The Charlotte Woman's Club
Founded in 1899, the Charlotte Woman’s Club in Charlotte, North Carolina’s oldest civic organization. The organization was originally called the Study Club for Mothers in 1899, but as membership grew and the organization expanded its civic duties, the Study Club for Mothers became the Charlotte Woman’s Club in 1902. In 1978, the clubhouse was designated as a Charlotte-Mecklenburg historic landmark. The organization established Charlotte, North Carolina’s first kindergarten, and it continues to help the community through philanthropy and charity.
Backstory and Context
The first president of the organization was Mrs. F. C. Abbot, and in 1903, it joined the North Carolina Federation of Women’s Clubs. In 1908, the organization joined the General Federation of Women’s Clubs. The General Federation of Women’s Clubs was founded in 1890 but can be traced back to Jane Cunningham Croly in 1868. Croly was a journalist and tried to attend a dinner being held at a males only press club. The dinner was to honor the British novelist Charles Dickens. Croly wasn’t allowed to attend, because she was female. As a response to this incident, Croly formed a woman’s club called Sorosis. For the 21st anniversary in 1889, Croly invited woman’s club from throughout the country to attend a convention in New York City to form a federation. Sixty-three clubs formed the General Federation of Women’s Club on April 24, 1890, and established the General Federation of Women’s Clubs constitution.
The organization's clubhouse at 1001 East Morehead Street was designed by Charles C. Hook, a Charlotte architect. In 1978, the clubhouse was designated as a Charlotte-Mecklenburg historic landmark. The clubhouse was sold in 2008.
The organization established the Charlotte, North Carolina’s first kindergarten, and during World War I and World War II, it served as the staff of the Southern Railway stations and bus. It also organized Charlotte’s YMCA, PTA, and Traveler’s Aid. In 1910, the North Carolina Federation of Women’s Clubs requested clubs vote on whether to address women’s suffrage, and the organization voted against addressing it.
Dr. Annie Alexander was the first female physician licensed in North Carolina in 1885, and she was a member of the organization. Dr. Alexander was an assistant surgeon at Camp Greene during World War I. A historical marker was erected in her honor on December 20, 2016. The organization continues to help the community through philanthropy and charity.
News. GFWC Charlotte Woman's Club. Accessed February 23, 2019. https://charlottewoman39sclub.wildapricot.org/news.
Tomsic, Michael. High Schooler Helps NC's First Female Doctor Get Recognition. WFAE Charlotte's NPR News Source. December 20, 2016. Accessed February 23, 2019. https://www.wfae.org/post/high-schooler-helps-ncs-first-female-doctor-get-recognition#stream/0.
Houck, Douglas. Historic Charlotte County: An Illustrated History. Historical Publishing Network, 2011.
Clipped From Detroit Free Press. Newspaper.com. May 09, 1910. Accessed February 23, 2019. https://www.newspapers.com/clip/12482517/detroit_free_press/.