Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Jennifer Bay

Committee Chair

Jennifer Bay

Committee Member 1

Janet Alsup

Committee Member 2

Tony Silva

Committee Member 3

Patricia Sullivan


This dissertation examines the Young Women’s Christian Association’s International Institute movement from an administrative perspective. Founded in the United States during the Americanization Era of the early 20 th century, the International Institute movement developed programs and services for immigrant women. One of the most prominent, and least examined, aspects of the movement was its work in the area of rhetorical education for non-English speaking immigrant women. Using a feminist, administrative historiographic methodology, this project positions the work of the International Institute’s administrators ecologically among other Americanization efforts taking place in this time period. Arguing that the International Institute movement positioned itself differently in relationship to immigrants, this dissertation explores this positioning in-depth through archival research. Most specifically, it focuses on the aspects of program construction, pedagogy, and activism, showing how each of these areas of the International Institute movement’s administration was informed by a feminist, ecological, rhetorical administrative philosophy. This project concludes by describing the implications of this movement on the work of writing program administrators and all those who work in rhetorical administration today.