Branch History

Harrisonburg’s branch of AAUW was organized in the spring of 1929 at the State Teachers College at Harrisonburg, the forerunner of James Madison University, with fifteen charter members.  Virginia Harnsberger was our first president.  Dues were $3.00.  The first year’s programs were based on laws affecting women.

In 1932-33 our first study group was on World Literature.  The next year a Child Study group led by Mary Louise Seeger resulted in a cooperative nursery school.  Current Events and International Relations were an item of study every year.   In 1933 we sent a Girl Scout to camp for a week for $7.00, and we organized classes for women and girls.  We began recreational programs for young people.  We had a representative on the newly organized City Federation of Social Agencies.

In 1947-48 we began the study of the United Nations and from that developed a sponsorship of a gift of trips to visit the UN by students and their teachers from both Harrisonburg High and Lucy Simms High School, a segregated school.

Under the leadership of AAUW’s Helen Schubert, Harrisonburg’s Community Council was organized, which helped join all groups working on civic betterment.  Helen Schubert became our state president, with other members holding state offices.  We gave support to housing and recreational needs in active leadership and by appearing before City Council.

In 1952, we started a scholarship fund for a college-bound student.  In previous years, we studied everything from party sandwiches to horticulture, arts and crafts through music, dancing and languages, to our favorites—books and international relations.  To those of us who profited from these, AAUW has been a continuing source of stimulation…and still is today!