Mission Statement and Collection Development Policy

Mission Statement

The Archives of Women in Science and Engineering seeks to preserve the historical heritage of American women in science and engineering. To do this, the Archives solicits, collects, arranges, and describes the personal papers of women scientists and engineers as well as the records of national and regional women’s organizations in these fields.

The Archives will also serve as a local, regional, national, and international resource for information on women in science and engineering, with a particular emphasis on K-12 and college level students.


Collection Development Policy

The Archives of Women in Science and Engineering collects the personal and professional papers of women in all areas of the sciences and engineering, except that of the medical sciences. The Archives also solicits the records of women’s organizations in these fields.

The Archives seeks to document the history of women in science and engineering from its very beginnings to the present. While the collections include the papers of Iowa State alumni and faculty, its geographical boundaries span the United States and may go beyond to include American women spending their careers abroad.

Recognizing the nature and scope of women's struggles in science and engineering, the Archives does not seek to document only the "best and brightest." Indeed, women represented in the Archives need not have made any significant or publicly recognized co ntribution to science or engineering. They need not have the official title or status of "scientist" or "engineer." Doing science or engineering as an avocation rather than a career is acknowledged as an important aspect of the history of women in these areas, especially before World War I.

The Archives does not operate alone. It exists as a specialized collection within the interlocking construct of the Department of Special Collections and University Archives at the Iowa State University Library. It also coexists with other manuscript repositories and archives around the country. The Archives recognizes the importance of this complex structure of inter-relationships and conducts itself accordingly in soliciting materials.