The American Association of University Women, or AAUW, started over 100 years ago as an organization to aide women in their advancement of education through grants, advocacy, philanthropy, and research. After the Southern Branch of AAUW was formed in Las Vegas in 1940, the need for another expansion became clear. Many Boulder City women were interested in joining, but the route to and from Las Vegas was difficult to travel. So in September of 1942, the Boulder City branch was founded.
In addition to hosting seminars and lectures advocating issues currently affecting women from throughout the world, the AAUW organizes a yearly Home Tour, during which local homes are opened up to the public during the holiday season. Since the first tour in 1974, ticket sale proceeds are given as scholarships to local women.
The AAUW’s biannual Wine and Chocolate tasting is also a favorite of Boulder City residents. The admission to the event is donated as a scholarship for a future graduate of Boulder City High School. Other prominent fundraisers include the “Books for Boulder City Libraries” project and the old-fashioned “Box Social” fundraiser.
One event of AAUW and Boulder City history that had quite an impact on the preservation of our history was the Wine and Chocolate Tasting of 1975. In partnership with UNLV, the “Oral History Project” was carried out by members of the AAUW to record the stories of the “31ers”; those who came to the Boulder Canyon Project and construct Hoover Dam. The funds that were raised at the Wine and Chocolate Tasting were used to purchase tape recorders to capture the oral histories.
Recorded first were the stories of Neil and Helen Holmes, who discussed their lives in Ragtown and at the construction site, where Neil worked as a pipefitter, earning $5.00 a day. The oral history of Helen can still be heard playing in the Ragtown exhibit of the Boulder City/Hoover Dam Museum.
The Boulder City branch of AAUW is always welcoming new members and candidates for the annual Home Tour. Please contact Laura Zelkwitz at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.