Alliance for Guidance of Rural Youth records, 1887-1963 and undated, bulk 1914-1946
Using These Materials
- Collection is open for research. However, nitrate negatives may be consulted only with permission from Curator of Documentary Arts. Patrons must sign the Acknowledgment of Legal Responsibility and...
- Alliance for Guidance of Rural Youth (U.S.)
- The Alliance for the Guidance of Rural Youth was a vocational guidance service organization originally created under the leadership of Orie Latham Hatcher as the Virginia Bureau of Vocations for Women (1914-1921), and later known as the Southern Woman's Educational Alliance (1921-1937). Disbanded in 1963. The records comprise an extensive set of organizational records for Alliance for the Guidance of Rural Youth and its predecessors. Series include correspondence, administrative files, project files, conference files, subject files, writings and speeches, publications, clippings, press releases, and photographic materials, which include prints and nitrate negatives. The records document the organization's evolution from its early focus on increasing vocational opportunities for educated southern women and rural high school girls to its later activities in providing county-wide vocational programming for rural youth. Additional subjects addressed in the papers and photographs include economic conditions throughout the South; migration patterns from U.S. rural regions to cities; Appalachian culture, including crafts and music; community life in the South; and employment for African Americans. The collection includes 42 matted platinum prints of rural citizens and scenes in Kentucky taken in the 1930s by noted photographer Doris Ulmann, and include a portrait of her assistant and folklorist, John Jacob Niles.
21.5 Linear Feet
Approximately 15,900 items
- Material in English
- Collection ID:
- Scope and Content:
The records of the Alliance for Guidance of Rural Youth (AGRY) span the years 1887 to 1963, although the bulk of the collection begins in 1914 with the creation of the organization and ends in 1946 with the death of founder and president, Orie Latham Hatcher. Additional records for the Alliance from 1947 to 1963 can be found in the Amber Arthun Warburton papers, also located in the Rubenstein Library.
The records comprise an extensive set of organizational records for AGRY and its predecessors, the Virginia Bureau of Vocations for Women (VBVW) and the Southern Woman's Educational Alliance (SWEA), and document the organization's evolution from its early focus on increasing vocational opportunities for educated southern women and rural high school girls to its later activities in providing county-wide vocational programming for rural youth. Series include correspondence, administrative files, project files, conference files, subject files, writings and speeches, publications, clippings, press releases, and photographic materials, which include prints and nitrate negatives.
Early materials in the Correspondence, Administrative Files, and Clippings and Press Releases series document the Bureau's projects, such as the speaker's bureau and the scholarship program, as well as the Bureau's relationship with other women's organizations such as the Virginia Association of Colleges and Schools for Girls, Southern Collegiate Women (later the American Association of University Women), the National Federation of Business and Professional Women Clubs (BPW), and the National Council of Women.
Strong ties were developed between the Bureau and these organizations during its formative years: Hatcher chaired national and local committees in most of these organizations, and early correspondence and administrative files center on her work with these organizations particularly concerning educational standards and vocational training in women's colleges. In these early records it is often unclear which of these activities were officially adopted by the Bureau or if they were solely Hatcher's activities.
The AGRY's activities documented in the Branch Files Series include benefits, forums, exhibits, and festivals. The New York Branch sponsored several opera benefits to help raise funds during the 1920s. The Rural Mountain Festival, sponsored by the Richmond Branch, was held in 1938. In 1932, the Alliance commissioned noted New York portrait photographer, Doris Ulmann, to photograph rural youth and other individuals in Kentucky. The photographs were subsequently exhibited by several of the branches and were used to promote discussion of vocational issues and the work of the Alliance. Forty-two of these original platinum prints are located in the Photographic Materials Series.
Organizational changes reflected modifications in the organization's goals. Although SWEA continued many of the projects started by the Virginia Bureau, emphasis shifted away from lobbying efforts aimed to open new careers for women and more towards research on women's occupational trends and model guidance counseling programs based on that research. Correspondence during the early 1920s contains letters from faculty and administrators from women's colleges throughout the Northeast and South which describe various approaches (or lack thereof) to providing vocational guidance to students. Administrative files contain information on surveys and on a vocational guidance course for college women which was developed at Goucher College under the auspices of SWEA and tested at Duke University (then Trinity College) and the College of William and Mary. The Publications and Clippings and Press Releases series also contain considerable information regarding Alliance research and activities during this time.
During the mid to late 1920s, SWEA sponsored several research projects through its Rural Guidance Project which examined vocational trends of rural girls in North Carolina and Virginia. While the Correspondence and Administrative Files series document how the projects were organized, the comprehensive data collected during these projects is extant only in resulting SWEA publications such as Rural Girls in the City for Work and the unpublished manuscript "Fifty Rural High School Girls."
Alliance projects in the late 1920s and 1930s consisted of experimental and demonstration guidance programs in rural schools. These projects were located at the Konnarock Training School (Virginia), elementary schools in Albemarle Co., Virginia, Farm Life School (Craven Co., N.C.), and elementary and secondary schools in Breathitt Co., Kentucky, among others. Each of these demonstration projects also resulted in substantial Alliance publications which in most cases represent the bulk of extant documentation of each project. The Photographic Materials series contains many snapshots taken in these various communities, although most are of poor quality and unidentified; there are also negatives in this series. Additional information may also appear scattered throughout Correspondence, Clippings, and Administrative Files series.
The Breathitt County Project Files Series, provides the most comprehensive documentation of the demonstration project which grew to become the Alliance's main research activity from about 1934 to 1942. The project encompassed a wide range of activities including data collection on students' home life, teacher training workshops, vocational guidance programming through the county's Planning Council, and a visit by Eleanor Roosevelt in 1938. Particularly noteworthy in these materials are the extensive raw data files consisting of approximately 2500 autobiographical surveys of students. Additional files contain charts of data compilations and teacher reports which identify trends in students' educational behavior. Photographs of Breathitt County schools, students, and home life, chiefly taken by noted photographer Doris Ullman, are contained in the Photographic Materials Series.
SWEA and AGRY's emphasis on research and dissemination of information was reflected in the increase of published materials produced by the organization. Much of this material is contained in the Publications Series. Clippings of book reviews document the wide-spread acceptance of these publications in a newly emerging field. Several unpublished manuscripts resulting from Alliance research projects are extant in the Writings and Speeches Series and include "Occupations for Educated Women in Durham, Raleigh, and Winston-Salem, North Carolina" (1926), a bound copy of "Fifty Rural High School Girls'' (1930), and final drafts of "When Our Young Folks Come Home to the Smaller Communities" (1945).
Another strategy for publicizing the work of the Alliance was through local and national radio broadcasts. Shows were broadcast from Richmond, New York, and Washington, D.C., and gave information on specific occupations and discussed vocational guidance issues. Broadcast scripts contained in the Writings and Speeches Series feature youths interviewing each other and Orie Hatcher about career goals, a dialogue between Eleanor Roosevelt and Hatcher on the future of rural youth (1938), and a presentation by Amelia Earhart on women in aviation (1931).
The Correspondence, Clippings and Press Releases, and Subject Files series demonstrate the Alliance's shift away from relationships with women's organizations in the late 1920s and towards guidance and educational organizations such as the American Council for Guidance and Personnel Associations (CGPA), National Vocational Guidance Association (NVGA), National Occupational Conference (NOC), National Education Association (NEA), and the U.S. Department of Education in the 1930s. In many of these organizations, Hatcher chaired committees on rural youth, and representatives from these groups served on AGRY's Board of Trustees.
Numerous regional and national conference activities are reflected in the Conference Files Series, with a complete set of conference proceedings and findings contained in the Publications Series. Information on pre-1930s conferences is slim, but additional information on all conferences can be gleaned from the Correspondence and Clippings and Press Releases series. Copies of papers delivered by Alliance members and others are located in the Writings and Speeches Series.
