Old Dominion University Libraries

Special Collections & University Archives

Events & Exhibits

Search Special Collections


Monday - Friday:
9 am - 4:30 pm

Other times by appointment


The Special Collections is located on the east side of the Library at the front of the 3rd floor.

Contact Information

Patricia W. & J. Douglas Perry Library
Norfolk, Virginia 23529-0256
telephone (757) 683-5350
fax (757) 683-5954


The Papers of Friends of Women's Studies

Historical Sketch

Friends of Women's Studies is the community support group for the Women's Studies program at Old Dominion University. The purpose of the Friends of Women's Studies is to preserve and strengthen the Women's Studies program at ODU, to educate the community and university about the program, and to underwrite functions of the Women's Studies program that are otherwise unfunded.

The Women's Studies program itself began in 1977 with a grant and was the first Women's Studies program in Virginia. Carolyn Rhodes was the coordinator of the pilot program which offered six courses relating to women's influences in society. It grew and expanded under the leadership of Nancy Topping Bazin (Women's Studies Director, 1978-1985). When she resigned in 1985, the future of the program seemed in doubt.

Carolyn Rhodes (Women's Studies Coordinator, 1977-78) mobilized professional women at ODU and in the community to form the Friends of Women's Studies to support the continuance of the Women's Studies program. Also involved were Ellen Mars (Women's Caucus President), Edie Harrison, Zelda Silverman, Sharon Adams, and Nellie Hayse (who was to become the first President of the Friends of Women's Studies). The group of women rounded up a support group, held meetings, and developed a constitution. The number of supporters grew and the organization began to take shape.

On January 25, 1986, an organizing committee of close to 80 women met for the inaugural event of the Friends of Women's Studies attended by hundreds. The initial tasks of the organization were to raise money for the Women's Studies program and to provide public lectures explaining exactly what Women's Studies was all about.

In 1990, the Friends of Women's Studies began funding the Women's Studies Student Essay Contest and the Women's Studies Junior Faculty Lecture. In 1995, when Women's Studies became a major, the Friends of Women's Studies started an endowment scholarship, named in honor of Carolyn Rhodes. They also began buying Women's Studies journals for the ODU Library. When Nancy Bazin retired in 1999, the Friends of Women's Studies raised money for an endowed scholarship for graduate students in her honor.

Friends of Women's Studies sponsors Work in Progress conferences in the community, provides support for an annual feminist activist fair, provides a mentoring program for Women's Studies students, produces the Like Minds newsletter, and hosts an annual dinner that includes speakers. Board members are made up of women professionals, faculty members, former Women's Studies students, and other individuals from the University and local community. Much of the success of the Women's Studies program comes from the support of the Friends of Women's Studies.

Scope and Contents

This collection contains materials related to the formation of the Friends of Women's Studies from its founding in 1986 onward to 2005. Included are administrative materials including by-laws and correspondence; news articles; newsletters; event invitations; information on grants and scholarships; and a few photos.

Series Descriptions

Series I: Administrative. This series contains administrative and business related materials including by-laws; correspondence; address lists; and promotional brochures for the organization.

Series II: Events. This series contains event invitations for the various events and lectures, including the retirement party for Nancy Bazin and the appointment of Dr. Ellen Lewin as the director of Women's Studies in 1986. Also included is a program for the 1986 lecture series "Changing Perspectives for Women."

Series III: Grants and Scholarships. This series contains Endowed Lecture Grant Applications from 1983 to 1987, and information on the Nancy Topping Bazin Graduate Scholarship and its recipients in 1999.

Series IV: Meetings. This series contains meeting minutes from the first year of the Friends of Women's Studies in 1986; promotional materials for the Friends of Women's Studies Annual Dinner Meeting from 1986 to 2005; and meeting invitations for the inaugural meeting of the organization on January 25, 1986 and the April 16, 1996 Annual Meeting.

Series V: Newsletters / News Articles. This series contains issues of the Like Minds Newsletter from 1998-2005, along with the group's first unnamed newsletter from 1986; news articles related to the formation of the Friends of Women's Studies; and an annotated copy of Belles Letters magazine from the Summer of 1995.

Series VI: Photos. This series contains various photos related to the Friends of Women's Studies including awards and celebrations.


A gift from Carolyn Rhodes, 2005.


Open to researchers without restrictions. Questions on literary property rights should be directed to the Special Collections Librarian.


1 Hollinger Document Case

Collection Number

RG 17-28A1

Container Listing

Box 1

Series I: Administrative

Folder 1: Address List, 1996
Folder 2: Board of Directors Address List, 1986
Folder 3: Brochures, 1988-1998
Folder 4: Bylaws of Friends of Women's Studies, n.d.
Folder 5: Correspondence to Caucus members & Friends of Women's Studies, 1986-1999
Folder 6: Directory of Women Scholars of Hampton Roads, 1989-1990
Folder 7: "Talking Paper" Support Group for Women's Studies 1985

Series II: Events

Folder 8: Event Invitations, 1986-1999
Folder 9: Invitation to Reception- Dr. Ellen Lewin, 1986
Folder 10: "The Changing Perspective for Women" 1986

Series III: Grants and Scholarships

Folder 11: Endowed Lecture Grant Application I, 1983-1987
Folder 12: Endowed Lecture Grant Application II, 1983-1984
Folder 13: Scholarships, 1999

Series IV: Meetings

Folder 14: Annual Dinner Meetings, 1986-2005
Folder 15: Friends of Women's Studies Meeting Invitations, 1986 and 1996
Folder 16: Meeting Minutes, 1986

Series V: Newsletters / News Articles

Folder 17: Newsletter Vol. 1 No. 2 and No.3, Fall & Spring 1986
Folder 18: Like Minds Newsletter, 1998-2005
Folder 19: News Articles/ Releases, 1986 & 1999
Folder 20: Belles Letters, Volume 10, Issue 3, 1995

Series VI: Photos

Folder 21: College of Arts & Letters Photos, n.d.
Folder 22: Unidentified Photo, n.d.

Revised: 2/8/2011