Women’s City Club of Washington, DC Collection, 1924-1983
Collection No. 49 (.4 Linear feet)
D.C. Community Archives
ProvenanceMost of the items in this collection were originally part of Washingtoniana’s vertical files, a set of files maintained for ease of reference on various topics related to D.C. history and current events. The vertical files primarily contain clippings but also include other rare items such as signed letters, original programs, and reports. To ensure the physical preservation of rare documents in the vertical file on the Women’s City Club of Washington, D.C. were removed in 1999 to create this collection. Photocopies of clippings and other less rare items were retained in the vertical file.
HistoryWhereas many area women’s clubs prior to 1919 had strict qualifications for membership, the Women’s City Club of Washington, D.C. (founded 1919) strove to be more inclusive. According to the first president, Judge Mary O’Toole, the group hoped to attract not only women in the academic and professional sphere but housewives as well.
The charter called for a better understanding among women, and a place for women to meet and socialize. Among the club’s other objectives were cultural and civic advancement in the District and general welfare for its citizens. Club activities ranged from Spanish and French language classes to lecture series concerning the arts and sciences. The group also participated in the Annual Red Cross campaign and organized a food and clothing drive for war torn countries in Europe following the Second World War.
Among the founding members of the club was Judge Mary O’Toole, the first woman judge in the District as well as the club’s first president. The first chairwoman was Ellen Spencer Mussey, co-founder of the Washington College of Law. Several first ladies became honorary members of the organization including Mrs. Herbert Hoover, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Bess Truman. Helen Keller, Marie Curie, and Charles Lindbergh were given special awards for their pursuit of knowledge, dedication to country and humanitarian endeavors.
Scope and Content NoteRecords from the Women’s City Club of Washington, D.C. extend from 1924 through 1983. The collection contains by-laws, annual reports, monthly bulletins, programs, and yearbooks. Significant items in the collection are the 20th anniversary yearbook and bulletin containing highlights, reminiscences, and the history of the club from 1919 through 1939.
Related CollectionsRecords of the Women’s City Club, Collection 32
- Annual Report of the President, 1954-1956
- Bulletins, 1928-1955
- By-laws, 1924, 1926
- Letters to Members, 1955, 1956
- Programs, 1924-1939
- Twentieth Anniversary Yearbook and Bulletin, 1939
- Yearbooks, 1926-1983
DC Public Library, Special Collections
D.C. Community Archives
901 G St. NW, Room 307
Washington, D.C. 20001
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