President Nancy Wolter (Zimmerman Today)
  • Elaine Coate
  • Lunetta Headley
  • Norma Winther
  • Reading and Discussion

    At the time of the first meeting, the members were young mothers who prioritized their families yet felt trapped in the suburban split-level trap. We looked for mental stimulation and friendship with other ladies leading similar lives. The reading and discussion of concepts in study groups pertaining to international politics, education, the status of women, and the effects of that new media—TV were so stimulating.

    We read up on and looked into the benefits and drawbacks of daycare facilities before deciding they weren’t for us. At that time, we worried about being good wives, having healthy, intelligent kids, and still having time for ourselves.

  • Establishing Community Initiatives

    Later, as our kids started school, we transitioned from being “soccer moms” to “PTA moms” eager to learn everything we could about modern education, including the school’s and our roles. We established community initiatives focusing on women’s financial literacy and the arts.

  • Working in Local Libraries

    We worked at the local libraries, polling Pennsylvanians on the need for new libraries. Our organization also helped found the Friends of Tredyffrin Library and the Women’s Resource Center in Wayne, PA. We had annual book sales, which we still do now.

    After our children had started school safely, many of us ended up being “retreads,” going back to school before eventually entering the workforce.

For the Women of Tomorrow

We are conscious of the evolving demands of women and girls regarding equity and lifetime learning in line with AAUW’s mission.

Many women have realized their potential thanks to our rich background. It is now our responsibility to maintain the momentum for the women of tomorrow.

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