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Wayne State University Women's Resource Center Records

Identifier: WSR001819

Scope and Content

The Wayne State University Women’s Resource Center Collection documents the history of the origin of the Women’s Resource Center from its creation in 1976 through its subsequent administration and services to Wayne State University and the Detroit Metro area. The records of Kay Hartley, who served as the director of the Women’s Resource Center, are closely intertwined with this collection. The collection contains correspondence, administrative records, reports, presentations, Kay Hartley’s professional records, information about conferences and workshops, newsletters, brochures and fliers, program information, and resource materials pertaining to women’s issues, financial aid, and events. The materials reflect the efforts of the WRC to not only attract women of all ages and backgrounds to higher education but also to retain them. This required determining which services were relevant and then providing referrals to these services that would make education affordable and manageable, especially in regard to childcare. The materials also reflect the changing status of women in society and many of the issues women faced to cope with these changes.

Series I provides the historical context that led to the creation of Women's Resource Center. Series II documents the organization of the Women’s Resource Center and its business and financial activities. Series III chronicles the changing roles that Women's Resource Center played in childcare services to students and the community and the difficulties in defining its role and sustaining funding for these services. Series IV covers the many conferences and workshops that Kay Hartley led or participated in and many that were open for students and patrons of the Women's Resource Center. Of particular significance is The United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women, which was held in Beijing in 1995 and was attended by Kay Hartley and a network of Michigan women. Series V contains correspondence between administrators of the Women's Resource Center and university through the years; there is some overlap with Series III. Series VII addresses the many programs that the Women's Resource Center undertook or participated in; Series VIII contains the resource materials that were collected for the reference and informational benefit of the Women's Resource Center patrons. It also contains materials specific to the Minority Resource Center. There are minority resource materials also in the Women’s Resource Materials. The series reflects the areas of interests of those patrons the center served, and the type of referral services the center provided.

Important Subjects: Affirmative action programs in education--Law and legislation--Michigan Commission on the Status of Women Detroit, Michigan Detroit. Human Rights Dept. Discrimination in Employment—United States Equal pay for equal work—United States ERA-United States Feminism Sexual Discrimination Wayne State University Wayne State University, Detroit. Monteith College--History Women-Education Women-Employment-United States Women-Liberation Women-Minorities Women’s rights

Important Names: Bonner, Thomas Cohen, Sanford Crusoe, John Engler, Governor John Green, Dr. Janice Gullen, George Jr. Hartley, Kay King, Robert Markus, William Meltzer, Sharynn McCollum, Amy (Elaine) Panagos, Ruth Tseng, Amy

Acronyms: AAUP – American Association of University Professors ABWA – American Business Women’s Association AWIS – Association for Women in Science CCC – Child Care Center CCS – Child Care Services COABE – Commission on Adult Basic Education COEC – Council on Early Childhood COSW – Council on Status of Women EEOC – Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ERA – Equal Rights Amendment MAACE – Michigan Association for Adult and Continuing Education MIEC – Michigan Indian Education Council NGO – Non-Government Organization NOW – National Organization for Women PEACE - Policy Education and Advocacy for Community Equity TIP – The Information Place WAND – Women’s Action for Nuclear Disarmament WIN – Women’s International Network
Series Description: Series I: Women's Resource Center Historical Files, 1972-2003 Correspondence, reports, and clippings relating to Affirmative Action, 1972-1983, and the Commission on the Status of Women, 1971-1990. The full report of COSW, 1972-1992, is located in Series VIII: Resource Materials. Information on Women's Center’s opening and timeline.

Series II: Women's Resource Center Administrative Files, 1976-2001 Accounting reports, budgeting, brochures, meetings, reports by Kay Hartley, service records, staff information and training manuals, and surveys. Also included are newsletters, referral directories, and reports from the Board of Governors. These are arranged alphabetically, then chronologically.

