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Women’s clubs of the early 20th century
offered women an opportunities for social and civic engagement.  There were a wide array of clubs from purely
social groups to those that worked to improve their community and the welfare
of local citizens.    Clubs with special
interests ranged from book clubs or garden club to those working for women’s
rights or other types of reform.  Members
were typically mid-class white women. 
Clubs provided a connection to others with similar interests, a sense of
contributing to society, and a means to influence their communities.

Each club had their own Constitution and By-laws,

such as this 1919 Brevard Wednesday Club edition.

In Brevard the earliest women’s clubs included the Wednesday
Club, the Fortnightly Club, and the Mathatasian Club. 

The Wednesday Club was created in 1905 for social
get-togethers and to share women’s magazines. 
There first president was Mrs. W.A. Gash.  Within a short time members were exchanging
books and holding planned programs. 
Through the years they supported health and education projects, the Girl
Scouts, the hospital, the library, and much more.  Today the Wednesday Club remains the longest
running continuously active women’s club in Transylvania County. 

The clubs typically printed booklets with officers, members, and a program schedule

like this 1926-27 Fortnightly Club Year Book.

In 1911 a group of women associated with the Brevard
Methodist Church formed the Bluebird Society. 
They held monthly social gathering with simple programs and did sewing
for others.  As the group grew they
decided to join the North Carolina Federation of Women’s Clubs and changed
their name to the Fortnightly Club. 
Their mission was to bring together women for recreation and study.  They were active in projects such as work for
the Red Cross during war years, selling war bonds, and raising funds for
medical causes like tuberculous and cancer. 
Program topics in 1935-36 included family finance, the New Deal, Social
Security, crime, and birth control.

Members of the Mathatasian Club, circa 1954.

The Mathatasian Club started in 1915 as a group that
traded books and held programs based on an annual theme.  Like other women’s clubs they supported
causes from assisting soldiers and their families during wartime to raising
funds for the polio drive.  The club is
still active.

Minute books, scrapbooks, and other memorabilia from
these early women’s club are being preserved in the Local History Room at the
Transylvania County Library.  Next week
Picturing the Past will look at the influences of women’s organizations during
World War I.

Photographs and information for this column are provided
by the Rowell Bosse North Carolina Room, Transylvania County Library. 
Visit the NC Room during regular library hours (Monday-Friday) to learn more
about our history and see additional photographs.  For more information,
comments, or suggestions contact Marcy at [email protected]
or 828-884-1820.

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(828) 884-3151

212 S Gaston St, Brevard, NC 28712