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Asian Artifact Recalls International Program With Purpose

On June 1, 1950, at the 59th Annual Convention in Boston, Sara A. Whitehurst, chair of the Council of International Clubs and past GFWC president (1941-1944), spoke eloquently of the need for international understanding and welcomed several international club representatives.  Mrs. P. William Lee of Korea, noting the political problems of her divided nation, highlighted the importance of the Korean Federation’s affiliation with GFWC and the inspirational visit of GFWC President Dorothea Buck (1947-1950) in 1948.

Just a few weeks later, on June 25, 1950, the North Korean military invaded the Republic of Korea, an action identified by U.N. Secretary-General Trygve Lie as “war against the United Nations.”  On June 26, GFWC President Dorothy Houghton (1950-1952) expressed concern for her GFWC sisters in Korea on a Voice of America broadcast: “Our deepest sympathy goes to the citizens of this free republic and especially to the women, many of whom are affiliated with the General Federation.

GFWC members put this sentiment into action by partnering with CARE, the international relief agency that had been founded in 1945 to assist war-torn Europe.  In the fall of 1951, GFWC clubs solicited funds from schools and businesses, held food and rummage sales, and garnered positive local publicity for the Care-for-Korea campaign, which ultimately raised over $325,000 for CARE packages during the Thanksgiving season. Dorothy Houghton and Sara Whitehurst applauded this effort in The General Federation Clubwoman (Feb 1952):’ “Never in the history of the GFWC have the women been more enthusiastic over a project.  It really wiped away all ideas of isolationism and selfishness in the GFWC.  Our women were truly ‘at one’ in this great endeavor."

As a token of thanks, the Korean Federation of Women’s Clubs donated this exquisite silk and paper scroll, their message of gratitude hand-lettered in the Korean alphabet. The scroll is 83” long by 21” wide.  A translation reads in part, "With love and comradeship with the women of the United States, we represent each sorority member of Korea and their wishes to your honorable organization for sending the material that you have collected with sincerity and zeal from all over the United States.  Your honorable organization has generously offered assistance in a time when we know many of you are also dealing with pain and sadness. . .Your sons and our sons our fighting together for freedom and peace and we are thankful and proud of all of them. . .we hope our relationship continues to grow.”

To see photographs and find out more about GFWC’s long-term partnership with CARE, visit GFWC's online catalog and search for the keyword “CARE”.

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