D.H. RAMSEY LIBRARY SPECIAL COLLECTIONS
HISTORY CLUB OF ASHEVILLE 
I.     HISTORY CLUB HISTORY
  HISTORY CLUB HISTORY

The History Club started in Asheville as a weekly reading club of college women and one authoress, ten women altogether.  One member would read aloud while the others sewed.  In 1909, Mrs. V.L. Stone came "from the shores of Lake Chautauqua" and organized the club so that it became permanent.  She served as president from 1909-12.

Each member was required to write one paper a year and present it at a meeting. One of these early years the club studied United States history with topics by novelists, essayists, poets, historians, artists, statesmen, philanthropists, and newspaper writers.  Once a year a "relaxation " program at which members and their husbands dressed as teen-agers at school was enjoyed.  A quartet sang at some meetings.  Dorothy Dix journalist, sent a letter to a member who read it at the meeting.  Roll call was answered by humorous quotations from her writings. 

During and after World War I members wrote about "Our Army", "Our Navy", "Changes wrought in the life and work of women by the war", "War jobs for women in U.S.A, Canada, Great Britain," "American and world trade after the war," "Aerial warfare," "German states and Russian supremacy," "The whirlpool of race antagonisms," "Reconstruction of France and the debt we owe her," "The Great Russian Experiment," and a study of Japan's taking of Manchuria. 

After this the club wrote a novel, Dorothy of Woodlawn, set in old Virginia in 1923, each member writing a chapter serially during the year. The writers included members who had come from Michigan, South Carolina, Connecticut, California, etc.  Then members wrote short stories and read them at meetings.

The club members participated in civic and charitable work and contributed money to building of the Women's Club House.  They helped sponsor the beginning of Buncombe county's night school for the illiterates [Moonlight Schools**]. Mary Elizabeth Morris, a member, was in charge of the school for years.  They provided help for a nurse at Oteen Veteran's Hospital and worked for the Red Cross during World War I.  They also sold liberty bonds, donated books to soldiers, knitted sweater and socks for them, and distributed Christmas stockings to Oteen patients.  They made hundreds of flowers for the Rhododendron Festival.  After 1935 members contributed to and helped serve YWCA Christmas suppers and sent Christmas baskets to the Meadows sisters.  They also collected money for Armenian relief. 

The club's 30th anniversary was celebrated at the home of Mrs. Buckner.  for two years the club had a radio station COCS, over which Mrs. Harris broadcast current events.  They sponsored an art exhibit in which Mrs. Murrow and Mrs. Chambers each had a painting. 

During World War II, one member did over 400 hours of knitting, several worked in Red Cross surgical dressing rooms, four were Gray Ladies at Oteen, others worked in Travelers' Aid, Girl Scouts, and Mrs. Heffner, active in the Salvation Army, headed the Welfare Planning and Civil Defense organizations.  Due to rationing the meetings were held only once a month instead of twice a month.  For a couple of years they stopped serving tea.

 

 
  In the mid 1940's went back from having guest speakers to "the club's original purpose, the study and writing of original papers."

During 1950-51 members gave five minute sketches of their native states.

The state Federation of Women's Clubs added the study of International Relations to its program. Mr. Murrow was the District Chairman of the International Relations group.

Between 1953 and 58 the club had annual program themes such as "At home and Abroad," "Famous Women," "Life in Action."  The thirty members met the first Friday of each month.

We have a photo of the club in January 1959 celebrating its 50 anniversary.

From 1960 to 1962, the club president was Mrs. B. Floyd Moss, who also served on the national staff of the Red Cross and on the St. Joseph's Hospital Guild.  Programs ranged from a fashion show, "My Lady's Wardrobe," to "The Holy Land As I Saw It," and in the second year the programs were about Asheville featuring "Tom Wolfe, His Life and Works," "Our School Board," "Outstanding Asheville Women" and "Arts in Asheville."

Mrs. Stanley G. Saulneir was president 1962 to 1964 with one year's program theme of "Changing Trends."  This included "New Trends in Medicine," and "Changing Trends in the Status of Women." The second year's theme was "New Patterns of Thought" with a look taken at the Peace Corps and the Common Market.

President Mrs. Harry E. Anthony presided from 1964 to 1966.  The group made a visit to the Vance birthplace for one program.  The second year's theme was "Famous Women," and included women in sports, art, medicine and a final program in which each woman was asked to tell about her favorite woman.

The president from 1966 - 68 was Mrs. Ralph Eaton and the program themes were "We Study History," and "Changing Times."  The club was made up of 20 members.

Programs in 1970 to 1972 under Mrs. Paul Cassat's presidency involved the themes "Around the World in Eight Days," and "The Days of Our Lives," in which programs were based on the zodiac signs.  One luncheon was held in the Red Carpet Room of Buck's Restaurant on Tunnel Road.

From 1972 to 74 the programs were about "Life's Extras," and included gardening, architecture, public library, North Carolina Mountains, Oriental porcelain, Books Alive and antique glass.  Mrs. Robert Evans was the president.

Under Mrs. T.C. Ligon's presidency in 1974-76, Asheville's Mayor Richard Woods, Jr. spoke at one meeting on the future directions of the city.  The club also toured schools, churches, art museums and went to UNCA for a lecture on Thomas Wolfe and the South by Professor Louis Rubin, Jr. and toured Carl Sandburg's home.  In December 1975, Miss Ora Blackmun gave a program of original Christmas stories.

The theme for 1976-77 was "From These Roots," and featured program on "The First Americans," "People From the Orient," "From Moravia," and "Creoles and Cajuns." Mrs. Robert Moser was the president from 1976 to 1978 and in both years the Christmas Guest Day program was held n the parish hall of Grace Episcopal church with Christmas programs.  In 1978 the picnic luncheon was held at the Governor's Western Residence. 

Mrs. James Emily was president from 1978 to 80.  The program themes were "Islands of the World," and "Living in Nature."