Collections, Monographs: North End Women's Club
The Woman in Me:
The North End Women’s Club and the Women’s Club Movement in America
By Grace Pekar
Women’s organizations during the turn-of-the-century America functioned in a variety of social, economic, and educational ways. The North End Woman’s Club (NEWC) functioned as one such group in Chicago’s Edgewater community. Following four stages of woman’s club movement development as established by women’s historian Karen J. Blair, the NEWC exemplified as a microcosm from the 1890s to the 1920s of organized women who historically transformed from having individualistic concerns to community-driven concerns. Therefore, the club’s notion of “community” changed over time from a group of women with internal motives to women with external motives for club activities in Edgewater. By examining the NEWC through the lens of their philanthropic, civic and educational initiatives over time, this study sheds light on the club’s communal transformation in the early twentieth century.
The widespread club movement developed in four stages over four time periods, as identified by Blair. This theory is also known as the era of “female institution building.”1 Women’s clubs during the first stage in from 1890 to 1900 sought “self-development”—or the opportunity for women to grow intellectually and culturally in the presence of one another.2 Women gathered to discuss and solve various issues and problems beginning in the mid to late nineteenth century with a variety of motives, yet the most popular form of women’s club that flourished over the turn of the century embodied the arts and literature. Art and literature clubs mainly focused on learning and celebrating fine arts, novels, articles, music, performances, plays and poems. Sorosis, the women’s group known as the first to spark the club movement, followed the lead of Jane Cunningham Croly in 1868.3 In her work on the history of the club movement, she noted Sorosis’ first meeting “recounted the facts in regard to the treatment of women members of the press by the New York [Men’s] Press Club, and said her idea was to supply the want of unity and secular organization among women.”4 As a response to the men’s literary club, this new women’s literary club gave women the opportunity to engage in intellectual activity without the objections of men. It also gave them the chance to participate in public life without giving up their domestic life, such autonomy many female activists ultimately gave up due to their devotional work or pressure from others.5 Women’s clubs stimulated female development internally, and over time female participation in public life enabled outside environmental development.
Blair’s next stage of the club movement from 1900 to 1910 indicates clubs began engaging their neighborhoods and towns in programs and services aimed at improvement. Topics that concerned club women publically entailed politics, suffrage, education, philanthropy, healthcare, poverty and settlement houses, immigration, juvenile courts and labor conditions for women and children. Many clubs contained a mixture of these elements. Some of these clubs transformed from art clubs to clubs devoted to social causes. The Chicago Woman’s Club, organized in 1879 and chartered in 1885,6 initially interacted with arts and literature for seven years until desiring to do more “practical work” in the city.7 One impetus for the blossoming club movement in social causes stemmed from the burgeoning metropolis. Urban growth combined rapid industrialization and rising immigration, which also attracted “newcomers.”8 Women’s roles in the growing city included founding settlement houses which served as “redaptive places,” and provided opportunities for such newcomers like “women adrift,” immigrants, female volunteers and African Americans to start over fresh in the city.9 However, some club activities directed their efforts only at certain groups of needy people, excluding other races and ethnicities. As time went by and these urban matters intensified, club member interest in these growing societal issues increased even though total acceptance of all groups. Members became more active for the sake of others instead of active for their own personal satisfaction.
From the decade of 1910-1920, Blair’s third stage of club movement entails women’s clubs not only who served their communities but immersed themselves in communal activities by participating in pageants and through sponsorships, activism, and increased services. This stage likens to the previous stage, yet the activities practiced between 1910-1920 not only multiply in participants but increase in forms and topics. Women’s clubs at the turn of the century contributed to fund-raising for poverty as well as hands-on interaction with the poor and the ill. However, there was a fundamental difference between the two forms of community involvement. People who only chiefly donated money were philanthropists. Conversely, those working “in the trenches,” physically participating in social causes constituted activists.10 This dichotomy signifies that some women’s clubs did not wish to get their hands dirty, for “dirt is disorder.”11 On the other hand, when increasing their involvement in social causes, activist groups sometimes pressured these women’s art clubs to take more of a stake in the civic world around them.12 Regardless, all female organizers and club members strived for the same outcome: to improve the lives of all Americans,13 rather than just themselves.
