Scope and Contents Note
Title: Santa Cruz Business and Professional Women's Club Records,
Date (inclusive): 1919-2008
Collection number: MS 159
Santa Cruz Business and Professional Women's Club
2 document boxes, 13 flats
15 linear ft.
University of California, Santa Cruz. University Library.
Special Collections and Archives
Santa Cruz, California 95064
Abstract: This collection includes the business papers, correspondence, minutes, scrapbooks and artifacts of the Santa Cruz Business
and Profewssional Women's Club.
Physical location: Stored in Special Collections & Archives: Advance notice is required for access to the papers.
Collection open for research. Use of the scrapbooks, Boxes 3-11, is limited due to the fragile physical condition of the items.
Property rights reside with the University of California. Literary rights are retained by the creators of the records and
their heirs. For permission to publish or to reproduce the material, please contact the Head of Special Collections and Archives.
Santa Cruz Business and Professional Women's Club Records, 1919-2008. MS 159. Special Collections and Archives, University
Library, University of
California, Santa Cruz.
Gift of Santa Cruz Business and Professional Women's Club in 2002, 2014.
In every decade since its founding, the Business & Professional Women/USA has been actively involved in key issues that affect
women, starting with helping women gain the right to vote in 1920. The organization then continued to grow by opposing laws
that denied jobs to married women in the '30s, supporting women in the Armed Forces in the '40s, working for civil rights
in the '50s and '60s, and influencing landmark legislation (including Title IX) in the '70s, Retirement Equity in the '80s,
and Family Medical Leave in the '90s. Today the BPW/USA is in a position to lead a public policy charge to achieve workplace
equity and work-life balance, while promoting equity for all women in the workplace through advocacy, education and information.
With its 30,000 members in 1600 local organizations represented in every congressional district in the country, BPW/USA is
the leading advocate on work-life balance and workplace equity issues. Local BPW organizations provide members with professinal
development programs, networking, participation in grassroots activism, and opportunities to support scholarships for disadvantaged
The Santa Cruz Business & Professional Women's Club, organized in 1928, was the oldest and largest club in the area. In fact
the Santa Cruz Club organized the area's other two clubs; the San Lorenzo Valley BPWC in 1944 and the Socaptos (Soquel, Capitola,
Aptos) BPWC in 1948. Earlier it had helped form the Watsonville BPWC.
Since it's beginning, the Santa Cruz BPW took an active role in civic affairs. Some examples include lobbying successfully
to prevent an admission fee to Big Basin State Park, furnishing the first room in the Civic Auditorium when it was built,
spearheading the Santa Cruz city "Birthday parties" and also introducing the Small Business Clinic in California.
With an eye to the future, the Santa Cruz BPW purchased it's first clubhouse. This clubhouse was, however, destroyed in the
floods of the late 1950s. With re-development funds, insurance money, and a bit of fund raising, a new piece of land was bought.
There the Club built a new clubhouse in the early 1960s. This clubhouse served as a source of income for the local chapter
and provided a meeting place for many of Santa Cruz's various women's organizations, from the SCBPW themselves to the Native
Daughters of the Golden West and the Soroptimists. However, in 2000 the declining membership of the Santa Cruz Business &
Professional Women's Club decided they no longer needed a private clubhouse and sold the property in order to benefit one
of the club's favorite causes, education. With the proceeds of the sale, the Santa Cruz Business & Professional Women's Club
members gave a gift of $200,000 to the University of California, Santa Cruz to endow a Karl Pister Leadership Opportunity
Award (LOA) in the club's name. This award, $10,00, is presented annually to two female students who have completed a course
of study in a local community college, have shown leadership qualities and have need of the funds. The club also endowed a
scholarship at Cabrillo College, the local community college, aimed at young women enrolled in a professional course of study
who need help with the expenses that this type of education often incurs.
Since the BPW sold its clubhouse, they have given away more than $200,000 in scholarships to deserving women students. This
$22,00 for scholarships, given every year in perpetuity is the legacy of Santa Cruz Business and Professional Women's Club,
all due to the smart members in the 1950s and 1960s who were farsighted enough to build the clubhouse, and in 1995 to the
other smart members who knew when to sell and where to put the money for the greatest benefit to the women of the local community.
Scope and Contents Note
This collection consists of business papers, correspondence, minutes, scrapbooks, photographs and artifacts. The early business
records, 1930-1949 were lost and the scrapbooks damaged when the clubhouse was flooded in the late 1950's. The scrapbooks
consist mainly of newspaper clippings documenting the activities of the BPW, and miscellaneous ephemera collected by the members.
Box 15, "Santa Cruz Business and Professional Women's CLub: Eighty Years of History. 1928-2008" gives a full history of the
The material is organized into 5 series: Business Papers & Minutes; Scrapbooks; Publications; Photographs; Artifacts.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in
the library's online public access catalog.
Women in business--California