Series III: Women's Resource Center Child Care Services, 1972-1997 Background materials, correspondence, and administrative records relating to budget, enrollment, facilities, licensing, meetings, policies and procedures, and program information. Reports on the status of childcare at Wayne State University to or from the Council on Early Childhood, the University Council, the Task Force on Child Care, and Student Affairs. Surveys with regard to determining child care needs of students and staff, correspondence with Sharynn Meltzer, and provider information such as lease agreements, site visits, intake and referral forms, and specific provider reports.

Series IV: Conferences, 1977-2000 Conference and workshop programs, proceedings, and related materials both on and off campus relating mainly to women’s issues and education. Kay Hartley was a participant and presenter for many of these. Planning meetings, mailing lists, brochures, reports, and follow-up meetings specifically in regard to the United Nation’s Fourth World Conference on Women (referred to as Fourth World Conference) and NGO.

Series V: Women's Resource Center Correspondence, 1976-2001 Correspondence is arranged chronologically, followed by correspondence relating to the closing of the Women's Resource Center, and the correspondence of two staff members, Amy McCollum and Debbie Tseng.

Series VI: Kay Hartley, 1976-2002 Correspondence, procedures, reports relating to Kay Hartley’s involvement as a Women’s Committee member for the Detroit Human Resources Department, her many presentations, and her professional records which she updated every year from 1984-2002. These materials are arranged by subject, then chronologically.

Series VII: Women's Resource Center Programs, 1976-2002 Budgets, strategic planning, brochures, meetings, and reports relating to the Women's Resource Center’s programs including the 10th Anniversary, the Bridges to Educational Opportunities and Career Advancement Grant, loans and scholarships, Minority Resources, and Re-Entry to Education.

Series VIII: Resource Materials, 1976-2003

Subseries A: Women's Resource Center Informational materials regarding mainly women’s issues and collected as reference for anyone who wished to use them. Subjects relating to equal rights, pay equity, domestic violence, divorce, rape, state and national legislation, etc. Also contains directories for women and youth services. Multiple files on one subject contain the inclusive dates of that set of files.

Subseries B: Minority Resource Center Articles, bibliographies, brochures, and general informational materials relating to diversity, minority educational opportunities, Martin Luther King, and professional organizations, etc. Financial aid information and minority resource directories.

Subseries C: Published and Printed Materials Informational materials, reports, manuals, government publications.


  • 1972 - 2003
  • Majority of material found within 1976 - 1998


Language of Materials

Material entirely in English.


Collection is open for research.


Restrictions: no personal data found may be used.

Refer to the Walter P. Reuther Library Rules for Use of Archival Materials. Refer to the Walter P. Reuther Library Rules for Use of Archival Materials. Restrictions: Researchers may encounter records of a sensitive nature – personnel files, case records and those involving investigations, legal and other private matters. Privacy laws and restrictions imposed by the Library prohibit the use of names and other personal information which might identify an individual, except with written permission from the Director and/or the donor.


The Women’s Resource Center was originally known as the Women’s Center when it opened in 1976 at Wayne State University. It was created in direct response to the President’s Commission on the Status of Women, which President John F. Kennedy established in 1961, as part of the Department of Labor’s Women’s Bureau. The purpose of the Commission was to address issues of equality in opportunity and equity for women. Its mission was taken up statewide as well as locally and, in 1971, a formal advisory commission was established at Wayne State University to examine the status of women employees and students. The original intent of the year-long study was to investigate employment practices and policies as they related to gender, the influence of gender in the recruitment of women students, equal employment opportunity especially with regard for women and minorities, and the availability of resources relating to sex discrimination in university hiring and student recruitment. The issues were complicated and the study was extended through 1975.

In 1972, the advisory commission’s first report focused on several major areas of concern specific to Wayne State University: higher drop-out rates by undergraduate women, significantly lower enrollment by women in graduate school, law school, medicine, business school, and engineering (the typically male occupations), and sex discrimination against women in all areas of university life. Affirmative action, childcare, and women’s healthcare were targeted for improvement within the university. The report initially recommended that Wayne State University provide childcare facilities for its students and employees, and in 1974, the President’s Advisory Council on Childcare was established to provide funding for upgrade and expansion to 11 childcare centers already in the area. Of the 11 facilities, 4 were university related and specifically provided training opportunities to university students, and 2 were operated as cooperatives receiving partial funding from the Women of Wayne Alumni Organization and Wayne State University’s President’s Office. Sharon Woodruff coordinated the effort and during her service established the Wayne Fund Grants for toys and equipment and the Babysitting Exchange. She created brochures for parents associated with Wayne State University as students or employees with information on childcare centers in the university area and provided counseling on choosing appropriate facilities for individual situations.

Based on the recommendations of the report and the already initiated changes to university child care policy, the Women’s Center officially opened in 1976 at Wayne State University, to provide referral services and resource information to students and staff regarding childcare, health, legal rights, financial aid, counseling, divorce, community services, etc., and to support women in the decision making process and the logistics of returning to school. Kay Hartley, formerly employed by Monteith College, was hired as the Director and she would serve in this position, although under different departments within Wayne State University, until her retirement in 2002. The Women’s Center, although not denied to men, existed primarily as a refuge for women to find support, information, and advice. It arranged seminars, workshops, and support groups that catered mainly to the needs of women students and staff.

Provision of referrals and childcare services to Wayne State University’s students and faculty were a priority in the mission of the Women’s Center. In 1977, The Women’s Center opened the Wayne State University Childcare Center in the DeRoy Apartments. Wayne State University agreed to pay for a Child Care Director, teachers, and assistants while leasing costs for the space were to be funded by small fees assessed to the parents. This facility operated at a loss and in 1978, the Monteith Childcare Center, a successful non-profit childcare operation, merged with it at the DeRoy Apartments. At this same time, Wayne State University’s President Gullen established a Task Force on Child Care, which recommended that a Child Care Coordinator be appointed to serve under Kay Hartley and to evaluate the childcare needs of parents at the university. The duties of the Child Care Coordinator, Sharynn Meltzer, also included development of articulation agreements with providers, identification of referral agencies in other parts of the metro area, and preparation of brochures to disseminate information to parents. Ms. Meltzer conducted a survey, which determined that parents actually preferred childcare services in their homes or near work rather on campus (draft correspondence dated October, 1991). Meltzer’s position was phased out and the Secretary to the Director of the Women’s Center, Ms. Nancy Neil, took over her duties to provide childcare information. Other childcare centers in operation at this time, which were provided subsidies by Wayne State University but were not operated as academic childcare labs, included C.A.L.L.L. Together Child Care Center and the Women of Wayne Child Care Center.

On May 31, 1981, the Student Affairs Committee to the Board of Governors, in a policy statement on childcare services, recommended that that the Women’s Center merge with University Counseling Services, Student Affairs Division, and be officially renamed the Women’s Resource Center. The policy statement assigned Wayne State University the responsibility to provide childcare referral services, and while this would be the responsibility of the Student Affairs Division, the actual provision of childcare through childcare labs by the university would remain in the hands of appropriate colleges (Board of Governors, Wayne State University, Official Proceedings, June 12, 1981). While not completely severing financial ties with the Wayne State University subsidized childcare centers, the Women’s Resource Center returned to its initial mission of providing a high level of childcare referral services as well as resources and programs to facilitate comprehensive services to the female student and employee.

According to Kay Hartley, in correspondence dated April 12, 1984, the center’s role was to collect and disseminate information on women’s issues and events, to encourage and retain nontraditional students returning to school, to recruit and train students as staff, special student development, to expand programs for women through the WRC in conjunction with the university and the community, and to serve professional organizations.