The last stage of Blair’s club theory comes in the 1920s, which embodied clubhouse-building from established clubs and anchored their communities and “nurtured” their members.14 Clubs are rooted firmly in their environment, and members turn their attention mainly outward towards surrounding residents instead of inward towards the individual club members. Such ways clubs accomplished this included donating to and funding local schools or needy families. They also opened up their club doors to residents, inviting them to join in on certain activities, lectures or dances. For example, the Nineteenth Century Club in Memphis, known for their civic contributions to the city,15 assisted their community with the club’s Girls’ Welfare Committee establishing two boarding residences for young working women in the city.16 The Memphis women’s club, similar to the NEWC, became fully devoted to the poor by the 1920s.17 The North End Woman’s Club exemplifies this final stage as well as the previous stages of Blair’s women’s club movement theory, as they graduated from an exclusive self-improvement club to an active community endeavor as Edgewater’s needs changed over time.
Edgewater started as an elite suburb of Chicago and over time became a community of multiple demographics. Developer J.L. Cochran envisioned Edgewater as an affluent suburb of Chicago with modern amenities for primarily white, wealthy families. Within the first decade of the twentieth century, the new Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad stations, opening in 1908,18 brought a new, diverse population to Edgewater which mingled with the affluent families. [EHS editor’s note: The above sentence should read: "Within the first decade of the twentieth century, the extension of the "L" over the right of way of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad in 1908, brought…." By the 1920s, before the Great Depression, Edgewater’s elite lived among bourgeoning middle-class families, Swedish and German immigrants, and transient workers commuting to the city. At first, there was tendency for white, elitist exclusion in the early periods of the community, but ultimately it opened up to others as the community became more unique. While a majority of Edgewater consisted of white, middle to upper class families at the time of the North End Woman’s club inception, Edgewater’s later “newcomer” population would incite a need for more community involvement on behalf of NEWC.
The NEWC’s organizational and governance documents define the club’s initial organization as an exclusive club. The club began in 1897 with 152 members and by the club’s first annual meeting six months after its inception, membership totaled 171 women.19 Founding members included such women as President Mary S. Lapham, and Second Vice President Anna Sears.20 Both women married wealthy men: Alden Barker Lapham ran a booming leather business,21 and Richard W. Sears founded Sears Roebuck & Company mailing catalogue.22 These upper-class women gathered in J.L. Cochran’s elite suburb of Chicago to empower themselves in an exclusive setting. Not just anyone joined NEWC—women had to be recommended by acquaintances that were already part of the club who submitted written proposals to the club board.23 If approved, membership to the club still required a majority vote from all members. This gave NEWC the appearance of exclusivity, which prevented an open relationship with their surrounding community, and other socioeconomic and racial classes of women. Also, the early years of the club saw all white, elite members and only began to have a presence of Swedish and Italian members decades after inception.24 A look at its activities over time gives the sense that NEWC eventually turned outward towards their environment and became more inclusive of others, altering their sense of community.
The NEWC demonstrated the four stages of Blair’s club movement theory, balancing between community/public involvement and an individual arts club. The club instituted several departments and committees, including education, civics and philanthropy, but also the arts and music.25 While speakers and meeting topics may come to primarily discuss social causes on a regional and national platform, there were also musical performances, art demonstrations and literature discussions to fulfill another self-educational need for women. By the second decade of the twentieth century the club began making their mark on the community, recognizing increasing needs in Edgewater that needed their attention. The departments and activities concerning social causes took precedence over the still ongoing arts interests. By the 1920s, the club became a “force in the community”26 by branching outward including Edgewater in its programming, fund-raising ventures and community outreach, causing a shift in inward to outward motives and an increasingly local sense of community. By looking at just the NEWC’s social causes interests via their philanthropic, civic and educational venture over Blair’s stages, one can see this conversion from internal to external.
The NEWC’s philanthropic initiatives combined Blair’s first two stages as it began activities in 1897. The Philanthropy Committee organized donations to and events with speakers from Chicago and national charities. The NEWC established the Bureau of Charities, first proposed by Rev. Wh. Stevens, in January 1898 with six representatives from the club.27 NEWC donated money to the Chicago University Settlement28 and gave $12 to be part of the North Shore District’s Council of Charities.29 This presence of philanthropic activity reflected a way of social and cultural life for the elite.30 Philanthropic contributions, whether to charities or the arts, symbolized an increase in power for rich women and formed powerful alliances with other rich women.31 A “norm of exclusivity” permeated the early stage of the club movement, in which philanthropic activity symbolized an elite lifestyle not including other socioeconomic and ethnic classes.32 Although their philanthropic activities aimed for the greater good, they used events like club fund-raising parties to socialize with only the upper-class. Such philanthropic activity almost functioned as a fad in turn-of-the-century elite society, signaling an inward motive for club activities that would later turn outward towards their community.
Despite largely individualistic motivations for club philanthropic activity, the club members’ efforts did contribute to good causes such as settlement houses in the first decade of the twentieth century. The NEWC philanthropy committee’s first area of interest was “social settlements,” of which Mary McDonnell introduced and named the Northwestern University Settlement as a charity to support. NEWC did so by donating money to and promoting the sale of the Settlement’s benefit publication, “The Woman’s Election,” for ten cents.33 This interest in settlement houses parallels national women’s club sentiment on the importance of fighting poverty and helping an increasingly urbanizing metropolis, despite the upper class status of these clubwomen. No settlement houses existed in Edgewater at this time, but Chicago overall comprised of a large immigrant and lower-class population suffering from poverty. This hints at club members’ outward attention to their community, yet at this point it did not yet occur in their own backyards.
The issue of urban growth in the 1900s extended itself to the club’s civic activities. Speakers and activists from settlement homes appeared at NEWC meetings to discuss the urban crisis. As an example, leaders of settlement houses such as the Hull House Settlement in Chicago spoke about the then current civic concerns to club members at club meetings. Carlson spoke to NEWC on February 25, 1901 about the deplorable work conditions of particular group of working-class people. She spoke “in an insightful, appealing manner” about how the upper-class women such as the NEWC members could help “the producers,”34 or female factory workers, by only purchasing from items they make instead of other factory workers which abuse their employees. Although Hull House was a Chicago settlement house, Mrs. Carlson appealed to the club women to help these non-Edgewater impoverished workers. Through such support, members achieved their own affluent community objectives by helping the less-fortunate outsiders, alleviating the issue of urban growth, and improving their own self-awareness or self-satisfaction during Blair’s first two stages of the club movement.
Another action on behalf of the club members with the 1900s civic world comprised of efforts to support the treatment of children in the juvenile courts. Club members appointed a representative to the juvenile court, and along with other city clubs, funded probation officers to ensure proper care for children.35 They also listened to lectures about children behavior, such as a presentation by the Anti-Cigarette League, in which the representative’s “appeal to women is that they help in the dissemination of knowledge regarding the dangers which influence the well-being of boys who use tobacco.”36 It reflects the cooperation between the NEWC and other organizations in dealing with popular issues such as the nuisance of tobacco or the prison system. This civic concern for children points to a clear display of concern that carried over to other club areas—children’s plays, health, charities and education—that over time, became more localized and resulted in a direct focus in Edgewater, helping club women define their communities and who they serve.
Educational efforts on behalf of the NEWC demonstrate an early outward tendency towards the local community in the turn of the century. NEWC’s goals strove to implement desirable programs or lessons in area schools that club members felt crucial to the club’s development as well as donate resources to provide children and schools with the needed materials to do so. At one of the first meetings of the club in October 1897, Second Vice President Sears lectured on Sloyd Manual Training, a form of learning based on handicrafts and woodworking and the need for local schools to implement it. Her guest, Mrs. Alice B. Stockham, a prominent Chicago feminist, physician and publisher,37 spoke about the subject already in a Norwegian school and the proven “progression” of the pupils.38 A year later, Sears moved that the board of directors donate $50 to fund a ‘Manual Training Department’ in a local school, Goudy School.39 This activism towards education in neighborhood schools points to the club’s educational objective and its goal to help the “greater good,” which happened to be in the club’s own backyard. While other areas of the club during this stage did not illustrate concern for others, NEWC’s educational efforts demonstrates a turning point in transforming from a club with internal motives to one with external community improvement motives.
