COLLECTION GUIDES

1885-1945

Guide to the Collection


Collection Summary

Abstract

This collection contains the records of the Wednesday Morning Club, including minutes, financial and attendance records, membership lists, yearbooks, obituaries of members, and reports and correspondence of the corresponding secretary.

Historical Sketch

The Wednesday Morning Club was founded in 1869 by members of the New England Women's Club desiring greater freedom in discussion than a large club could allow. They organized a "Conversational" modeled after the Chestnut Street Club, where "all subjects might be discussed with safety and every member would return a true echo." The meetings were held every Saturday morning through the winter months for the next twelve years at Berkeley Hall. "The object was personal culture. Pleasant friendships were made, and the habit of thinking quickly, responding promptly, and refuting without arguing was formed, greatly to the intellectual advancement of the members, of whom there were usually about twenty present."

In 1881, the members, greatly reduced by death and removals, recruited additional members from the New England Women's Club. They elected a president and with almost forty members continued the "Conversationals" for four more years at 3 Park Street . The name was changed to the Wednesday Morning Conversationals to reflect a change in the meeting day.

By 1883, the nearly forty members proved too large for successful conversations and many members had begun to rely on notes during the conversations. As a result a shift was gradually made from conversations to full length papers presented by members. The club was renamed the Wednesday Morning Club. The meetings were held in members' homes and invited guests were often present. A set of by-laws was adopted and the membership was limited to forty.

Because many members were associated with other clubs, meetings were changed in 1888 to the first and third Wednesday of each month from November to May. In 1889, the meeting dates were changed again to the second and fourth Wednesday of each month. In 1895, the club became a member of the Massachusetts State Federation of Women's Clubs and, in 1908, became a member of the General Federation. Membership in the Wednesday Morning Club was by nomination and a vote of the Board of Directors. A waiting list was established for women seeking membership when the club had reached its maximum of forty members.

The club seal was created by Mrs. B. E. Cole during her Presidency from 1893- 1895. A complete history of the seal was presented at the 50th Anniversary celebration of the club in 1919.

Between 1900 and 1910, there was a shift from members presenting their own papers to soliciting outside speakers to address the club on their area of expertise. This continued until the club disbanded in 1945. The most common discussion topics were geography, travel, English literature, American and European history, and Western art.

In 1917, the Board of Directors voted to destroy a collection of old letters and papers pertaining to the affairs of the Wednesday Morning Club.

The club celebrated its 75th Anniversary in 1944. In 1945, remaining club members voted to disband the club due to a decline in membership. The club made arrangements to leave its records to the Massachusetts Historical Society. The final meeting of the club was a luncheon held in May 1945.

Sources

All quotes are from the Wednesday Morning Club yearbooks, Series V, Box 6.

Collection Description

The records of the Wednesday Morning Club, housed in 7 boxes contain loose records and bound volumes documenting the history of the club from c. 1890-1945. The records have been divided into five series: Administrative Records, Member Records, Meetings, Federation of Women's Clubs, and Printed Materials.

The bulk of the collection consists of Administrative Records, both loose and bound. The bound volumes of Administrative Records are primarily minutes of the general meetings, but also include minutes of the annual and business meetings, financial records, and attendance records.

The collection also contains records of the Massachusetts Federation of Women's Clubs and the Boston City Federation which were larger organizations made up of many women's clubs.

The yearbooks contain a listing of the meetings for the year and the meeting topics, as well as a history of the club seal, the club constitution and by-laws, the club history, lists of officers, lists of committees, and an occasional list of past presidents or a necrology. The printed yearbooks can serve as a good index to the minutes and researchers are advised to examine the yearbooks first or in conjunction with the minutes.

Acquisition Information

The records were the gift of the estate of Mary G. Pulsifer, through Morris C. Blake, executor, August 1958.

Detailed Description of the Collection

I. Administrative Records, 1885-1945

Chronologically arranged within sub-series.

The Administrative Records series is divided into three sub-series. Minutes, 1891-1945, are mostly from general meetings but also include annual meetings, Board of Directors' meetings, Treasurer's reports, and attendance records. In earlier volumes, it is more common to see a wide combination of different minutes and reports in a single volume. The yearbooks in Series V. serve as a good index to the minutes. A bound volume of Membership Lists and Treasurer's Accounts, 1885-1903, 1906, contains names, addresses, and attendance of the members as well as records of membership dues and financial accounts of the club. Corresponding Secretary Records, 1906-1920, contain reports and correspondence regarding routine membership matters such as nominations of new members, letters of support for nominees, absence from meetings notices, and resignations from the club.

