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Identifier: MC 778

Business and Professional Women's Club of New Brunswick, N.J. Records


  • Majority of material found within 1923-2000

Scope and Content Note

This collection consists of records of the New Brunswick Business and Professional Women's Club, a local branch of the New Jersey Business and Professional Women, Inc., founded in 1923. The collection is approximately 11 cubic feet in size and consists of 9 records center boxes, 1 letter sized manuscript box, three phase boxes, and one photograph box. Records of this club date from 1923 to 2000, and appear to be spread evenly throughout this period.

The bulk of the club's records consist of minutes, by-laws and procedural documents, publicity and public relations files and committee reports. The collection includes a wealth of photographic material and newspaper clippings, as well as nineteen scrapbooks. Subjects covered include legislation, fund-raising, community affairs, and other club activities.

The minutes of executive board and membership meetings are interfiled. Annual reports of the emblem, legislation, public relations, finance and personal development committees are filed in separate series and not with annual reports. The records for publicity and public relations contain press releases, letters to social news editors concerning up-coming activities and some instruction sheets for incoming publicity and public relations chairmen. Financial records in this organization fall into several categories: finance committee reports, treasurer's reports, donation records, scholarship award records and correspondence, and scholarship and loan fund information.

Yearbooks are primarily found in a folder but are also pasted in the scrapbooks. The yearbooks contained information on the club members, programs and committees of that year. Also in the later scrapbooks are many photographs. There are two newsletter scrapbooks that are filed under newsletters because they contain only newsletters. The scrapbook for 1968-70 is in a folder and not with the other scrapbooks, which are in record center boxes. The scrapbooks are kept in record center boxes because each book was contained in a separate binder. Three scrapbooks, 1953-1967, 1938-1940, and 1936-1954, are kept separately in phase boxes, due to their large size.

One oversized black and white photograph, five oversized resolutions, and four items of memorabilia are kept in a separate photograph box.

This collection also includes District V records, of which the New Brunswick club was a member. These records comprise one letter sized manuscript box. Agendas, lists of local club committee delegates, reservations and announcements for meetings, and local club reports are interfiled in the minutes. It is within the minutes that the running of the district is best documented. The correspondence and general files also document the activities of District V.

Related collections at Special Collections and University Archives, Rutgers University Libraries, include the records of the New Jersey Business and Professional Women, Inc. (MC 838), the Business and Professional Women's Club of the Plainfields (MC 928), Business and Professional Women's Club of Newark (MC 926), Business and Professional Women's Club of Point Pleasant, Hillside Business and Professional Women's Club, the Helen Hurd Papers (RMC 56), and other local New Jersey Business and Professional Women's Clubs fragmentary collections (such as Woodbridge, Clark, Westfield, Berkeley Heights, Millburn/Short Hills, Linden and Gloucester County).


11 Cubic Feet (9 records center boxes, 1 manuscript box, 3 phase boxes, and 2 photograph boxes)

Language of Materials



By-laws, 1923-1981 (with gaps); policy statements and procedures manuals, 1975 and undated; annual reports, 1933-1982; minutes, 1923-1982, of membership and executive committee meetings; treasurer's reports, 1924-1980; yearbooks and rosters, 1925-1982; newsletters, 1961-1982; committee records, 1924-1982; scrapbooks, 1926-1976; documents, 1923-1983, pertaining to club entertainment, ceremonies and similar events, including 50th and 60th anniversary celebrations; club room ledger, 1943; insurance policy, 1967; and correspondence, 1969-1983. Committee records include finance committee budgets, 1924-1976, and minutes, 1935-1956; education committee annual reports, 1936-1957; emblem committee general files, 1936-1957; foundation committee general files, 1935-1982; legislative committee general files, 1962-1974; personal development committee general files, 1967-1971; and public relations committee records consisting of annual reports, 1941-1946 and 1950-1952, press releases and correspondence, 1962-1976, photographs, 1927-1976, manuals, 1966-1967, and news articles, 1941 and 1972-1976.

Administrative History

The New Brunswick Business and Professional Women's Club held its first meeting on January 9, 1923, with nine members present. Miss Catherine T. Clapham, who was voted as temporary chairman of the club, ran the meeting. Miss Katharine H. Hoe was elected as temporary secretary. It was decided at this meeting that an organizational meeting was to be held with Miss Mary L. Johnston, President of the State Federation of Business and Professional Women's Clubs, as speaker. At this first meeting a list of possible members was made up and everyone present was given a list of names of people to invite to the next meeting. It was at this organizational meeting that 29 people voted for the first officers of the Business and Professional Women's Club of New Brunswick (as it was known in 1923). Three standing committees (program, publicity and membership) and one special committee (constitution) were also formed.

The 1920s marked a significant amount of firsts and preliminary changes for the club. The Constitution committee presented a constitution on February 5, 1923, which was approved with changes on February 21. The club became part of the State Federation on May 24, 1923, in order to send delegates to the State Convention that June. Catherine Clapham presented the club's charter on January 3, 1924. Along with representatives of other local clubs, she had received this charter at the meeting in Plainfield on November 17th, 1923. The club also oversaw the founding of the Perth Amboy BPW. In 1926, the club changed its fiscal year to start in June instead of January, to match the fiscal year of the National Federation. This year also saw the beginning of a Student Loan Fund, later changed to the Education and Loan Fund, a scholarship fund aiding female graduates pursuing business and professional careers. The club decided to change its election year from January-December to May-April in 1932. That was the first year that officers were elected in the month of May. In 1935, it was also decided that annual reports be given in the month of May.

The Business and Professional Women's Club of New Brunswick became more established in the 1930s. In 1933, the club celebrated its 10th anniversary with a dinner and a regular meeting. Miss Laura Kirkpatrick, a past president, was a guest of the club. The New Brunswick club would invite members from the defunct Perth Amboy club to join their club in March 193 5. The first newsletter, the Messenger, was issued as a monthly announcement sheet, in October 1936. The next Messenger was issued on January 22, 1937. In May 193 7 there were recommendations for a club historian. A building fund for a permanent clubroom was also established in that year. An emblem road sign was placed near the New Jersey College for Women, today Douglass College, and Music Hall in New Brunswick, establishing the club as a member of the community. The club also had a little fun with their Roasting parties, 1939 and 1940. These were called "The Fooleries." Material was written and acted by club members, and received public attention in various local newspapers.

During World War II, the club actively participated in the war effort and subsequent world peace effort, through the Committee for the Cause and Cure of War. This committee went on to be an early supporter of the United Nations. After this committee's demise, the New Jersey Women's Action Committee for a Lasting Peace was formed. The head of the new organization's education committee was Emily Hickman, an active New Brunswick club member. Hickman was a professor at New Jersey College for Women and also chair of the State Federation's International Relations Committee. The Women's Action Committee focused on the appointment of women to positions in international organizations. While the Committee was suspended for a short time, after Hickman's death in 194 7, it resumed activity in 1951. During the war, members also served with the Red Cross and the USO at Camp Kilmer, and sold war bonds and contributed books for a library on the Battleship USS New Jersey. In September of 1942, the New Brunswick B.P.W. establishes its clubroom at 143 Church Street. It was suggested that the clubroom be open to women of the armed forces as well. It was found a few months later however, that due to restrictions at Camp Kilmer, army nurses were unable to make use of the clubroom. The club began to consider the cost of leasing a clubroom, concluding that it had two positions open to it, either sublet the room to other organizations or abandon the room. It was decided in 1945 to terminate the lease on the room.

In 1946, the club came out in support of the Equal Rights Amendment. Two years later the National Federation was still asking for local clubs to help push the amendment. The club also sought the repeal of past "protective" legislation (e.g., laws regulating the hours in which women might work).

The State Federation, in 1960, suggested that local clubs incorporate. The New Brunswick club decided, with the advice of a lawyer, to look into the process. In 1961 the club incorporated under the name "Business and Professional Women's Club of New Brunswick, New Jersey" (later records from the 1990's state the name as New Brunswick Business and Professional Women's Club, Inc.). The club decided to incorporate to help avoid any possibility of a lawsuit against the club by individual members.

In 1965, the club gave Catherine Clapham an honorary life membership. Four years later she would have a scholarship named in her honor. This scholarship was annually presented to women graduates planning to enter the filed of nursing.

On October 21, 1970, the New Brunswick club and the Raritan Valley Chamber of Commerce jointly sponsored a salute to women in business and professions, as part of National Business Women's Week. This dinner recognized the achievements of women in the past fifty years, the present and the next fifty years. The profit from this event was credited to the scholarship fund .

The club also formed a Nike club in 1971. These clubs were established in the local high schools for junior and senior girls, to encourage them to examine possible careers and to becoming involved in their communities. A Nike committee in the parent B.P.W. and liaisons were sent to the high schools to oversee the Nike clubs. The Nike clubs, however, were not a part of the local B.P .W. club. In 1971, the Personal Development Committee also introduced two candidates for Young Career Woman of New Jersey. These candidates would go on to compete for a state scholarship.

In 1972, District V members wanted to reactivate the Edison BPW and set up a committee. The New Jersey Business and Professional Women Federation divided the state into districts, grouping clubs together according their location in the state. It was decided, after Edison BPW did not hand in a charter to use it and begin a new club, for which another committee was set up.

In 1978 the Scholarship policy was altered after several disappointing incidents with local scholarship recipients. Instead of two $250 local scholarships being awarded, the decision was made to send the scholarship money to the National B.P.W. Federation Foundation. Records from the 1980s and 1990s suggest that, the scholarship seems to have been revived. The 1980s saw an increase in fundraising events, such as breakfast buffets, and later in 1994 there were five scholarships awarded.

District V experiences problems with meeting attendance and overall enthusiasm in the late l 970s-l 980s. Members start to voice their opposition towards districting, and sought assistance from the State Federation. In October 1982, it was decided that the district will offer workshops at their Spring meeting, hoping to get more attendance. Inspite of these difficulties, the districting system remains intact. In 1980, the New Brunswick Club had only 38 active members, which was significantly lower than the 64 members they had in 1975. It appears, however, that the lower number was the average number of membership throughout the years.

In 1997 the club reactivated its Women of Achievement Award program after a hiatus of a few years. The award this year was given to Lt. Daisy Jones. In 1998, the award was given to Helen Hurd, who was a member of the club for 64 years. She held every State office, including State President in 1964. Hurd was also a Dean of Students and Associate Professor of Sociology at Rutgers University. Following her death in January 1999, the award was named after her. Catherine "Kay" Bolyog was awarded the first Helen Hurd Women of Achievement Award in 1999. Mrs. Bolyog is a prominent member of the club, who served as president from 1982-1984, and from 1991/92. She also served as club archivist, in other executive offices, and in various committee chairmanships.

The club remains active today in the community, legislation, and scholarship funding.

Biographical / Historical


Catherine (Kit) Clapham
Madeline Roberts
Laura Kirkpatrick
Edith Butler
Marguerite Riegel; Emma MacLeod (August)
E. Grace Richardson
Eunice Harrison
Edna Heacock
Lee Hoagland [1 1/2 years]
Emily Mershon [club year changes to May-April from January-December]
Anne Quint
Doris Barrick
Francyl Rickenbrode
Mildred Suydam
Genevieve Ford
Mabel Wells
Esther Stryker
Ethel Samuels
Anne Morrison Mann
Elizabeth Steichen
Ethel Luidens
Charlotte Neff
Dorothy Long
Arvada Finn
Helen West
Anne Bell
Lillian Bryson
Louise Lencheski
Marie Utzinger
Mary Lutz
Evelyn Chaput
Helen Hurd
Eleanor Becker [May-September only; died in office]
Mildred Stead
Alice Heffernan
Mary Yater
Helen Zih
Rita Herbert
Elizabeth Lyons
Mary Clarkson
Caroline Schulz
Muriel Peters
Muriel Waleters
Marie Utzinger [acting president]; Ethel Kiss
Ethel Kiss
Muriel Walters and Muriel Peters
Arline Furnise
Catherine "Kay" Bolyog
Charlotte Ann Butzgy
Betty Jane Guido
Deborah King
Esther Leepin
Dawn Robb
Catherine "Kay" Bolyog
Marie Thompson
Rosemary McMullen
Roslyn Appleby
Mary Ellen Kayden
Roslyn Appleby
Inventory to the Business and Professional Women's Club of New Brunswick, N.J. Records
Edited Full Draft
Donna R. Schleifer and Veronica Meyer
May 2002
Language of description note
Finding aid is written in English.
Special Collections and University Archives, Rutgers University received an operating support grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State.