Another educational action NEWC took towards external community improvement during Blair’s first two stages known for internal, individualistic concerns entailed the donation of funds and materials for schools. Club members helped found a scholarship to boys and girls in need, later known as the Vocational Supervisional League Scholarship. Board members elected First Vice President Mrs. Lewis as chair, and the club hosted an entertainment event for the new school which raised $67.25.40 Again, they carried out their educational objective while at the same time raising funds for this education program. In addition, club members responded to numerous pleas from the Library Committee and the Parental School to donate books. In March 1902 the Chairman of the Library committee reported that club members in total donated seventy-five books and twenty-five juvenile books to the Rosehill district school.41 Providing books for educational purposes denoted the club members’ own high regard for education which they wished to pass on to the younger generation, including their own children in Edgewater. Educational efforts during this stage of club movement entailed local involvement, yet the next decade would prove further community interaction on behalf of the club in terms of philanthropic, civic and education activities.
The years 1910-1920 entails distinct shifts in club activities from inward, individual concerns to those of outward, public concerns that clearly demonstrate the second stage of the club movement. As the club grew in budget and membership, its philanthropic activities and budget increased. Budget expenditures increased due to not only the increase in women joining the club but the increase in club dues. Over time, the philanthropy committee handled more money than when the club initially formed, enabling the committee to raise more charitable funds and hold more events. Donations to charities averaged $25,42 and the club appropriated as much as $325 to the committee’s regular club charities.43 Sometimes, the club moved funds in the philanthropy budget for emergency relief to these regular club charities,44 such as the Northwestern Settlement.45 The presence of more events on behalf of the committee came via regularly-held social events such as their annual Card Party in November. This annual Card Party raised funds for charities, yet it correlates to the previously mentioned notion of philanthropy as part of an exclusive, elite social and cultural way of life. Social charity events also point to an increasing influence of the NEWC and broadening its communal reach. This increased activity points to the successful efforts of the club members in their dedication to such causes and inclining organized process for doing such work for the expanding city, denoting the shift from exclusive concerns to inclusive community concerns.
The club hosted fundraisers during the second decade of the twentieth century with mostly affluent guests, and the purpose of these parties served to raise money for the poor in the surrounding communities and greater Chicago. NEWC often donated money or clothing directly from their club to settlement houses—chiefly the Northwestern University Settlement House,46 the Model Sodging House of Women,47and the Clark Settlement House.48 This continued interest in settlement houses signifies not only the lasting national trend of settlement causes, but the growing problem of poverty in urban spaces, especially in Edgewater because of its increasingly varied population of “newcomers,” or immigrants and workers coming to the community for affordable living and convenient transportation to downtown. The Red Cross also assisted the poor and ill during this time period, specifically war veterans.49 These organizations demonstrate the NEWC’s transition from a women’s club focusing solely on self-development to a club balancing self-development with assisting communal and regional needs of the poor.
While interaction with other organizations enhanced community concerns during the 1910s, remnants of NEWC remained exclusive even in this stage by not including others in community concerns. No joined efforts took place with African American clubs, which were bountiful in Chicago, and NEWC even rebuffed efforts to align themselves with immigrants. The Immigrants’ Protective League invited NEWC to join them, but NEWC declined.50 The club even restricted membership to 500 members,51 and stipulated that current club members cannot petition more than three women within one year to join NEWC.52 Despite club membership dramatically increasing since inception, these new limitations hindered their concerns with their local environment. Such exclusionary behavior suggested hypocrisy on NEWC’s part, in that they took up social causes and include the Edgewater community—who at this time was diversified—yet excluded immigrants and other lower-class residents. Still, over time this exclusion broke apart as the club became firmly rooted in Edgewater and dedicated themselves to the need of the community during this particular and future stages of Blair’s women’s club movement theory.
One way NEWC women strove to meet the needs of Edgewater during the 1910s came via growing health concerns in the city, which illustrated the concept of “municipal housekeeping” and enhance their changing sense of rooted community. The term “municipal housekeeping,” is the idea that women have maternal concerns and domestic ways of solving public issues similar to how they deal with families in the home.53 They implemented this concept in Edgewater by ensuring the well-being of community members in various ways, such as raising awareness of infectious insects. Mrs. Betts, Chairwoman of the Pure Food State Department, and Mr. Pritchard, Secretary of the Chicago Board of Health, lectured on March 13, 1911 on the health risks stemming from the common house fly. This talk impacted the club members so much they advocated awareness to the community and created a Committee on Extermination of House Flies headed by Mrs. Sapham to produce written informative materials for distribution.54 NEWC members acting fast on this “health crisis” alludes to national concerns with health and sanitary conditions, as well as “municipal housekeeping” at work by alerting the community to keep their homes healthy and safe. Similar to caring for the health and safety of their families in the home, “municipal housekeeping” provided a vehicle for club women to exert energy on external community concerns rather than internal concerns for their own homes.
Ongoing education interest and efforts on behalf of NEWC delineated continued and inclined “municipal housekeeping” concerns for the community’s children during the third stage of the club movement, particularly with poor young women. Club members continued donating books to numerous area schools from 1910 to 1920, including the Industrial School for Girls in Park Ridge.55 Industrial schools signified the growing industrialization in the city, and the role of schools in training young women. Training young women for industrial roles alluded to their poor living conditions, in which they are forced to seek employment themselves. Meanwhile, although Edgewater gained a plethora of varying demographic populations during the 1910s, no industrialization school existed in the community. The club women swayed slowly from their inward tendencies to more outward concern for humanity, yet it is not fully implemented in their own community yet.
Furthering this notion of concern for young women during the third stage of club movement, NEWC commenced a Girl’s Auxiliary in December of 1910.56 The Girl’s Auxiliary enabled young women in the community to gather just as their elders had. This younger women’s group enacted plays, participated in local pageants, and other events that often fundraised for the NEWC’s various committees.57 Pageants were common club events during this decade, illustrating the increased community interaction and the new types of interactive activities. Local women, often daughters and granddaughters, aged 15 to 25 convened at club meetings or other venues for the same purpose as the NEWC members: to educate and empower themselves. North End Woman’s Club members involved in the auxiliary as committee members serve as mentors to these young ladies, not only enabling self-satisfaction for this good deed but showing awareness of their outside community and the importance in positively influencing their fellow residents. Here, their sense of community transitions inward from a group of adult women to outward with a group of young women, a new idea for most club women since the club’s inception in 1897.
The club’s philanthropic budget increased over the 1920s to the 1930s, which neared the $2,000 mark,58 as well as their sense of and contribution to their local surroundings during Blair’s final stage of “Female Institution Building.” Yet in the beginning of the decade members faced budget issues. Because NEWC expanded so much membership-wise and public programming-wise, they struggled to pay rent to the various venues where meetings occurred as well as the increased prices for program materials.59 Club members debated best cost-cutting measures but decided decreasing philanthropy was not an option. Despite these budget woes, NEWC acted swiftly to keep track of their finances every month and raised dues from $8.30 to $10.60 This action ensured continued programming and fundraising on behalf of the club, “in order to meet [their] increased expenses, and take our prior place in the educational and philanthropic life of [their] city.”61 Showing that philanthropy in “their city” hold high regard to club members, the NEWC members confirmed their community takes precedence over any inward motives.
From the 1920 to the 1930s, Blair’s stage of clubhouse building meant the NEWC’s sense of community developed into a fully manifest embrace of Edgewater, particularly with the growing acceptance of other ethnic groups in their philanthropic activities. Such charities they associated with include relief work for European and Chinese immigrants during this wave of immigration, to which the club donated money and clothing.62 From 1920 to 1921, the Chinese Relief Fund received $25 from the club, and the European Relief Fund received $308.70, which alluded to an increasing acceptance of immigrants as part of their community and a population to be concerned about by.63 While NEWC donated to Chinese causes, it is clear they contributed more significantly to European immigrants. This may point to several factors, one being Edgewater’s growing mixed population which consisted of a well-known Swedish and German presence. Also, while NEWC broadens its philanthropic reach outward to be more inclusive of immigrants, they struggled to be more inclusive of non-Anglo immigrants. Regardless, NEWC members recognized the needs of immigrants, including those moving by the thousands to Edgewater, therefore contributing much of their resources to helping these charities and attending to these external concerns.
