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Undergraduate Dames Club. Purdue University



  • Existence: 1918 - circa 1965

Historical Information

The tradition of University Dames at Purdue began in 1918. Dean Carolyn Shoemaker was a founding member and sponsor of the Dames from their inception and remained a strong supporter of and advocate for all University Dames until her death in 1933.

The tradition of University Dames Clubs began with the development of the first such group at Harvard in 1896. As Harvard Dames moved on to other parts of the country they would start new chapters at the next university with which they were affiliated. These clubs were devoted to creating a sense of community between the wives as well as a source of social and intellectual development and philanthropic endeavors. The National Association of University Dames was founded in 1921 to address the growing need to better facilitate transfer of members among chapters and foster a sense of cooperation and communication between them. Due to the fact that individual chapters were quite small and with extremely limited resources, the possibility of annual conventions was unlikely; thus, the founding committee of the national association decided that the responsibilities of the national chapter would be carried out on a rotating basis by the officers of local chapters. Purdue Dames held the national chairmanship for two years (1931-1932, 1933), ostensibly due to the division of the undergraduate and graduate groups.

The undergraduate group and graduate group re-merged in 1964, taking on the name of the Purdue University Dames. It is unclear at this time how long the club continued to operate after this since the records end abruptly in 1965 (but with no indication that the club was disbanding). Later records in the collection indicate that the Dames maintained a cooperative relationship with the Purdue Women’s Club as well and it is possible that the two could have merged.


MSP 146, Purdue Graduate Dames Club records, Purdue University Archives and Special Collections, Purdue University Libraries.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Purdue Graduate Dames Club records

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSP 146
Overview The records contain membership information as well as a variety of notes and ephemera documenting the activities of the Purdue University Graduate Dames.  Also included are correspondence and programs for the National University Dames society.
Dates: 1931 - 1964; Majority of material found within 1931 - 1955