Materials dating past Hatcher's tenure in the Alliance consist mainly of routine administrative correspondence. A more complete set of AGRY organizational records dating from 1947-1963 is located in the papers of Amber Arthun Warburton, her successor. These records continue several series started in the AGRY records such as executive board minutes, publications, project files, and correspondence.
- Biographical / Historical:
Alliance for Guidance of Rural Youth Date Event 1914, May Organizational meeting of the Virginia Bureau of Vocations for Women (initially known as the Women's Occupational Bureau), Richmond, Virginia. 1915, March Orie Latham Hatcher becomes president of Bureau. 1918, March 17 Bureau incorporated. 1920 Unofficial name change to Bureau of Vocations for Women. 1921 Official name change to Southern Woman's Educational Alliance. 1922, March Chicago branch established. 1923, November New York branch established. 1924, January Atlanta and Washington, D.C., branches established. 1929, June Richmond branch established. 1929 Chicago junior auxiliary branch established. 1931 University of Chicago branch established. 1937, November Official name change to Alliance for Guidance of Rural Youth. 1937 Washington branch re-established. 1946, April Howard Dawson becomes acting president of Alliance Board after Orie Latham Hatcher's death. 1947, February Position of Executive Secretary established to assume Hatcher's former duties. Amber Arthun Warburton hired for position. 1963, September AGRY disbands. Orie Latham Hatcher Date Event 1868, December 10 Born, Petersburg, Va. 1884 Graduated from Richmond (Va.) Female Institute. 1888 A.B., Vassar College. Circa 1888-1892 Teacher, Miss Belle Peer's School, Louisville, Ky. 1893-1894 Teacher, Richmond Female Seminary. 1894 Professor of History, English Language, and Literature, Women's College, Richmond, Va. 1903 Ph.D., University of Chicago, English Literature. 1904-1915 Employed at Bryn Mawr College (Pa.) as part-time reader, lecturer, associate professor of English (1912-1915), and chair of comparative literature department (1910-1915). 1906 Helped organize the Virginia Association of Colleges and Schools for Girls. 1915 Left Bryn Mawr to become full-time director/president of Virginia Bureau of Vocations for Women. 1917 Co-founder and executive board member of Richmond School of Social Work and Public Health. 1920- 1924 Vice-president, National Federation of Business and Professional Women's Clubs. 1928 - 1938 Chair, Rural Section, National Vocational Guidance Association. 1932 - 1935 Executive Board member, National Council of Women. 1933-1937 Board of Trustees, National Vocational Guidance Association. 1936-1942 Technical director, Pine Mountain Guidance Institutes, Harlan County, Ky. 1940, 1941 Member, White House Conference on Children in a Democracy. 1941, 1942, 1943 Chair, Institute for Rural Guidance, Washington, D.C. 1944 Member, White House Conference on Rural Education. 1946, April 1 Died, Richmond, Va.
Although the Alliance for the Guidance of Rural Youth officially came into being in 1937, its work stretched back to 1914, with the founding of the Virginia Bureau of Vocations for Women by Orie Hatcher and several other Richmond women. The roots of this first organization can be traced back to Hatcher's work with the Virginia Association of Colleges and Schools for Girls. As one of the association's founders in 1906, Hatcher was quickly elected to chair several successive committees designed to evaluate educational standards in Virginia's women's schools. Several surveys on women's colleges done by these committees clearly showed that educational standards in southern women's colleges were far below their northern counterparts and in fact did little to prepare women for careers other than teaching and homemaking. Hatcher's tenure at Bryn Mawr had exposed her to the women's employment bureaus which were emerging in the North. The Virginia Bureau of Vocations for Woman was thus created out of Hatcher's desire to reform women's education so that it provided a means to meaningful employment.
