Friday, January 8, 2010

Club Doings

Yesterday, I received an email from a woman who was trying to research a photo of ladies around a dining table, marked "Just-a-Mere Club, Arkansas City, KS 3-31-1930-something". She had come across this post that was spurred by an article in the New Yorker Magazine.

The email got me thinking, again, about the ladies clubs in the last century, and these books:

I found these in the family flotsam and jetsam.

They are the Secretary's books from the D.M.C. Club of Greensburg, Kansas. Another one of the many 'ladies clubs' of that era.

They are the official minutes of the meetings, beginning with December 29, 1921 (not the beginning of the club, just the first entry in the oldest book) and ending with December 8, 1950. Not the end of the club, either. Just the last entry in these books.

My Great Aunt Ruth was a member of the club (beginning 12/19/1945, according to the minutes). No idea how they ended up in our family archives, because I don't see in the records where Aunt Ruth was ever the club secretary.

Mostly, the secretary was Myrtle Linegar...
...pictured here on a Christmas card with her twin sister. (Can't tell you which is Myrtle and which is her sister...)

The pages in one book are very fragile (1925 through 1929) and some of the entries are very brief. Often with just the day and date of the meeting, the Hostess name and roll call topic, (current events was a popular one, as well as gardening tips. One was Irish jokes...) and a mention of the activity of the day. Often it was, "An enjoyable afternoon was spent with fancy work and conversation". It seems that taking pictures was another popular activity during the 1920's, sometimes described as 'kodaking'.

During the war years of the '40's, making items for hospitalized soldiers was a focus, but mostly the activities were social. And always food. From 'delightful luncheons' to cook-outs of 'weenie sandwiches', there was always food!

Often, meetings would be cancelled during the 'busy times of harvest' in June and July, or due to 'bad roads' in the winter.

The club membership was about 8 or 10 in the '20's and rose to almost 30 in 1950. I think it kept growing, because I remember going to holiday meetings when I was a child in the early '60's that were held at the VFW hall due to the size of the group.

My original thought was to transcribe the minutes. I got through 1922, but some of the pencil writing is very tiring to decipher, so I stopped transcribing and just read. Many of the member names are familiar to me as friends of Aunt Ruth, although some of the secretaries referred to members by first name, and others used a more formal "Mrs. R.A. Linegar" which is harder for me to keep sorted out. Some even used 'Mesdames Linegar and Gregory'.

I am going to try again this weekend. My eyes just work better during the day with natural light. Some of the pages seem like they could crumble to dust at any minute, so I don't want to wait too long.

Maybe I will check into voice recognition software. Then I could read the minutes aloud and then just edit.

I am sure Myrtle would have appreciated that kind of technology!


Iron Needles said...

I didn't recall that Mrs. Linegar (who I will never think of without thinking Mrs. Vinegar...hahahaha!) had a twin sister. Did I know that and forget, or just never picked that up, depending on you to keep that tidbit on your hard drive?

Gaynell said...

The lady standing next to Mrs. L resembles our Grandma Kruse. Mrs. Linegar would be the "slight" one.

Gaynell said...

I posted too soon. When I "big-i-fied" the picture, I realized that most ladies of that time wearing the hats and garments would appear the same to those looking through the big end of the spyglass!

Martha said...

I think it's so cool that you have managed to keep so many of these old things from your family, and this one is particularly nice since you remember the people involved.

That is a great photo -- obviously the sisters were very proud of those dresses (which I bet they made themselves) to put them on a Christmas card (which I didn't even know you could do back then). It doesn't look as if they are wearing the same hat, though -- a small expression of individuality perhaps. I like the way the sister on the right placed her hat at a jaunty angle.

Allie said...

I'd love to go back in time and be a member!

Kate said...

Kodaking! Never heard of it but what a fun idea. I think I shall start calling my photo walks Nikoning tours. Makes me feel all star trekkie.

Mrs. L and her sis are awfully cute in that Christmas card.

Tish said...

Interesting. Grandma had a Linegar friend that she talked with often on the's probably one of these ladies...I'm gonna have to ask Mom if she remembers if she had a twin. Maybe twin sisters married brothers. I don't think my Mom or my Grandma were in any of the clubs in town. They both were active in church related activities though, such as teaching Sunday School and etc. Women around our mother's and grandparent's ages back then were so concerned about doing everything "properly"...wearing the right length dress, the right hat, the right colors for the season, etc. My Mom asks me now about dresses or pants and lengths to wear them or styles and I tell her that I think anything goes now-a-days. I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing, but I'm leaning towards good. I do know that our parents were taught proper handwriting and that's all gone down the drain...Mom won't let me fill out papers for her 'cause I write so terrible and she thinks things should be written in a pretty, flowing, proper scroll. Seems like most of it with her though is "what will people think?".... Interesting, to me anyway. Guess I got off on a tangent there. See ya, Tish