Fighting for Freedom: The League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area

The League of Women Voters was formed by Carrie Chapman Catt in 1920 before the 19th amendment had been passed, allowing all women the right to vote. Multiple local leagues were established in counties and cities around the United States. In 1948, a League of Women Voters was created in Continue Reading

Black Focus: The Promise of Change in Reston

Developer Robert E. Simon bought land in the western area of Fairfax County with his development company Palindrome, Inc. in March 1961. He began planning for a new community that brought together the best aspects of rural and urban life. The town he created was Reston, and it was one of the Continue Reading

Celebrating 95 Years of the League of Women Voters

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Special Collections & Archives is happy to announce a new exhibition in Fenwick Library’s lobby: Celebrating 95 Years of the League of Women Voters. Also coinciding with Women’s History month, this exhibition features items from the League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area collection. The collection includes bulletins, pamphlets, meeting minutes, correspondence, photographs, and ephemera. More information about the collection is accessible via the finding aid.

The League of Women Voters was founded in 1920 by Carrie Chapman Catt, a leader in the women’s suffragist movement.  Maude Wood Park, another devoted suffragist, became the League’s first president.  The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan organization, which encourages citizens to participate actively in government by supporting the party of their choice.  It does not support individual candidates, but it does take a position on issues of a local, state, and national scale selected by the membership. The League of Women Voters has taken a particular interest in equal opportunity for women in government, child labor laws, fair housing, and affordable health care.

In Virginia, the League of Women Voters began as the Equal Suffrage League, which worked diligently for the ratification of the nineteenth amendment. The Equal Suffrage League joined the national League of Women Voters, creating a state league. The first local League in Virginia was established in Richmond, followed by chapters in Alexandria and Arlington.

The Fairfax County League was granted full League status in 1948.  To indicate that the members belong to more than one governmental jurisdiction, in 1964 the Fairfax County League became the League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area.

Please visit Fenwick Library to view the exhibit through the month of March.

Mason’s Fairfax Campus turns 50!

George Mason University’s Fairfax Campus turns fifty years old this Sunday.  On September 14, 1964 George Mason College of the University of Virginia opened its doors to 356 freshman and sophomores.  The faculty, which numbered fifteen, comprised seven full-time and eight part-time professors.

George Mason College director, Robert H. Reid (center) confers with state Senator, Charles R. Fenwick (left foreground) and Buildings Superintendent, Richard Best (right) in late August 1964. Temporary sign (removed from the Bailey’s Crossroads Campus) stands behind Reid. George Mason University photograph collection #R0120 Box 1, Folder 16. Special Collections and Archives, George Mason University Libraries.

The four original buildings were named North (now known as Finley), South (now known as Krug), East, and West.  A fifth building, the Lecture Hall, was scratched from the original build-out because of budget issues and later added in 1968.  The weather on opening day was sunny and seventy-five degrees. The students and faculty were treated to air conditioning, a luxury they did not have at the Bailey’s Crossroads campus. Actually, George Mason College at Fairfax was the first educational institution in the Commonwealth to be built with central air conditioning.

Fairfax Campus, Spring 1965. George Mason University Photograph Collection # R0120 Box 1, Folder 11. Special Collections & Archives, George Mason University Libraries.

Fairfax Campus, Spring 1965. George Mason University photograph collection # R0120
Box 1, Folder 11.  Special Collections & Archives, George Mason University Libraries.

 The Quadrangle, Fairfax Campus, ca. September 1964. George Mason University photograph collection # R0120 Box 1, Folder 11. Special Collections & Archives, George Mason University Libraries.

The Quadrangle, George Mason College Fairfax Campus, ca. September 1964. George Mason University photograph collection #   R0120Box 1, Folder 11. Special Collections & Archives, George Mason University Libraries.

During the early to mid-1960s students at George Mason College, following a University of Virginia tradition,  dressed up for classes to show respect for their professors. Men were expected to wear jacket and tie, while the women wore dresses or blouses (often with sweaters), skirts, and hose. The still image below, taken from a 1964 film of the Fairfax Campus, shows how the typical student dressed for attending Mason in 1964.

Student members of a tour group in the lobby of the North Building (now known as Finley), 1964.
Student members of a tour group in the lobby of the North Building (now known as Finley), 1964.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reston@50 A new digital exhibition on the history of Reston!

Reston, Virginia celebrated its fiftieth anniversary in April 2014, and SC&A has created a new digital exhibition on Reston’s history. Named Reston@50, the Omeka-based exhibition contains eight themed exhibits and more than one hundred exhibit items from the University Libraries’ collections pertaining to Reston.  The exhibition is part of a Continue Reading