Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Soroptimist International of Schenectady

Unidentified member of Soroptimist International of Schenectady, ca. 1960.
Photograph from the Soroptimist International of Schenectady Records.

Soroptimist International of Schenectady is a non-profit organization affiliated with the world’s largest women’s classified service organization, Soroptimist International. Founded in 1921, Soroptimist International is a volunteer service organization for business and professional women who work to improve the lives of women and girls in local communities and throughout the world. The word “Soroptimist” was coined by combining the Latin words soror (sister) and optimus (best), which the organization uses as the basis for its slogan, “best for women.” 

Schenectady Soroptimists at the First Combined Installation Dinner for Soroptimist Clubs for Albany, Fulton, and Schenectady counties, June 19, 1954. Left to right: Beatrice Hocking, President; Dorothea Godfrey, Treasurer; Alice Neil, Recording Secretary; Marian Francis, Corresponding Secretary; Sara Laurence, Vice President.
Photograph from Soroptimist International of Schenectady Records.
Soroptimist International of Schenectady began meeting in 1953 and was officially chartered on January 14, 1954. The organization began with 23 charter members: Erna Meess Cinque, Genevieve Y. Clark, Marie Christine DeLorenzo, Marian D. Francis, Dorothea F. Godfrey, Marion G. Halpin, Beatrice E. Hocking, Sara K. Laurence, Bernadette McKernan, Isabelle S. Miller, Alice V. Neil, Ann E. O'Brien, Mary S. Pratt, Elizabeth W. Schurig, Frances R. Silverman, Margaret A. Smith, Dorothy G. Spira, Mary F. Tessier, Daphne J. Volkers, Jane Whamer, Glee Leete White, E. Lenore White, and Margaret Wyatt.

For over half a century, Soroptimist International of Schenectady has supported women and children’s projects in the community and donated funds to local organizations as well as organizations around the world. In addition to service-oriented projects, the organization also sponsors programs where speakers conduct presentations about a variety of topics to the organization’s members.

April 1960 issue of Soroptigram newsletter. The newsletters in the collection include information about events and meetings, new members, local and international service projects, fundraising, and committee information.
The records of Soroptimist International of Schenectady include meeting minutes for board meetings and general/business meetings, copies of the organization’s Soroptigram newsletter, membership rosters and board member lists, event programs, files related to the Friendship Link connections between the organization and Soroptimist clubs in the Netherlands, Japan, and France, scrapbooks, awards, newspaper clippings, and photographs. A complete finding aid for the collection can be found here.

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