Guide to the College Organization for General Service Records, 1940 - 1949


The College Organization for General Service (C.O.G.S.) at Duke University organized service activities for women on campus and supported local and national organizations during World War II. C.O.G.S. was active at the Duke University Woman's College from 1940 to 1949. The records of the College Organization for General Service include correspondence, minutes, curriculum guides, reports, clippings, financial records, printed materials, pamphlets, photographs, sheet music, memorabilia, and a scrapbook. The records also contain correspondence of Dean Mary Grace Wilson, faculty advisor to C.O.G.S. Major subjects include Duke University, the Woman's College, Dean Mary Grace Wilson, American Women's Voluntary Service, war training, war employment, female college students, service groups, education during World War II, and campus singing. English.

Collection Details

Record Group
College Organization for General Service records
1940 - 1949
Duke University. College Organization for General Service
1 Linear Feet, 1,000 Items
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Collection Overview

The collection contains correspondence, scrapbooks, minutes, reports, clippings, printed matter and curriculum guides pertaining to the College Organization for General Service, a student group at the Woman's College of Duke University. The scrapbooks include clippings, photographs, correspondence, pamphlets, and letters of thanks.

More Biographical / Historical Info

Using These Materials

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Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.

In accordance with the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 as amended, Duke University permits students to inspect their education records and limits the disclosure of personally identifiable information from education records.

In off-site storage; 48 hours advance notice is required for use.

warning Use & Permissions

Copyright for Official University records is held by Duke University; all other copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

More copyright and citation information

How to Cite

[Identification of item], College Organization for General Service Records, Duke University Archives, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Contents of the Collection

Correspondence, 1940-1942
Box 1
Folder 1
Correspondence, 1943-1946, undated
Box 1
Folder 2
Minutes, 1943-1946
Box 1
Folder 3
Annual reports, 1942-1945
Box 1
Folder 4
Correspondence and general materials regarding war training at colleges and universities, ca. 1942-1943
Box 1
Folder 5
Correspondence and general materials regarding war jobs for women, ca. 1942-1943
Box 1
Folder 6
"Sings" at Duke University, sheet music, schedules, fliers, ca. 1943-1948
Box 1
Folder 7
General wartime recreation leadership, ca. 1945-1949
Box 1
Folder 8
Drawings, unidentified man and woman, undated
Box 1
Folder 9
Scrapbook, 1943-1944
Box 2
Scrapbook, 1944-1946
Box 2

Historical Note

The College Organization for General Service was founded in 1943 for the purpose of encouraging social service and organizing war work for students of the Woman's College of Duke University. The idea for C.O.G.S. was realized in 1941 during meetings of the American Women's Voluntary Services at First Presbyterian Church in Durham, North Carolina. Mary Grace Wilson, Ruth Addoms, and Alice M. Baldwin represented the Woman's College at the meetings and became interested in starting a smaller chapter for students. Dean Wilson was Chair of the Duke unit of the American Women's Voluntary Services until she stepped down in 1941 to devote more time to the Woman's College.

C.O.G.S. was founded in 1941 under the leadership of Woman's College senior Barbara Jarden, Dean Mary Grace Wilson, and faculty member Ruth Addoms. Any female student who arrived on campus automatically became a member of C.O.G.S. The organization was governed by representatives from each women's dormitory, the Town Girl's Club, and graduate students. The aim of the group was to create a meaningful place for women to serve the United States during wartime in an "all-out-for-victory" campaign. C.O.G.S. women performed variety shows for soldiers, rolled bandages for the Red Cross, knitted clothing for soldiers, collected salvage goods, donated blood, organized war files in the Duke University Alumni office, collected magazines for soldiers, hosted open houses at the Woman's College for Camp Butner soldiers, and sold war stamps and bonds. Women who performed a certain number of service projects earned a C.O.G.S. Key to represent her contribution.

To plan the academic training of women for war service, Dean Mary Grace Wilson corresponded with service organizations, potential employers, and other universities to develop a curriculum that would teach war-related topics. New courses developed at the Duke University Woman's College included: "Mathematics of Artillery Fire," "Sea Power and Modern Navies," and volunteer courses in home nursing, first aid, surgical dressing, and civilian protection. Woman's College students were encouraged to take these courses so that they may be better prepared for a job in the armed forces after college.

Dean Wilson supported other campus events that unified the students at Duke University. Sing Nights at the Woman's College were major social activities organized by the Women's Student Government Association. "Sings" were an opportunity for groups to lead audiences in easy-to-learn popular and traditional songs. These "sings" were open to all members of the campus community. Fraternity and sorority groups were the most frequent participants. Sometimes in costume, groups would perform a scripted set of songs, competing against each other for prizes. C.O.G.S. women participated in "sings" as well; the official C.O.G.S. song was written by Lucy Blue and Kay Myers in 1943.

As the war came to an end, the war-related services that C.O.G.S. provided were no longer in need. When C.O.G.S. disbanded in March, 1946, students decided to contribute the treasury to the campus YWCA. Dean Mary Grace Wilson encouraged women to continue community service through other organizations.

Related Material

  • World War II at Duke University [Small Collections]. (University Archives, Duke University.)
  • Duke University Woman's College Records. (University Archives, Duke University.)
  • Woman's College. Office of the Dean. Mary Grace Wilson, 1933-1969. (University Archives, Duke University.)

Click to find related materials at Duke University Libraries.


The College Organization for General Service Records were received by the University Archives as a transfer in 1973 and 1976.

Processing Information

Processed by Emily Glenn

Completed January 2003

Encoded by Jill Katte, August 2003