Yes. Just ask the Junior League of Wilmington. By donating its archives – approximately seventy-five linear feet of documents that provide a comprehensive overview of the League’s rich, 93-year history – to the Special Collections Department of the University of Delaware Library, detailed information on the League will be available to students and scholars delving into Delaware’s social history over the last century.
JLW’s contributions to Delaware history included initiatives like the Foster Care Review Board, prison reform, literacy, public health initiatives, well-baby clinics and health centers, the Ronald McDonald House, the Delaware Curative Workshop, the Delaware Women’s Conference, the Wellness Community Delaware and the Woodlawn Library. The League is also well-known for its popular fundraisers including cookbooks Savor and Dancing on the Table, Whale of a Sale and Heart of the Home® Kitchen Tour.
All of which helps to tell the story of Delaware as a place to live and work, how the state addresses important policy issues, and what volunteers have done to make Delaware a better place for women and children.
Other Leagues that have recently donated archives to universities for research purposes include the Junior League of Los Angeles, to California State University, Northridge, and the Junior League of Mobile, to the University of South Alabama.
Forty-six linear feet of AJLI’s own archives, containing material from individual Leagues as well as the Association, date from 1922 to 2001 and are domiciled at the Social Welfare History Archives at the University of Minnesota. The collection holds the archives of forty national associations, including the American Public Welfare Association, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, and the YWCA National Board. The University of Minnesota comments, “These collections provide a unique opportunity to study and understand private sector planning for services and setting standards at the national level as well as the impact of independent sector activities on the formulation and implementation of health and welfare policies in the public sphere.”
Which puts us in pretty good company.