By Kimberly Johnson, Director Special Collections, Texas Woman’s University
TWU Libraries is proud that the Whirly-Girls Scholarship Fund, Inc. archive is the largest collection of resources under one roof showcasing the rich history of the organization and its commitment to women in aviation. Researchers can access historically rare and one-of-a kind documents, photographs, uniforms, and various ephemera and artifacts. It is a testament to the archive’s comprehensiveness that filmmakers, historians, scholars, documentarians, students, and enthusiasts from around the world use our collections to advance their projects. Our active engagement and participation with the public is demonstrated by our ongoing work to preserve, promote, protect, and document the legacy of women’s accomplishments in aviation.
Every day we connect with students, journalists, teachers, pilots, military personnel, and life-long learners discovering some aspect of women’s aviation previously unknown to them. This important, albeit often overlooked history continues to influence the scholarly record and shape popular culture and inform our society. Since TWU first began collecting the stories, papers, and records of women in aviation, we have assisted over 25,000 patrons worldwide with their research. Visitors come from across the country and North America to access our collections. TWU’s archival collections generate enthusiasm and motivate interest about women’s history, especially women’s aviation history. Our collections distinguish us from our peers and further define TWU as a premier research destination for women’s history in aviation.
It is evident the Whirly-Girls’ legacy will endure long into the future. Your story is timeless, inspiring generations of new devotees and followers. Your history resonates with today’s female pilots and speaks to them personally. The Woman’s Collection stands poised to capture these important stories, preserve your history, capture your voice, and cultivate relationships that establish TWU as the preeminent leader in the collection and preservation of women’s aviation history.
Today, the staff is working with a core of dedicated documentarians, filmmakers, historians, authors, and media representatives specializing in women’s military and aviation history on upcoming publications and productions. Staff are working to enhance the Whirly-Girls Digital Archive which includes over 6,300 images, documents, and records. New items are continually being digitized for upload, and members have been generous in sharing their electronic images.
There is much work left to be done. We are not nearly finished, and we cannot do it without you. We need you to donate your materials, photographs, flight suits, uniforms, insignia, and other aviation memorabilia. We hope you will consider participating in our oral history program because your story is important not only to the next generation of women pilots, but to each future generation. Your history serves as an example to all young girls that they can dare to dream, reach for the stars, and achieve whatever their hearts desire. Thank you for letting us be the stewards of your history, and thank you for partnering with us to share your stories with the world.
In the late 1990s, the Whirly-Girls Board of Directors entered into a contractual agreement with Texas Woman’s University (TWU) in Denton, Texas, and the TWU Woman’s Collection was established as the official Whirly-Girls archive. The TWU Woman’s Collection also houses archival materials from the Women Air Force Service Pilots (WASP) and Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA).
Any Whirly-Girl who wishes to place her own materials in the TWU archives is free to do so at her discretion and may do so while the Whirly-Girl is living, or posthumously. Whirly-Girls, researchers, and writers may visit the library to access this archive, which includes Whirly-Girls historical documents, scrapbooks, membership files, and other organization memorabilia.
Digitized material may be viewed here: twu.edu/library/whirly-girls.asp
For more information about the Woman’s Collection: twu.edu/library/womans-collection.asp
Donate to the endowment fund to support the Whirly-Girls archives below.
Support of this repository is critical for our history. Contributions may also be sent to the Whirly-Girls treasurer, Ann Lockwood. Send a non-refundable check (USD) or money order to the following:
Whirly-Girls Scholarship Fund, Inc./dba Whirly-Girls International
P.O. Box 759
Tryon, NC 28782
Donate to the TWU Endowment Fund
by WG#295 Sherry Rossiter, Whirly-Girls Historian
Most of us tend to think of large sums of money when we hear talk about planned giving. All gifts, large or small, contribute to the success and sustainability of an organization. We give to charitable causes because we care about the cause. We also give because it makes us feel like we are part of something larger than ourselves.
Four years ago, the Whirly-Girls signed a formal agreement with Texas Woman’s University (TWU) in Denton, Texas, to establish an endowment fund to provide annual income from the earned interest to help care for the Whirly-Girls historical archives housed in The Woman’s Collection at TWU. If every Whirly-Girl donated $5 USD to the TWU endowment fund this year, we would have the endowment fully funded. The initial goal is to fund the endowment with $10,000 payable over five years.
For more information, contact me, WG#295 Sherri Rossiter, the Whirly-Girls Historian, at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am the liaison between TWU and our members.
For more information about wills, trusts, or letters of intent announcing a planned gift, please contact our treasurer.
The Whirly-Girls Scholarship Fund, Inc., is a recognized 501(c)(3) non-profit organization incorporated in the District of Columbia.