Tidbits: AAUW Elgin Branch 100th Anniversary

Celebrating 100 years of Accomplishments and Awards of the Elgin Area Branch of AAUW
From: Marcia Cameron

Our Elgin AAUW Branch began in 1920 and was originally known as The Elgin College Club.  From those beginning years, our branch has always been actively involved in all area of our mission statement – advancing gender equity for women and girls through research, education & advocacy.

As we look to celebrate our 100th anniversary as a branch, here are a few highlights of our accomplishments and awards.

  • In 1923, the Elgin Branch was asked to take the initiative toward the organization of the state level of AAUW. Many Elgin members were early state officers. Mrs. Louise Malvern was the first state secretary. In 1935 Hazel Linkfield became the state membership chair and in 1937 was elected state president.
  • In the 1940’s the Elgin Branch worked towards the establishment of The Pied Piper Nursey School for children of mothers working in defense plants.
  • Art Showcase was established in 1960 to encourage the understanding and appreciation of the visual arts and to afford local artists an opportunity to show and sell their work. Sponsored by our branch for 49 years, this community event was recognized with an Elgin Image Award in 2011, which is presented to individuals and organizations having a positive impact in Elgin.
  • During 1963-65, a study group topic from the Association, “The American Family in a Changing World,” grew into a project with the YWCA and other organizations instituting a pre-school program for disadvantaged children, eventually becoming the Elgin Headstart Program.
  • Three of our branch members, JoAnn Armenta (2007), Margaret Keen (2013), and Anna Moeller (2015), have been recipients of the AAUW-IL Agent of Change Award, which is given to someone who has served as a catalyst in bringing positive societal change.
  • Many AAUW members have been recipients of the YWCA leadership Awards in categories such as the arts, social services, and volunteer/community service.

And the list goes on! These are just a very few of the highlights of the first 100 years of the Elgin Branch AAUW. New 100th Anniversary Tidbits will be added each month in our anniversary year of 2020.

As we look to the future, new ideas and projects will be undertaken, yet there will always be a link to our past, as we work for the advancement of gender equity for women and girls.