MS 368 - Sandusky Fortnightly Club
|MS 368 - Sandusky Fortnightly Club
The Sandusky Fortnightly Club collection provides a yearly account of the activities of this women's study club in the form of minutes, programs, and membership records. These records span the years 1906 to 1978. Reports prepared by various club historians are also included in this collection. These papers deal with the club's history from its founding in 1898 to its 75th anniversary year, 1973. Newspaper clippings, club receipts, and memorial resolutions enhance this written historical account of women's pursuits in 20th century Sandusky, Ohio.
The materials were donated to the Center for Archival Collections by Helen Hansen, Fortnightly Club Historian from 1973-1983, and curator of the Follett House Museum, Sandusky, Ohio, in April of 1986. Literary and property rights have been dedicated to the public and duplication is permitted for the purpose of preservation and scholarly research. The register was prepared by L.L. Mertel, student intern at the Center for Archival Collections, in February, 1988, and revised by Marilyn Levinson, Curator of Manuscripts in February, 1992.
The Sandusky Fortnightly Club was started in the spring of 1898 by a group of Episcopalian women who wished to provide their members with religious and intellectual study. This club was one of several women's organizations in the city of Sandusky at that time. According to former Sandusky Fortnightly Club Historian, Dorothy Keller, "The women of Sandusky were among the first to appreciate the advantages of organizations for women and were leaders in this movement. In 1908, it was stated that Sandusky had more clubs for social, beneficial, and intellectual culture than any city its size."
Several areas of study were explored by the club women over the years. European countries, Shakespearean plays, the Bible, current events and world problems, women's suffrage, and world religions are a few examples of topics discussed in club research papers and lectures.
Club activities consisted of regular business meetings, an annual election of officers, a "guest day" in November, annual Christmas and Spring parties, and summer picnics. Charity work and community service also were emphasized. The club maintained a serious image and was well respected in the Sandusky community. Throughout the years, the Fortnightly was given much coverage in the local newspaper, and it became a member of the Sandusky Federation of Women's Clubs.
Membership was based upon attendance, with the levels of membership being active, associate, and honorary members. Meetings were consistently well attended. The Sandusky Fortnightly Club has continued to generate interest by remaining flexible with the changing times.
|Scope and Content
The bulk of the Sandusky Fortnightly Club collection is in the form of secretarial minutes and membership records. These records are complete from October of 1906 to December of 1978. The minutes from the year 1945-46, however, are missing. The majority of these records are handwritten, and some of the handwriting is difficult to read. The content, however, is meticulous in its summary of each club meeting. Club business, financial reports, and study topics are included in these minutes. The yearly minutes also contain club attendance rolls, and annual secretarial reports. The majority of these minute books contain addition material, such as pertinent newspaper clippings, financial receipts, and correspondence. The club constitution and by-laws are included in the first complete book of minutes (1906-1913).
Historical reports provide another focus in the collection. A 47 page research paper on the history of Sandusky women's clubs in general, and of the Sandusky Fortnightly more specifically, is contained here. This handwritten draft by Dorothy Keller, Club Historian 1953-1973, is a thorough overview of the Club's goals for its first fifty years of existence. Historical reports on the Sandusky Fortnightly, which were prepared for the Sandusky Business Women's Club and WLEC radio by Mrs. Jacob Bamberger in 1947-48, are also included. An updated account of Club activity was compiled by Dorothy Keller to mark the Club's 70th anniversary in 1968. More recent, typed reports were provided by club members Lucile Hutson and Helen Hansen. Other literary documents include memorial resolutions honoring deceased members, in both handwritten and typed format.
Annual, thematic program books were issued by the Fortnightly Club, listing the membership roll, Club officers, and the topic for each meeting day. This collection contains a complete group of programs for the years 1906-1985. Also included with the Clubs papers ia a certificate which records a contribution made by the Sandusky Fortnightly to the Sandusky Sesquicentennial in 1968.
This collection is the result of almost a century of work and study by dedicated and intelligent women. The material suggests that this was not a controversial or radical women's organization. These church women kept a low profile. The longevity and orderliness of the Club, however, does provide a helpful view into the lives of ordinary women in Northwest Ohio throughout the 20th century. The minutes and programs provide a clear idea of the issues which captivated women's attention over the course of this century.