New England Women’s Club Celebrates 100th Birthday

In 1911 a group of ladies in New England, N.D. started a study club.

Published August 9, 2013

The Herald

They met and had coffee and discussed different subjects or did book reports. They were quite elite and did not open their club to everyone. If one wanted to join they had to make contact with a member, then that member would bring them up as a candidate for membership. The club would then take a vote. If there was even one “no” vote, the person was not accepted into membership. It was called ‘black balled’.

In 1913 the club became chartered into the General Federation of Women’s Clubs-GFWC. They were primarily a study club and had lessons on different subjects of discussed books they had read. They remained a very elite group and voted on membership until the early 60’s.

In the late 20’s or early 30’s the club started a loan fund in memory of Delta Connolly. They borrowed money to girls so they could further their education and get a job. Usually, back then, the fund was used so girls could go to ‘normal school’ and become teachers. The loans were small then, usually $25.00 to $50.00. For many years we offered a $500.00 loan that did not start to accrue interest until the girls had been out of school for 6 months. The interest was low and they could make arrangements to pay back according to their situations.

Currently we are a more civic organization. We still have lessons on different subjects or have reports on books that a member has read. Members take turns hosting as well as presenting a lesson. We share interesting news items, humorous writings and other things over lunch. If you do not have an item to share you put a ‘fine’ in the box. At the end of the year we decide which charity will benefit from the ‘fines’ in the box.

We also do things for our community. We collect pop can tabs and donate them to the Ronald McDonald House. For several years we have planted flowers around town in the spring.

One of the first civic things that our club did was a Senior Girls Tea for the graduating senior girls. When it started over 60 years ago there were two schools in town. The senior girls from both schools were invited and were treated to a ‘proper’ tea served by the Women’s Club. The girls dressed up and were served a very formal tea by the ladies. Now, because of the smaller number of girls involved, we call it the Senior Girls Mother/Daughter tea. We have them come in the afternoon and have a guest speaker to address the group. We serve a formal tea, but not nearly as formal as it used to be.

For several years we have had an Arts and Crafts show during the cities fall festival. Different artists would display their arts or crafts and they would be judged and awarded ribbons. We also rented out tables for crafters to display and sell their wares. Later, we decided to have the arts judged by the public and had different categories that the people attending voted on. The piece of art that got the most votes received the traveling trophy. It was a lot of work and very well received by the community, but as we all got older it became very difficult ot get younger women to join. We decided it would be better to have crafters rent tables and sell their good. We also have a space for some artists to display art and we sell coffee and goodies to the people who come to look things over. We have had white elephants sales that have been quite successful.

Our club supports our county Historical Society. For a couple of summers we volunteered at the Enchanted Highway Gift Shop in Regent. We have donated money to the Domestic Violence Fund as well as sending monies to Northwood after the tornado wrecked the town and Bucyrus when fire devastated the area.

New England has Burgers in the Park in summer months on Tuesday nights run by the Lions Club. For the last few years we have made a deal with the Lions to sell pies and the proceeds go to different entities in town. We do this three times during the summer. With these funds we have been able to support the City Library, swimming pool and day care center. This type of activity helps us to get what we do out to the public and is a good way for us to raise funds for organizations we want to support.

New England Women’s Clubs assist the Women of Today from Mott who set up and angel tree in the bank and credit union in New England. People can take an angel and buy a gift that is brought back to the tree. IN New England the Women’s Club wraps the gifts and with the help of the Lions Club buys gifts for any angels that are let on the tree.

During the summer we take a trip to different places in the area. It is an outing during the months that we do not meet and gives us fun time together as well as a change by visiting interesting areas in North Dakota.

We welcome any woman in town who would like to be a part of this great organization. We meet on the second Monday of every month from Sept thru May.


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