Founded in 1984, the GFWC Women’s History and Resource Center (WHRC) collects, preserves, interprets, and promotes the history of GFWC. The WHRC documents the social and political contributions of GFWC clubwomen from 1890 to the present through the GFWC archives and related special collections. Our holdings are available for research by clubwomen, academics, and the general public.

The WHRC collections encompass GFWC’s institutional archives, including convention records, files related to our programs and leadership, and “Clubwoman” magazine (and its predecessors). We hold a robust photograph and audio-visual collection, as well as GFWC ephemera, memorabilia, and the art and artifacts that furnish our historic Headquarters building. We also maintain a reference library collection focused on women’s history, the woman’s club movement, and the history of volunteerism.

Please note: While we do have many state- and club-level archival and photographic materials, we do not maintain official records for State Federations or local clubs, or for outside organizations.

Research at the WHRC

Learn more about the collections, request research assistance, or make an appointment to visit in person. To inquire about a potential donation, please email us with details: whrc@gfwc.org

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The Latest WHRC News
Why is Edna St. Vincent Millay peeking out from our copy of her 1917 work “Renascence”? The third Wednesday in July is Take Your Poet to Work Day! Millay was the first Poet Laureate of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs, serving 1933-1935. Our Division of Poetry was extremely active in the 1920s and 1930s, resulting in a robust “state poetry collection” – including this volume of Millay’s work, donated circa 1930 by the Methabesic Club of Rockland, Maine (Millay’s birthplace) - as well as a roster of state and national Poet Laureates.  Head to the GFWC Facebook page to learn more about the Division of Poetry and the push for poetry appreciation amongst our members. And now you have a year to think about what poet *you'll* bring with you to work (or play) in July 2025!  #ClubwomenInHistory #TakeYourPoetToWorkDay

Why is Edna St. Vincent Millay peeking out from our copy of her 1917 work “Renascence”? The third Wednesday in July is Take Your Poet to Work Day! Millay was the first Poet Laureate of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs, serving 1933-1935. Our Division of Poetry was extremely active in the 1920s and 1930s, resulting in a robust “state poetry collection” – including this volume of Millay’s work, donated circa 1930 by the Methabesic Club of Rockland, Maine (Millay’s birthplace) – as well as a roster of state and national Poet Laureates.

Head to the GFWC Facebook page to learn more about the Division of Poetry and the push for poetry appreciation amongst our members. And now you have a year to think about what poet *you`ll* bring with you to work (or play) in July 2025!

#ClubwomenInHistory #TakeYourPoetToWorkDay

The GFWC 2024-2026 Administration is officially underway, with the installation of our 55th International President, Suellen B. Brazil of Alabama, at the conclusion of last week's annual convention. Like the folks shown here, we're pretty excited!  ...But this is the *history* page for GFWC, so while there have been plenty of celebratory present-day photos on our other social media accounts, the WHRC has to find a way to take it back a bit. Happily, since Suellen has a been a GFWC member and leader since 1973, there's no problem.  This delightful photograph was featured in the January-February 1983 issue of "GFWC Clubwoman," illustrating Suellen's story of serving as a counselor to eleven Hugh O'Brien Youth (HOBY) Foundation International Leadership Seminar Ambassadors. The photo was also chosen for inclusion in "Reaching Out," the definitive history of GFWC (published for our centennial in 1990) by Mary Jean Houde, as an example of GFWC's important work during the 1982-1984 administration of GFWC International President Juanita Bryant. (We think this picture also nicely exemplifies Suellen's 2024-2026 theme: "Educate, Engage, Empower.")  📷 Suellen B. Brazil (far left), Junior Chairman, GFWC Education Department, "with some of 'her' Ambassadors" at the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, August 1982. From "GFWC Clubwoman," Vol. 61, No. 4, January/February 1983  #ClubwomenInAction #WelcomeSuellen

The GFWC 2024-2026 Administration is officially underway, with the installation of our 55th International President, Suellen B. Brazil of Alabama, at the conclusion of last week`s annual convention. Like the folks shown here, we`re pretty excited!

