We are very excited that our minority and women’s collections have been digitized and are available for browsing on Digital NC. Look for links in the post below. This digitization project has been a wonderful learning process for our digitization interns Amy and Corrine and for special collections librarian and project manager, Karen. Look for a post next month with details about the process of getting our collections online. Many thanks to Corrine for writing this month’s spotlight, the last post for our digitization grant project collection.
As the readers of this blog probably know by now, Winston-Salem has had no shortage of social and civic organizations organized and run by women in its history. The Woman’s Club of Winston-Salem is no different.
The club began with enthusiasm in 1919, when 15 women from various organizations met with representatives from the state federation of clubs to propose a Winston-Salem Woman’s Club. When a meeting was called to gauge interest, according to the club’s history in the 1950-51 directory, nearly 175 members showed up. In the next two years, membership more than doubled to 380 women. The local chapter’s colors were yellow and white, with the daisy as the club flower.
The club met in various locations in its early years, from the YWCA to the Robert E. Lee Hotel. In 1925, the club purchased its long-time clubhouse, formerly the Tise House, on Fifth Street for a sum of $67,500. Drawings and photos of the house appear on the cover and inside of many of the club directories throughout the decades.
“The Union of All for the Good of All.” That was the motto of the Woman’s Club published in its 1930-31 Year Book and City Club Directory. The president’s report in that same directory, given by Club President Golda J. Watson, lists the many projects and activities of the club during the previous year, from providing Christmas stockings to those in need to bridge lessons to healthcare services. These annual reports provide a glimpse at the ways in which the club has benefited the community in its decades of service. The publication of the directory was in itself a service to the community, as it listed information about various civic and social clubs in the city during those years before transitioning to a true Woman’s Club-only year book.
The 1930-31 and 1950-51 year books are part of the Junior Woman’s Club Collection (the Junior club is still active) in the North Carolina Room, along with year books for nearly every year up to 2013. Many of the year books, one from each decade, were also digitized by the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center as part of a project funded by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). They can be found on the Digital Heritage Center’s website by browsing through the Forsyth County Public Library’s materials and by visiting the Digital North Carolina Blog.
Early directories published by the Woman’s Club also included advertising from local businesses and companies. In addition to the clubs in the city and the types of projects they engaged in, advertising provides some insight into the Winston-Salem of the 1920s and 30s. As much as names and photos, advertising and the names of businesses can evoke a sense of the industries and culture that shaped the city’s past. Here are just a very few examples from the 1930-31 directory, which is available on the Digital Heritage Center’s site:
I would encourage you to check out the Woman’s Club and Junior Woman’s Club year books on the Digital Heritage website to explore the advertisements and other gems that can be found there. Each of the publications gives a unique look into the activities of the club for the previous year, and offers an interesting chronicle and comparison of the club’s changing fortunes over the decades. Or, you might just spot a familiar name and recall a few memories. Happy browsing!