Branch History

Rockland County AAUW 50 Years Retrospective
May 2012
As compiled by Mimi Korb for our 50th anniversary celebration

1962 — The charter for the New City Branch was approved by National and the branch was chartered on January 29.  At the time the Nyack branch chartered in 1948 and the Pearl River branch chartered in 1945 were in existence.

Mrs. Dot Matthews was elected the first president; Laurel Karas was the first Recording Secretary.  Meetings held at members homes.

Three study areas were: the Arts, “International Relations focused on France and the Declining Empire”, and education focused on the Montessori system.  Community action included the support of the New City Library expansion.  Most members were former
teachers raising their families in the suburbs.

1963  There were several study groups on various stages of education.  NYS AAUW discouraged the members from having a study group on cooking.  There were 41 members.
Members sponsored a play as a scholarship fundraiser.  The head of the Mental Health Association was a speaker.  Branch meetings continued to be held in members’ homes.

1964  Study groups on genetics, the role of mom, and high school dropouts were held.  Members supported the New City Library budget and the Nyack Headstart Play group.

1966  Programs included discussion on the probationary system, “Revolution in Modern China” and controlling the birth rate.  Study groups looked at the effects of psychogenic drugs, cancer research and birth defects.  Groups also studied modern art, music and higher education.

1967  Branch meetings held on “Neurological Organization Involving Patterning” and wills for estate planning.  Study groups held on music appreciation, art and literature.

1968  Branch meetings were held on “Morality in the Twentieth Century” and the “History of Western Dance.”   Conducted study groups on world problems/foreign policy, music, art, and “Testing Values in a Changing Society”.

1969  Members were working with the Human Rights group to find jobs for the disadvantaged and were encouraged to either volunteer or financially support the West Street Day Care Center in Spring Valley.  For fundraising, they sold cookbooks with member recipes.  There were also literature and education interest groups.  Co-sponsored a “Career Day for Woman” in collaboration with the Rockland County Guidance Center.

1970  One of the programs included a speaker on the role of Planned Parenthood in our society.
The group appointed a representative to report back on the actions of the Clarkstown School Board.

1971  Conducted a program to support the Clarkstown Narcotics Guidance Council – working on the hot line and distributing information.  Branch meetings were held on Medicaid and drug use.  National AAUW sent letter to Pat Nixon to request that one of the Supreme Court’s openings be filled by a qualified woman.

1972   ‘Study groups held on literature, education and community issues.  Held a garage sale at Cropsey’s greenhouse for EOF..

1974  Held study groups on “Finance in Today’s World” and antiques.  Conducted a book sale and had a Gourmet interest group.

1975  Co-sponsored a program with Bamberger’s on widowhood – emotionally, financially and socially.  Conducted a meeting on “Career Planning for Woman” for those interested in identifying changing career goals.  Participated in a U.N. seminar on “The Third World and Ours – Cooperation or Confrontation”.  Established book awards given to a Clarkstown North and South senior women.

1976  One of the study groups was called “Bettering Education” to constructively help improve educational institutions in Rockland looking at methods of learning, evaluating and testing students, the kindergarten year, etc.  Other study groups included French literature, creative crafts, and the classics of modern fiction.  Helped compile and publish the “Rockland County Directory of Pre-school Facilities”.

1977  Celebrated the 15th Anniversary of the 54th chartered NYS branch having a membership of 65.  Held a meeting on Finances and Investments with the emphasis on women.

1978  Branch selected the first “Woman of Achievement” Kathleen Lukens, founder of Venture.  Study groups held on crafts, contemporary literature, bettering education, and women as agents of change.

1979  Branch meetings held on battered wives, nutrition for families, financial management, home repairs, and the Boat People.  Study group formed on “How to Survive Motherhood”.  Margaret Anderson, head of the Rockland Guidance Center, was selected as “Women of Achievement.”

1980  Branch meetings held on alternate sources of nuclear waste transportation, photography, and “Going Back to Work: Did it Change Your Lifestyle?”  Judith Kessler, an environmentalist, was chosen as “Woman of Achievement.”

1981  Branch meetings held on “How to Expend Energy Constructively”, financial management, dances from around the world.  Held a reception honoring Michelle Marsh as the Outstanding Professional News Reporter.

1982  Branch meetings held on “Coping with Elderly Family Members,” Woman’s Equity Workshop, and a college night for women returning to school.

1983  Held a branch meeting on “Women Learning from Women” and a fundraiser Filet Mignon Dinner at Rosalie Saunders’ home.  Developed a lesson plan for 5th graders on the special contributions of women in American History.

1984  Developed “Imprints on Rockland County History; Biographies of Twelve Women” to demonstrate the contributions of women to the history of our county for 4th graders.

1985  Held an EF fundraising square dance.  Awarded first Barbara Myneder scholarship to a returning woman student.  Branch meetings held on aspects of peace and services for the handicapped.

1986  Branch meetings were held on Self-Awareness, Cocaine in the Suburbs and peace and national security.

1987  Conducted an essay and poster contest for high school students on how to lessen the chance of nuclear war.  Celebrated the 25th anniversary of the branch.  Membership was opened to men.  Branch meeting held on the “Sandwich Generation.”

