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Patricia W. & J. Douglas Perry Library
The Papers of the ODU Faculty Wives Club
Founded in 1950 by Virginia Rice Webb, the Faculty Wives Club served as a source of socialization for the original sixteen to twenty members. Meetings were held on Friday evenings because it was the only night the women knew they could depend on their husbands to take care of the children. Each woman would bring a dime in order to purchase refreshments.
As the membership of the club grew, it quickly adapted to the needs of its members, developing interest groups such as bowling and bridge clubs, holding social events, as well as creating bylaws and handbooks as a way to govern this newly developing organization. As a young organization, the Faculty Wives Club aimed to serve the interests ODU community acting as a connector between the University and the surrounding cities of Norfolk and Virginia Beach. Town and Gown is one of the most prominent Norfolk organizations to work with the Faculty Wives Club. As a matter of fact, the Town and Gown organization developed out of the Faculty Wives Club. During the 1960s, the club began publishing a monthly newsletter, entitled Furbelows. This name, also used as the name of the club, means a showy piece of ornamentation or a loose flowing part of a garment. While the collection does not give specific details as to why the name was chosen for the title of their newsletter, one could assume word play came into account. The idea of describing themselves as an ornate group of educated women socializing together seems fitting.
The Faculty Wives club was a service organization in addition to a social club. One of their philanthropic activities was the Recording Service for Center for the visually impaired located in Perry Library. The objective of this project was to provide tape recordings of books for the blind or visually impaired students attending the University.
By 1979, numbers and the direction of the club began to change, thus turning the Faculty Wives Club into the new ODU Women’s Association. It was at this point in time that the group began to incorporate interest groups around women’s awareness. It was also at this time that the Women’s Association opened their membership to include female faculty members. Previous stipulations limited membership to wives of faculty and staff. As of 2008, the organization was still referred to as the Faculty Wives Club at various Old Dominion social events.
SCOPE AND CONTENTS
Within this collection there are a variety of materials which include handbooks, monthly newsletters, and scrapbooks. Included in the scrapbooks are additional handbooks and Furbelows publications, song books, event programs, invitations, minutes, and obituaries, along with various newspaper articles relevant to either the club or a member of the club. Within the scrapbooks there are photos and very few examples of correspondence, generally letters of thanks or personal invitations. Additionally there is a folder of flyers and mailers for various social engagements of the club. Two additional pieces sum up the contents of this collection -- the 1974 membership list and one publication on the Recording Services for the visually impaired; the Faculty Wives Club service project. The dates of the material range from 1964 to 1986.
Open to researchers without restrictions. Questions on literary property rights should be directed to the Special Collections Librarian.
1 Hollinger Document Case and 1 Oversized Box
RG 36- 7A
Folder #1: Faculty Wives Club Handbooks, 1964-1967, 1971-1973, 1976-1977
Scrapbook #1, 1965-1970