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Camp Fire Girls of Buffalo and Erie County records

 Collection — Box: 1-9, 10a-10d, 11a-11f, 12+-13+, 14-21, MC 3.15
Identifier: MS-0032

Scope and Contents

The formative years of the Camp Fire Girls are documented by the record book of the Deh-Ge-Wa-Nus Camp Fire (1913-1915), the earliest extant record of Camp Fire Activity in Buffalo. There is also a collection of memorabilia belonging to Margaret Bradshaw McGee, a friend of "Hiiteni" (Charlotte Gulick), including a letter from Hiiteni (1916) and the typescript of "The Telling of Hiiteni." There is also a small collection of memorabilia (1913-1915) belonging to Grace M. Dewey, including the record book of the Wa-Wa-See Camp Fire in Washington, D.C.

The organizational activities of the Camp Fire Girls of Buffalo and Erie County are recorded in the minute book of the Guardians' Association (1923-1940), minutes of the Board of Directors of the Council (1930-1945 and 1952-1965) and scrapbooks kept by the Publicity Committee (1925-1963). The scrapbooks contain newspaper clippings and other materials concerning local events and administrative changes.

A series of files contain items illustrative of the history of the organization. Of particular interest is a folder containing a copy of a report on "Women of Achievement," which consists of twenty-seven biographical sketches on outstanding women in Buffalo, New York, prepared by local Camp Fire Girls and submitted to Dr. Mary Beard's World Center for Women Archives (1939). Also of interest is the typescript of a play entitled "kindling the Flame," written by Jane Lucille Garn (1935), about the foundation of the Camp Fire Girls.

In addition to the scrapbooks kept by the Publicity Committee, there are scrapbooks from Camp Aloha (1927-1928, 1930-1934, 1938 and 1948) and miscellaneous scrapbooks kept by local Camp Fires and Guardians (1925-1964). The collection also contains photograph albums (1923-1967) and camp logs (1927, 1929-1935). The earlier photographs found in albums and scrapbooks are informal snapshots, depicting groups of girls working and playing together. These photographs are more expressive than the later portraits.

The records also include copies of Camp Fire Girl publications, including various editions of the Book of the Camp Fire Girls (1913-1960) and the Handbook for Guardians of Camp Fire Girls (1925-1961). Also included is a plaque in honor of Madeline V. Blaisdell and Dorothy L. Scheidt (circa 1920).


  • 1913-1974


Language of Materials

Collection material in English.

Terms of Access

Camp Fire Girls of Buffalo and Erie County Records, 1913-1974, are open for research.


Copyright of papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns. Researchers must obtain the written permission of the holder(s) of copyright and the University Archives before publishing quotations from materials in the collection. Most papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures unless otherwise specified.

Historical Note

The Camp Fire Girls organization was founded in 1910 and incorporated in 1912. Concerned with providing recreational opportunities for girls comparable to those existing for boys, the founders aimed "to train girls for their responsibilities as distinct from those of boys." A 1915 Camp Fire Girls manual proclaims: "Camp Fire Girls is an organization of girls and women to develop the home spirit and make it dominate the entire community." Prominent among the founders were Dr. and Mrs. (Charlotte) Luther Hasley Gulick who worked out much of the early program of the Camp Fire Girls at Wohelo, their summer camp in Sebago, Maine. The name of the Gulick's camp, Wohelo, became the motto of the Camp Fire Girls, symbolizing the goals of "Work, Health, and Love."

The Buffalo and Erie County Camp Fire Girls was the Deh-Ge-Wa-Nus Camp Fire. Deh-Ge-Wa-Nus was the Iroquois name for Mary Jemison (1743-1833), a white woman taken captive by the Iroquois in 1758 who chose to remain with the Seneca. She became an important figure in the history and legends of Western New York.


23 Linear Feet (10 manuscript boxes, 4 half manuscript boxes, 12 flat boxes, 1 CD storage box, 3 oversize boxes, 1 map case drawer)


The collection documents the history of the Camp Fire Girl organization. The collection includes minute books, scrapbooks, photograph albums and Camp Fire Girl publications.


This collection is arranged in five series: I. Administrative Records, II. Camp Logs, III. Periodicals and Publications, IV. Scrapbooks and Photographs, V. Additional Materials.

Series I is arranged in four subseries:

  1. Board of Directors' Minutes
  2. De-Ge-Wa-Nus Camp Fire
  3. Guardians' Association
  4. General Files

Series III is arranged in two subseries:

  1. Camp Fire Girl Publications
  2. Periodicals

Series IV is arranged in four subseries:

  1. Publicity Scrapbooks
  2. Aloha Scrapbooks
  3. Additional Scrapbooks
  4. Photographs

Series V is arranged in four subseries:

  1. Grace M. Dewey Collection
  2. Margaret Bradshaw McGee Collection
  3. Ephemera and Memorabilia
  4. Miscellaneous Materials

Acquisition Information

The majority of the records in this collection were deposited in the Archives on August 8, 1978, as authorized by the Executive Board of the Camp Fire Girls of Buffalo and Erie County, Inc. Additional records were deposited by the Executive Director of the Camp Fire Girls of Buffalo and Erie County, Marge Rowlinson, on December 3, 1979.

Accruals and Additions

No further accruals are expected to this collection.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Archives staff, circa 1980.


Finding Aid for the Camp Fire Girls of Buffalo and Erie County records
Finding aid prepared by Archives staff; revised by staff in March 1997; revised again by Sheryl Saxby in May 2006; additional material added and finding aid revised by Sarah Pinard, July 2015.
Description rules
Finding Aid Prepared Using Local Best Practices
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the University Archives Repository

420 Capen Hall
Buffalo New York 14260-1674 US
716-645-3714 (Fax)