To meet this mission, the Bureau sought to open up new career paths for women and to provide a reliable source of information and sound counseling regarding education and occupational training for Virginia women. Because so few schools offered a curriculum that would train women directly for a specific occupation, the Virginia Bureau often lobbied various institutions to include educational programs that would prepare women for work. By working with other women's organizations and by using public opinion, the Bureau was an instrumental force in persuading the Medical School of Virginia to admit women to its dentistry, pharmacy, and medical programs, and in fact recruited the school's first twelve female students. In a similar manner, the Bureau was also able to influence the Richmond School of Social Economy to change to the Richmond School of Social Work and Public Health and for the Smithdeal Business College in Richmond to create a secretarial school which would serve women wanting to receive professional clerical training.
By 1920, the Bureau's mission had broadened, and it began to see itself as more of a regional group which represented emerging opportunities for southern women. To reflect this broader constituency, the Bureau changed its name to the Southern Woman's Educational Alliance and acquired new visibility through the addition of prominent regional and national figures to its board. By establishing branches in Atlanta, Chicago, New York, Washington, and Richmond, the Alliance was able to broaden its base of support. The primary functions of the branches were fundraising and promotion. Consequently, prominent and wealthy women such as Irene Gibson, her sister Lady Astor, and Mrs. Woodrow Wilson were recruited to help organize the branches.
The desire to get vocational information to women at a time when it would be most useful to their employment and career development eventually led SWEA to explore the role of vocational guidance for high school girls, especially those who would never attend college. This aspect of vocational guidance was particularly relevant in the South, where rural youth migrated out of their communities to look for work in cities. In exploring the vocational needs of rural high school girls, SWEA quickly realized that it would not be effective to separate guidance services for boys and girls in rural schools and therefore shifted its focus to rural youth in general. Although SWEA did not formally change its name until 1937, the organization was working exclusively on rural youth guidance by 1930.
Conference activity took on an increasingly important role in fulfilling the organization's mission of gathering and disseminating information on various vocational topics. From about 1918, the Virginia Bureau co-sponsored conferences with the Virginia Association of Colleges and Schools for Girls, National Committee of Bureaus of Occupation for Trained Women, and the National Federation of Business and Professional Women's Clubs. During the 1920s SWEA sponsored several conferences on occupational trends for women, developing guidance programs for women's colleges and schools, and effective guidance aids f or rural girls.
During the 1930s and 1940s, SWEA and AGRY s conference activity increased significantly. Alliance members participated in conferences sponsored by NVGA, CGPA, NOC, and NEA by chairing sessions and presenting papers on rural youth guidance. In addition, the Alliance sponsored several series of guidance conferences and forums on its own. Notable among these are the Pine Mountain Guidance Institutes, 1937-1942; Rural-Urban Institutes on Youth Migration, 1938-1939; luncheon forums for Washington (D.C.) youth-serving agencies, 1942-1947; and the Rural Guidance Institute held in conjunction with the group's annual board meetings.
With the success of Orie Hatcher's Occupations for Women (1927), the Alliance began to publish book-length research reports. Rural Girls in the City for Work (1930) and Handicaps of Elementary School Girls (1931) resulted from Rural Guidance Project research done in North Carolina. Guidance Work in the Schools of Craven Co., North Carolina (1930), Guiding Rural Boys and Girls (1930), A Mountain School (1930) and others were the product of the Alliance's work in North Carolina and Virginia with experimental county-wide guidance programs. These longer publications were instrumental 1n promoting the efforts of the Alliance.
The Alliance's far-reaching work in the field of rural youth guidance served to establish the organization as a national authority. After Hatcher's death in 1946, the group continued its research projects, publications, and conference activities under the direction of Amber Arthun Warburton who became the organization's executive secretary.
- Custodial History:
The records for the Alliance for Guidance of Rural Youth were donated as a gift to the Rubenstein Library between 1950-1977 by Amber Arthun Warburton and Clark Warburton.
