The Many Clubs of Holyoke: The Thursday Club

by Laurel | March 25th, 2013

[Note: For the next couple of weeks I will be publishing daily a post on women’s clubs in Holyoke in 1903. These are not service or church related clubs, but intellectual and  socially oriented. As you can see here the “work” of the clubs was taken very seriously. Memberships and meeting times vary with each club, and you will see many familiar Holyoke names with multiple club memberships. I was taken with this information for a couple of reasons, the obvious is the added dimension of club members — quite interesting if any of these women happen to be of genealogical interest to you. Secondly, the topics of study and lectures by club members, often based on themes, are truly fascinating on an intellectual level.  Hardly superficial topics that might be stereotypically associated with women. This being 1904, the areas of study are quite representative of transitional interests as the Victorian era /gilded age ended and with clear evidence of the pre-World War I  optimism which followed. Despite the class defined memberships in these clubs, knowing that Holyoke women were studying and discussing such various topics pleases me. I would have loved to hear some of these lectures. ]

04 October 1903

Program of Coming Season
Literature, Music, Art and Current Events Discussed by Women’s Clubs — A Feature of Holyoke Social Life.

The programs for the year’s work of the Holyoke music and literary clubs are now ready, and furnish some indication of a side of Holyoke life that is not often dwelt upon. Even though there are two men’s clubs, “The Club” and the “Other Club,” they in no sense are to be compared to the women’s clubs in the amount of work that is done or even numerically. It is a bit of reflection upon Holyoke masculinity that this is so, and that few of the younger element seem to be interesting themselves along this line. The enrichment that comes with diligent study and research cannot be obtained by watching billiard balls carom on the green cushions or endless games of whist. The programs of the year are up to, if not advance of, the usual high standard, and while they vary greatly, each is entitled to considerable respect.

The Thursday Club is the pioneer women’s literary club in Holyoke, and, like last year, its studies this year will be in United States history. Mrs. Frederick S. Webber is president of the club which meets alternate Thursdays, the first meeting being held Thursday with Miss Fay, the topic at that time being “Thomas Jefferson — expansion and the constitution.” The idea running through the course is to make each topic like expansion, which began in Jefferson’s time, run through the entire period of study to the present day. The meetings and topic will be as follows after next week’s meeting:

October 22, with Mrs. George S. Parsons; topic, “Alexander Hamilton — finance.”
November 5, with Miss Jessie Chase; topic, “John Marshall — the Supreme Court.”
November 19, with Mrs. F. R. Towne; topic, “Daniel Webster — the defender of the Constitution.”
December 17, with Mrs. Henry Russell; topic, “Andrew Jackson—political parties.”
January 7, with Mrs. E. C. Weiser; topic, “William Lloyd Garrison — the negro.”
January 21, with Miss Emma Bates; topic, “Abraham Lincoln — the typical American.”
February 4, with Mrs. John S. Lyon; topic “Gen. Robert E. Lee — the South.”
February 18, with Mrs. J. H. Howard; topic “Gen. U. S. Grant — liberty and Union.”
March 3, with Miss Isabel Skinner; topic, “Admiral David B. Farragut — the navy.”
March 17, with Mrs. Henry E. McElwain; topic, “James Russell Lowell — the diplomatic service.”
March 31, with Mrs. Joseph A. Skinner; topic, “Samuel F. B. Morse — the field of service.”
April 14, with Mrs. T. H. Fowler; topic, “Horace Mann — education.”
April 28, with Mrs. F. S. Webber; topic, “Philips Brooks — ethical progress.”

Adapted from The Springfield Republican.

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