Albion Woman’s Club, 1917
Albion Womans Club
By Mrs. L.D. Wells
Albion Womans Club was organized in April, 1917. A group of progressive women visualized the need of a club of unlimited membership in Albion, a club in which the departmental work as outlined in the Michigan State Federation of Womens Clubs could be undertaken.
There were 15 charter members, eight of whom are still on the membership list, as follows: Mrs. R.F. Andrews, Mrs. C.H. Baker, Mrs. M.A. Cowell, Mrs. F.J. Graves, Mrs. W.A. Little, Mrs. A.G. Noble, Mrs. Frank Perrigo, and Mrs. J.D. Wells.
Mrs. K.D. Davis was chosen chairman and the following officers elected: Mrs. George Brown, president; Mary R.J. Comstock, vice-president; Carl Rappleye, recording secretary; Mrs. Frank Graves, corresponding secretary; and Mrs. Ernest Griffin, treasurer.
They assumed their responsibilities the following October when the club year opened. The idea of a limitless club met with favor, and before the close of the year in May, a membership of 65 had been attained. Mrs. Elizabeth Burns, a much loved and devoted charter member, having been called to the Great Beyond. At the close of the year, 1922-1923, the records show there were 149, not including a non-resident list of 38 new names were added during the year. Necessarily, the membership has varied, but remained over 100 until 1927. At present there are 70 active, 5 associate, and one honorary life member, with 8 new additions. The names of 11 devoted members are held in memory.
The club joined the Michigan State Federation of Womens Clubs in 1918, the Albion Federation on Womens Clubs in 1919, and is a charter member of the Calhoun County Federation of Womens Clubs, organized in 1922. It is a member of the Southwestern District of the State Federation of Womens Clubs, and affiliated with the Michigan state Library Association, the Albion Community Recreation Association, the Hospital Auxiliary, and the Three-Quarters-Century Club.
The motto adopted at its organization was: “The purpose of a journey is not only to arrive at its goal, but to find enjoyment on the way,” by Henry Van Dyke.
In the educational work many speakers of note have been brought to Albion, as well as local talent and many instructive and inspiring lectures enjoyed by the women of the city. Mention is made below of some of the outstanding speakers:
March 30, 1922, Dr. Richard M. Olin, Commissioner; Marjory Delavan, Education Director; April 16, 1923, Miss Jarrard, Nutrition Specialist from the State Department of Health; April 13, 1922, Miss Lenna Cooper, dean of the School of Home Economics, Battle Creek Sanitarium.
Speakers from the University of Michigan have been as follows: Dec. 16, 1924, Prof. D.T. Hollister; Nov. 19, 1925, Prof. Bruce M. Donaldson; Jan. 21, 1926, Prof. Eugene E. Rovillian; Dec. 5, 1929, Dr. Willard Olson; Dec. 16, 1926, Prof C.A. Fisher; Jan. 13, 1927, Miss Cleo Murtland.
The following presidents of Albion College have addressed the club: March 5, 1920, Dr. Samuel Dickie; Nov. 10, 1921, Dr. J.W. Laird; May 7, 1926, Dr. John L. Seaton; also, Dec. 1, 1921, Dr. Robert Williams, Dean of Albion College.
Other splendid speakers from Albion College have been: Dec. 11, 1919, Dr. Frederick S. Goodrich; Feb. 5, 1920, Dr. Frank Carlton; April 3, 1919, Dr. Arthur Harrop; March 20, 1919, Mrs. Orpha Pitkin (Arnold); April 2, 1920, Prof. John Zedler; Jan. 10, 1924, Prof. W.W. Whitehouse.
Nov. 23, 1922, Harry L. Holburt, Warden of Jackson Prison, was the speaker; Feb. 1, 1923, Hon Jay C. Towne, Representative in the Michigan Legislature, spoke.
The following presidents of the Michigan State Federation of Womens Clubs who have spoken to the club are: Nov. 13, 1919, Mrs. Burritt Hamilton; Jan. 20, 1922, Mrs. William Alvord; Feb. 26, 1925, Mrs. C.G. Hunter; Oct. 28, 1926, Mrs. A.J. Knapp.
Oct. 14, 1927, Mrs. Mary Krankhauser, State Librarian; Feb. 9, 1928, Mrs. Alexander Stock, Chairman, Library Extension of the Michigan State Federation of Womens Clubs, gave inspirational addresses.
The following presidents of the Southwestern District of the Michigan State Federation of Womens Clubs have been honored speakers: Feb. 15, 1924, Mrs. H.G. Rosewarne; April 9, 1925; Mrs. E.W. Randall; Oct. 28, 1926, Mrs. James Kingsley.
From the Albion Public Schools the following speakers: Feb. 3, 1921, Superintendent Don Harrington; March 16, 1922, Mr. Lorah, Science Department; Jan. 31, 1924, Miss Sibyl Robinson, Art Department; April 16, 1924, Miss Roberta Foote, School Norse.
Many more are worthy of mention. Excellent talks and papers have been given by many of the club members on various interesting subjects.
The regular meetings are held on alternate Thursdays, beginning with the second Thursday in October and ending with the annual luncheon in May.
Amateur Night, Feb. 21, 1924, consisting of two one-act plays, “The Red Lamp” and “The Ministers Bride”, were presented under the direction of Mrs. George Brown, and Novice Night, Nov. 20, 1924, a three act comedy, supervised by Mrs. W.A. Krenerick, were heartily received by large audiences at the Washington Gardner High School auditorium. Proceeds from these entertainments were designated as a loan scholarship fund to be loaned to worthy students in Albion College.
May 1, 1924, Miss Charlotte Ruegger, renowned Belgian violinist of Albion College Conservatory, gave a highly classical concert in the college chapel. Her concert was so well received that she and Prof. G. Calving Ringgenberg, also of the Conservatory, offered to give a joint recital in March, 1925, for the benefit of the A.W.C. loan scholarship fund. This concert was also held in the college chapel and was enjoyed by a large, appreciative audience. The two dramatic plays and the two concerts gave a fund of $2000 which has been named the Alice N. Clement ($100), honoring the president, the Charolotte Ruegger ($50), and G. Calvin Ringgenberg ($50), scholarships.
October 27, 1925, an entertainment given by Mildred Bass Anderson, presenting “Cousin Kate” in the College Chapel and another in the same place, February 8, 1927, by Edward Brigham of New York City, noted dramatic reader and pianist, netted another $100 which was named the Carrie M. McCune Scholarship. Mrs. McCune was president at that time. The educational committee consisting of Mrs. W.A. Krenerick, chairman, Mrs. T.L. Callahan, Mrs. Elmer Smith, Mrs. A.M. Eldred and Mrs. Victor E. Decker, had charge of these events and the comedy.
Albion Womans Club has sponsored six educational excursions as follows: September 27, 1923, Postum plant and Art Galleries, Battle Creek; October 1, 1925, Marshall Fields Store in Chicago; September 30, 1926, Capitol and State Institutions in Lansing; October 6, 1927, Marshall Fields Store in Chicago; January, 1929, Great Northwestern Flower Show, Detroit; Oct. 9, 1930, Postum Co., Battle Creek.
To Mrs. Robert Glascoff and committee is given the credit of two Cabaret Teas, a new venture in Albion, held in the Eagle Temple Auditorium, (now Masonic Temple), Nov. 17, 1921, and Nov. 16, 1922. They proved a decided success socially and financially, netting $158 and $125 respectively for the Hospital Fund.
April 26, 1923, the club decided to furnish a two-bed, private room located in the northwest corner on the second floor, in the new Sheldon Memorial Hospital. A benefit ball game under the supervision of Mrs. C.A. Singer, Mrs. K.D. Davis, and Mrs. Norman Wiener was held July 24, 1923, at the College Athletic Field. The game was so well patronized that the hospital committee named above was enabled to complete payment on the hospital room and donate $109 toward furnishing in the new Nurses Homes. Hospital Day is observed each year with sewing for the hospital and donations of canned fruit, jelly and vegetables.
Since the organization of the club, ten Christmas bazaars have been held which have aided the club in its philanthropic work.
The Social Service work has always been a commendable feature of the clubs activities. With Mrs. E.M. Sova, chairman of the year 1922-1923, the committee distributed 1329 garments, 17 pairs of shoes, and 7 baskets of food. Last year a rummage sale was held instead of a bazaar which helped to secure funds and garments. 1174 garments, 3 Thanksgiving baskets and 10 Christmas baskets were distributed by Mrs. Ray Perkins and her committee. The club assisted in Making 90 new garments, repairing some and piecing four quilts. These were tied and given to needy families.
A baby clinic, in charge of Mrs. Elmer Stoddard, with the cooperation of physicians of Albion, was held April 6, 1922. 34 babies were weighed and measured and 24 given thorough examinations.
The Institutional Relations committee was organized in 1923. Mrs. E.J. Mallory was the efficient chairman for three years. Very worthwhile work has been done putting on programs at the County Home, Dulcenia Home, County Jail, Tubercular and Camp Custer hospitals, remembering each occupant with a token. A pillow was made for each patient in the tubercular hospital. A victrola and over 50 records were given to bother Tubercular and Camp Custer hospitals.
At Christmas, 1926, with Mrs. Victor E. Decker in charge, each of the 300 children between the ages of 5 and 14 years was presented with a Christmas gift.
Since 1927, the work of this committee has been successfully directed by Mrs. Ella Sturdevant. Subscriptions to educational magazines have been sent to some of the State Institutions and many magazines have been collected and sent to help and cheer those confined in institutions, Jackson Prison receiving a large share.
In March, 1925, a bookcase and swivel chair were donated to the City Library. Books have also been given by the members. Two new books, “Our National Parks” and “The Keeper of the Bees” by Gene Stratton Porter, were given by the club, also a set of 10 volumes entitled “The Worlds Best Orations,” by David J. Brewer.
Through the efforts of Mrs. Walter Grant, a splendid collection of pictures was loaned to the club from the State Library in Lansing. These were interestingly described by Miss Sibyl Robinson, art teacher in Albion High School, at the club meeting on January 31, 1924.
Mrs. W.A. Krenerick aptly described the Abbey pictures, “In Quest of the Holy Grail,” a panel of 15 pictures. One of these pictures had been given as a class memorial the year previous and was loaned to Albion Womans Club for the Art Exhibit. The pictures from Lansing were exhibited later at the High School for the benefit of the students.
On March 26, 1923, Miss Robinson favored the ladies with a talk on Indian Art and Basketry.
A famous picture, the “Aurora,” in colors, (24″ by 62″), was added to the Washington Gardner School art collection by the club with the proceeds from repeating Amateur Night as a matinee for the school children.
The play was also given at Camp Custer, March 13, 1924, a lecture on “Interior Decoration” was presented by Miss Lydia Biedschlag, instructor of Art at Kalamazoo Teachers College; a “Fashion Jubilee” at Parker Inn on March 26, 1931, was another outstanding feature, put on by the art committee with Mrs. M.R. Dupark in charge. A lecture on “Interior Decoration” was presented by Miss Lydia Biedschlag, instructor of Art at Kalamazoo Teachers College; a “Fashion Jubilee” at Parker Inn on March 26, 1931, was another outstanding feature, put on by the art committee with Mrs. M.R. Dupark in charge. A lecture illustrated with pictures was enjoyed by members and guests at Parker Inn, Mrs. Harold Voorhees giving the lecture.
Because of her splendid work in Child Welfare in Albion and vicinity, Mrs. Frank Perrigo, chairman of the Public Welfare committee, was made an honorary life member March 20, 1930, at which time an impressive program describing her work was given. Each year one entire program is devoted to her study of Child Welfare.
The social committee provides an evenings entertainment for members and husbands, as well as a social hour after many afternoon evenings, thus enabling the ladies to become better acquainted and interest stimulated.
There have been many pleasant and profitable occasions, four of which we would like to mention: Nov. 6, 1930, about 60 members and friends enjoyed a cooperative luncheon with the old ladies at the Dolcenia Home and listed to Mrs. Craig Millers talk on “World Peace” and an account of the International Womans Suffrage Alliance Convention which she has attended three times. Mrs. F.S. Goodrich on December 11, described the Passion Play and her trip to Palestine. February 12, 1931, Mrs. Fred J. Smith, State President of the Auxiliary of the American Legion, told of its undertakings. The play “Look What Youve Done,” Mrs. Perkins directing, proved very amusing.
The past presidents are: Mrs. George Brown, 1917-1919; Mrs. L. Ward Davis, 1919-1921; Mrs. Clarence Singer, 1921-1923; Mrs. John R. Clement, 1923-1925; Mrs. Gilbert McCune, 1925-1927; Mrs. Clyde Henry, 1927-1929; and Mrs. Victor Decker, 1929-1931.
The officers for 1931-1932 are: Mrs. T.L. Callahan, president; Mrs. A.G. Noble, first vice-president; Mrs. F.W. Parks, second vice-president; Mrs. Gilbert McCune, recording secretary; Mrs. H.A. Ludwig, corresponding secretary; Mrs. A.M. Eldred, treasurer.
These officers assisted by division presidents and committee chairmen, are “carrying on” the work of the Albion Womans Club, and the program this year is rich in worthwhile achievements which mark the clubs progressive usefulness in the community.
November 5, 1931, on Presidents Day, the club had a birthday party honoring its fifteenth birthday, and many other interesting programs have been given. The club has celebrated the George Washington Bicentennial by a special club program, Thursday after, February 18, 1932, and Friday evening, February 10, 1932, a community program was presented jointly at the Washington Gardner School building by the Albion Womans Club, Three-Quarters Century Club and the Albion Public Schools. It has also planted and dedicated a memorial Washington tree at the Dalrymple school, also framed one of the 36 Washington pictures by Stuart, secured by Superintendent Don Harrington from Congressman Joseph L. Hooper, and has presented it to the West Ward school.
The Albion Womans Club has cooperated with the supervisor of music of Albion Public Schools for four summers in sending worthy music students to the National Band and Orchestra Camp at Interlochen, does extensive social service work, provides annual entertainments at the county institutions, assists in all worthy civic and community projects.
Source: Krenerick, Miriam. Albion’s Milestones and Memories. Albion, MI: Art Craft Press. 1932. 121-125