The Grand Rapids Women’s Club
(Grand Rapids Herald, 31 December 1933, Society Section, Pg. 8)
Last October the Grand Rapids Women’s Club entered its 43rd years as an active part in the club and community life of Grand Rapids.
Their purpose is to promote a broad acquaintance among women through their common interest in the welfare of the city of Grand Rapids and the state of Michigan, to maintain an open forum where leaders in matters of public import and civic interest may be heard frequently, and to provide a clubhouse where its members may meet informally.
If was organized in 1888 as a reading club. The meetings were held in homes of members until 1891, when a hall on Division avenue S., was rented as a meeting place. Mrs. Eugenia Powers of Wyoming was a member of the group of eight women who formed the nucleus for the organization and is still actively interested in club work, having last year returned to membership.
The club was incorporated in 1892 as the South End Ladies’ Literary club and a few years later moved into its present club home on Cass Avenue SE near Hall Street. The increased growth of the organization made possible the purchase of the building in 1897 for the sum of $3,500 and the final mortgage on the property was burned over a bowl of rose petals at a luncheon in 1911 to signify that the club was at last out of debt.
The name was changed to Grand Rapids Woman’s club in 1900, as the club draws its membership from the entire city. In 1895 it became affiliated with the Michigan State Federation of Women’s clubs, withdrew in 1932 and on 19 December 1933 voted to join the federation again.
The first president of this club was the late Mrs. Clara J. Denton, well known club leader of the early 90’s, since which time 40 Grand Rapids women have held this office.
They include: late, Mrs. Emma Prime Noble; late, Miss Effie VanValkenberg; late, Mrs. Mary E. Waller; Mrs. Mary A. Hosford; late, Mrs. Helen J. Hood; late, Mrs. Francis H. Turner, who was the first president to preside in the clubhouse; late, Mrs. Ella Beneke; Mrs. Caroline H. Wright; late, Mrs. Adeline Powell; Mrs. Ida Fish; Mrs. Harriet Hilliker; Mrs. Edith Versluis; late, Mrs. Mary C. Gage; Mrs. Kathrine Prager, Mrs. Leota Wheeler Keil, Mrs. Fred M. Raymond, Mrs. Adeline V. Reed, Mrs. J. B. Nicholson, Mrs. Angeline Kuiper, Mrs. Mary E. Quigley, Mrs. L. Decamp Averill, Mrs. Ethyl Hopkins Sherman, Mrs. H. W. Harlow, Mrs. O. E. Richard, Mrs. Wallace E. Brown, Mrs. F. B. Cady, Mrs. Pearl Keene Girdler, Mrs. Margaret Gardner, Mrs. E. D. Hazard; Mrs. Frank Williams, Mrs. Wesley B. Beadle, Mrs. Henry L. Felton, Mrs. P. L. Churm, Mrs. Alfred T. Sirrine, Mrs. M. H. Dodge, Mrs. E. C. Bergstahler, Mrs. J. H. Dunlap, Mrs. Raymond G. Zwingeberg, who is president this year.
The affaris of the club this year are under the guidance of the following members of the executive board: Mrs. Zwingeberg, president; Mrs. John B. Lazell, first vice president; Mrs. J. B. Gordon, second vice president; Mrs. Harry Shields, recording secretary; Mrs. Harold D. Miller, corresponding secretary; Mrs. William H. messenger, treasurer, and the following directors: Mrs. F. C. Burgstahler, Mrs. Charles Spears, Mrs. W. J. Barden, Mrs. Eugene Austin, Mrs. P. N. Hammer, and Mrs. J. H. Dunlap.
They have an excellent circulating library of more than 1,000 volumes which are maintained at the clubhouse for the use of the members.
Created: 15 April 2007