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Zonta International District IV records

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MS-0056-0004

Scope and Contents

This collection documents the activities of Zonta International District IV. The records consist mainly of minutes, reports, club newsletters, event flyers, and memorabilia. District and club history is documented through scrapbooks and written histories, as well as through video cassette recordings of events.


  • 1975-2013


Language of Materials

Collection material in English.

Terms of Access

The Zonta International District IV Records 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.

Zonta International District IV

Zonta District IV, one of the regional areas of Zonta International, is headed by a biannually appointed governor and is comprised of around 40 clubs located in Ontario, Canada and the western regions of New York, and Pennsylvania. The District is currently divided into six areas, each with an area director who is a member of the district board. Workshops are held every spring across the district to update members on procedures, activities, and other news. Local conferences are held each odd-numbered year to allow participants to conduct District business.

Zonta International

In 1919 Buffalo playwright Marian de Forest and five other businesswomen chartered the first Zonta club in Buffalo, New York. They conceived Zonta as an organization that would network professional women and advance women's rights. Within a year Zonta expanded into a confederation of nine clubs with 600 members. By 1921 enough clubs had emerged in neighboring states that a convention was held in Syracuse, New York to organize the clubs and appoint a president.

Mary Jenkins, publisher of the Syracuse Herald, was elected the first president of the Confederation of Zonta Clubs. Ever expanding, in 1930 the Confederation chartered its first European club in Vienna, Austria and changed its name to Zonta International. Helen W. Cleveland, a member of Zonta's Toronto Club, was elected the international organization's first president.

Today Zonta International is divided into 30 Districts overseen by an international board. The board is elected at biennial international conventions and consists of seven elected directors and four elected officers, who form the executive committee. Districts are overseen by a governor and lieutenant governor and divided into areas and clubs, which elect directors and presidents. Districts hold annual workshops and conferences every two years.

Over the years, Zonta has greatly expanded their original mission. Today they seek to advance the status of women through service and advocacy; work to improve understanding, goodwill and peace through fellowship; promote justice and universal respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms; unite internationally to foster high ethical standards; and implement service programs and support for members who serve their communities.

Zonta's service projects are international in scope, having since 1959 supported and consulted with several United Nations agencies, including the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) and the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF). Zonta also advances women's rights through education, leadership, and youth development scholarships, including the Amelia Earhart Fellowship, Young Women in Public Affairs Award, and Z Clubs.

Always expanding with an increasing focus on international women's affairs, in 2007 Zonta reported 1,200 clubs in 67 countries with a membership of over 33,000.


The Zonta Club is founded in Buffalo, New York.
The Confederation of Zonta Clubs is established and Mary Jenkins is elected president.
Zonta is incorporated and base operations move to Harriet Richards' home in Utica, New York.
Serbia honors Zonta for its service to the education of young Serbian women.
Zonta moves its business offices to the Women's Council Building of the Larkin Company of Buffalo, New York.
Zonta becomes an international organization when clubs from Toronto, Hamilton, and St. Catherines in Canada join the confederation.
Zonta headquarters moves to Chicago, Illinois.
The name of the organization changes to Zonta International and Helen W. Cleveland is elected first president.
The Amelia Earhart Fellowship Program is established to fund a doctoral student in aerospace-related sciences and engineering. As of 1997 Zonta has awarded 1,227 scholarships to women worldwide.
There are 295 Zonta clubs in 13 countries with 10,848 members.
The International Service Project is launched with the donation of $8,000 to Hungarian refugees.
In cooperation with the United Nations, Zonta's International Service Project donates $42,000 to the Anne Frank Village, which aids refugee families in the Federal Republic of German.
There are 427 Zonta clubs in 24 foreign countries with 17,500 members.
Zonta receives an award from the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) for outstanding contribution to children.
Zonta International purchases a building for its headquarters at 557 West Randolph Street in Chicago, Illinois.
There are 1,200 Zonta clubs in 67 countries with 33,000 members.


13.5 Linear Feet (28 manuscript boxes, 1 carton, 1 map case item)


The records of Zonta International District IV, one of the regional areas of the professional women's executive organization, Zonta International, document the District's organizational activities, publications, events, and clubs.


This collection is arranged in seven series:

  1. Administration
  2. Committees
  3. Conferences
  4. Zonta International District IV Areas
  5. Zonta International District IV Clubs
  6. Photographs and Media
  7. Administrative Files

Acquisition Information

Papers were donated to the University Archives between 1999 and 2008 by various Zonta officers, including Mary Ann Stegmeier, Daisy Waters, and Sandra Cronk. Additional papers were donated by Dorothy Wiswall in August 2016.

Accruals and Additions

Future accruals are expected.

Related Resources

MS 56, Zonta International Collections

  1. MS 56.1, Zonta International Historical Records, 1919-1930
  2. MS 56.2, Zonta International, Club of Buffalo Records, 1930-2008
  3. MS 56.3. Zonta International, Buffalo Club Scrapbooks, circa 1930-2008
  4. MS 56.5, Zonta International Publications, 1917-2008

Separated Materials

All Buffalo Club materials found in this collection were removed to MS 56.2 Zonta International, Buffalo Club Records, 1930-Present.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Amanda Kuhnel, October 2008. Additional material added and finding aid updated by Sarah Pinard, October 2016.


Finding Aid for the Zonta International District IV records
Finding aid prepared by Amanda Kuhnel.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
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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)