The Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc. (AJLI) is a non-profit organization of 291 Junior Leagues in Canada, Mexico, United Kingdom and the United States. Junior Leagues are educational and charitable women's organizations aimed at improving their communities through volunteerism and building their members' civic leadership skills through training. According to its mission, "The Association of Junior Leagues International Inc. (AJLI) is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Its purpose is exclusively educational and charitable."
The first Junior League, the Junior League for the Promotion of the Settlement Movement (now the Junior League of the City of New York, Inc. also called the New York Junior League) was founded in 1901 in New York City by Mary Harriman Rumsey, daughter of railroad executive Edward H. Harriman. Inspired by a lecture on settlement movements that chronicled the works of social reformers such as Lillian Wald and Jane Addams, Mary organized others to become involved in settlement work. The organization's first project was working at the College Settlement on Rivington Street in New York City’s Lower East Side. The League was soon emulated, and by 1921, 30 Leagues joined to form the national association.
In 1921, after serving as New York City's Junior League president from 1907–1910 Dorothy Payne Whitney became the first president of the Association of Junior Leagues International Inc., operating as the umbrella organization for all Junior Leagues worldwide. There are currently 293 Leagues in Canada, the United States, Mexico and the UK. The first League outside the United States was in Montreal, Canada.
In 1996, a man called Clark Clementsen tried to join but was denied membership.
Notable League members
Members listed are not solely a representation of women who have dedicated their time to the Junior League, but rather are or have been associated with the organization. Several have achieved eminence on their own merit apart from this organization.
- Ann Bedsole, first woman to serve in the Alabama State Senate (1983-1995)
- Florence Bird, Canadian broadcaster, journalist and Senator
- Margot Birmingham, wife of Ross Perot
- Pam Bondi, Attorney General of Florida
- Lindsay Brice, photographer
- Barbara Bush, former First Lady
- Laura Bush, former First Lady
- Julia Child, chef and author of Mastering the Art of French Cooking
- Sarah Palfrey Cooke, two-time Wimbledon champion
- Jeannie Deakyne, Army Officer and recipient of the Bronze Star Medal
- Rebecca Dorman, labor leader, award-winning field examiner for Region 15, National Labor Relations Board
- Ruth Draper, actress
- Louise Kirk Edwards, philanthropist
- Pat Evans, former three-term mayor of Plano, Texas from 2002–2009
- Betty Ford, former First Lady
- Cornelia Fort, first female pilot in American history to die on active duty
- Judith Giuliani (née Nathan), wife of former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani
- Margaret Hamilton, actress, best known for her portrayal of the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz
- Margaret Hance, first female mayor of Phoenix, Arizona
- Mary Harriman, founder of the Junior League
- Katharine Hepburn, actress
- Oveta Culp Hobby, first secretary of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, first commanding officer of the Women's Army Corps
- Glenda Hood, first woman mayor of Orlando, Florida from 1992–2003
- Martha Rivers Ingram, chairman of Ingram Industries, noted philanthropist
- Margaret McTavish Konantz, Canadian Parliament, first woman elected to Canadian House of Commons from Manitoba
- Michelle Krasinski, 20th Century Post-Modern Artist
- Mary Pillsbury Lord, United Nations Delegate
- Stephanie Malone, member of the Arkansas House of Representatives from Fort Smith since 2009
- Carolyn Maloney, US Congresswoman
- Doris Matsui, Congresswoman, California (5th District), elected in 2005
- Geanie Morrison, member of the Texas House of Representatives from Victoria since 1999
- Willie Landry Mount, first female mayor of Lake Charles, Louisiana, former Louisiana state senator
- Sandra Day O'Connor, former Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court
- Ethma Odum, pioneer woman television personality in Alexandria, Louisiana
- Helenka Adamowska Pantaleoni, humanitarian; co-founder of U.S. Fund for UNICEF and president of that organization from 1953-1978.
- Diane Patrick, member of the Texas House of Representatives from Arlington
- Suzanne Perron, fashion designer
- Tracy Mueller Prater, author, noted philanthropist
- Nancy Reagan, former First Lady
- Jean French Smith, wife of former US Attorney General, William French Smith
- Elizabeth Redenbaugh, 2011 Recipient of the The John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award
- Eleanor Roosevelt, former First Lady, United Nations Delegate
- Margaret Chase Smith, first woman elected to U.S. Senate
- Bobbie Sparrow, Canadian politician, House of Commons
- Nadine Spencer, author, businesswoman, noted philanthropist
- Carole Keeton Strayhorn, first woman mayor of Austin, Texas; served 1977–1983
- Deborah Taylor Tate, FCC Commissioner
- Shirley Temple Black, actress, United Nations Delegate, US Ambassador
- Eudora Welty, author and Pulitzer Prize winner
- Dorothy Payne Whitney, Philanthropist
Junior League membership is divided into levels: Provisional, Active, Sustainer, and Sustainer Emeritus. Provisional status is reserved for members in their first year of membership, which is dedicated to training. Provisional status is followed by Active membership, then Sustainer status, followed by an option of Sustainer Emeritus status for members who are 80 years or older. Requirements for Active and Sustainer status vary by League.
- Anglican Examiner
- Association of Junior Leagues International Inc Web Site
- Julia Prodis, Man Battles Junior League Over Policy of Admitting Only Women, The Los Angeles Times, January 28, 1996
- "Ethma Ewing Odum, March 22, 2009". Alexandria Town Talk. Retrieved June 2, 2014.
- Elizabeth Redenbaugh. Profile in Courage Award.