Women’s History & Resource Center


Marcia L. Wilson

The Women’s History and Resource Center strives to educate and inspire GFWC members, the research community, and the public to explore the historical role of women volunteers.  They offer reference services, online research catalogue as well as preserving GFWC Headquarters.  Additional information can be found at GFWC.org and sign into the member portal.

WHRC has a newsletter that is sent quarterly via email.  To sign up go to GFWC.org, sign into the member portal, your member profile, my info, communication preferences and check WHRC newsletter.

As part of the Memorabilia Collection, the original GFWC “rising sun” pin was designed and commissioned in 1892 by the Committee on the Federation Badge Pin. The pin shows a rising sun behind mountains and GFWC’s motto “Unity in Diversity” in a red inverted arch along the bottom. Appointees to the committee, which included Jennie June Croly, GFWC’s founder, and Charlotte Emerson Brown, first GFWC President, chose blue as the Federation color and dawn with the sun’s rays as a symbol.  This heritage pin can be ordered from GFWC at the GFWC Marketplace for $15.00 each.

“Coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress, working together is success.”

— Henry Ford

WHRC: Preserve, Promote, & Inspire

From the Federation’s founding in 1890, GFWC members have understood the historic significance of the organization’s mission to improve communities through volunteer service. The Women’s History and Resource Center of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs officially opened at GFWC Headquarters in Washington, D.C. on May 1, 1984.

Regardless of the focus of a community service project, it may benefit from an historical perspective. The WHRC strives to educate and inspire GFWC members and potential members, the research community, and the public to explore the rich, historical role of women volunteers through GFWC’s expansive collections.

The WHRC offers access to readily available reference services, an online research catalog, educational programs and publications, creative exhibits, and dynamic partnerships to all those interested in using its resources. Benefits of membership made possible through the WHRC include preservation of historic records, buildings, and artifacts; and creative ways to use GFWC’s history for community outreach.

Why Women’s History?

What we have accomplished as women’s clubs over the past 125 years is a vital part of who we are today – most club members have no idea of the rich history of good works done by our individual clubs and our state and international federations.  We’ve successfully advocated for virtually all issues of importance to women, families and communities.


The archives and research library of General Federation of Women’s Clubs document the social and political advocacy of volunteers from 1890 to the present, providing a wealth of information for those studying issues such as: women’s suffrage; workplace equity; child labor reform; pure food and drug laws; conservation of natural resources and establishment of national parks; preservation of Native American culture; international diplomacy; and development of public libraries.


Collections consist of the GFWC archives, a research library, historic furnishings, art and artifacts of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs and individual state federations.  Several items donated by GFWC Pennsylvania are part of the collection.  Researchers may work with historic documents, photographs and publications at one of the most comprehensive women’s history research centers in the country.

At the dedication of the WHRC on May 1, 1984, President George H.W. Bush stated:

This collection will “encourage and inspire multitudes more to do the hard and constant work of turning this fragile planet of ours into a more humane and gentle world.”

Consider an individual or club donation of $25.00 or more to support the ongoing work of this outstanding center, located at our International Headquarters in Washington, DC.  Checks may be sent to Women’s History & Resource Center, 1734 N Street NW, Washington, DC 20036-2990 or donate online at www.GFWC.org/WHRC.

1734 Society

And consider a donation to the 1734 Society, which provides for the preservation of our Headquarters, a National Historic Landmark.  Donations of $17.34 or more entitle you to 1734 Society membership.  Checks may be sent to GFWC 1734 Society, 1734 N Street NW, Washington DC  20036-2990, or donate online at www.GFWC.org.

    “Self-pity is our worst enemy and if we yield to it, we can never do anything wise in this world.”

    — Helen Keller

    Join a Club Near You

    Reach out to our membership chairman for help finding a club near you.

    For general inquiries, contact Headquarters below or the Chairman of a specific program or advancement area.

    GFWC Pennsylvania Headquarters

    4076 Market Street, Ste 211
    Camp Hill, PA 17011-4200

    T: 717-901-5095

    Membership Chairman

    Diane Lake


    GFWC Headquarters

    1734 N Street, NW
    Washington, DC  20036

    T:  202-347-3168
    F:  202-835-0246