University Library Association Records
- University of Denver. Women's Library Association (Organization)
Biographical / Historical
The Women's Library Association, "dedicated to the premise that a great university must have as its heart a great library," was established in 1956 as the Women's Committee of the University of Denver. At the request of Chancellor Chester Alter, Marion Gottesfeld (Hurwitz) and Peg Bradford, both University trustees, formed a committee to raise funds for the University's libraries and to acquire book donations and manuscript collections to support University research and teaching. This committee, composed of seven other members, including Mrs. Harry Bellamy, Mrs. Horace Bennett, Mrs. David Chalmers, Mrs. Dayton Denious, Mrs. William Iliff, Mrs. Sam Levy, and Mrs. Harold Webster (Frances), organized an initial campaign that resulted in significant contributions to the Mary Reed Library.
In 1958, the Women's Committee of the University of Denver became the Women's Committee for the Library, also known as the Women's Library Committee. Under the leadership of Marion Gottesfeld (Hurwitz) the activities of the group were expanded, and the organization set out to build the library's collections through the solicitation of donations from organized women's groups and individuals, and the creation of a memorial book program. The new committee's enthusiasm and commitment was summed up in a 1959 Denver Post article, in which Marion Gottesfeld, referring to the Mary Reed Library, stated that, "a woman built this library so it's up to the women of the community to keep it up."
By 1965 the Women's Library Committee had grown to over 130 members and their impact was strongly felt, as they were responsible for acquiring seventy percent of the gifts made to the University of Denver libraries from 1964-1965. To reward this dedicated work a new organization was formed in December 1965 by proclamation of University Chancellor Dr. Chester M. Alter. The Women's Library Committee was renamed the Women's Library Association, with its own bylaws and Executive Board. Marion Gottesfeld (Hurwitz) was named the first Executive Chair, with Janet Pirkey appointed as the general chair of the Annual Support program. The new organization was designed to involve a greater number of women from the Denver community. They hoped to reach this goal with the Annual Support program, which recruited women to become Sustaining, Associate, and Contributing members of the WLA. Members were eligible to attend a series of educational lectures, which became the WLA Lecture Series, presented by University faculty and community leaders.
In the 1970s and 1980s the organization developed several creative events. Some of the most notable include the annual Art and Antique auction, the Bargain Bazaar garage sale, the WLA cookbook A Stirring Experience, Mansions in Miniature (a miniature collectible show and sale), the Craftskeller gift shop (a store for students in the student union), and the annual spring book sale. Along with providing funding for books and manuscript collections, the work of the Women's Library Association also reached more widely into campus affairs. They had a representative on the committee to select the architect for Penrose Library, which opened in 1972. In addition, they sponsored many special events on campus, including a reception in 1964 for U Thant, Secretary General of the United Nations, and an exhibit in Penrose library of the University's collection of prints by photographer Edward S. Curtis in 1975. To foster inclusivity, in 2014 the name was changed to the University Library Association (ULA).
Today, the University Library Association remains an important source of support for the University of Denver Libraries. Their used bookstore, The Book Stack, comprises the majority of their efforts for the libraries, along with the ULA Lecture Series, the Living Library Fund, and the contributions of annual members.
27 Linear Feet (28 boxes)
Scope and Contents
- Administrative Papers, 1958-2001
- Annual Reports, 1964-1996
- Events, 1971-1991
- Membership Records, 1982-1991
- Newspaper Clippings and Publications/Publicity, 1958-2000
- Scrapbooks and Memorabilia, 1958-1998
- Financial Records, 1993-2001
Immediate Source of Acquisition
- Description rules