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Women in Communications, Inc. Ames Professional Chapter (Iowa) records

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MS-0035

Scope and Content

The collection (1917-1980, undated) contains minutes, correspondence, newsletters, financial records, directories, annual reports, membership information, scrapbooks, news clippings, year-end activity reports, the Ames Professional Club's charter, the Omicron Chapter's petition to organize a chapter, and a few materials from the national organization (constitution, by-laws, reports, directories, correspondence, newsletters). The collection includes materials from the Ames Professional Club/Chapter, Omicron Chapter of ISU and the Des Moines Chapter.

Materials pertaining to both the Ames Professional Club/Chapter and the Omicron Chapter can be found in both series since members of both chapters often participated in the meetings, activities and programs of the other. The Ames Professional Club/Chapter series contains a folder (Box 5, Folder 11) of correspondence (1955-1960) in which Omicron alumnae discuss the organization of the Ames Professional Chapter. Directories of the Ames Professional Club/Chapter often include members of the Omicron Chapter. The reports are usually the year-end activity reports to the national organization and contain brief listings of finances, membership, programs, projects, scholarships, relations with the local student chapter, community and national service work, and publicity activities. Much of the correspondence is with national headquarters, but also includes correspondence of Ames and regional members. The 1980 minutes contain information regarding the disbanding of the organization. In addition to the club/chapter materials, the series also contains documents from the national organization sent to the club/chapter.

Omicron Chapter materials includes annual reports, by-laws, correspondence, membership rosters and directories, manuals, financial records, news clippings, meeting minutes, scrapbooks, a ritual manual, and the 1917 petition for the formation of the chapter. Included is a folder (Box 7, Folder 4) containing photocopies of records from the university archives collection of the Omicron Chapter (RS 22/5/0/1 under the folder entitled Theta Sigma Phi). In 1970 the formerly exclusively male professional journalism society, the Society of Professional Journalists (Sigma Delta Chi), allowed women to join. The Omicron Chapter was active on the Iowa State campus until the 1970's, and, along with Sigma Delta Chi, is no longer active on the Iowa State campus.

The Des Moines Chapter materials contain records from the National Office of the Association for Women in Communications relating to the Des Moines area chapter, including correspondence, annual reports, by-laws, membership information, and newsletters. The files are in their original order.


  • Creation: 1917-1980, undated


Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

Open for research.

Use/Re-use Restrictions

Consult Special Collections and University Archives


Women in Communications, Incorporated (WICI), originally called Theta Sigma Phi, was created in 1909 at the University of Washington in Seattle. It is a national organization for women in journalism and communications, now (2009) called The Association for Women in Communications. The original change in name from Theta Sigma Phi to Women in Communications, Incorporated occurred in 1972 when the organization wanted to get away from the sorority image the name implied. The Ames and ISU club/ chapters was an affiliate of the national organization. In 1969 the Ames Professional Club of Theta Sigma Phi graduated to Chapter status as the Ames Professional Chapter.

The Iowa State Omicron Chapter of Theta Sigma Phi was founded January 11, 1918. It was the first chapter in Iowa and the 15th in the nation. Members of the Omicron Chapter were writers for many of ISU's publications. The Omicron Chapter ran the Emerald Goose, a humor magazine, until 1922 when the magazine combined with the Green Gander. Both the Omicron Chapter and the Tau Chapter of Sigma Delta Chi ran the Green Gander together until 1960. Other activities of the chapter included running the annual Matrix banquet, working with high school students interested in journalism, bringing in speakers to meetings and other events, hosting various fundraising events and attending state and national symposia and conventions.

In 1958, alumnae of the Omicron Chapter at ISU organized the Ames Professional Club. The ISU student chapter often worked closely with the Ames Professional Club/Chapter. Each participated in and attended the others' events and activities, but the two organizations were separate groups.

The Ames Professional Club/Chapter programs included speakers throughout the year (most from the Ames community and Iowa State University), the annual fundraising Matrix banquet, community work, and national service projects. The monthly meetings usually included a tour and/or speaker. The annual Matrix banquet was traditionally observed nationally by Theta Sigma Phi chapters across the country and included a meal and speaker. Locally, the Ames Club/Chapter also presented the Matrix award at the banquet. The Matrix award was an award for excellence presented annually to a woman in the Ames area. Members also had the opportunity to attend the regional and national meetings, and the club/chapter often sent at least the president to one of these. The Ames Professional Chapter officially disbanded on May 31, 1980 due to the decline of active members. All available funds of the chapter were given to the Bess Ferguson Lectureship Fund in the ISU Achievement Foundation.

The Des Moines Alumnae Chapter was formed in 1919 by alumnae of university chapters of Theta Sigma Phi in the Des Moines area, and was revived again in 1947. It continues to the present day (2009) as the Des Moines Chapter of The Association of Women in Communications.


6.78 Linear Feet (6 document boxes, 4 half-document boxes, and 2 large flat boxes.)


The collection is organized into three series:

Series 1, Ames Professional Club, 1955-1980, undated

Series 2, Omicron Chapter of Iowa State University, 1916-1972, undated

Series 3, Des Moines Chapter, 1919-1975, undated

Related collection materials

For related collections, please see the records of the student chapter of Theta Sigma Phi and Women in Communications, Inc. in the University Archives, RS 22/5/0/1 and the Society of Professional Journalists, Sigma Delta Chi, Iowa State University Chapter Records (RS 22/5/0/15).

For a related film, see the Iowa State campus film presented by the Omicron Chapter entitled "From pin feathers to plumes" (circa 1940), call number 8-0092. The short film shows the work of Home Economics Journalism students as they lay out the ISU student newspaper, the Iowa Homemaker, working in a radio newsroom, meeting professional journalists, and their VEISHEA display.

Processing Information

Released on 2018-11-01.

MS-0035. Women in Communications, Inc. Ames Professional Chapter (Iowa) records, 1917-1980, undated
December 12, 2018
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives Repository

403 Parks Library
701 Morrill Road
Iowa State University
Ames Iowa 50011-2102 United States
(515) 294-6672