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Woman's Club of Germantown records


This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Bryn Mawr College. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Summary Information

Bryn Mawr College
Woman's Club of Germantown (Philadelphia, Pa.).
Woman's Club of Germantown records
Date [inclusive]:
Call Number:
15 Linear feet (10 containers, 26 volumes)
The Woman’s Club of Germantown records document the efforts of clubwomen to engage in community and civic life in Germantown, Pennsylvania from 1917 to 1982. The collection is not complete; however, researchers will find a fair sampling of documentation, evidencing Club administration and work for most years of its existence. The collection houses meeting minutes; committee, financial and other administrative records; scrapbooks and photograph albums; and records of the Woman’s Club of Germantown Juniors.
Cite as:
Cite as Woman's Club of Germantown records, 1917-1982, Bryn Mawr College Special Collections.
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Like many other women's clubs in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the Woman's Club of Germantown organized in 1917 to participate in the social, civic, educational and philanthropic life of Germantown, Pennsylvania, and the surrounding area. According to “The First Ten Years: A History of the Woman’s Club of Germantown,” Elizabeth Wilson White initiated the organization of the club via a luncheon to which she invited Mrs. William E. Buehler, Mrs. Thomas H. Carmichael, Mrs. Francis R. Strawbridge, Mrs. Butler Reeves, Mrs. Joseph McFarland, Mrs. Walter G. Sibley, Mrs. Bayard Hodge, Mrs. Walter Penn Shipley, and Mrs. H. C. Bowden. Later these same women held a large luncheon meeting at the Young Women’s Christian Association where the plans were developed more fully. It was here that, “Mrs. H.S. Prentice Nichols presided, lending her force and clever skill in molding the enthusiasm of the hour into the firm foundation of permanent organization.” (The First Ten Years, p. 10)

This commitment to permanent organization resulted in a constitution, the purchase of the Johnson House for a clubhouse, a rapidly increasing number of members, and joining the State Federation of Pennsylvania Women. The Club also organized four standing committees: House, Program, Finance and Membership. The Johnson House was an eighteenth century historic house located in Germantown and famous for scars inflicted during the Battle of Germantown in 1777 and its later nineteenth century use as a stop on the Underground Railroad.

Almost simultaneously with the creation of the Woman’s Club of Germantown, came the First World War and the Clubwomen donated their time and resources towards the war effort. Indeed, “intensive war work was carried on by club members. . . the clubhouse served as the Germantown headquarters of the National League for Woman’s Service, [and] during the summer and fall of 1918, soldiers and sailors from government hospitals in Philadelphia were entertained each Tuesday in the garden of the club,” (Woman’s Club of Germantown 50th Anniversary Luncheon program, 1917-1967).

The end of the war brought peace and a charter granted to the Woman’s Club of Germantown on April 29, 1919. The committees of the club grew, adding a Building Committee when the discussion of an Assembly Building was raised, as well as Patriotic Committee through which Americanization work was accomplished. A Junior Section of the Woman’s Club of Germantown was established on January 7, 1920 with ten junior clubwomen.

In 1922, the Club had raised enough money to begin building an Assembly building and various events were established and made annual such as the Antiques Show, Spring Fete and Flower Show. The Club also established the Germantown Community Center which later became known as the Germantown Settlement. The Club also participated in the Sesquicentennial Celebration, hosting tourists from near and far at the Johnson House, which had been labeled a point of "historic interest."

The Club’s involvement in community and philanthropy grew and in 1935, the Club’s social service committee “financed a ‘Tot Lot’ in a congested part of Philadelphia to provide recreation for underprivileged children… [which] brought recognition from the State Federation of Pennsylvania Women in the form of a Blue Ribbon Award for social service work,” (Silver Chimes). The Junior Clubwomen were also awarded for their service.

The Club’s committees appear to have been the backbone of the Club, growing from an original four committees in 1917 to twenty four in 1927 to twenty-five in 1974. The 1974 committees included: admissions, nominating, arts and crafts, book review and library, by-laws, cancer dressings, current events, decorating and gardening, desserts, finance, friendship, Heyl Memorial, historian, house and office, Marathon Bridge, program, Spring Luncheon, hostesses, telephone, trips, ways and means, welfare and yearbook.

