The ASME Auxiliary Shares Highlights of its History as it Prepares for 95th Anniversary

Dec. 8, 2017


Although it has existed for nearly a century, the ASME Auxiliary is still unfamiliar to many members of ASME. As the Auxiliary prepares for its 95th anniversary in 2018, the members of the group would like to take this opportunity to acquaint the readers of ASME News with the origins of the Auxiliary and some key moments in its early history.

The Auxiliary originated in 1906 as the Ladies Committee, which organized activities for the spouses of ASME members who accompanied their husbands to ASME’s various national meetings. The group continued with that name for nearly 20 years, with new committee members being appointed each year.

At a meeting in May 1923, the committee, supported by ASME Secretary Dr. Calvin W. Rice, became an official not-for-profit organization and renamed itself the Women’s Auxiliary to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. The meeting’s chair, Mrs. George L. Fowler, was elected as the first president of the Auxiliary. The newly renamed group, which introduced a $1 initiation fee and a dues rate of $1 per year, set several objectives for its members, including providing scholarships for engineering students and conducting other activities consistent with the goals of ASME.

During Mrs. Fowler’s presidency, the Auxiliary busied itself with collecting and distributing technical literature to engineering colleges in Europe and the United States. By 1928, the Auxiliary members had redirected their efforts to concentrate on building an educational fund and establishing a scholarship program. During the Great Depression of the 1930s, the Auxiliary also raised money and provided food baskets for struggling families.

You can read more about the Auxiliary’s comprehensive scholarship program next month in ASME News. In the meantime, you can learn more about the Auxiliary by visiting the group’s community page on and downloading the latest issue of its newsletter, The Pipeline.

-Vatsala Menon, ASME Auxiliary Member