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On June 16, 1929 the North Jersey Branch was organized at the home of Mrs. Ellen Maury Hairston in Plainfield, New Jersey.  A group of Negro women in the northern part of the state had been called together by Mrs. Agnes Davis Durrah, a member of the National Association of College Women to meet to consider the advisability of forming a branch in this area.  Dean Lucy D. Slowe of Howard University, then President of the National Association of College Women, accepted the invitation to organize the branch.  Charter members were Mrs. Agnes Durrah, President, Mrs. Grace Wood, Secretary/Treasurer, Mrs. Ellen Mawry Hairston, Mrs. Olive Polk, Mrs. Pauline Puryear, Mrs. Ruth Doncaster Smith, and Dr. Myra Smith.  Others who became members soon thereafter were Mrs. Una Janifer, Mrs. Alice Archibald and Dr. Evelyn Lewis.  Membership in the North Jeresey Branch increased to over seventy-five in the first twenty five years of its existence.


From records on file, it appears that of the earlier branches organized, North Jersey did not have a "stop out" period.  It has been in existence since its inception.  Following are some of the programs and activities from those early years:


  • from 1937 discussion groups were held throughout the state wth prominent speakers

  • the branch sponsored an annual personal guidance conference for young girls and adult women in solving problems of hygiene, dress, speech and personality

  • the first scholarship awarded in its first year was to a student from Roselle, New Jersey to study at Howard University.

  • the branch was instrumental in bringing student art exhibit of Howard University to the Montclair YWCA

  • from its inception, the branch developed a strong link with the NAACP and the Urban League


Throughout the  years North Jersey branch members have been actively engaged in community service and contributing to the enrichment of their communities.  They have sponsored guidance programs, public meetings, Black History programs, local feeding programs for the homeless, visitation of patients in nursing homes, plays, student recitals and many fundraising and social activities.  The fundraising activities have enabled the branch to provide college scholarships to over 130 young people over the past 94 years.




The mission of the National Association of University Women (NAUW) is to serve women, youth and the disadvantaged in our communities and in developing countries by addressing educational issues, advancing the status of women's issues, and strategically partnering with allied organizations.


  • To sponsor, promote and enthusiastically conduct educational activities that are designed to provide community outreach services to learners at every level of development;

  • To provide assistance to those who have not completed their education and need basic skills necessary to function effectively in society;

  •  To work with educational institutions and other organizations to improve educational standards and foster academic and intellectual attainment; 

  •  To sponsor and conduct conferences and seminars that will allow us to achieve and advance organizational goals;

  •  To collaborate with other organizations and agencies that are concerned with community and world problems which include chronic health conditions like HIV/Aids, heart disease, diabetes, stroke and cancer;

  •  To promote improvement in education, and when appropriate, issue public statements concerning the quality of education;

  •  To develop and sponsor research programs  pertaining to the standards and quality of higher learning; 

  •  To provide fellowships, grants and/or scholarships for undergraduate, graduate and doctoral studies; 

  •  To publish, sponsor and disseminate literature and materials pertaining to educational initiatives, trends and development.


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