MS 214 - The Willing Workers Collection (Waterville, Ohio)
|MS 214 - The Willing Workers Collection (Waterville, Ohio)
The records of the Willing Workers of the Providence Methodist Episcopal Church of Waterville, Ohio, date from 1912 to 1973. The one linear foot of minutes document the history and activities of this religious, charitable, and social organization.
The records were donated in January 1982 to the Women's Studies Archives Project (WSAP) of the Center for Archival Collections by the club through the cooperation of Mae Pollock, long-time secretary of the group, and Jill Gates Smith, Field Specialist for the WSAP. Literary and property rights have been dedicated to the public and duplication is permitted for preservation and scholarly research. The register was prepared by Paulette Weiser, Graduate Assistant for the WSAP in February 1982.
The Willing Workers, the ladies aid society of the Providence Methodist Episcopal Church in Providence Township, Lucas County, Ohio, was organized on August 4, 1912, by eight women including Ruth Wade, the founder and first president, and Ella Brown. Others among the earliest officers and members were Lizzie Barhite, Jennie Box, Mary Ex, Hulda Flory, Ella Gertz, Julia Gibbons, Pearl Gill, Eliza Graf, Emma Gray, Hannah Hutchinson, Laura Inman, Tena Keeler, Arabelle Labar, Catherine Masters, Jessie Miller, Lula Miller, and Johana Sheperd.
The group's constitutional objective is to promote "Sociability, Spirituality, and Intellectuality." Its motto and stated purpose is "doing all the good we can, in all the ways we can, to all the persons we can."
The original officers included a president, vice-president, secretary-treasurer, assistant secretary, chaplain, and organist. The committees included executive, relief, flower, and lookout. A separate treasurer, assistant chaplain, assistant organist, and chorister were added later. Several officers served for many years in the same capacity, including the donor, Mae Pollock, who has been secretary since 1932. The dues were originally five cents a month, to be used for floral offerings in case of the death of a member. Dues were raised to ten cents a month in 1931, where they have remained.
The order of business consists of a call to order, prayer, Scripture readings, hymns, reading of the minutes, treasurer's report, presentation and approval of bills to be paid, old and new business, roll call, another hymn, a prayer (usually the Lord's Prayer or the "D-Day Prayer" in late 1944 and 1945), adjournment, then entertainment and refreshments. The first meetings included programs of a literary nature; however, the group rarely had formal programs after the first years. A potluck picnic meeting with families usually is held in July or August. A Halloween party often is sponsored for the church by the group. A Christmas dinner including families is served at the December meeting at which members exchange small gifts.
The group participated in a variety of fund-raising methods over the years, which included quilting and tying comforters for people for a standard fee; tearing and sewing rags for rag rugs to sell; conducting bake sales, penny suppers, ice cream socials; and selling vanilla, gelatin, metal sponges, lunches at farm sales, and household hint books.
Their charitable work includes donating money to the heart and cancer funds, the Crusade for Mercy, Red Cross during wartime, Flower Hospital, and a drug rehabilitation center in Toledo; making gowns and cookies for patients at the Toledo State Hospital; providing household goods for families burned out of their homes; giving gifts of clothing and food to local poor families; and funding improvements to the church and parsonage, such as a new piano, songbooks, new roof and steps, painting, wallpapering, stoves, stovepipe, dishes, flatware, utensils, appliances, tables, chairs, pews, and also a portion of the minister's salary. In addition, get well cards and plants are sent to sick members; cards and gifts are given to members celebrating their fiftieth (and each successive) wedding anniversary; and flowers are provided for the funerals of members and their families. Also, members' birthdays are recognized at each meeting.
The Willing Workers are still in existence, although since the early 1970s the group usually has not met in January, February, and March. The club has a much diminished membership consisting primarily of members of longstanding.
|Scope and Content
The minutes of the Willing Workers reflect the activities of a religious, charitable, and social organization in Providence Township, Lucas County, Ohio, from 1912 to 1973. The minutes express the group's objective of assistance to anyone who needs it and indicate the variety of fund-raising methods the members have used to accomplish this objective. The minutes also document the religious aspects of the organization's activities, including programs, Bible readings, hymns, and prayer.
In addition, the records reflect the social functions the group served in bringing rural women together and offering them mutual support through illness and death, and celebrating with them childbirth, holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries.