The Archives and Rare Books Library recently processed a new collection of records documenting activities of Iota Sigma Pi, a national chemistry honorary for women. Interest in an association for women in chemistry at the University of Cincinnati dates back to 1921 with the creation of Sigma Kappa, a local organization of woman chemistry majors. In 1923, they petitioned to become a chapter of Iota Sigma Pi and were installed as the Radium Chapter on May 26, 1923. Madame Curie, the first National Honorary Member of Iota Sigma Pi, was a sponsor of the chapter.
The collection is made up of the records of two women who were highly active on both the local and national levels. Anna Hoffman was a founding member of the Radium Chapter as an undergraduate student in 1923 and remained active in the association throughout her life, serving as National Secretary, Regional Director, and National Historian. Violet Diller, a UC Professor of biochemistry from 1947-1982, served as National President and National Treasurer. Both women have been named national honorary members of the association. The broad experiences of these women make the collection wide in scope, ranging from local chapter records to national organization records.
The collection offers researchers a unique look into several areas, including women’s studies, chemistry and general science, and student life. Records in the collection date back to 1921 when the initiative to form a group began and include minute books, reports, correspondence, scrapbooks, histories, and national publications. A full finding aid is available on the ARB website at http://www.libraries.uc.edu/libraries/arb/archives/collections/documents/UA-09-32IotaSigmaPi.pdf.
The records are part of the University Archives through a donation by Raymond Walters College. They were discovered during a cleaning of the old Blue Ash School building and were sent to the Archives and Rare Books Library for preservation and research. The collection has been accessioned as UA-09-32.
– Janice Schulz