The Cabinet

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Record 1 of 1

  • Rhode Island Women's Club Records
  • Rhode Island Womens Club
Call Number:
  • MSS 35
Record Level:
  • Collection
Physical Description:
  • 3 ft.
  • 43 vol.; 8 folders
Inclusive Dates:
  • 1876-1969
Bulk Dates:
  • 1876-1969
  • Rhode Island Women's Club Records. Records and papers, 1916-1977.
  • Material generated by and pertaining to the Rhode Island Women's Club of Providence, an education and cultural voluntary association, and founders of the Rhode Island State Federation of Women's clubs.
Cataloging Note:
  • Annual reports and copies of the club's histories have been seperated from the records for inclusion with the printed collection of the Rhode Island Historical Society Library.
Historical Note:
  • The Rhode Island Women's Club was established in Providence, Rhode Island, on February 18, 1876. Elizabeth Kitredge Churchill, club founder, aware that technological advances in the period following the Civil War had created leisure time for middle class women, believed this time should eb put to educational and cultural use. She felt an effort for self-improvement could best be achieved in a statewide cooperative association of women. This wa a daring idea, as women's clubs were uncommon to the era. However, organizational meetings testing the advisability of the idea were held in the winter of 1875. Charter members of the club were Mrs. Louis J. Doyle, Miss Sarah Dean, Miss Mary E. Eddy, and Miss Sarah E. Doyle. A constitution, by-laws, and a slate of officers resulted from these meetings with Sarah E. Doyle as the first President-elect. Initially, membership was limited to the two-hundred fifty and men were excluded, not by terms of the constitution, but in practice. Rigid admission requirements were instituted to "prevent too rapid growth and the entrance of unsuitable women." Meetings consisted of the presentation of educational papers created by the members, followed by discussion. In time, the programs shifted to presentations by paid speakers and artists. In 1889, the Sorosis Club of New York invited representatives of all known women's clubs throughout the country to consider a federation. In the following year, President Sarah Doyle was instrumental in the formation of the General Federation of Women's Clubs. In 1894, the Rhode Island Women's Club carried the model into practice at home and formed the Rhode Island State Federation of Women's Clubs (RISFWC). Amelia S. Knight, fifth president of the club, was elected first president of the RISFWC. From an initial enrollment of one hundred, the Rhode Island Women's Club grew to over five hundred in the early part of the 20th century, and by 1977 had dwindled to less than one hundred. The accomplishments of the club have been noteworthy. From an 1899 petition to the legislature that resulted in better working conditions for child labor, to providing an annual scholarship for a student at Pembroke College, the club consistently made major contributions to the State of Rhode Island.
Bibliographic References:
  • NUCMC 1993, RLIN, OCLC, Chadwyck Healey
Scope and Content:
  • The records of the Rhode Island Women's Club include administrative (1876-1964), financial (1844-1913), and committee (1878-1964). Also included are scrapbooks of news clippings and memorabilia (1925-1958). The bulk of the records consist of minutes from the meetings of the Executive Board and Regular MEetings,d ating between 1876-1933. Two club histories, 1893 and 1926, are also found here.
Accession Number:
  • 1981.84.1-
  • 1981.95.1-
  • 1992.127
Permanent Record Link:
Record Group Tree: