Early memories/information about our club:
A hand-written report from “The Committee on Charitable Work, reported of investigating 17 needy families, seven received substantial aid. Some were in need of clothing; still others were suffering for food and the necessaries of life. The total amount of money expended was $54.14, of which 17 was for coal, $7 for groceries, $1.14 for medicine, $3 for underwear, $5 in cash, $9 part payment for a nurse. Between 1900 and 1910, five traveling libraries were sent around the area. The club sponsored vacation schools for children.
In 1917, demonstrations were held for cold packing and conservation of food. Red Cross work was done.
In January of 1930 came the sudden change from a club that had everything and could do everything to one that had its money in the banks that closed in the depression, and soon members were unable to afford what they could the year before. Everything changed, although the club continued with a strong membership and a recovered treasury especially as things recovered from the depression.
In the 40s, Service Committees were established to support the war effort and membership stood at 300+.
Activities/memories our present club members recall:
Meetings held twice a month, with a meeting in the morning, a full hot lunch, catered for $3, and then a program in the afternoon, generally musical, presented often by an advanced music student.
Wonderful fashion show luncheons, sometimes with fashions from a store, and also one with old, treasured clothing from members, including wedding dresses, bridesmaid dresses, and clothing made by members.
The club owned its own tableware, fancy platters, silver trays, candlesticks, and other items to make their luncheon tables attractive. Since sold when the longtime use of a church’s facilities became too expensive.
As the club approached its 100th birthday, the members decided they would disband, as the leadership was no longer able to run the club. However, one member, Carol Haw, who was much younger than the club leadership refused to accept this plan, and recruited members her age, mostly from the Morgan Park Junior Women’s Club, and those members along with some of the “older” members managed to save the club by one vote.
It was decided that a club that started in 1889, and was federated in 1895 held a charter that was too precious to let die.
Fortunately, this has resulted in a club that is relatively active, and enjoys its meetings and projects.
Some present activities of our club:
The club meets in five regular meetings a year, always with a program, which is proceeded with lovely homemade refreshments. We meet in a Chicago Park Field House, which has a nice, handicapped accessible room, and they let us store our supplies (coffee pots etc) with them and do not charge us for the use of the room.
Some of the programs deal with issues of the day, such as domestic violence, and some include members bringing a treasure to share that relates to a theme we have chosen – like a precious piece of jewelry.
We have an annual Treasures and Bake Sale, and the proceeds are donated to our local Beverly Arts Center.
Our major ongoing activity is clipping newspaper articles from two local newspapers, which, in a archaically correct manner we clip, paste, insert in plastic sleeves, and file in notebooks in the library of our local Ridge Historical Society. This record of local people and events is available to researchers and local residents. Approximately 10 of our members, not always the same ones, spend at least one day a month in this activity. One member brings a lunch and the day begins at 10 am and lasts to about 4 pm.
We annually provide about $400 in new books to local public schools,
We have an annual luncheon in the place of our April meeting, generally in one of the local country clubs, and it is there that we have an installation of officers, a ceremony officially acknowledging new members, and enjoy a program, often a book review.
Expectations for the future:
We expect to grow, by each individual seeking to invite a friend or two to our meetings, especially our opening tea at our October meeting.
We will continue our strong contribution to history by continuing our “clippers,”
We expect to continue to provide about $400 in new books to local public schools, and will continue to collect “gently used” books for those schools.
This year we are providing a $175 scholarship to send a student from a local high school to our Leadership Seminar for sophomore students. (This year funded by buying homemade sweet rolls made by one of our members.)
We partially fund two members to attend the GFWC Illinois Convention, and expect to continue to do so.
We hope to improve our communication with the community so that more women will be interested in joining our group – a wonderful, friendly, capable membership.