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Friends of Women’s Studies Records

Collection ID: RG 17-28A1

Scope and Contents

This collection contains material related to the formation of the Friends of Women’s Studies, the development arm of the Old Dominion University Department of Women's Studies. Included in the collection are administrative materials, such as bylaws and correspondence; news articles; newsletters; event invitations; information on grants and scholarships; and photographs.


  • circa 1983-2022, undated
  • Other: Date acquired: 00/00/2005



0.40 Linear Feet

Conditions Governing Access

Open to researchers without restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Before publishing quotations or excerpts from any materials, permission must be obtained from Special Collections and University Archives, and the holder of the copyright, if not Old Dominion University Libraries.

Biographical or Historical Information

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.

Note written by Special Collections Staff

Language of Materials


Arrangement Note

The collection is organized into six series: Series I: Administrative; Series II: Events; Series III: Grants and Scholarships; Series IV: Meetings; Series V: Newsletters/News Articles; and Series VI: Photographs.

Source of Acquisition

Dr. Carolyn Rhodes

Method of Acquisition


Related Materials

Old Dominion University Department of Women's Studies Records (RG 17-28A).

A Guide to the Friends of Women's Studies Records
Special Collections and University Archives Staff
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the ODU University Archives Repository

3000 Perry Library
4427 Hampton Blvd.
Norfolk VA 23529 US