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Zonta International Collection

About the Collection

Zonta International occupies a distinguished position within the rich cultural heritage of Buffalo, the Western New York region, as well as in women’s world history in general. The very first Zonta Club (Zonta Club of Buffalo) was founded in Buffalo, New York , in 1919 by pioneering journalist, playwright and music impresario Marian de Forest and five other businesswomen. From this local beginning, the club has grown to become a leading global organization of women (and, more recently, men) professionals empowering all women worldwide. Zonta International is in 67 countries and boasts more than 33,000 members in over 1200 clubs. The mission of Zonta International is to advance the status of women worldwide by improving the legal, political, economic, health and professional status of women, locally and globally, through service and advocacy. Zonta International’s vision is a world in which women’s rights are recognized as human rights and every woman ids able to achieve her full potential. Zonta takes its name from the Lakota Sioux word meaning “honest and trustworthy” which encapsulates the primary values of the club. The collection includes more than 300 photographs, documents and other items showing the club’s history. These unique and previously-unpublished materials are from the organization’s archival collection which is housed in the University at Buffalo Archives.