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Notable Club Women

Jane Cunningham Croly was a pioneering journalist who, under the pen name 'Jennie June', contributed articles to newspapers such as The New York Tribune and The New York Sunday Times. She was one of the first women to write a syndicated column and the first to teach a college journalism course. She founded the Sorosis club for women in 1868 and the Women's Press Club of New York City in 1889. She later organized the General Federation of Women's Clubs.

Julia Ward Howe is best known for authoring the poem "The Battle Hymn of the Republic." She was a prolific writer and became the first woman inducted to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She was a leader in the suffrage movement and a respected lecturer for numerous causes. She helped organize the New England Woman's Club in 1868 and served as the President of the Massachusetts Federation of Women's Club.

Ellen Demorest helped revolutionize the fashion industry in the 1860s with the invention and mass-production of her paper dress-making patterns. She owned a successful dressmaking shop in New York City and a popular magazine which featured Jennie June as one of the chief writers. She was also a founding member of Sorosis and served as both vice-president and treasurer for the club.

Frances Willard was an active leader in the temperance movement of the late 1800s, and served as president of the Women's Christian Temperance Union for twenty years. A noted orator, Willard won a large following by traveling the country with her message of temperance and later, suffrage. She was also a member of the Chicago Woman's Club and spoke at the Chicago Biennial Convention in 1892.

Jane Addams founded Hull House, a settlement house in Chicago which served as a model for the social reform movement of the Progressive Era. She was a vocal advocate for working women and child labor laws. She was also a leader in the suffrage movement and helped to establish the International League for Peace and Freedom. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931. Addams was an active member of the Chicago Women's Club and served as Chairman of the GFWC Committee on Child Labor in the early 1900's.

Julia Lathrop was the first person appointed to head the federal Children's Bureau which was created in 1912. President Taft chose Lathrop because of her impressive accomplishments in social work. She was also a member of the Chicago Woman's Club and assisted the club in their work for juvenile court laws.

Eva Perry Moore was President of the National Council of Women in 1916 and served at this post for nine years. Her numerous accomplishments also earned her a presidential appointment to the eleven member Women's Committee of the Council of National Defense in 1917. In addition to these posts, Moore served as GFWC president from 1908-1912.

Mary Belle King Sherman was known as the "National Park Lady" because of her dedication to the preservation of America's scenic beauty. She aided in the creation of the National Park Service in 1916 and helped to establish six national parks. Sherman served as GFWC President from 1924-28 and encouraged clubwomen to pursue conservation efforts in their areas.

Nellie Tayloe Ross became the first female governor when she was inaugurated in Wyoming in 1924. She then served as the Director of the U.S. Mint for several years, and was the first woman to hold this office as well. Ross was also a past president of the Woman's Club of Cheyenne.

Eleanor Roosevelt was a first lady, social reformer, columnist, teacher, and political activist. She was a tireless advocate for the poor and disadvantaged and exercised her influence as a speaker and writer. She also served on the first U.S. delegation to the United Nations and drafted the Declaration of Human Rights while chairing the Human Rights Commission for that body. She was a active member of the Chautauqua Women's Club in New York and maintained strong ties with the Federation throughout her years as First Lady. She spoke at several GFWC events and graciously entertained GFWC officers at the White House.

Bertha Ethel Knight Landes was elected the first woman mayor of a major city (Seattle) in 1926. She had previously served as president of the city council and as president of the Seattle City Federation of Women's Clubs.

Ellen S. Woodward was appointed by President Roosevelt in 1938 to the three member Social Security Board which administered the programs of the Social Securities Act. She had previously served as Assistant Administrator of the WPA and had been elected to the Mississippi state legislature in 1925, becoming the second woman to serve in the House of Representatives. Woodward was also an active member of the Mississippi Federation of Women's Clubs.

Margaret Chase Smith served as a state representative or senator for a total of 33 years (1940-1973), and was the first woman elected to both Houses of Congress. She was an active member of the Skowhegan, Maine Sorosis and became president of the club at age 25. In 1964, she became the first woman to campaign for the presidential nomination of a major political party.