…But this is the *history* page for GFWC, so while there have been plenty of celebratory present-day photos on our other social media accounts, the WHRC has to find a way to take it back a bit. Happily, since Suellen has a been a GFWC member and leader since 1973, there`s no problem.

This delightful photograph was featured in the January-February 1983 issue of "GFWC Clubwoman," illustrating Suellen`s story of serving as a counselor to eleven Hugh O`Brien Youth (HOBY) Foundation International Leadership Seminar Ambassadors. The photo was also chosen for inclusion in "Reaching Out," the definitive history of GFWC (published for our centennial in 1990) by Mary Jean Houde, as an example of GFWC`s important work during the 1982-1984 administration of GFWC International President Juanita Bryant. (We think this picture also nicely exemplifies Suellen`s 2024-2026 theme: "Educate, Engage, Empower.")

📷 Suellen B. Brazil (far left), Junior Chairman, GFWC Education Department, "with some of `her` Ambassadors" at the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, August 1982. From "GFWC Clubwoman," Vol. 61, No. 4, January/February 1983

#ClubwomenInAction #WelcomeSuellen

The WHRC is in Chicago! Did you know that this city is home to the world’s tallest structure designed by a woman? The 101-story St. Regis, completed in 2020, was designed by architect Jeanne Gang (an Illinois native).

The WHRC is in Chicago! Did you know that this city is home to the world’s tallest structure designed by a woman? The 101-story St. Regis, completed in 2020, was designed by architect Jeanne Gang (an Illinois native).

Our exploration of 1920s Federation Fashion continues! Today we have the members of the Larkin Woman's Club of Florida (founded in 1912) posed outside their "old club house" in 1925.  The handwritten caption notes that the club was "afterwards" (and is still today) known as Coco Plum Woman's Club. Their website tells us that the first clubhouse, shown here, "was built by club husbands" and was dedicated in 1914. The club joined the Florida Federation in 1915 and GFWC in 1917; they reincorporated as Coco Plum in 1926, shortly after their new clubhouse (which today is on the National Register of Historic Places) was built.  Only a few of our clubhouse photos - most donated in the 1930s, when we made a push to collect them for posterity - include the proud club women along with their beloved building; that makes this image all the more special. The donor, Mrs. Sollitt, added an arrow pointing to herself (third from left), but if anyone at @cocoplumwomansclub wants to hazard a guess at some of the women's names, please reach out so we can update our files!  Clubhouse Photo collection, gift of Mrs. Oliver Sollitt. CP FL 023  #Clubwomeninhistory #FederationFashion

Our exploration of 1920s Federation Fashion continues! Today we have the members of the Larkin Woman`s Club of Florida (founded in 1912) posed outside their "old club house" in 1925.

The handwritten caption notes that the club was "afterwards" (and is still today) known as Coco Plum Woman`s Club. Their website tells us that the first clubhouse, shown here, "was built by club husbands" and was dedicated in 1914. The club joined the Florida Federation in 1915 and GFWC in 1917; they reincorporated as Coco Plum in 1926, shortly after their new clubhouse (which today is on the National Register of Historic Places) was built.

Only a few of our clubhouse photos – most donated in the 1930s, when we made a push to collect them for posterity – include the proud club women along with their beloved building; that makes this image all the more special. The donor, Mrs. Sollitt, added an arrow pointing to herself (third from left), but if anyone at @cocoplumwomansclub wants to hazard a guess at some of the women`s names, please reach out so we can update our files!

