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History

Our Purpose

To broaden and strengthen the moral, social and intellectual life of the members, and through them, to make itself a power for good in the community. (Club bylaws, Article 1: Section 2)

Our Roots

Since 1926, the Salem Area Women's Club (SAWC) has worked locally to be the power of good in our community, making a difference through philanthropy and outreach programs while fostering connections, awareness, and life-long friendships. SAWC currently stands at 100+ members strong and has donated more than $40,000 to nearly 50 organizations throughout the past year.

 

SAWC is a proud affiliate of the General Federation of Women's Clubs (GFWC) and GFWC-New Hampshire.

  • Founded in 1890, GFWC is an International women's organization dedicated to community improvement by enhancing the lives of others through volunteer service. Collectively, we are Living the Volunteer Spirit.​

  • GFWC-NH's purpose is to bring together all General, Junior, and Juniorette Clubs in the State for cooperation and mutual helpfulness and to promote the highest interest of the community and State.  SAWC is considered a 'General' Club.

Our Story

As our club prepares to celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2026, we will continue learning about our organization's rich history.  If you have any stories, documents, photos, etc., about SAWC, please email SalemAreaWomensClub@gmail.com.  We'd love to add your story to ours.  

We've obtained membership lists from the 1930-1990s.  Please feel free to review the .pdfs to find friends, neighbors, and relatives.

1930s  1940s  1950s  1960s  1970s  1980s  1990s

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE SALEM WOMAN'S CLUB

1926-1931

WRITTEN BY MISS MILDRED WHEELER

On the afternoon of February 15, 1926 a group of women interested in forming a woman's club in Salem met at Wade's barn (now Dr. Kellett's office) to discuss the organization.

Mrs. Alta McDuffee of Alton, NH, past president of the state federation was present and gave facts concerning the work and ideals of the State and General Federations. No organization was undertaken at this time, but a membership committee and a committee to draft a constitution and by-laws were appointed.

The second meeting of the proposed club was held in the same place on the afternoon of February twenty-second. Mrs. Eva Speare, president of the State Federation was present and gave much help and information. The constitution as drawn up by the committee previously appointed was read and adopted, the first article of which states that the club shall be called the Salem Woman's Club and shall be federated with the State and General Federations. In accordance with the constitution a nominating committee was chosen. Thus the Salem Woman's Club was organized as such on February 22, 1926. At this time it was voted to hold the meetings the first Monday afternoon of each month from October to May inclusive.

 

The first regular meeting of the club was held on March first of that year when the following list of officers was submitted by the nominating committee:

President: Mrs. Alice Noyes Brown

1st Vice President: Mrs. Esther P. French

2nd Vice President: Mrs. Jennie I. Kine

Recording Secretary: M.M. Wheeler

Corresponding Secretary: Mrs. Margurite A. Nutting

Treasurer: Mrs. Esther E. Seifert

Board of Directors: Mrs. Nellie E. Parker, Mrs. Flora A, Doble and Mrs. Annie Sleeper

There were one hundred charter members. The club became federated on May 4, 1926.

During its first year, our club was represented at the State Federation meeting, the field meeting in Nashua and at the District Conference in Derry.

We were entertained by the Windham Woman's Club, the Men's Club of the Methodist chuch at Ayers Village, Massachusetts and the Derry Woman's Club.

A club field meeting was held at Mrs. Wheeler's when Mrs.Flora Spalding of Manchester was the honor guest.

 

The club supervised a fashion show which was conducted by Wm Filene's Son's Co. of Boston and held in the auditorium.  Club members and Woodbury High School students acted as models.This show was held in conjunction with the Domestic Arts Department of the high school. We also gained much from a color clinic the following spring which was given by a representative of the same company. Mrs. Foisie of Pelham entertained the club at its second field meeting when the Milford Woman's Club members were our guests.

The club membership for the first year was 103.

 

Practically the same officers were elected for the year 1927- 1928.

Before the club year really began Mrs. Brown resigned and Mrs. Ruth F. Wade was elected to be president.

It was during this year that a fine sum was realized from the so-called vanishing parties.

Three hundred dollars was raised by our club help in for saving Franconia Notch through the earnest efforts of our committee.

The club was represented at the State Federation meeting and at the District Conference at Hollis.

The club sponsored the Banquet for the Girls Basket Ball team of Woodbury High School.

The membership for this year was 61.

Mrs. Esther P. French was elected to be president for the year 1928-29.

 

Members attended the field meeting at Durham, the District Conference at Milford and the New England Conference held at Swamscott, Massachusetts.

A style show was conducted by Jordan Marsh Co. of Boston which was carried out in a similar manner to the one the previous year.

Again this year the club sponsored the Banquet for the Girls Basket Ball team.  These proved to be very pleasing affair although not successful in a financial way and because it seemed very hard to arouse enough interest among the parents, it has seemed unwise to continue them.

The club members made a pilgrimage to the Meadowbrook Laundry and by so doing received a liberal amount of money to be used for charity.

The club membership for this year was 58.

Mrs. French was also president during the next year when there were the usual activities.

 

Members attended the Field Meeting at Hampton Beach and the District Conference at Manchester.

 

A fashion show was conducted by Jordan Marsh Co. Members and high school students acting as models. The membership for this year was 42. This, our present club year bids fair to compare favourably with the other years of our club. Our president, Mrs. Marion P. Gonnam is doing splendidly.

 

The proceeds of several successful card parties have added to the treasury and the usual club activities are being carried out. Our program committee departed from the ordinary and we are enjoying papers by our own members on the subject "Men and Things of the Granite State".

 

Throughout our five years we have had quite varied programs and many speakers among whom were Mr. Ernest Silver, pricipal of Plymouth Normal School and Mr. J. Wm. Crowell, both native sons, each giving an interesting and instructive talk before the club.

 

Others who have spoken are Judge Alden Alby, Mr. Winthrop Carter, president of the Nashua Horticultural Society, Miss Meda Cree, superintendant of a Massachusetts Training School, Mrs. Eva Reed of the State Board of Charities and Correction, Miss Elena Crough, who spoke on District Nursing, Mrs. Eggleston who gave us much of interest concerning China, Mrs. V. N. Sikorsky who told us about Russia and Mr. Walter Hale who gave an illustrated lecture on "Forestry".

We have held several successful bakery sales and three flower shows when a surprisingly large display of flowers were exhibited.

 

We have entertained all State Presidents since we became federated, Mrs. Sara Simpson chairman of the State Federation music committee has also been our guest. During the year that Mrs. Speare laid such stress on the preservation of historical folk tales, our club members contributed several of interest.

Through the educational fund of the State Federation, a Woodbury High School graduate is receiving normal school aid. This is a very worthwhile and worthy case.

At holiday time, the club does much to aid needy failies with food and clothing. This is ably cared for by our Civics Committee.

Each year, this club gives help at the locall Baby Clinics which are conducted by the State Board of Health.

SAWC received this document in 2022. It is unclear whether the spelling or grammatical errors present in it were made by the original author or occurred when it was retyped at a later time. Regardless of their origin, they serve as a reminder of a time before the advent of computers and spellcheckers.

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