History

HISTORY— 63 years and counting!

NEWS!  We’re embarking on an oral history project this year, partnering with the Museum on Main in Pleasanton. Ken McClellan of the museum has offered to film interviews with some of our early leaders, to create a video for the museum and for the branch website. We’ll be filming on Sundays in January. If you’d like to help gather information and develop topics, contact our President, Chris Alesso.

In April 1952  the branch was formed with thirty-one charter members. It began with three Interest Sections — Mental Health, Education and Art. Members attending the AAUW California State Convention in April of 1953 participated in such workshops as “How Women Can be Effective in Legislation” and “The Equal Rights Amendment”.

By 1959, the branch had grown to 137 members. The Education Section sponsored a public meeting on “The Gifted Child” and the programs available to them. During the early sixties, the major yearly fundraiser was a fashion show-foreign movie event held at the Vine Theatre in Livermore. The Sections were involved in Halloween UNICEF fundraisers, the development of Community Resource Booklets, and studies about the need for local nursery schools.

In 1963, the branch’s Music Section was instrumental in organizing a community orchestra. The branch  board authorized $100 to cover the initial expenses of an orchestra, stipulating that $10.00 a week go as the conductor’s salary. Later, Livermore Adult Education took over the program that became the Livermore-Amador Symphony, which has now celebrated it’s 50th year.

In 1966, the branch started its tradition of awarding local scholarships. Initially, the money for the $250 scholarships came out of the branch’s reserve fund. The amount now awarded varies, based on needs of applicants. Later, used book sales contributed to the scholarship fund — with the first sales netting $428.19 over a THREE DAY period! Now, 40 years later, the branch has awarded well over $65,000 to local women in their junior and senior years of college. In 1990, the Livermore-Pleasanton-Dublin AAUW Local Scholarship Foundation was formed, so now donations are tax-deductible.

In the 1970’s, the Branch achieved national prominence as members wrote and published a number of pamphlets and studies. “How to Elect a Woman to Office” was used locally and nationally for the next 20 years by both men and women seeking public office.

The Status of Women Section published “Jack and Jill” which was intended to arouse an “awareness of the sex role stereotyping of women”. Impact on National was achieved when the branch’s News Media Study Resolution was adopted as the 1973-75 biennium topic— ”Media: Issues in Communication”.

All of these studies and publications were on the “cutting edge” at the time. In addition, members were very concerned about and involved in issues revolving around the Livermore General Plan, land use, consumer problems, education and low income housing.

In the ’80’s, branch members were highly visible and very involved at the California State and National levels of AAUW, including holding office and committee positions.  More LPD Branch members held state AAUW office and/or committee positions than any other branch in California! At the local level, members initiated and participated in innovative workshops on financial planning, political Issues and math and science conferences for girls.

For the past several years, the branch has proudly awarded scholarships to local girls to attend Tech Trek, an AAUW-sponsored math and science camp for middle-school girls, held at various major universities such as  Stanford and UC Davis.

As we continue our progress into the new century, the Branch has approximately 100 members who continue the branch tradition of raising funds and contributing generously to the AAUW Funds.

Since 1988, men have been welcomed as members of AAUW.