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.
- Record Group
- College Organization for General Service records
- 1940 - 1949
- Duke University. College Organization for General Service
- 1 Linear Feet
- David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
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.
Access to the Collection
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.
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.
How to Cite
[Identification of item], College Organization for General Service Records, Duke University Archives, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.
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.
The impacts of World War II on Duke University, Duke University Archives,
Woman's College Records, Duke University Archives, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.
Click to find related materials at Duke University Libraries.
- American Women's Voluntary Services
- Duke University. Woman’s College -- Students
- Duke University -- Songs and music
- Duke University. Woman’s College -- History
- Duke University -- Students -- Political activity
- Duke University. College Organization for General Service
- Wilson, Mary Grace
- Popular music
- Popular songs
- Scrapbooks -- North Carolina -- Durham
- World War, 1939-1945 -- Women -- United States
- World War, 1939-1945 -- Participation, Female
- World War, 1939-1945 -- Education and the war
- Women college students -- North Carolina -- Durham
- World War, 1939-1945 -- War work -- United States
- World War, 1939-1945 -- Women's work
- War and education -- United States
The College Organization for General Service Records were received by the University Archives as a transfer in 1973 and 1976.
Processed by Emily Glenn
Completed January 2003
Encoded by Jill Katte, August 2003