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Chatham Woman’s Club At 93: Not Your Mother’s Woman’s Club

 

by Debra Lawless; Cape Cod Chronicle

At a recent meeting of the Chatham Woman’s Club there is not a hat to be seen.

Yet many of the archival newspaper clippings of the club show women in hats pouring tea and presiding over tables set with lace cloths, finger sandwiches and petits fours, somehow conveying an idea of, well, leisure and frivolity.

The club women are anything but frivolous. In 2006 these Chatham women devoted 15,533 hours to volunteer work.   ......

In 1915, when 45 women formed the club in Chatham, then a town with a population of 1,667, women would not have the right to vote for another five years. Yet after a century that fomented profound changes in women’s lives and ended with most women in the workforce, the Chatham Woman’s Club is more vigorous than ever with 195 members. It’s the largest club in Massachusetts.  ......

The stated purpose of the women who met at the home of Florence O’Neil in 1915 was “to broaden and strengthen the moral, social and intellectual life of its members and to be through them a power for good in the community.” Mrs. George Gigger, wife of the town doctor, was the club’s first president.

“We’re different today in that we are more philanthropic, perhaps have the means to be more so, but we are similar in wanting to effect positive change in the community,” says First Vice President Alayne Tsigas. “Also we’re similar in forging friendships.”

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