Bureau of Vocational Information
The Bureau of Vocational Information of New York City was the successor to the Intercollegiate Bureau of Occupations (IBO). Founded in 1911-1912 by the New York alumnae associations of the Seven Sister colleges, plus those of Wells and Cornell, the IBO listed the following as its purposes in its constitution:
- (1) to secure employment for college women or other specially equipped persons;
- (2) to investigate and to do all in its power to develop opportunities for women and to increase their efficiency in occupations;
- (3) to establish close connections with the colleges, especially in advising and informing undergraduates;
- (4) to ensure in every way a free and wise choice of occupation.
IBO published studies on wartime training, and on employment opportunities in a number of fields, including the civil service and scientific work. It provided employment information and advice, as well as a placement service for women. After World War I, in 1919, IBO was dissolved and BVI took over its research, information, and education functions. According to a letter (May 7, 1953) from Beatrice Doerschuk (BD) to the Radcliffe Women's Archives, "Its purpose was research in women's occupations with service and counsel both to individual women and to colleges through publication, institutes, and personal consultation of which there was a steady flow."
Emma P. Hirth, director of BVI, wrote on December 11, 1919 (#336): "The purpose of this organization...is to gather and distribute information concerning vocational opportunities for trained women. We are engaged at the present time on three intensive studies including: a study of the opportunities for women in statistical work; a study of the law as a vocation for women; and a study of opportunities for the woman chemist."
BVI subsequently published the three studies referred to by Emma Hirth and many others, including Positions of Responsibility in Department Stores and Other Retail Selling Organizations and Training For the Professions and Allied Occupations. Many BVI publications (also gifts of BD), including the News-Bulletin, are available at the Schlesinger Library.
The financial support BVI received from individuals and foundations was not sufficient to maintain it. Despite attempts to affiliate with other organizations and to reorganize, BVI was forced to close its doors in 1926. Research on secretarial work had begun in 1924 but was never completed. BD continued to work on the subject after BVI was dissolved in 1926; she wrote a draft of "The Woman Secretary" (#503-509), but it was never published.
From the guide to the Records, 1908-1932, (Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute)
|creatorOf||Bureau of Vocational Information. Records, 1908-1932||Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America|
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