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Dayton Women's Center Records

Identifier: MS-119

Scope and Contents

The Dayton Women's Center records have been divided into three series. The first series is made up of organizational and administrative papers that explain how the center was formed and what it tried to do as an agency for women in the Dayton area. The second series contains printed material about a variety of topics that reveal Dayton women's interests as well as local Feminists' activities. The third series also contains printed material, from other women's groups.

The first series contains organizational files which include papers dealing with the organization's framework: the articles of incorporation and its constitution, its goals and proposals, the contracts made with other agencies, and its general administrative structure. This series also contains correspondence and financial records, including files of funding requests and information from funding agencies. There are minutes of the Women's Center meetings, membership lists, and attendance reports. Also included are job descriptions and contracts with workshop leaders.

In addition to copies of the Women's Center Service Directory, their project status reports, service projects, and a calendar of events, there is a large file of the Women's Center’s newsletters, which informed members of the center's activities. There are also news releases from the Women's Center in this series.

The second series, which is the largest part of the collection, consists of pamphlets, bulletins, guidelines, and articles dealing with the many topics of interest and importance to women in Dayton and to women involved in the women's movement generally. It includes information about women's health problems, especially birth control, childbirth, pregnancy, abortion, breast cancer. It also deals with domestic violence, child abuse, and rape. There are files on discrimination, including discrimination in education politics, insurance, credit, and religion. Also found in this series are materials concerning the women's liberation movement, the National Organization for Women, and the Equal Rights Amendment, but the largest amount of material in this series is related to the many aspects of women working away from the home, their problems and their opportunities. It contains manuals and guidelines designed to assist the working woman.

Series III contains printed materials that include catalogues of films, most of the material is feminist in interest and attitude. Also found in this third series are a few newspapers and newsletters from Ohio based feminist organizations.


  • Creation: 1969 - 1981


Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on accessing material in this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright restrictions may apply. Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.

Historical Note

The Dayton Women's Center opened in January, 1974. Administered by the Women's Center Collective, a group of Dayton area feminists, it was created to provide a place for women to be together and share common interests and problems. They informed and educated women in the community through programs and workshops. It also served as a referral agency, guiding women to other Dayton area organizations where their needs could be met.

In its first years it occupied a large house on North Main Street in Dayton. It had a paid director and a full time staff as well as numerous volunteers. Hundreds of women gathered at the center both to enjoy the society of other women, to discuss their problems, and to learn about new opportunities open to them.

After a few years, however, interest as well as funds declined, and the center moved to a room in St. Andrew's Episcopal Church on Salem Avenue.

By 1980 the Women's Center Collective had only five members and few women were using the center or attending workshops. At the time of its closing in January, 1981, two thousand women were on the mailing list, but the center's facilities and resources were not being used sufficiently to warrant its continuation. Those who were active in keeping the center open were weary of the continuing financial problems and the declining interest in the center. It closed, having served the women of Dayton area for seven years.


3.17 linear feet

Language of Materials



The Dayton Women’s Center was founded in 1974 by a group of Dayton-Area feminists and closed in January, 1981. It was created to provide a space for local women to meet, organize around feminist issues, and share common interests and concerns. The records consist of organizational and founding papers, correspondence, meeting minutes, financial records, and membership surveys. As well as newsletters, clippings, news releases, subject files, photographs, and literature, pamphlets, brochures, and posters.


This collection is arranged into three series:

Series I:
Organization Papers, 1971-1981
Series II:
Subject Files, 1969-1980
Series III:
Printed Materials, 1970-1980

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was donated to Special Collections and Archives by Leslie A. Liszak and Martha Congdon on March 23, 1981.

Related Materials

MS-507 Judith Ezekial “Feminism in the Heartland Research Collection”

MS-129 Dayton Women Working Records

MS-133 Dayton Women’s Liberation Records

MS-141 Socialist Feminist Conference Records

MS-176 Women Inc. Scrapbooks

Separated Materials

Event posters and citations were separated to oversize flat files.

Guide to the Dayton Women's Center Records (MS-119)
Barbara Wannemacher
1981 June
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2019 February: Finding aid revised according to DACS standards by Alyssa Stark and Toni Vanden Bos.
  • 2021 Oct: Series II: Subject Files intellectually rearranged into alphabetical order by folder title; physical arrangement not modified.
  • 2023 November: Collection rehoused into new acid free folders and boxes, and out of scope items were weeded by Toni Vanden Bos.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

Wright State University Libraries
Special Collections and Archives
3640 Colonel Glenn Hwy
Dayton OH 45435-0001 USA