UW Women's Center

Our History

What is the history of the Women’s Center?

The Women’s Center is housed in historic Cunningham Hall, the first building built for women in Washington in 1909.
Since its inception 100 years ago, the Women’s Center has served the community in a multitude of way–including acting as meeting place for the suffragists who fought for women’s right to vote in our State. These meetings culminated in Washington being the fifth state to award women the right to vote in 1910.
The Women’s Center at Cunningham Hall continues to serve the women and girls on campus and in the community.

Ancient Order of United Workmen members, Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition, Seattle, Washington, 1909 – Frank H. Nowell, 1864-1950

Learn more about Cunningham Hall’s  long history here.

Washington State Women’s Building, Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition, Seattle, 1909 – Frank H. Nowell, 1864-1950

Who’s Imogen Cunningham?


Cunningham Hall was named for Imogen Cunningham, an inspiring woman who graduated from The University of Washington in 1907. Although she majored in Chemistry while attending UW, she became one of the first professional female photographers. To help pay for her education while in college, she photographed plants for the botany department. This photo job and her scientific background helped Imogen combine unique elements to create memorable contemporary images, with her most famous photos including botanicals and nudes. The University houses four of her images, and these can be found on the 6th floor of the Allen Center.

Learn more about Imogen Cunningham’s life and photographic works here.