Four generations of RICHARDSONs 1917

Four generations of RICHARDSONs 1917
William Richardson, Alice Josephine Richardson Dakin, Robert Worthington Richardson, Harry Bogart Richardson
Showing posts with label Thursday Morning Club. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Thursday Morning Club. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Thursday Morning Club, the Sequel

When I wrote about the Thursday Morning Club in Great Barrington, I included quotes from a book that clearly showed this was a interesting active club of women.  One of my readers, Margaret Fortier, a fellow Massachusetts Society of Genealogists (MSOG) member, got to wondering about the Thursday Morning Club.  Margaret did some more searching on HathiTrust Digital Library and found a wonderful article about the club, "Serving the Community, The Work of a Women's Club in a Western Massachusetts Town," in the Town & County edition of The American City, volume 12, pages 483-486, 1915.

Since there never was a copyright, I'm reprinting the article.
The magazine had altruistic motives -- "make available to the largest possible number of persons the ideals of thinkers and the practical experience of workers for the betterment of urban life."

Not only does the magazine have altruistic goals, so does the club.  All it took was a small membership fee (yet no one was turned away), a willingness to work, and sympathy to its goals and you could attend the meetings.  The programs described sound fascinating -- plays, musicals, talks on current events, talks on interesting topics along with service to the community.

The club also helped other local groups with low rent of their facilities and cash donations when needed.

The club gave honorary memberships to teaches and ministers' wives and had a reception to welcome teachers in September.  They also invite school children to programs of interest.  They worked on projects to help the schools when they saw a need.  They tell about the year that the schools were closed for several weeks during the winter due to a measles epidemic.  There were 30 students who had not caught up by the end of the school year -- they raised the funds to hire a teacher, borrowed classroom space and books, the result: 29 students were caught up by the fall.  They have offered classes that were eventually adopted by the school system -- continuing their financial support of the household arts and sciences and carpentry classes in the transition.

They saw themselves as a clearinghouse for ideas in the community -- their endorsement would "mean something" to community acceptance.

They used an annual rummage sale of "good stuff cheap" as their major fundraiser -- it started to raise money for a money-losing event and continued annually since.

They had various community service activities including picking up rubbish, hiring a tree doctor to care for the elm trees when they were attacked by the elm tree beetle, money saving programs for town children, building floats for the 150th anniversary town parade, and opening a mother's nursing & rest tent (with nurses and doctors available to educate and examine the babies) at the Cattle Show and Fair.

This article was written just before Elizabeth Radford Evans died.  Since Elizabeth lived in Great Barrington from the late 1890s until her death in 1915,  this is describing the Thursday Morning Club that Elizabeth new and participated in their meetings and activities.

We can better imagine what Elizabeth and the women in Great Barrington were doing beyond the everyday housework!

The link to this post is
©2014, Erica Dakin Voolich

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Thursday Morning Club

Elizabeth Radford Evans and her husband Charles Evans moved to Great Barrington, MA in the 1890s.  The article below profiles some of the long-lived couples in town.

The Courier (vol. LXIX, page 1, 3 September 1903) extolled "the Berkshire Hills region being especially favorable to longevity and conducive to dispositions" before individual profiles of couples.

One sentence caught my attention:

She  is the 
possessor of a vigorous mind and 
takes an active interest in the Thurs-
days Morning Club meetings and in 
current affairs generally. 

Charles only lived a few months after this article was published, but Elizabeth lived another dozen years -- plenty of time to attend the Thursday Morning Club meetings.  Which raised a question:
What is the Thursday Morning Club?

Looking in the book on the history of Great Barrington that I bought from the town historical society (Bernard A Drew, Great Barrington:  Great Town, Great History, Great Barrington Historical Society, 1999):

page 548
Thursday Morning Club
Nineteen women met at the home of Sarah Sheldon Collins in March 1892 to orga-
nize the Thursday Morning Club.  The hostess, born in New Marlborough but a resident
of Great Barrington from 1881 on, graduated from the town’s high school, taught in local
schools for several years and attended Wellesley College for one year.  She taught in 
several other communities, but returned to Great Barrington upon marrying A. Chalkey
Collins, an attorney.  They lived in the stone dwelling now home to the Christian Science
Collins (1859-1918) became the first Thursday Morning Club president and served 
for four years.    Through her efforts cooking and sewing classes began; they were later
taken over by the town.  Maria Church was first vice president and suffragist Julia Ward
Howe was first honorary member.  “Self culture” and “to be of use to the community”
were the organization’s stated aims. Early meetings were held in the old Courier build-
The club joined the General Federation of Women’s Clubs in 1893 and entertained
some 150 delegates from the State Federation in 1897.  In 1902 the club helped William
Stanley entertain a convention of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers, and
received a silver loving cup in appreciation—-a signed Gorham piece decorated with the 
club’s daisy medallion and the AIEE’s seal.
The club understood a number of significant civic projects over the years, and its
members heard a number of interesting lectures.  Educator Dr. Charles Eastman, who
had married Mount Washington poet Elain Goodale, spoke on “The Original Indian” 
in July 1912.  Summer resident James Weldon Johnson, whose book Black Manhattan
came out in July 1930, spoke of American Negro poets in October that year.  Also speak-
ing before the club were author Walter Prichard Eaton, Congressman Allen T. Treadway,
dancer Ted Shawn and poet Richard Watson Gilder.

page 190
The Thursday Morning
Club in August 1904
dedicated a stone
marker west of the 
Bridge Street bridge:
Twenty rods north of this
stone was the old Indian
Fordway on the Middle
trail from Westfield to
the Hudson River.
Nearby was the site of
the Great Wigwam
were Major John
Talcott overtook and
dispersed a party of 
Indians, August, 1676.
The marker’s deterio-
rated wording was
reproduced on a bronze
tablet which was 
mounted nearby in 

page 237  (in the Social section for early 1900s)
“Booker T. Washington, coming to speak at
Laurel Hill Association in Stockbridge in fall 1904,
was not unknown here; he had previously spoken
at the Great Barrington library.  Naturalist Ralph
Hoffman lectured before the Thursday Morning
Club in April 1909. …” 

The club had interesting speakers and also had a stated mission of service to the community.

I wondered if there were any records of the early Thursday Morning Club still available.  The Great Barrington Historical Society put me in touch with the current club historian.  She didn't have many records beyond a membership book in their safe deposit box.  It had membership records from 1912 through 1925.  She found four Evans women involved:  "Elizabeth Evans and Aurilla Evans were members of the Thursday Morning Club. Helen H. Evans was a Director 1924-1925 and Kathleen S. Evans was also a member."

Elizabeth Evans was a member, as was her daughter-in-law, Aurilla Wooster Evans and her granddaughter-in-law Kathleen Smith Evans.  By 1912 when these membership rolls were recorded, Elizabeth's daughter Caroline Evans Helsten, has moved back to Gaylordsville CT to help with her in-laws, then their estate, and then to take over the Helsten's business.  We don't know if Caroline was involved when she was there in the 1890s.

We can only imagine them attending some of these talks by local authorities and traveling dignitaries and then discussing the pressing issues of the day that they were reading about in the newspapers.

The link to this post is
©2014, Erica Dakin Voolich