- Processing information:
Processed by Virginia Daley, June 1988
Encoded by Stephen Douglas Miller, April 1997
Further processing and description of the Doris Ulmann photographs and negatives and other images provided by Joanne Fairhurst and Paula Jeannet, December 2013
The Alliance for the Guidance of Rural Youth was created by Hatcher who dominated its administration until her death. The Alliance was her organization and her life as well. This relationship is evident throughout the records, particularly in the earlier records when it is often difficult to discern the difference between Alliance records and Hatcher's personal papers. Because these distinctions are ambiguous and often contradictory, no attempt has been made to provide a separate category of personal papers. The Virginia DeMott Cox papers held in the Rubenstein Library contain several oral history tapes which reveal a more personal side of Hatcher and her work with the Alliance.
During the processing of this collection, duplicate items were discarded and some reference materials were transferred to the Duke Libraries general collections. These materials included a large quantity of printed materials on citizenship, eugenics, veterans' education, juvenile delinquency in Great Britain, population trends, etc. and periodicals such as Mountain Life and Work, Parent, Progressive Farmer and Farm Wife, and Independent Woman.
The collection also contained a considerable quantity of clippings from newspapers and periodicals. Clippings relating directly to the Alliance's activities were retained. These clippings were originally pasted in several scrapbooks which were showing signs of rapid deterioration. These scrapbooks were dismantled, copied onto acid-free paper, and filed in the appropriate series. Other general news clippings from mainstream newspapers which can be found online such as The Washington Post, The New York Times and The Richmond Times Dispatch were discarded. Large quantities of newsclippings from the Jackson Times (Breathitt Co., Ky.) and the Harlan Daily News (Harlan Co., Ky.) concerning social life in both counties were also discarded.
- Physical Location:
- For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
- Rules or Conventions:
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Related Material:
Amber Arthun Warburton papers, 1917-1976 (Additional material on AGRY), Rubenstein Library, Duke University
Virginia DeMott Cox papers, 1979, 1982 (Contains oral history interviews with Orie Latham Hatcher), Rubenstein Library, Duke University
Doris Ulmann Photograph Collection (Largest collection of Ulmann prints and negatives), New York Historical Society
Click on terms below to find related finding aids on this site. For other related materials in the Duke University Libraries, search for these terms in the Catalog.
African Americans -- Employment -- Southern States
Music -- Appalachian Region, Southern
Rural schools -- Southern States
Rural women -- Southern States -- Education
Rural women -- Southern States -- Research
Rural women -- Southern States -- Vocational guidance
Rural women -- Southern States -- Portraits
Rural youth -- Southern States -- Education
Rural youth -- Southern States -- Portraits
Rural youth -- Southern States -- Research
Rural youth -- Southern States -- Vocational guidance
Rural-urban migration -- United States
Vocational education -- Southern States
Vocational guidance -- Southern States
Women -- Education -- Southern States
Women -- Employment -- Southern States
Women social reformers
Women -- Vocational guidance
Cellulose nitrate film
Southern Woman's Educational Alliance (U.S.)
Alliance for Guidance of Rural Youth (U.S.)
Virginia Association of Colleges and Schools for Girls
Virginia Bureau of Vocations for Women
Niles, John Jacob, 1892-1980
Hatcher, O. Latham (Orie Latham), 1868-1946
Ulmann, Doris, 1882-1934
Appalachian region -- Photographs
Appalachian Region, Southern -- Rural conditions
Southern States -- Rural conditions
Southern States -- Economic conditions
Using These Materials
Collection is open for research. However, nitrate negatives may be consulted only with permission from Curator of Documentary Arts.
Patrons must sign the Acknowledgment of Legal Responsibility and Privacy Rights form before using this collection.
All or portions of this collection may be housed off-site in Duke University's Library Service Center. Consequently, there may be a 24-hour delay in obtaining these materials.
Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library to use this collection.
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- PREFERRED CITATION:
[Identification of item], Alliance for Guidance of Rural Youth Records, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.