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SIM-04: Business and Professional Women's Club of Staten Island

Identifier: SIM-04

Scope and Contents

The Business and Professional Women's Club of Staten Island Records consist of 4 linear feet of material covering the years 1935 to 2002. The collection contains organizational records, minutes, reports, membership rosters, correspondence, publications, news clippings, photographs, awards, and scrapbooks. While many of the series have significant gaps, the collection also has several areas of strength. First, there is a local organizational history written by the club historian in 1986 which includes a list of past presidents and a brief history covering the chapter's first fifty years. Also, the club's early years are well documented in the chapter records and Anna M. Stillwell scrapbook. Finally, there are several scrapbooks covering the first two decades of the SI BPW. The scrapbooks include minutes, reports, correspondence, news clippings, bulletins, and photographs, which in many cases contain material lacking from other series. The administrative records comprise approximately half of the collection and although coverage is incomplete for many years, the administrative records contain the most comprehensive information regarding the club's activities. The chapter records form the bulk of the administrative records, with nearly complete coverage from 1936 to 1958 and 1970 to 1997. The chapter records contain material related to the administrative functions of the SI BPW, including minutes, reports, agendas, attendance records, and financial statements. Due to the existence of several bound volumes of continuously paginated minutes and reports, the chapter records subseries was created to include both executive board and general meeting minutes as well as material related to or submitted at these meetings. For example, any reports or statements made at a meeting are attached to the minutes, and any agendas or attendance records have been placed directly after the minutes to which they relate. Additional administrative records, including minutes and reports, can be found in the scrapbooks covering the following years: 1935-1938, 1955-1956, and 2000-2004. The remainder of the collection consists of small series with mostly incomplete coverage. The membership rosters span the years 1953 to 1993 and contain detailed information about members of the SI BPW, including birth dates, addresses, occupations, and hobbies. The correspondence file contains scattered correspondence between the years 1936 and 1998, with the bulk of correspondence written between 1974 and 1985. Publications include both chapter bulletins and NIKE newsletters issued by the state chapter of the BPW. Additional chapter bulletins can be found in the scrapbooks in series 12. The media files consist of news clippings and a few press releases. The bulk of the media files are news clippings from the Staten Island Advance dating from 1983 to 2001. The scrapbooks also contain extensive news clippings from the 1930s through 1950s. The bulk of the fundraising and special events series are subject files related to events and fundraising activities held by the SI BPW. This series contains uneven coverage of the club's special events and fundraising but it does include planning materials, financial records, programs, and clippings related to several events, with particularly good coverage of the membership teas held in the 1980's. There are several folders of photographs, many from the membership teas, although at this time many remain undated and unidentified. The printed material and memorabilia series each consist of one folder of mostly undated items. The scrapbooks offer a rich collection of material covering the first two decades of the club. The Anna M. Stillwell scrapbook was compiled by the club's first president and includes news clippings, correspondence,bulletins, minutes, and reports covering 1935 to 1938. There are several other scrapbooks, which contain news clippings, programs, bulletins, and memorabilia. The program planning scrapbook from 1955 to 1956 also includes administrative records such as executive board minutes and reports. Much of the material in the scrapbooks covers gaps in the administrative records, correspondence, publications, and media files series. Whenever possible, this has been noted in the series descriptions.


  • 1935 - 2005

Conditions Governing Use

The researcher assumes full responsibility for compliance with laws of copyright. Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be discussed with the Coordinator of Archives & Special Collections.

Historical Note

The Staten Island Business and Professional Women's Club (SI BPW) was founded in January 1936 as a chapter of the Business and Professional Women's Club of New York and as an organizational member of the National Federation of Business and Professional Women (both established in 1919). The purpose of the club, as stated in the club's constitution, was "to promote the interests of business and professional women, to bring about a spirit of cooperation and to extend their opportunities." The SI BPW formed as an outgrowth of the Bay Ridge Club in Brooklyn, which began seeking potential members in Staten Island in 1935. The club received its charter on January 24, 1936 from the state president, Grace Le Gendre. The club had 55 charter members and its first president was Anna M. Stillwell. Members of the SI BPW were also involved in the founding of two other BPW chapters on Staten Island, the Richmond County Club in 1972 and the Gateway chapter in 1985. The SI BPW had a core slate of five officers: President, Vice President (later replaced by a 1st Vice President and 2nd Vice President), Recording Secretary, Corresponding Secretary, and Treasurer, as well as numerous committee chairs. Meetings were held twice a month (one meeting for the executive board and one general business meeting) except during the summer months. At the final general meeting of the season, usually held in April or May, officers and committee chairs submitted annual reports and new officers were elected. Staten Island chapter members were also active in district meetings and state meetings and conventions, with several members holding offices at the district and state levels. The club held numerous events throughout the year, including an annual membership tea, picnics, and summer outings to parks and theaters. The BPW organization's activities focused on three areas: state and federal legislation, expanding professional opportunities for women, and community involvement. The BPW organization supported and campaigned for many legislative reforms, among them the Todd bill for mandatory jury duty for women, the Equal Rights Amendment, Equal Pay Act, Civil Rights Act of 1964, and Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993. The SI BPW was also committed to expanding professional opportunities for its members and members of the Staten Island Community. The club had guest speakers, forums, and networking events to further advance the goals and interests of professional women. The SI BPW worked with the Committee on the Status of Women, which aimed to keep government officials and the public abreast of issues concerning women. In addition, the SI BPW sponsored a Young Careerist Program as well as other networking events for the professional women of Staten Island. As with other women's organizations, the SI BPW was actively involved in their community. During the Second World War, the club started a hospitality canteen in Tompkinsville and made visits to injured soldiers. Each year the SI BPW raised money through special events such as card parties and 50/50 raffles to benefit nursing homes, hospitals, and the state BPW scholarship fund. The club also sponsored its own annual scholarship contest, which awarded scholarships to recent high school graduates and women returning to school after an extended absence. During the 2003-2004 membership year, membership in the SI BPW totaled 67 members. The club remains active in the Staten Island community and continues to hold professional networking events, an annual scholarship competition, and programs on the Status of Women.

