The American Association of University Women was formed in November 1881 in Boston, Massachusetts. Its goals were to promote higher education for women; assist women in their pursuit of various occupations; and help them utilize their higher education for the good of society, as well as for themselves.
The organization grew from the original 16 members to over 200,000 members in its centennial year of 1981. This network of university women exists in 54 countries and has a chapter in every state, including the North Dakota chapter.
In North Dakota, Valley City held its first AAUW meeting on October 12, 1916, and was officially recognized later that year. Grand Forks held its first meeting on October 25, 1916 and was recognized in 1917. Fargo's first meeting was on January 27, 1922. The Fargo branch was recognized with Moorhead in 1922. Fargo was later recognized on its own in 1930. The Dickinson branch held its first meeting on June 21, 1929 and was recognized on July 1, 1929. Bismarck's records are incomplete so the first meeting date is unknown. However, the Bismarck branch was recognized on October 6, 1930.
The State Division was founded in 1930. It included Valley City, Grand Forks, Fargo, Dickinson and Bismarck. Other branches soon followed. They included Minot (April 6, 1934), Jamestown (November 30, 1934), Wahpeton (June 3, 1935), Mayville (1937, disbanded in March 1942, reorganized in 1957), Grafton (October 31, 1951), Mandan (October 27, 1953), Williston (December 13, 1956), and Devils Lake (July 9, 1958).
Through seminars, conferences, meetings, and newsletters, AAUW offers university women information on current women's issues and international issues; promotes international understanding; and establishes lifelong friendships.
Numerous additions were received from Shelby Harken, Grand Forks, North Dakota: June 1977(77-424); April 15, 1981 (81-712); April 25, 1983 (83-107); September 12, 1984 (83-1330); and September 1986 (84-1330).
Additional material was also donated by Pat Berntsen, Grand Forks, North Dakota, on May 7, 1980 (81-702) and by Jinnie Milne, on July 17, 1990 (90-1715) and on August 19, 1991.