The American Association of University Women (AAUW) formed in November, 1881, in Boston, Massachusetts. Its goals were to promote higher education for women; assist women in their pursuit of various occupations; and help them utilize their higher education for the good of society, as well as for themselves.
The organization grew from the original 16 members to over 200,000 members in its centennial year of 1981. This network of university women exists in 54 countries and has a chapter in every state, including the North Dakota chapter.
In North Dakota, Valley City held it’s first AAUW meeting on October 12, 1916, as was officially recognized later that year. Grand Forks held its first meeting on October 25, 1916 and was recognized in 1917. Fargo’s first meeting was on January 27, 1922. The Fargo branch was recognized with Moorhead in 1922. Fargo was later recognized on its own in 1930. the Dickinson branch held its first meeting on June 21, 1929 and was recognized on July 1, 1929. It was unclear when Bismarck held their first meeting but were formally recognized as a branch on Oct. 6, 1930.
The state division was founded in 1930. It included Valley City, Grand Forks, Fargo, Dickinson and Bismarck. Other branches soon followed. They included Minot (April 6, 1934), Jamestown (November 30, 1034), Wahpeton (June 3, 1935), Mayville (1937, disbanded in March 1942, reorganized in 1957), Grafton (October 31, 1951), Mandan (October 27, 1953), Williston (December 13, 1956), Devils Lake (July 9, 1958), Langdon (1974), Pembina County (1974), Walsh County (1951), New Rockford-Carrington (1981), and Pembina County (1974). Currently besides the state organization there are six branches still active that include: Devils Lake, Dickinson, Fargo-Moorhead, Grand Forks, Jamestown and Wahpeton.
Though seminars, conferences, meetings, candidates forums, meetings and newsletters, AAUW offers university women information on current women’s issues and international issues promotes international understanding; and established lifelong friendships.