List of Past Presidents, 1936-2005 1936-1938: Anna M. Stillwell 1938-1939: Thelma G. Voorhis 1939-1940: Regina H. Johnston 1940-1942: Alice Swain 1942-1944: Margaret Meurer 1945-1947: Carolina Piazza 1947-1949: Belle Schwab 1949-1951: Harriet Schelare 1951-1953: Alice Reichenbach 1953-1955: Loretta Baker 1955: Edna McCarthy 1955-1957: Dorothy Baylor 1957-1958: Dorothy Sabiston 1958-1960: Annette Cirbus 1960-1962: Dr. Anne Casper 1962-1964: Eleanor Ayoub 1964-1966: Rita Van Name 1966-1968: Dorothy Winter 1968-1970: Janet Forssell 1970-1972: Jeanne Klingman 1972-1974: Margaret Barry 1974-1976: Margaret Gardiner 1976-1977: Beatrice Elzer 1977-1978: Mildred Olsen 1978-1980: Ruth V. Kopf 1980-1981: Helen Still 1981-1982: Nella Wallace 1982-1983: Claire Pollak Guttsman 1983-1984: Donita Aruny 1984-1985: Helen Rufolo 1985-1986: Clare Sullivan 1986-1987: Betty Darcy 1987-1988: Ann Clinton 1988-1989: Dianne Frankel 1989-1990: Mona Bottiglieri 1990-1991: Martha Signorile 1991-1992: Joan Vera 1992-1993: Elisa Ferracane 1993-1994: Mary Lee Montalvo 1994-1995: Sandra Mazzucco 1995-1996: Bonnie Joy Freda 1996-1997: Cynthia McCloskey 1997-1998: Carol Lombardo 1998-1999: Edith Gunn 1999-2000: Ruby Taylor MacBride 2000-2002: Susan McAnanama 2002-2003: Deborah Brehm 2003-2004: Janet Leslie-Pierre 2004-2005: Elaine B. Croteau


4 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



The Business and Professional Women's Club (BPW) of Staten Island was founded in January 1936 as a chapter of the Business and Professional Women's Club of New York and as an organizational member of the National Federation of Business and Professional Women. The BPW supported and campaigned for several legislative reforms, and was also committed to expanding professional opportunities for members of the Staten Island community. The BPW organized an annual scholarship competition and held professional development and networking events. The collection contains organizational records, minutes, reports, membership rosters, correspondence, publications, news clippings, photographs, awards, and scrapbooks.


The Business & Professional Women's Club of Staten Island records are divided into 12 series and several subseries: ORGANIZATIONAL RECORDS -Local Organizational History -Constitution and By-Laws -Club Procedures ADMINISTRATIVE RECORDS -Chapter Records -Draft Minutes -District II Meetings -State Meetings and Conferences MEMBERSHIP ROSTERS CORRESPONDENCE PUBLICATIONS -Bulletins -NIKE Newsletters MEDIA FILES -News Clippings -Press Releases FUNDRAISING AND SPECIAL EVENTS -Subject Files -Guest Books PHOTOGRAPHS AWARDS & CERTIFICATES 9 -Award Submissions -Certificates -Plaques PRINTED MATERIAL MEMORABILIA SCRAPBOOKS

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was donated by Deborah Brehm on behalf of the Business and Professional Women's Club of Staten Island in March 2003.

Additional materials were donated in May 2005.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Jacquelyn Ferry and other staff.

Jacquelyn Ferry
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the CSI Archives & Special Collections Repository