Clubhouse Photo collection, gift of Mrs. Oliver Sollitt. CP FL 023

#Clubwomeninhistory #FederationFashion

For today's "roaring 20s" fashion exploration, we have the high hemlines, cloche hats, and cute shoes that we expect of the decade, thanks to two teenaged attendees of the 1928 GFWC convention.  This slightly-crumpled newspaper clipping was found in a scrapbook dedicated to the 1928 Biennial in San Antonio, Texas. The caption reads, "Pictured here are two of the youngest of the future club women in attendance at the 19th biennial convention… They are Mary Elizabeth and Louise Fagg of Greenville [Texas], whose mother, Mrs. C.A. Fagg, is president of the third district. Mary Elizabeth will serve as a page during the convention.”  A little research tells us that Mary Elizabeth and Louise moved to New York City as young women - Mary Elizabeth is listed as a "fashion editor" in the 1940 census, very on theme - and while Louise returned to Texas (and belonged to the Lubbock Woman's Club), Mary Elizabeth continued her journalism career with several decades as, among other assignments, the Time-Life Bureau Chief in Mexico.  #clubwomeninhistory #federationfashion #GFWCTexas

For today`s "roaring 20s" fashion exploration, we have the high hemlines, cloche hats, and cute shoes that we expect of the decade, thanks to two teenaged attendees of the 1928 GFWC convention.

This slightly-crumpled newspaper clipping was found in a scrapbook dedicated to the 1928 Biennial in San Antonio, Texas. The caption reads, "Pictured here are two of the youngest of the future club women in attendance at the 19th biennial convention… They are Mary Elizabeth and Louise Fagg of Greenville [Texas], whose mother, Mrs. C.A. Fagg, is president of the third district. Mary Elizabeth will serve as a page during the convention.”

A little research tells us that Mary Elizabeth and Louise moved to New York City as young women – Mary Elizabeth is listed as a "fashion editor" in the 1940 census, very on theme – and while Louise returned to Texas (and belonged to the Lubbock Woman`s Club), Mary Elizabeth continued her journalism career with several decades as, among other assignments, the Time-Life Bureau Chief in Mexico.

#clubwomeninhistory #federationfashion #GFWCTexas

It's time to join another #ArchivesHashtagParty! To be honest, our #ArchivesPets content is a bit lacking... but "Clubwoman" Magazine comes to the rescue with this cover photo from October 1957, a Community Affairs-centered issue.  📷"On our cover: The most important part of our community is the child, for it is she who will guide and control the community of the future. Creating a secure home atmosphere, a healthy outlook on life, offering spiritual training and guidance, and establishing libraries and recreational facilities, are part of community growth we must constantly nurture." 
-"General Federation Clubwoman," Vol. 37 No. 7  #clubwomeninaction

It`s time to join another #ArchivesHashtagParty! To be honest, our #ArchivesPets content is a bit lacking… but "Clubwoman" Magazine comes to the rescue with this cover photo from October 1957, a Community Affairs-centered issue.

📷"On our cover: The most important part of our community is the child, for it is she who will guide and control the community of the future. Creating a secure home atmosphere, a healthy outlook on life, offering spiritual training and guidance, and establishing libraries and recreational facilities, are part of community growth we must constantly nurture."
-"General Federation Clubwoman," Vol. 37 No. 7

#clubwomeninaction

It's a sad fact that our 1920s photos fail to show the full technicolor glory of GFWC fashions from that era. Problematic when using them to plan your Roaring 20s attire! Never fear, we'll intersperse our black-and-white examples with appropriate illustrations, such as these ladies from the 1923 Butterick patterns summer catalog. If you had to choose, would you go with the blue or the yellow?  GFWC historical note: Clubwoman Ellen Demorest (1824-1898) is often credited as the true inventor of paper patterns... but as she never took steps to protect her innovation, the Butterick name is the one we know today.

It`s a sad fact that our 1920s photos fail to show the full technicolor glory of GFWC fashions from that era. Problematic when using them to plan your Roaring 20s attire! Never fear, we`ll intersperse our black-and-white examples with appropriate illustrations, such as these ladies from the 1923 Butterick patterns summer catalog. If you had to choose, would you go with the blue or the yellow?

GFWC historical note: Clubwoman Ellen Demorest (1824-1898) is often credited as the true inventor of paper patterns… but as she never took steps to protect her innovation, the Butterick name is the one we know today.