1988  Collaborated with the Cooperative Extension, the Guidance Center and the three high schools in Clarkstown to present a Role Model Panel as part of our Choices Workshop offered to junior girls at Clarkstown South High School.  Held a Chinese Dinner Mystery fundraiser at Cropsey’s.   Branch meetings held on the homeless and AIDS.

1989  Branch meetings on alcoholism, women’s work/women’s worth.  Conducted a miniversity at RCC with a diversity of one hour courses.

1990  Branch meetings held on communications, assertiveness and housing alternatives.  Participated in Rock Fest sponsored by the Cooperative Extension.

1991 Branch meetings held on health insurance concerns and adequate coverage.  Conducted another miniversity at RCC.

1992  Initiated the mentor program with Nyack High School junior girls matching girls with a person in their career choice.  Program ran for seven years.  Branch meetings included a panel on women and politics, financial planning, breast cancer, and unusual career choices for girls.  Renamed our branch to the Rockland County Branch as the other two branches had disbanded.

1993  Branch meetings on osteoporosis and holistic health.  Held a mentor/mentee reception as a follow-up for the Nyack High School mentees.

1994  Branch meetings on “Health Care in the Third World by Dr. Laura Sudarsky and the History of Rockland by Robert Burghardt.

1995  Co-sponsored the march and rally in New City to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the 19th amendment.  Branch meetings on an update to the Beijing World Conference on Women and on health news in the media.

1997  Conducted branch meetings on the “History of Women in Science, osteoporosis, and preserving textiles and held a panel discussion with five international students from RCC.  Started a Needle Arts group.

1998  Marion Leavitt and Anne Nash initiated the Diversity Brunch at the St. Charles AME Zion Church.  Small Cheer, Great Welcome dinners initiated by Rosemary Waltzer.  Meetings included a program on Sojourner Truth by Elaine Caubere, breast cancer by Dr. Thalenberg, and “Schools of the 21st Century” by Harriet Cornell

1999  Conducted meetings on domestic violence, affirmative action, women’s mental health and fitness.

2000  Conducted a goal setting session with NYS President Bobbe Fortunato and Betty Harrel.  Branch meetings included Barbara Unger reading her poetry and a discussion on Martha Washington.

2001  Branch meetings included “Immigration in Haverstraw,” financial discussion, and Barbara Unger’s “Bronx Accent.”

2002  Celebrated the 40th anniversary of the branch.  Toured the Stony Point State Park with Louise Warger’s daughter.  Branch meetings on Mexican/American immigration and “Racism as a Barrier to Attaining Democracy”.  Held a Filet Mignon summer social at Cropsey’s.

2003  Collaborated with Mental Health Association to sponsor the first annual “What’s Cool” conference.  Branch meeting held on “The Role of Muslim Women in the Islam Religion.”

2004  Conducted a branch meeting on “Life after Retirement”.   Collaborated with the League of Women Voters on a candidate’s night.  Held the Diversity Brunch in collaboration with Delta Sigma Theta and Alpha Kappa Alpha.

2005  Collected clothing for rape victims at the Rockland Family Shelter.  Co-sponsored a discussion on the “Future of Social Security” with the League, NAACP, and RCC.  Presented various cultural programs.  Ros Maxwell initiated the annual holiday gift wrapping fundraiser with Barnes and Noble.

2006  Program on “Iran – What’s the Fuss,” stress reduction, conducted a workshop with representatives of all Rockland colleges to determine common issues, program on “China  –  Friend or Foe” and Celebrating Women of Rockland’s Past.  Celebrated National AAUW’s 125th Anniversary.

2007  Celebrated Pay Equity Day, sponsored a book signing at Barnes and Noble with Hill Harper, attended the U.N. “Briefings on the Effects of War on Women Around the World.”

2008  Collaborated with RCC in setting up a mentoring program for the CASS students at RCC, initiated the Health and Wellness Committee and initiated the Great Decisions program at the New City Library.  Joyce Brown began the STEM initiative with the Summit Park Elementary School.

2009  Conducted various workshops and one-on-one mentoring for the CASS students.  Branch meetings held on Woman’s Heart Health, HPV, and Afghanistan and Pakistan.

2010  Conducted a program at RCC honoring 24 Rockland “Women Who Made a Difference.”
Conducted a health and wellness symposium on “Understanding Medical Directives.”   Raised awareness of women’s issues by partnering with Twenty-Thirty-Forty and the Rockland Family Shelter to discuss the book “Half the Sky”.   Phyllis Frank of Volunteer Counseling Services was chosen as the “Woman of Achievement.”

2011  Collaborated with the New City Library to present “Eleanor Roosevelt at Valkill”  Collaborated with the Sierra Club on a branch meeting on hydrofracking.  Clare Sheridan of the Rockland Historical Society was chosen as the “Woman of Achievement.”

2012  Began preparations for celebrating our 50th anniversary, continued Great Decisions public policy discussion group, attended AAUW NYS United Nations Day,  Elmwood Theatre fundraiser with LVW, co-sponsored Candidates Forum, member/author Betty Vallone presented research/history for her book “Barbarossa’s Princess,”  honored charter members of Rockland branch, celebrated membership of 100 women (and men), anniversary celebration/dinner, summertime funraiser BBQ.