Entre Nous Club
By Eugenia Randall (Mrs. D.L.)
In 1899, a small group of eight or ten women inspired by Miss Marry Norris, a graduate of Albion College, and a woman of real culture, formed a reading group which studied Oliver Wendell Holmes, “Over the Teacups”. Of this early group, there remains in the club one member, Miss Rose Ball.
In 1900 the earliest programs were printed. In it we find the names of Miss Ball, Mrs. Zilpha Clancy Broxholm, and Mrs. Alice Lawler. At this time there were twenty-one members; the club colors were two shades of pink (this has been changed to pink and green) and the club motto, “Neglect not the gift which is in thee,: had been selected. The club flower is the rose. For about five years the club met on Wednesdays, but in 1907 the day was changed to alternate Mondays which has ever since been the Entre Nous day. The earliest written record is dated September 13, 1903. During this year Miss Mary C. Norris passed away and a memorial service was held in her memory on January 16, 1904, at the home of Mrs. F.L.D. Groff.
During the early years Entre Nous like other clubs of the day was largely literary and social in its aims. It is interesting to note that for a time papers were limited to ten minutes in length. One of the topics of that early day was a discussion on “How shall the busy housewife find time for the club?” In the program for 1901-1902 we find among the officers a prophet, a historian, and a poet. The following year literary and press committees replaced them. In 1906-1907 the club had the distinction of being the only club in the State Federation studying a Nature program and the State Chairman of Education wrote asking permission to visit the club that she might write up its program in the Federation Bulletin.
The club dues are three dollars, active, and four dollars, associate members. The present membership is forty-six.
For a number of years, the Entre Nous Club has had Reciprocity Day. On April 17, 1926, a program and reception was held, to which Battle Creek Womens League, the Marshall Monday Club, the Jackson County Federation, and the Albion Literary Club were invited. On one occasion the club entertained the public school teachers at an evening program.
The club has enjoyed lectures by many outstanding speakers. Among there are: Hon. Washington Gardner, Dr. F.S. Goodrich, Dr. Clarance Green, Dr. Delos Fall, Dr. Henderson of Ann Arbor, Prof. Frank Douglas, Dr. Frank Carlton, Dr. D.D. Martin, Mr. Don Harrington, Mr. Adrian Cooper, former Prosecuting Attorney, Dean Robert Williams, Dr. W.W. Whitehouse, Dr. Frederick Lutz and Leona Cooper, former Dean of Battle Creek College.
Of late years it has been the custom of the club to have guest day two or three times a year, and the members have thus been able to share many fine programs with their friends. Among these meetings was Presidents Day held November 4, 1929, at Susanna Wesley Hall, when the State President, Mrs. Eben Mumford, Southwestern District President, Mrs. George Arnold, County President, Mrs. Frank Minges, City Federation President, Mrs. George Brown, and our own President, Mrs. Dan Birdsall, were present and brought messages. Entre Nous was proud to claim Mrs. George Arnold and Mrs. George Brown as her own.
As early as 1902 Entre Nous was state federated and Mrs. Abbott was chosen as delegate to the state Federation of Womens Clubs, meeting at Bay City in October, 1904. She was unable to go however, and Miss Zilpha Clancy (now Mrs. Broxholm) attended the meeting. In the records of March 2, 1904, a discussion and report on a possible City Federation is mentioned, but this was later laid on the table. On November 20, 1911, we find a motion in favor of City Federation in the secretarys record. Through the earnest efforts of Mrs. L.K. Patterson, at the time president of this club, on April 5, 1915, the Entre Nous entertained the federated clubs of the city in the club rooms of the E.L.T. Club which were graciously offered by the members of that club for the purpose. Mrs. Delphine Ashbaugh, president of the State Federation, gave an address on “City Federation.” She was assisted in the organization by Mrs. A.E. Bulson, a state officer from Jackson. A city federation was organized and a constitution adopted, after which the hostesses served refreshments in the assembly room. The Entre Nous is not only a charter member of the Albion Federation of Womens Clubs, but also of the Calhoun County Federation of Womens Clubs, organized in Albion, at the E.L.T. Club House, May 17, 1922.
The club early began to do its bit for others. In April, 1905, a committee was appointed to visit the schools. In 1909 the Womans Suffrage petition was signed by its members. In 1911 a chair and in 1912 a clock was purchased by it for the old hospital and a box was sent to the Childrens Home in St. Joseph. Gifts were made to the children in the foreign settlement. The members did their share gladly in Red Cross work during the World War. Hospital showers and sewing have been a regular part of each years work. In 1919 the club maintained a bed in the old hospital. For several years the group has sent money to the Womans Shelter of Chicago and to the Travelers Aid. Aid has been given to Camp Fire Girls and to Boy Scouts as occasion demanded. The club presents annual programs at the County Home and the County Hospital.
In 1923 silver teas were held to raise money for work. This same year the club pledged fifty dollars to the Methodist Advance which was supplemented by a gift of twenty-five dollars, by Mrs. F.L.D. Groff, making the clubs contribution seventy-five dollars. A pledge of fifty dollars for a bed in the new Sheldon Hospital was also made. The following year, 1924, while Mrs. Karl Scribner was president, a play was put on by the club, under the direction of Mrs. W.A. Krenerick, which was a great success and both pledges were paid with the proceeds.
At various times of need, the club has made layettes and has given Christmas baskets. During the present year, the club is caring for a worthy family of six and has provided clothing and an overflowing basket of food as well as toys to gladden the childrens hearts.
For five years Entre Nous has raised scholarships for worthy students of Albion College. These scholarships are loaned without interest through the Education committee of the Albion Federation of Womens Clubs. At present the club has two hundred dollars and another one is being raised this year.
The club has donated both money and books to the City Library and has helped send an Albion boy to Interlochen for three years.
Entre Nous has had many fine women in her membership. We mention Mrs. L.K. Patterson, through whose interest the City Federation was organized, Mrs. George Brown, who was president of the Albion City Federation, Mrs. George Arnold, who has been Southwestern District President, also Second Vice-President of the State Federation, and to whom higher honors were due had she not voluntarily resigned.
We may feel that Entre Nous has filled her place among the fine clubs of the city. The club officers for the year (1931-1932) are: President, Mrs. David L. Randall; First Vice President, Mrs. W.C. Harton; Second Vice-President, Mrs. T.M. Carter; Recording Secretary, Mrs. Hoyt Howell; Corresponding Secretary, Mrs. K.P. Scribner; Treasurer, Mrs. J.C. Young.
The Past Presidents are:
Mrs. Mary Ludlow (1900-1902)
Mrs. Permelia Bruce (1902-1903)
Mrs. Jennie Abbott (1903-1905)
Mrs. Hettie Groff (1905-1907)
Miss Dora Wagner (1907-1908)
Mrs. Sara Demorest (1908-1910)
Mrs. Lora Foote (1910-1911)
Mrs. Jennie Abbott (1912-1913)
Mrs. Eva Patterson (1914-1915)
Mrs. Myrtle Brown (1915-1916)
Mrs. Marie Douglas (1916-1917)
Mrs. Ruth Hembdt (1917-1918)
Mrs. Marie Douglas (1918-1919)
Mrs. Minnie Zimmerman (1919-1920)
Mrs. Doris Fox (1920-1921)
Mrs. Ruth Hembdt (1921-1923)
Mrs. Edna Scribner (1923-1925)
Mrs. Margaret White (1925-1927)
Mrs. Myrtle Brown (1927-1929)
Mrs. Laura Birdsall (1929-1930)
Mrs. Eugenia Randall (1930-1931)
Source: Krenerick, Miriam. Albion’s Milestones and Memories. Albion, MI: Art Craft Press. 1932. 118-120