While the NEWC increasing contributed monetary assistance to causes during this final stage of the club movement, the 1920s signified an inclination in hands-on assistance for the poor. Interactive philanthropic activities NEWC participated in include creating and delivering Christmas baskets to needy families, in which items consisted of 72 pairs of pantyhose, 20 pairs of undergarments, and bags of sweaters.64 Club women did not just donated articles for these baskets, but assembling the baskets provided NEWC members the opportunity to learn what some area residents cannot afford as well as how NEWC made a positive difference to their less fortunate Edgewater neighbors. In addition to continued funding for poverty in the 1920s, the Philanthropy Committee encouraged members to visit ten settlement homes the United Charities regularly contributed to, as well as increased funding for such charities.65 These actions not only relate to support of regular charities but allowed club women to witness first-hand what issues still existed for the poor in the city. Visiting settlement homes depicted their recognition of outward attention needed in their community and greater Chicago, illustrating that their community identity comprised of mixed-people with a multitude of needs to be addressed.
As the NEWC moved into their own club space at 6200 N. Sheridan Road, where many of their civic initiatives now took place, the club became firmly rooted in Edgewater during this final stage of the club movement and demonstrated their outward commitment to their community’s mixed needs. The clubhouse became the site of numerous classes, including the civic “Parliamentary Law” class. This class for community women discussed national politics and other regional issues, including such lectures entitled “Organization of City Council,” “The City Budget,” “Chicago’s Border,” and “Transportation.”66 The goal of this class strove to “show every woman within its ‘sphere of influence’ the connection between the precinct caucus in her own neighborhood and the great national conventions at which presidential candidates are chosen.”67 The NEWC’s civics class invited the public and gave their community the knowledge and tools to be agents in their local democratic processes. It not only gave members the full awareness sought but shared this desire of knowledge with their neighbors and fellow Chicagoans. The club members saw their community as dramatically different from the elite suburb of the turn of the century, for now Edgewater encompassed varying socioeconomic and ethnic populations in a flourishing metropolis influencing the everyday civic life of residents.
An additional way civic activities of the NEWC during the 1920s influenced everyday life of residents entailed targeting the new groups in the community—specifically immigrants and military veterans. Popular “Americanization” classes, one of the most critically-acclaimed programs of the club, catered to immigrants.68 These classes assisted immigrants with knowledge and opportunities for becoming residents and citizens in the United States, particularly in Chicago. Such classes suggest club members’ inclusion of others, especially ethnic residents. The classes also symbolize the transformation of club members’ community identity morphing from an exclusive one into an inclusive one. Women of NEWC also directed attention to the new group of soldiers returning from the First World War. Many funds went to ex-service men, and the NEWC aligned with other leagues to form a “Friendly Co-operation” with veterans.69 Club members urged President Harding to protect the future of the country and its citizens in a letter pertaining to his attendance at the Conference of Limitation of Armaments. In their letter they composed resolutions that “All proceedings and deliberations of the conference should be made public and this honorable body, now assembled, realize the earnest desire of all people of these United States to the effect that every possible effort be used to eliminate future wars…”70 Club members showed keen interest in protecting citizens of the country and who protected their country during war, thus furthering their inclusionary growth as a women’s club exemplifying the final stage of the women’s club movement.
