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