A. Minutes, 1891-1945

Box 1Folder 1
Abstracts, 1930-1931, 1944(loose)

Bound Minutes

Box 1Folder 2
1891-1897
Box 1Folder 3
1894-1896
Box 1Folder 4
1896-1898
Box 1Folder 5
1898-1900
Box 1Folder 6
1900-1903
Box 1Folder 7
1903-1906
Box 2Folder 1
1906-1909
Box 2Folder 2
1910-1917
Box 2Folder 3
1917-1921
Box 2Folder 4
1921-1922
Box 3Folder 1
1923-1927
Box 3Folder 2
1927-1929
Box 3Folder 3
1930-1933
Box 3Folder 4
1933-1937
Box 3Folder 5
1936-1939
Box 4Folder 1
1939-1943
Box 4Folder 2
1943-1945
Box 4Folder 3
Executive Records, 1894-1895,

B. Membership Lists and Treasurer's Accounts, 1885-1903, 1906

Box 4Folder 4

C. Corresponding Secretary Records, 1897-1945

Box 5Folder 1
Correspondence, 1897-1945
Box 5Folder 2
Reports, 1918-1919, (loose)
Box 5Folder 3
Reports, 1906-1919 (bound)
Box 5Folder 4
Reports, 1919-1920 (bound)

II. Member Records, 1929-1940

Chronologically arranged within sub-series.

This series contains a membership application from 1936 given to prospective members, death resolutions written by various members of the club, and obituaries, the bulk of which are undated. Other obituaries and resolutions can be found in the Administrative Records within bound minutes of meetings. Membership lists can be found in Series I.

A. Application, 1936

Box 5Folder 5

B. Death Resolutions and Obituaries, 1929-1940

Box 5Folder 6

III. Meetings, 1894-1944

Chronologically arranged within sub-series.

This series contains newspaper clippings of the club's meeting announcements and letters of instruction for writing meeting announcements from the women's clubs departments of various Boston newspapers. The anniversary records contain correspondence, newspaper clippings, and minutes. A history of the club seal can be found in the 50th Anniversary Records.

A. Meeting Announcements, 1894-1938

Box 5Folder 7

B. Anniversaries, 1919, 1944

Box 5Folder 8

IV. Federation of Women's Clubs, 1912-c. 1935

Chronologically arranged within sub-series.

The Massachusetts Federation of Women's Clubs and the Boston City Federation are larger organizations made up of many women's clubs. The Wednesday Morning Club became affiliated with these organizations in 1895 and 1908 respectively. Series IV. contains correspondence and minutes of Federation meetings. Printed manuals of the Massachusetts Federation can be found in Series V., Printed Material.

A. Boston, 1912-c. 1935

Box 5Folder 9

B. Massachusetts, 1915-1931

Box 5Folder 10

V. Printed Material, 1890-1945

Chronologically arranged within sub-series.

The yearbooks, 1893-1945 (missing Oct. 1936 - May 1937) contain a list of meetings and topics for the year, the constitution and by-laws of the club, the club history, lists of officers and committees, and a history of the club seal. Occasionally, the yearbooks contain a necrology and a list of past presidents. Ballots (1905-45, with gaps) were printed for the annual election of officers although the elections were not usually held because candidates ran unopposed (ballots can also be found glued inside the bound minutes). There are also two menus from the end of the year social meetings in 1890 and 1894, and a booklet, My Summer in Europe, written by club member Isabelle B. Bond, used for a presentation she gave to the club and printed in 1924. The constitution and by-laws are loose copies of what is printed in the yearbooks with additional notes written on the back of them. The Massachusetts Federation manuals (1924-26, 1930-32) contain a directory of information about all clubs involved, reports of the Federation for the year, and its constitution. Other materials about the Massachusetts Federation can be found in Series IV. Federation of Women's Clubs.

A. Yearbooks, 1893-1945 (missing Oct. 1936 - May 1937)

Box 6

B. Ballots, 1905-1945 (with gaps)

Box 7Folder 1

C. Menus, 1890, 1894

Box 7Folder 2

D. Constitution and By-Laws, c. 1890, 1893

Box 7Folder 3

E. My Summer In Europe booklet, 1924

Box 7Folder 4

F. Massachusetts State Federation of Women's Clubs Manual, 1924-1926, 1930-1932

Box 7Folder 5
1924-1925
Box 7Folder 6
1925-1926
Box 7Folder 7
1930-1931
Box 7Folder 8
1931-1932

Preferred Citation

Wednesday Morning Club records, Massachusetts Historical Society.

Access Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in ABIGAIL, the online catalog of the Massachusetts Historical Society. Researchers desiring materials about related persons, organizations, or subjects should search the catalog using these headings.

Organizations:

Boston City Federation of Women's Clubs.
Massachusetts State Federation of Women's Clubs (Sudbury, Mass.)

Subjects:

Women--Massachusetts--Boston.
Women--Societies and clubs
Clubs--Massachusetts--Boston.