The NEWC’s enhanced sense of community during the final inclusive stage of the women’s club movement carried over into their education initiatives, which saw an inclination in scholarship funding. In a period of two years their fiscal contributions to the Vocational Supervisional League Scholarship increased dramatically: from 1919 to 1920 they donated $52 to the fund, and a year later the donation went up to $510.71 An increase in funding pointed to an already intensified external concern rather than internal motive for self-satisfaction, as seen in the first stage of the clubhouse movement in the 1890s. Their work allowed over 200 boys and girls of working age to stay in school,72 including Marie Fannell, an Italian female student the NEWC directly assisted to study music in Italy.73 Because most of the students came from poor families, including immigrants or children with disabilities, the NEWC provided opportunities to the students by opening up club members’ close-minded past notions of community. Club women supported these children locally and regionally no matter what background they came from, thus shattering their exclusive, inward ways seen in the first stage of the club movement.
Other ways the NEWC supported children unconditionally during the community-centered final stage of the clubhouse movement included continuous donations of clothing to needy children. Not only did club members donate articles to schools and charities but they actively participated by making their own clothes for these school children. From 1922 to 1923, the club made 153 dresses for the School Children’s Aid Society.74 This attention to children’s clothing stems from past donations on behalf of the club, but now one sees club members literally gathering once or twice a month at a member’s home to sew articles together as the Sewing Committee.75 Club women transition from being solely financially benevolent to increasingly “hands-on” by the 1920s, following in step with the stages of the women’s club movement as well as evolving their identity of Edgewater.
Following Blair’s women’s club movement’s stages of transformation, the NEWC eventually became an effective community organization that embraced its external environment. Members changed their club motivations and activities from being internal and only focused in individual club members to external awareness and involvement with Edgewater. In their philanthropic, civic and educational initiatives, they overall morphed into a community that provided assistance to a certain group of people or only to themselves to a majority of Edgewater’s growing population. From self-empowerment to ensuring the empowerment and protection of others, the NEWC embraced the varied cultural, socioeconomical and age-varying make-up of Edgewater through these philanthropic, civic and educational ventures. The NEWC served as a microcosm of the American woman’s club and the defining changes these clubs made over time.
1 Estelle Freedman, “Separatism as Strategy: Female Institution Building and American Feminism, 1870-1930,” in Nancy F. Cott, ed. History of Women in the United States: Women Together Organizational Life, 16 (New Providence: K.B. Saur, 1994) 450.
2 Karen J. Blair, The Torchbearers: Women and Their Amateur Art Associations in America, 1890-1930 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994) 30.
3 Jane Cunningham Croly, The History of the Woman’s Club Movement in America (New York : H.G. Allen, 1898),15.
5 Freedman, 449.
6 Croly, 62.
7 Ibid, 66-67.
8 Daphne Spain, How Women Saved the City (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2001), XII.
9 Ibid; XII, 2-3
10 Ibid, 12.
11 Ibid, 13.
12 Blair, 37.
13 Ibid, 33.
15 Marsha Wedell, Elite Women and the Reform Impulse in Memphis, 1875-1915 (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1991), 84.
16 Ibid, 103.
17 Ibid, 4.
18 Ann Durkin Keating, ed., “Edgewater,” Chicago Neighborhoods and Suburbs: a Historical Guide (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008), 140.
19 “April 4, 1898,” NEWC Minutes 1897-1900, NEWC Collection, Edgewater Historical Society (EHS), Chicago, IL., 42.
20 “By-laws,” NEWC Minutes 1897-1900, EHS, 4.
21 "Business Removals." Chicago Daily Tribune (1872-1922), April 30, 1882
22 "R. W. Sears Dead; Rose to Wealth." Chicago Daily Tribune (1872-1922), September 29, 1914.
23 “By-laws,” NEWC Minutes, 1897-1900, EHS, 8-9.
24 “Dec. 1, 1911,” NEWC Minutes 1910-1912, EHS, 101-102.
26 “North End Club to Give Annual Party,” Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963), October 16, 1927
27 “Jan. 24, 1898,” NEWC Minutes 1897-1900, EHS, 30.
28 “Jan. 5, 1901,” NEWC Minutes 1897-1900, EHS, 12-13.
29 “Dec. 3, 1898,” NEWC Minutes 1897-1900, EHS, 64.
30 Diana Kendall, The Power of Good Deeds: Privileged Women and the Social Reproduction of the Upper Class (Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 2002), 24.
31 Ibid, 25.
33 “March 11, 1901,” NEWC Minutes 1900-1904, EHS, 30.
34 “Feb. 25, 1901,” NEWC Minutes 1900-1904, EHS, 26.
35 “Dec. 8, 1902,” NEWC Minutes 1900-1904, EHS, 154.
36 “Nov. 19, 1900,” NEWC Minutes 1900-1904, EHS, 1-2.
37 Beryl Satter, “New Thought,” Encyclopedia of Chicago, http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/886.html .
38 “Oct. 11, 1897,” NEWC Minutes 1897-1900, EHS, 14-15.
39 “Dec. 3, 1898,” NEWC Minutes 1897-1900, 64.
40 “Nov. 21, 1898,” NEWC Minutes 1897-1900, EHS, 60; “Feb. 6, 1899,” 62,67.
41 “March 31, 1902,” NEWC Minutes 1900-1904, EHS, 128.
42 “Oct. 6, 1911,” NEWC Minutes 1910-1912, EHS, 78-79.
43 “Jan. 5, 1912,” NEWC Minutes 1910-1912, EHS, 112.
44 “Jan. 16, 1911,” NEWC Minutes 1910-1912, EHS, 31.
45 “Feb. 3, 1911,” NEWC Minutes 1910-1912, EHS, 40.
46 “Feb. 3, 1911,” NEWC Minutes 1910-1912, EHS, 40.
47 “Nov. 4, 1910,” NEWC Minutes 1910-1912, EHS, 15.
48 “Dec. 18, 1911,” NEWC Minutes 1910-1912, EHS, 108.
49 “Dec. 4, 1911,” NEWC Minutes 1910-1912, EHS, 104.
50 “June 2, 1911,” NEWC Minutes 1910-1912, EHS, 72.
51 “March 13, 1911,” NEWC Minutes 1910-1912, EHS, 49.
52 “Nov. 3, 1911,” NEWC Minutes 1910-1912, EHS, 91.
53 Blair, 30.
54 “March 1911,” NEWC Minutes 1910-1912, EHS, 51.
55 “Dec. 19, 1910,” NEWC Minutes 1910-1912, EHS, 26.
56 “Dec. 1, 1910,” NEWC Minutes 1910-1912, EHS, 21.
57 “Girls’ Auxiliary of North End Club to Present ‘Tableau Vivant’ and Dance; First of Annual Series of Entertainments,” Chicago Daily Tribute (1872-1922), November 26, 1911.
58 “Annual Report of Treasurer: April 1, 1920-March 31, 1921,” NEWC Minutes 1921-1923, EHS, 4.
59 “Report of Finance Committee: April 1, 1921,” NEWC Minutes 1921-1923, EHS, 1.
62 “Americanization Classes One of North End Club’s Best Features,” Chicago Daily Tribute (1872-1922), May 29, 1921
63 “Annual Report of Treasurer: April 1 1920-March 31, 1921,” NEWC Minutes 1921-1923, EHS, 4.
64 “Philanthropy Committee Report April 10, 1922,” NEWC Minutes 1921-1923, EHS, 1.
65 “Nov 4, 1921,” NEWC Minutes 1921-1923, EHS, 2
66 “Meeting of Civics Class, 1921-1922,” NEWC Minutes 1921-1923, EHS, 1-2.
67 “Americanization Classes One of North End Club’s Best Features,” Chicago Daily Tribute (1872-1922), May 29, 1921
69 “Oct. 31, 1921,” NEWC Minutes 1921-1923, EHS, 1.
70 “Letter to President Harding, Nov. 14, 1921,” NEWC Minutes 1921-1923, EHS, 1.
71 “Annual Report of Treasurer: April 1 1920-March 31, 1921,” NEWC Minutes 1921-1923, EHS, 4.
72 “Annual Reports 1923: Philanthropy,” NEWC Minutes 1921-1923, EHS, 1.
73 “Americanization Classes One of North End Club’s Best Features,” Chicago Daily Tribute (1872-1922), May 29, 1921
74 “Annual Reports 1923: Philanthropy,” NEWC Minutes 1921-1923, EHS, 1.
75 “Nov. 4, 1921,” NEWC Minutes 1921-1923, EHS, 2.