Preliminary Inventory of the Athens Woman's Club collection
Presented online by the Digital Library of Georgia
Repository: Heritage Room, Athens-Clarke County Library
Creator: Athens Woman's Club (Athens, Ga.)
Collection Number: awcm
Title: Athens Woman's Club collection
Dates: 1899-2002, bulk dates 1960-1988
The origins of the Athens Woman's Club may also be traced to the fall of 1896 when Mary Ann Lipscomb and Rosa Woodberry, principal and instructor at the Lucy Cobb Institute, informally organized the Athens Ladies Club to address the meager conditions of rural schools in the Athens and Clarke County area. The women of the Athens Ladies Club worked with local schools to provide textbooks and supplies and awarded students with prizes and parties for their scholastic achievements.
The Athens Woman's Club came into existence in January of 1899 when the Athens Ladies Club adopted a formal charter under the name Athens Woman's Club. Members of the club were typically well-educated, upper-middle-class women whose husbands, fathers, and brothers were prominent figures in local business and government and held important positions in the university system. Many members of the Athens Woman's Club were already part of a proud tradition of women who had established voluntary associations for women in the city. Athens was already home to the Ladies Garden Club, the first garden club in the United States, established by twelve Athens women in 1891. Founding members of the Athens Woman's Club also played an active role in organizing local branches of both the Daughters of the American Revolution and the United Daughters of the Confederacy.
Originally organized as a literary club, the Athens Woman's Club was divided into five major departments: Music, Letters and Arts, Current Topics, Folklore and Fiction, and Historical Research and Biography. Members regularly prepared and listened to presentations on a vast array of topics that ranged from a discussion of the Nicaraguan Canal, to the study of Spanish literature and Assyrian art history. These presentations gave members the opportunity to research topics, compose essays, present their work to fellow members and engage in thought-provoking discussions. As the twentieth century progressed, however, the Athens Woman's Club gradually turned its efforts away from the pursuit of the humanities, and directed them towards social reform, community development and municipal improvements instead.
The collection of records for the Athens Woman’s Club includes minute books (1899-1980), treasurer’s reports (1952-1969), scrapbooks (1949-1979), yearbooks (1957-2002), guest registers and various other types of ephemera such as programs, clippings and a plaque. The bulk of the materials in this collection exist in the following ranges: 1899-1920 and 1957-1980. Beginning with the club’s founding in 1899 and continuing through 2002, the records chronicle the organizational history of the Athens Woman’s Club and document the club’s impact within the Athens and Clarke County communities, as well as the state of Georgia, through the club’s social reform and civic improvement activities; specifically, those activities relating to the Athens Woman’s Club’s continued involvement with local public health initiatives and the improvement of schools and educational standards in the state. Many of the records including the minutes, scrapbooks and yearbooks detail the relationship between the Athens Woman’s Club and various other organizations of regional and national significance such as the Georgia Federation of Women’s Clubs and the General Federation of Women’s Clubs. Of particular interest in the collection are the scrapbooks and poster relating to the club’s purchase and renovation of the Joseph Henry Lumpkin House.
Organized into eight series: