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SIC logo Woman's Club of Carbondale Minutes (Southern Illinois University Carbondale)

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Women's Club group photo 1946

Founded in 1896 as the Cosmopolitan Literary Club, the Woman's Club of Carbondale was formed to provide a social forum where local women could discuss literature, culture, and current events. For more than a century, the club has documented major events in American and Southern Illinois history and maintained a tradition of charitable giving in times of need.


The Woman's Club of Carbondale Minutes collection chronicles activities from 1896 through 2016. In addition to meeting minutes, the collection includes bylaws, calendars, the club pledge, and officer lists, along with a few photographs and materials related to special club events and retrospectives, including the history of the club's first hundred years.


A number of the club's charter members were wives of area merchants and professors. In addition to their diverse backgrounds and travels, members would often focus on a region of the globe for discussion at their bi-monthly meetings. Presenters would report on a country's history, government, and citizens, with national music selections occasionally accompanying the program. Guest speakers were frequently invited to discuss their area of expertise or perform at special functions.


While the club's operations generally followed a regular schedule, they were modified from time to time in response to national issues. For instance, meetings were canceled in 1918 due to the influenza epidemic and resulting ban on public meetings. During World War II, a committee was formed to sell war bonds and stamps, and the number of meetings was reduced so the ladies could focus on war work. Changes to the schedule were also made for local issues, typically to honor or mark the passing of a member.


Even as larger issues impacted the club, the Woman's Club of Carbondale has, in turn, left its mark on the community. Surnames of many members and guest speakers now identify structures on the SIU campus, from McAndrew Stadium to Shryock Auditorium. The club continues to support local organizations, such as Carbondale Public Library, while its members participate in civic activities individually.



Questions about this collection? Contact: 1-618-453-2516 or Email the library

 
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