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Project Girl records

 Collection
Identifier: sw0083

Scope and Content

The Project Girl records not only document the administration and methodology of this important project. They also provide a "snap shot" view of the attitudes and lives of a sample of adolescent girls during the mid 1970s and reflect the youth work field at that time.

Series 1, Administrative Records, is a combination of correspondence, personnel information, grant records, procedural information, and resource files that document the methodology, staff, funding, and progress of Project Girl. Series 2, Relations with National Organizations, consists largely of the correspondence between the staff of Project Girl and various youth-serving organizations, especially Camp Fire Girls. It also includes a folder of interviews with leaders in the fields of education, government and social service. The majority of the Project Girl records are part of Series 3, Interview Transcripts. The files contain the actual transcripts of the individual interviews with girls who participated in the project. These interviews are filed according to state: Alaska, California, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, and Puerto Rico. Series 4, Subject Data Cards, consists of six boxes containing the complete set of McBee data cards that were used to file the participants' responses according to subject and state. Series 5, 4-H National Survey, relates to a test program within Project Girl. In order to test some of the project data, the staff of Project Girl developed and distributed a special questionnaire to about 600 girls, most from rural areas, who were affiliated with 4-H.

Dates

  • 1972-1976

Language of Materials

English

Use of Materials

Open for use in Social Welfare History Archives reading room. The interview transcripts are open for research. The girls who participated in the project are not identified by name. However, any interviewee names that may remain in the records are restricted.

Copyright

Please consult Archives staff.

Historical Note

In October 1973, the Eli Lilly Endowment approved a grant to the University of Minnesota's Center for Youth Development and Research to undertake a study on the "needs, concerns, and aspirations" of adolescent girls. Although the Lilly Endowment had previously financed studies of male youth organizations, Project Girl proved their first venture into determining the conditions of female youth groups. Moreover, instead of focusing exclusively on organizationally "affiliated" girls, Project Girl actively sought a diverse sampling: affiliated girls, non-affiliated girls, and adjudicated delinquent girls. The research project was led by Dr. Gisela Konopka of the University of Minnesota, who had earlier authored a respected study on delinquent girls ( The Adolescent Girl in Conflict. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1966.)

The project used a number of different research techniques. The majority of the information was acquired through open-ended individual interviews with adolescent girls. During these interviews, the girls were also asked to donate any personal poetic or fictional writings. These writings were compared to other fictional literature written for adolescent girls. Besides individual interviews, there were group sessions and reviews of professional writings. At the midway point of the study in September, 1974, a conference was held in Minneapolis to discuss the preliminary findings with the research assistants who conducted the individual interviews. At the conference, seven youth organizations (Camp Fire Girls, Girls Clubs of America, Girl Scouts, 4-H, American Red Cross, YWCA, and Big Sisters) participated in reviewing the preliminary conclusions.

Ultimately, nearly one thousand adolescent girls in the United States and Puerto Rico were interviewed. The girls ranged from 12 to 18 years of age and represented a variety of ethnic, cultural, and socio-economic groups. All the interviews were conducted in Alaska, California, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Puerto Rico, and Texas. Through the interviews, the girls expressed opinions on: education; careers; marriage; children; the women's movement; drugs and alcohol; sexuality; social and political concerns; relationships with adults, family, and friends; and experiences with youth organizations. The responses to each of the topics were recorded on individual "McBee" data cards. Besides the actual transcripts of the interviews, the Project Girl records also contain the complete set of topical McBee Cards. In effect, the cards served as a cross-reference to the individual transcripts.

At the completion of the project, a "National Adolescent Girl Conference" was held in Indianapolis, Indiana in September of 1975. This conference sought to draw conclusions from the data and offer tangible recommendations for improving the services of youth organizations. Konopka, as director of the conference, presented her conclusions. Eventually, her remarks formed the basis for the book Young Girls: A Portrait of Adolescence(Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1976). Meanwhile, the staff of Project Girl contined to correspond with various youth organizations on implementation of the conference's proposals. Later, the Center of Youth Development and Research at the University of Minnesota used the conclusions of Project Girl as a basis for developing a national youth worker training program, which is documented in the National Youthworker Education Project records.

Extent

27 Linear Feet

Overview

From 1973 to 1975, the University of Minnesota's Center for Youth Development and Research conducted a study on the "needs, concerns, and aspirations" of adolescent girls. Dr. Gisela Konopka of the University of Minnesota was the project director. Ultimately, nearly one thousand adolescent girls in the United States and Puerto Rico were interviewed. The girls ranged from 12-18 years of age and represented a variety of ethnic, cultural, and socio-economic groupings. All the interviews were conducted in Alaska, California, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Puerto Rico, and Texas. Through the interviews, the girls expressed opinions on a wide range of personal and social issues. The Project Girl records consist of administrative records, reference files, interview transcripts and data cards sorted by subject and state.

Arrangment of Records

The records are arranged into six series:
  1. Series 1. Administrative Records
  2. Series 2. Relations with National Organizations
  3. Series 3. Interview Transcripts
  4. Series 4. Subject Data Cards (McBee Cards)
  5. Series 5. 4-H National Survey
  6. Series 6. Audiovisual Material

Other Finding Aid

Unpublished inventory available. Please contact Archives for more information.

Acquisition Information

The Social Welfare History Archives acquired the records of Project Girl from the Center for Youth Development and Research at the University of Minnesota in January, 1987.

Related Material

Researchers who are interested in the youth work for girls should also see the National Youth Worker Education Project recordsin the Social Welfare History Archives and the Gisela Konopka papersin the University Archives, University of Minnesota Libraries.

Processing Information

The Project Girl records were arranged and described in the summer of 1987.
Title
Project Girl records
Author
John Kestner and Dave Klaassen, revised by Linnea M. Anderson
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
English

Collecting Area Details

Contact The Social Welfare History Archives Collecting Area

Contact:

612-624-6394