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History Grad Student Writes WCA’s Centennial History

By: Kathleen Tuck   Published 7:53 am / July 20, 2011

Sarah Nash, a graduate student in the Department of History, recently completed a history of the first 100 years of Boise’s Women’s and Children’s Alliance (WCA). The book, which sells for $34.95, will premiere at the WCA’s Sept. 9 Centennial Celebration at the Boise Centre. Following the event, it will be available for purchase at the WCA’s downtown building at 720 W. Washington St.

“Women Helping Women: A Centennial History of the Boise YWCA/WCA,” consists of 144 pages of stories of empowerment, advocacy, independence, female strength and Boise history, as well as more than 160 photos. Highlights include:

  • The beginning of the cafeteria in 1911, the Boise YWCA’s first year
  • The YWCA’s involvement in bringing free public kindergarten programs to Boise
  • The annual Y-teen dances of the ’40s and ’50s
  • The WCA’s disaffiliation from the national YWCA in 1995

“I was very lucky to get this opportunity. I was at the time looking at other internship opportunities, and when I was told about the WCA’s project, it was a perfect fit. I had volunteered there in the past, was aware of what they did, and women’s history just happened to be my focus,” Nash said.

Researchers included Kim Coe, Kaye Knight, Laura Manzer, Neva McCormick, Carol Martin, Marilyn Shuler and Susan Stacy. Martin, an emeritus English professor, also served as book editor.

“The thing that I found most interesting about the WCA’s history is it started out as a safe shelter for women coming to the city to work, and today it is still just that: a safe shelter for women,” Nash said. “The project overall was one of the most interesting of my life to date. As a historian, it’s fun to get to tell a story that’s never been told before. I’m honored.”

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