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American Council of Railroad Women Records, 1944-1977
18 boxes (10 linear ft.)
Collection number: MS 345

Abstract:
An organization of women holding supervisory positions in railroad personnel and service. The records provide insight into the attitudes and motivations of a group of professional women organized for their mutual benefit at a time when most women had "jobs" rather than "careers." Material includes correspondence, minutes, reports, publications, photographs, scrapbooks, and other material which document its history and activities from its founding until 1977.

Terms of Access and Use:

Restrictions on access:

The records are open to research according to the regulations of the Sophia Smith Collection with no additional restrictions.

Restrictions on use:

The Sophia Smith Collection owns copyright to the records of the American Council of Railroad Women. Copyright to materials created by others may be owned by those individuals or their heirs or assigns. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights. Permission must be obtained from the Sophia Smith Collection to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use."

Sophia Smith Collection
Smith College
Northampton, MA

Historical Note

In 1944, a small group of women holding supervisory positions in railroad personnel and service held informal meetings in Chicago to discuss their changing roles in the railroad industry during wartime. Over the course of several meetings, they decided that they needed a permanent organization, and in September 1944 twenty-eight women voted to form the National Association of Railroad Women. (The name was changed to American Association of Railroad Women in 1952.) Unprepared by the railroads for promotions to management positions previously held by men, the women organized themselves "to provide a medium of exchange of ideas and experiences relative to our work; to discuss improvements in service and to plan for the better utilization of womanpower in railroading."

Fall Meeting of the American Council of Railroad Women in their silver anniversary year, 1968

Fall Meeting of the American Council of Railroad
Women in their silver anniversary year, 1968

Membership eligibility was originally limited to women holding personnel or passenger service positions. Later, it was extended to include women employed in the United States and Canada as corporate officers, assistants and secretaries to presidents, lawyers, magazine editors, engineers, traffic representatives, personnel supervisors, public relations staffs, special representatives, and special investigators.

The council's annual spring and fall meetings include the transaction of business, educational sessions, and entertainment. Throughout its history, the council consistently sought the approval of, and received support from, railroad management, which has contributed senior executives to the sessions as speakers and seminar leaders. Early reports and discussions covered such topics as "education of the travelling public" and "new and improved methods and equipment for cleaning both the exteriors and interiors of trains." Later meetings reflected the evolving membership interests, emphasizing legislative lobbying (including support for the Equal Rights Amendment), and such professional development topics as corporate decision making.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The records of the ACRW consist of ten linear feet of correspondence, minutes, reports, publications, photographs, scrapbooks, and other material documenting its history and activities from its founding until 1977. The records provide some insight into the attitudes and motivations of a group of professional women organized for their mutual benefit at a time when most women had "jobs" rather than "careers."

The bulk of the material consists of meeting minutes (including speeches and miscellaneous material distributed at meetings); and membership applications and correspondence. The codebooks, assembled by the Governing Committee as an easily-accessed information source, partially duplicate the minutes, as they are compilations of similar types of material. The officers' correspondence, which largely concerns meeting arrangements and membership eligibility and recruitment, is most complete for the 1950s and 1970s, fragmentary in the 1960s, and non-existent for the earliest years. The membership files reflect the involvement in membership matters of both the Governing Committee and Membership Committee. They include individuals considered for membership, as well as those who actually joined the ACRW.

The committee files are far from complete; apparently only scattered documentation of the Legislative, Publicity, and Public Relations committees has been retained. Other committees, including Archives, Service, Housing and Transportation, and Nominating, are represented only by their reports in the minutes.


Information on Use
Terms of Access and Use
Restrictions on access:

The records are open to research according to the regulations of the Sophia Smith Collection with no additional restrictions.

Restrictions on use:

The Sophia Smith Collection owns copyright to the records of the American Council of Railroad Women. Copyright to materials created by others may be owned by those individuals or their heirs or assigns. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights. Permission must be obtained from the Sophia Smith Collection to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use."

Preferred Citation

Please use the following format when citing materials from this collection:

American Council of Railroad Women Records, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, Northampton, Mass.

History of the Collection

Betty Royon, ACRW member, arranged for the organization's donation of its records in 1972. Additional shipments arrived in 1973 and 1980. Prior to their donation, the records were in the custody of various ACRW historians and other officers.

Accruals:

Periodic additions to collection are expected.

Processing Information

Processed by Amy Hague, 1990.

Recent additions to this collection are unprocessed and are not reflected in the finding aid.


Additional Information
Contact Information
Sophia Smith Collection
Smith College
Northampton, MA 01063

Phone: (413) 585-2970
Fax: (413) 585-2886

Email Reference Form: http://www.smith.edu/libraries/libs/ssc/emailform.html
URL: http://www.smith.edu/libraries/libs/ssc/

Language
English.