To serve this mission, the Re-Entry to Education Program was initiated by Kay Hartley in 1981 and served as an umbrella for information for men and women returning to higher education. It provided “information and application forms on admissions (regular and special admit programs), financial resources (Federal and State financial aid programs, departmental scholarships as well as community resources to provide living expenses; e.g. ADC, SSI, various support agencies); academic support services; academic advising, etc [as well as]…services traditionally provided by the Women’s Resource Center, e.g. child care, divorce information, health care referrals, [and] employment resource and referral”. In 1989, Kay Hartley took over administration of Minority Programs, which had been under the jurisdiction of the Division of Student Affairs. The name of the program was changed to the Minority Resource Center and existed within the Women’s Resource Center. Information was collected and disseminated on activities, presentations, and programs to benefit minorities and a Minority Resource Directory was published.

Kay Hartley was very active at the university and in the community in support of women’s issues. She attended and participated as presenter in many conferences and workshops. She was active for many years in the planning of Detroit Department of Human Resources Women’s Equality Day Events, the 10th Anniversary activities for the Women’s Resource Center, and the UN Fourth World Conference in Beijing. She secured grants, one of the largest being the Bridges to Educational Opportunities and Career Advancement, which was awarded to the Women’s Resource Center for the benefit of girls and women who had health problems or other disabilities. She also researched loan and scholarship opportunities and campaigned continuously for funding and support of the center.

In 2001, the offices for the Minorities Resource Center, the Women’s Resource Center, and the Re-Entry Program were closed. Activities were relocated and absorbed into the Dean of Student offices and funding was no longer provided for student assistants as of 2002. Kay Hartley retired in 2002.


27 Linear Feet (27 SB)


The Women's Resource Center (WRC) at Wayne State University, originally founded as the Women's Center in 1976, was created in response to a report from the President's Commission on the Status of Women. It provided referral services, child care services, and resource information to students and staff and supported women re-entering school. The Center existed largely for women on campus to find support, information, and advice and it routinely arranged seminars, workshops, and support groups for this purpose. In the 1980s, the Center was absorbed into University Counseling Services, Student Affairs Division, and later on incorporated the Minority Resource Center. Kay Hartley served as Director throughout the years of the Center's operation, until it closed in 2001.

The records of the Women's Resource Center document its origins and subsequent administration and services to the university and the Detroit Metro area. The records of Kay Hartley are included. Materials reflect the efforts of the WRC to attract and retain women of all ages and backgrounds to higher education, as well as the changing status of women in society, and the issues they faced.


Arranged in eight series: Series 1 (Box 1), Series 2 (Boxes 1-3), Series 3 (Boxes 3-6), Series 4 (Boxes 7-9), Series 5 (Box 10), Series 6 (Boxes 10-12), Series 7 (Boxes 12-13), and Series 8 (Boxes 14-24). Folders are arranged by subject and then by year.

Series 8 is divided into three subseries; all are arranged alphabetically by subject. Subseries A and Subseries B are materials available to Women's Resource Center patrons for reference and referrals. Subseries C contains reference materials probably used by staff of the Women's Resource Center for management and administration.


Wayne State University’s Women Resource Center Collection was received by the Walter P. Reuther Library, as part of the University Archives, on July 24, 2003, from Kay Hartley.

Related Materials

Wayne State University President's Commission on the Status of Women Records, Wayne State University Center for Urban Studies: Council on Early Childhood Records, Detroit Commission on Community Relations/ Human Rights Department Records, Louise (Sally) Langdon Brown Papers; WSU Monteith College Archives, AAUP Newsletters


Photographs, poster, and audio/video tapes were transferred to the Reuther’s Audiovisual Department. An inventory is available.

Processing History

Processed and finding aid written by Anne Johns in February 2010.


Guide to the Wayne State University Women's Resource Center Records
Processed by Anne Johns.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Walter P. Reuther Library Repository

5401 Cass Avenue
Detroit MI 48202 USA