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SWE Stories, Tales From the Archives: Big Trees From Little Acorns Grow

Check out this episode of SWE Stories: Tales from the Archives, a sub-series of Diverse: a SWE Podcast.
Branded graphic for the engineering podcast Diverse: a SWE Podcast
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On this Giving Tuesday, we look back at SWE’s early quest for respect and office space led by Ruth “Dollar Sign” Shafer, the Society’s fundraising dynamo in the 1950s and ‘60s, whose trademark humor and hustle helped grow the Society’s bank account and its ambitions to better support women in engineering.

Anne Perusek, SWE’s director of editorial and publications and Troy Eller English, SWE’s archivist discuss Ruth’s efforts and how they propelled SWE forward in the early years. Listen to the episode in the link above to learn more. Below are a collection of photographs from SWE’s archives from this time period.

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Ruth “dollar sign” Shafer auctions off Margaret Pritchard’s shoes at the 1966 Society of Women Engineers National Convention in Phoenix, Arizona.
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Brochure circa 1960 advertising the forthcoming United Engineering Center.
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Brochure circa 1960 identifying office use in the forthcoming United Engineering Center. When the building opened in 1961, SWE’s office was less than 400 square feet and shared the third floor of the UEC with six other organizations.
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Rendering of the proposed SWE headquarters office in the United Engineering Center, designed by member Alta Grant Samuels in 1960.
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Development chairman Ruth Shafer used a rebus to remind members that: “Big trees from little acorns grow. Your dollars will grow to this [SWE headquarters in the United Engineering Center]. So sign your pledge card now! Start accumulating and you’ll do your share.”
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SWE executive secretary Winnie White sits at her desk in the United Engineering Center in 1964. Behind her are members of the SWE New York Section, including Ruth Shafer on the left.

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