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Notable Clubwomen

Jane Cunningham Croly (1829-1901) 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 (1819-1910) 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 Curtis Demorest (1824-1898), 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 (1839-1898) 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 (1860-1935) 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 (1858-1932) 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 (1853-1931) graduated from Vassar College in 1873 and taught Botany and French at Vassar until 1875. She was active in several women’s organizations including the General Federation of Women’s Clubs and the Wednesday Club. In 1916, Moore became President of the National Council of Women and served at this post for nine years. Moore also participated in several historical events. For example, she represented the Board of Lady Managers on the Superior Jury of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition; earned a presidential appointment to the eleven-member Women’s Committee of the Council of National Defense; and, became very active in the League of Women Voters during the suffragist movement.  In addition to these posts, Moore served as GFWC president from 1908-1912.        

Mary Belle King Sherman (1862-1935), known as the "National Park Lady" because of her dedication to the preservation of America's scenic beauty, aided in the creation of the National Park Service in 1916.  Sherman later served as GFWC President from 1924-28, and encouraged clubwomen to pursue conservation efforts, which resulted in the establishment of six national parks.    

Nellie Tayloe Ross (1876-1977) became the first female governor when she was inaugurated in Wyoming in 1924. Following her two year term, Ross served as a Wyoming committeewoman and vice chairman to the Democratic National Committee (DNC). In 1933, Ross became the first woman to be appointed Director of the United States Mint, and she remained in this position until 1952. Ross was also a past president of the Woman's Club of Cheyenne.    

Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) 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 (UN) and drafted the Declaration of Human Rights while chairing the Human Rights Commission for the UN. She was an 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 (1868-1943) was president of the Woman’s Century Club from 1918-1920, and a member of the Women's University Club of Seattle,  president of the Washington State League of Women Voters, and president of the Seattle City Federation of Women’s Clubs. Landes was later elected to the Seattle City Council in 1922, and two years later, she was elected Council President. In 1926, after many accomplishments on the Seattle City Council, Landes was elected mayor of Seattle, becoming the first woman to be elected mayor of a major city.

Ellen S. Woodward (1887-1971) was an active member of the Mississippi Federation of Women’s Clubs. She had an active political career, focusing most of her efforts on economic security for women. Woodward first entered politics in 1925, when she was elected to the Mississippi State Legislature.  She later served as a member of the State Board of Public Welfare in Mississippi. Woodward was appointed several federal positions during the Roosevelt Administration. She first served as assistant to Harry Hopkins in the Federal Emergency Relief Administrations (FERA) and was later appointed Administrator of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in 1935. Three years later, Woodward was appointed to the three-member Social Security Board by President Roosevelt and served until its abolishment in 1946. She was also a member of the U.S. delegation to the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration after World War II.    

Margaret Chase Smith (1897-1995) was an active member of GFWC in Skowhegan, Maine and became president of her local club at age 25.  Smith held political office in Maine for a total of 33 years (1940-1973). She was first elected as State Representative and later became Senator. Smith was the first woman to ever be elected to both Houses of Congress, and in 1964, she became the first woman to campaign for the presidential nomination of a major political party.

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