College Women’s Club: Women Uniting for a Purpose

Emily Reth is a graduate of the Wright State University Public History program and completed her capstone project with SC&A in the spring of 2018.

College Women’s Club of Dayton (MS-315)

The College Women’s Club is said to have started when a young woman, who had graduated from college, was in search of a new social club. After speaking to Dr. Gertrude Felker and Dr. Eleanora Everhard about her search, the ladies started a club to bring college women together in March 1907. Eighteen charter members began the club and thirty-eight women attended the first meeting. Notable members of the club include Katharine Wright, who would later serve as the president in 1910.

The College Women’s Club of Dayton was one of the four founding members of the Dayton Federation of Women. Members, encouraged to serve their community, distinguished themselves in the mid-1920s as the sponsors of a settlement house in the West Dayton Hungarian neighborhood, donated a surgical dressing unit during World War I, and made financial contributions to several local welfare causes, in addition to their on-going goal to foster an interest in higher education through a scholarship fund.

Original members organized themselves into interest groups, called Study Groups, to promote more intimate friendships and to provide programs of specialized interest. The club spoke about arts, drama, cooking, gardening, music, education, travel, government, and war prevention.

Today the College Women’s Club is still active, providing classes to the public promoting higher education and financial planning. Their building served as the first meeting place for groups such as the Dayton chapter of the Junior League. The College Women’s Club became a staple for the ladies of Dayton, uniting them in their mission to support and empower women of the community.

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