Branch History

The complete document from which this summary was taken is available here:  HISTORY STATE AND BRANCH

The Fairbanks Branch of the AAUW was organized in November 1936 and recognized by the national AAUW in 1937. Some of the chapter members were Mary Adler, Vide Bartlett, Lydia Fohn-Hansen, and Kay Patty, wife of the University president. The first meetings were dinner meetings held in downtown restaurants such as the Model Cafe and Pioneer Grill. The group met regularly for bridge to earn money for both local and national fellowships. Another money raiser was concerts held at the Empress Theatre, followed by teas.

In 1948, AAUW joined with the Soroptomist Club and Beta Sigma Phi to start a concert series in Fairbanks, bringing musical artists to the area.  This became the Fairbanks Community Concert Association. The Branch even sponsored a Girl Scout and a Brownie Troop.  In the early 1950’s the Branch grew to 127 members.

From 1956 to 1961, the Branch held a Creative Arts Workshop each summer for 9-12 year olds. Members also sponsored the Fairbanks Children’s Theater for Two years. This theater group continues today. For many years we sponsored Jean Gordon’s Young Linguists Group to introduce youngsters to foreign languages.

The Alaska Division of the AAUW was officially recognized in 1965, Myrtle Philleo of Fairbanks as its first president. The Branch continued raising money for scholarships and fellowships, holding its first House Tour in July 1973. This has become our primary fund raiser over the years. After two long years of spearheading an area-wide push for bicycle trails, Branch members joined Governor Jay Hammond in 1976 as he dedicated and rode the first bike trail along Farmers Loop.

Some other past projects included sponsoring two chairs for the Fairbanks Drama Association, contributing $500 to the Judith Resnick American Fellowship Endowment in honor of the female astronaut killed in the Challenger mishap, sponsoring a public meeting on personal protection, spearheading a Pro-Choice Rally in Bicentennial Park, decorating a room at WICCA, and helping sponsor an area-wide motivational workshop “Discovering Me”, for girls in 6-8th grade, along with their accompanying parent or other adult.

Each year we offer two scholarships to local women planning to upgrade their education or pursue educational projects. We have an active Book Group that meets monhly, and a Writer’s interest group.

Some of our earliest Branch presidents were Lola Tilly, Kay Patty, and Myrtle Philleo.  These notes were compiled by Ellen Whitcher, Barbara Matthews, and Joyce Harris Upham;. These women have kept track of important Alaska history over many years.  AAUW is deeply rooted in Territorial and State history.

All of this information came from “Sixty-Three Years” American Association of University Women compiled by the Fairbanks Branch in 1999. All notebooks and photo albums of past history have been given to the Archives section at the library at University of Alaska-Fairbanks.

The complete document from which this summary was taken is available here: