Social and Self Improvement Clubs
Woman`s Club of Muncie, Indiana
Organized in January 1876, the Woman’s Club was Delaware County’s first women’s club. The 36 charter members, including future suffragist Ida Husted Harper, signed the Club’s constitution asserting “the need of a higher degree of culture and a fuller realization of the wants and capabilities of women” and their desire for “mutual improvement.” Club members presented papers on a wide variety of topics, often linked to current events or controversies. The Club also focused on community improvement, supporting numerous civic projects. Club members were involved in organizing the Indiana
The Merchant of Venice, 1898 Federation of Clubs and the General Federation of Women’s Clubs. By the 1950s the Club had more than 200 members who met in several interest-group “departments.” In 2000 the much smaller Club joined with the E.B. and Bertha C. Ball Center, where it holds its meetings.
Reticule Circle Club
Reticule Circle Members, n.d.
The Reticule Circle was founded in 1912 in Albany with 20 charter members. Initially a sewing circle, members brought handiwork to meetings. Soon, however, meetings included members’ papers on literary Yearbook 1945-46 topics, travel, and current events. The Circle also engaged in charitable activities. The Circle’s expanded purpose was expressed in its 1941 constitution: “The object of this Circle shall be the mental and social improvement of its members. To this end the Circle shall encourage liberal interchange of thought and action along civic improvement, school betterment and charitable effort.” In 1998, the Circle’s last members agreed “with regret and sadness” to disband.
Club History, 2003 & 11th Annual Yearbook, 1905-06
Founded in 1894 with 14 charter members, the Club was named for Emma Montgomery McRea (1848-1919), a well-known local educator. Its object, according to its constitution, is to provide for “mutual help, social intercourse and the intellectual advancement of its members.” The Club’s motto is “Study to be what you wish to seem." Club History, 2003 During its first decades, Club programs were ambitious, often including 3 papers by members plus discussion and critiques of the presentations. There were also social events—lavish dinners and holiday parties—to which members invited their husbands and guests. The Club supported local civic projects as well. The Club, now 111 years old, is still active.