Biography and History

Once described by former director Susan Overton as "both a place and a concept" the Princeton University Women's Center is a campus organization dedicated to providing a forum through which female students can voice their feelings or concerns on student life. The Women's Center's mission is accomplished primarily through the organization of programming and outreach activities touching on a broad spectrum of women's issues.

Founded by a group of students in 1971, only two years after the arrival of the first female undergraduates on campus, the Women's Center was originally established to fill the growing demand for a consolidated feminist voice on campus. Initially run entirely by a board of students, the early programs of the Women's Center touched on issues such as equal-opportunity employment and media portrayals of women. In 1974 the Center was granted space in Aaron Burr Hall. In 1978 the Office of the Dean of Students assumed oversight of the center, and since 1987, the Women's Center has been staffed by a full-time director and a small office staff composed in part of undergraduate and graduate students.

The Women's Center has frequently collaborated with other campus organizations and academic programs and departments while putting together events such as conferences, film screenings, and lectures. The Center has also from time to time made policy recommendations to university administration. One notable outgrowth of Women's Center activities was the President's Standing Committee on the Status of Women, formed in 1989 for the review of University policies in regards to their effect on women.

Though the focus of the Women's Center has broadened greatly since its founding as a feminist group, the organization has not been without its critics. In 1982 after the Center refused to permit the formation of a pro-life task force, skeptics questioned whether the organization was truly representative of all women on campus. When the issue was brought before the Committee on Undergraduate Life, the Center's defense was accompanied by strong letters of support from prominent feminists and scholars nationwide.

In 2001 the Women's Center's celebrated its thirtieth anniversary by moving into a permanent location in the newly completed Frist Campus Center.

Source: From the finding aid for AC248

  • Nadine Taub Collection of Sally Frank Court Documents. 1879-1992 (inclusive), 1979-1992 (bulk).

    Call Number: AC194

    The Nadine Taub Collection of Sally Frank Court Documents chronicle Nadine Taub's role as co-counsel for Sally Frank, Princeton Class of 1980, in her thirteen-year legal battle after filing a sex discrimination complaint with the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights against Ivy Club, Tiger Inn, University Cottage Club and Princeton University, alleging that the clubs discriminated against her because of her gender. A significant part of the collection contains legal documents from Sally Frank's co-counsel as well as from defending counsel; research material including minutes, reports, newspaper clippings, campus publications, correspondence, and deeds; correspondence to and from Nadine Taub and Sally Frank, which is restricted until 2016; and from various counsel and judicial members.

  • Women's Center Records. 1968-2007 (inclusive).

    Call Number: AC248

    The Princeton University Women's Center is a campus organization dedicated to providing a forum through which female students can voice their feelings and concerns about student life. The Women's Center also oversees the organization of programming and outreach activities which touch on a broad spectrum of women's issues. The records contain correspondence, subject files, and materials related to events and programs sponsored by the Women's Center.

  • Women's Center Records. 1968-2007 (inclusive).

    Call Number: AC248

    The Princeton University Women's Center is a campus organization dedicated to providing a forum through which female students can voice their feelings and concerns about student life. The Women's Center also oversees the organization of programming and outreach activities which touch on a broad spectrum of women's issues. The records contain correspondence, subject files, and materials related to events and programs sponsored by the Women's Center.