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A Guide to the Records of the Melrose Woman's Club

Finding aid created by Katherine Walters

University of Florida Smathers Libraries - Special and Area Studies Collections
March 2007

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Melrose Woman's Club (Fla.)
Title: Records of the Melrose Woman's Club
Dates: 1891-1974
Abstract: Records (including minutes, membership rosters, secretary and treasurer reports, questionnaires, etc.) of the Melrose Woman's Club, previously the Literary and Debating Society.
Extent: 1 Linear feet. 2 boxes.
Identification: Ms 70
Language(s): English

Biographical/Historical Note

The Melrose Woman's Club was established as the Literary and Debating Society in 1890. It was one of the first women's clubs in Florida, founded by women who moved to the area of Melrose from New England. In 1893, carpenter E.L. Judd built the hall where the Literary and Debating Society conducted their meetings. In 1946 this building became the Melrose Woman's Club. The hall is still used by the group and in 1978 it was listed on the National Register of Historical Places.

The Literary and Debating Society created the Improvement Society for Melrose in 1891 and in 1895 opened its library for public use. The women met to listen to speakers and debate on topics such as equal rights, music, education and finance. The club had annual luncheons and conducted fundraising events for the community. In 1959 the club took on the responsibility of sponsoring the public library. The club's general purpose is the "literary, educational, civic, and social improvement of members and of the community."

Scope and Content

The collection includes the minutes from 1891-1963, questionnaires from 1955, 1957, 1962-66 and a file of miscellaneous records from 1970-74. The minutes from 1891-1904 are on loose-leaf paper, organized chronologically. These minutes include records of the first elections of officers, dues paid, membership rosters, and literature lists. In particular, the 1891 minutes include transcripts of talks given to the group on women's rights, marriage laws, and equal education and employment for men and women. The minutes also detail fundraising efforts for constructing the new hall, completed in 1893. The minutes from 1908-1963 are in ledgers, organized chronologically. These include descriptions of debate topics, details on the annual luncheons, fundraising and donation details, membership rosters, election results, and discussions on the sponsorship of the public library. The questionnaires detail the group's activities during 1955-57, 1962-66. These include mostly service-orientated activities such as general beautification projects and the group's scholarship fund. The miscellaneous folder contains two copies of the Articles of Incorporation dated 1970 and three booklets that contain the calendar of events from 1972-1974.

Access or Use Restrictions


The collection is open for research.

Related or Separated Material

The correspondence of Elizabeth Holmes Orr in the Orr Family Papers may be of interest to researchers, as Mrs. Orr maintained a winter residence in Melrose.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Records of the Melrose Woman's Club, Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.

Contents List

1 Minutes (on loose-leaf paper). 1891-1904
2 Minutes (in notebook/ledger). 1908-1946
2 Minutes (in notebook/ledger). 1951-1952
2 Minutes (in notebook/ledger). 1955-1963
2 Questionnaires. 1955, 1957, 1962-1966
2 Miscellaneous. 1970-1974

Selected Subjects and Access Terms

Melrose (Fla.) -- History.
Women -- Florida -- Societies and clubs.

For further information, please contact: Special Collections Access Services.

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