In 1927, the author of “The First Ten Years” states, “The Woman’s Club of Germantown is ten years old—it has seen a World War, and met the conditions of reconstruction following in its wake, it has been stirred to the past through its city’s Sesquicentennial, and adjusted its standards to the modern march of manners and morals. The next ten years may hold less or more of stirring events and subtle change, but the foundations of sympathy, integrity and practical idealism have, we trust, been laid,” (p. 34). By 1947, Mrs. Horace H. Burrell felt confident stating “the goals of the founder that ‘an organization of Germantown women could come together in a friendly way, regardless of social distinctions, and create a force that would tell in the social, civic, education and philanthropic life of Germantown’ had been accomplished.”

Scope and Contents

The Woman’s Club of Germantown records document the efforts of clubwomen to engage in community and civic life from 1917 to 1982. The collection is not complete; however, researchers will find a fair sampling of documentation evidencing Club administration and work for most years of its existence. This collection would be of use to people interested in the formation, purpose and activities of women’s clubs in the early- to mid-twentieth century, local history, and to a lesser extent, middle class community development and the voluntary efforts of women on the home front during both world wars. In addition, there is scant information pertaining to the use and preservation of a colonial-era historic house in the twentieth century. The collection is divided into six series: “Meeting Minutes,” “Committee records,” Financial records,” “General administrative records,” “Scrapbooks and photograph albums,” and “Woman’s Club of Germantown Juniors records.”

Taken together, the series, “Meeting minutes,” “Committee records,” “Financial records” and “General administrative records,” convey the life of the Club. There are minutes from Annual, Board, Executive Board, Stated and other meetings from 1917 to 1982. Board and Stated meeting minutes offer the most comprehensive coverage of Club activity in the collection, though neither set is complete. Committees represented in the second series include the Admissions, Finance, Program, Ways and Means, and Welfare Committees from 1935 to 1979. Researchers will find meeting minutes, correspondence, ephemera, financial and other records relating to committee work. Unfortunately, these records only offer sporadic coverage, with membership applications and financial materials, within the Admissions and Welfare committee records respectively, making up the largest samples of documentation in the series. The next series, “Financial records,” dates from 1921 to 1981 and is arranged into two subseries: “General financial records” and “Debenture Bond Sales.” Under “General financial records,” there are bank statements, cancelled checks, ledgers and account books, monthly financial statements, receipts or bill stubs for clubhouse utilities and various other services, and tax records. In addition, there are small numbers of papers pertaining to bequests, budgets, the Heyl and Mabel Grebe memorial funds, the Johnson House fund and treasurer’s reports. Within the “Debenture Bonds” subseries, researchers will find bond books for twenty-five, fifty and hundred dollar bonds; correspondence; legal records; and other materials related to the buying and selling of bonds. Debenture Bonds were sold by the WCG from 1922 to 1938 to raise money to help pay off their mortgage and to finance the construction of an assembly building.

Following the financial records is the series “General administrative records,” which houses wide ranging documentation of Club activity from 1918 to 1979. In particular, there is an incomplete run of annual reports or yearbooks dating from 1918 to 1969, assorted planning records associated with the annual Antique Show fundraiser from 1941 to 1966; general correspondence; datebooks or engagement books; club produced ephemera; events records; and newspaper clippings. Newspaper clippings typically pertain to club events or its use of the Johnson House as a clubhouse. In addition, there are smaller samples of material related to the construction of the assembly building; club history; the Club’s constitution and by-laws; the Johnson house, including information on its historic preservation, inclusion in the Historic American Buildings Survey in 1934, and general house history; membership; photographs; and other topics.

The “Scrapbooks and photograph albums” series consists of twenty-one scrapbooks and two photograph albums. The scrapbooks date from around 1919 to 1971, covering almost every year in between. They contain assorted club-produced ephemera and printed materials, photographs and newspaper clippings documenting many events and activities of the Club and the surrounding community. The two photograph albums are undated and contain portraits of clubwomen, probably from before 1950.

The final series is named for and houses documentation of the efforts the Woman’s Club’s subsidiary group, the “Woman’s Club of Germantown Juniors.” Organized in 1920, this group was comprised of the young women of Germantown who seem to have functioned as a distinct entity, though they were aligned with the senior Woman’s Club and shared its clubhouse. The series dates from 1929 to 1964. There are annual reports, by-laws, financial records, meeting minutes and scrapbooks. With the exception of scrapbooks, only very patchy documentation of the Juniors’ work can be found here. Despite an obvious separation in the administration of the senior and junior divisions of the Woman’s Club of Germantown, records were not necessarily always maintained separately. Researchers interested in the junior division should also consult the Woman’s Club of Germantown meeting minutes series for additional information.

Administrative Information

Publication Information

Bryn Mawr College,  2010 February 17

Finding Aid Author

Finding aid prepared by Courtney Smerz Elizabeth Reilly


The processing of this collection was made possible through generous funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, administered through the Council on Library and Information Resources’ “Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives” Project. It is minimally processed to the folder level.

Revision Description

Revised for MARC record. 2014 July 3

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

The Woman's Club of Germantown records are the physical property of the Special Collections Department, Bryn Mawr College Library. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

Gift of Johnson House of Philadelphia/Germantown Mennonite Historic Trust, 1994.

Processing Information note

The processing of this collection was made possible through generous funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, administered through the Council on Library and Information Resources’ “Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives” Project.

This collection was minimally processed in 2009-2011, as part of an experimental project conducted under the auspices of the Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries to help eliminate processing backlog in Philadelphia repositories. A minimally processed collection is one processed at a less intensive rate than traditionally thought necessary to make a collection ready for use by researchers. When citing sources from this collection, researchers are advised to defer to folder titles provided in the finding aid rather than those provided on the physical folder.

Employing processing strategies outlined in Mark Greene's and Dennis Meissner's 2005 article, More Product, Less Process: Revamping Traditional Processing Approaches to Deal With Late 20th-Century Collections, the project team tested the limits of minimal processing on collections of all types and ages, in 23 Philadelphia area repositories. A primary goal of the project, the team processed at an average rate of 2-3 hours per linear foot of records, a fraction of the time ordinarily reserved for the arrangement and description of collections. Among other time saving strategies, the project team did not extensively review the content of the collections, replace acidic folders or complete any preservation work.

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Related Materials

Separated Materials note

Volumes 22-26 are located on the second floor, aisle 13, section 8, shelf 4.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)
  • American National Red Cross.
  • National League for Woman's Service.
  • Woman's Club of Germantown (Philadelphia, Pa.).
  • Annual reports
  • Bylaws
  • Constitutions
  • Correspondence.
  • Financial records
  • Membership lists
  • Minutes
  • Photographs.
  • Scrapbooks
  • Yearbooks.
Geographic Name(s)
  • Germantown (Philadelphia, Pa.)
Personal Name(s)
  • White, Elizabeth Wilson
  • Women in charitable work.
  • Women--Societies and clubs.
  • World War I

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Collection Inventory

Series I. Meeting Minutes, 1917-1982.

Box Folder

Annual Meetings, 1975-1977.

1 1

Board Meetings, 1917-1922.

1 2

Board Meetings, 1922-1923.

1 3

Board Meetings, 1928-1934.

1 4

Board Meetings, 1942-1948.

1 5

Board Meetings, 1958-1962.

1 6

Board Meetings, 1963-1971.

1 7

Executive Board Meetings, 1971-1975.

1 8

Executive Board Meetings, 1975-1982.

1 9

Stated Meetings, 1917-1925.

1 10

Stated Meetings, 1925-1928.

1 11

Stated Meetings, 1938-1947.

1 12

Stated Meetings and other meetings, 1955-1962.

1 13

Stated Meetings, 1963-1971.

1 14

Stated Meetings, 1971-1975.

1 15

Various Meetings, 1929-1937.

2 1

Various Meetings, 1937-1943.

2 2

Various Meetings, 1957, 1960-1967.

2 3

Series II. Committee Records, 1935-1979.

Box Folder

Admissions Committee, meeting minutes, 1958-1977.

2 4

Admissions Committee, meeting minutes and other papers, 1973-1975.

2 5

Admissions Committee, correspondence, notes and other papers, circa 1967-1979.

2 6

Admissions Committee, new members elected, 1946-1968.

2 7

Admissions Committee, membership applications, circa 1956-1962.

2 8

Admissions Committee, membership applications, circa 1963-1977.

2 9

Finance Committee, meeting minutes, 1935-1945.

2 10

Finance Committee, meeting minutes, 1969-1979.

2 11

Program Committee, circa 1969-1971, 1972.

2 12

Program Committee, circa 1971-1974.

2 13

Program Committee, 1973.

2 14

Ways and Means Committee, receipts and bills, 1971-1977.

2 15

Welfare Committee, circa 1964-1967.

2 16

Welfare Committee, circa 1967-1974.

2 17

Welfare Committee, financial statements, reports and notes, circa 1960-1966.

3 1

Welfare Committee, financial records, 1972-1974.

3 2

Welfare Committee, financial statements, reports and notes, 1972-1976.

3 3

Welfare Committee, bank statements, 1958-1962.

3 4

Welfare Committee, bank statements, 1963-1968.

3 5

Series III. Financial Records, 1921-1981.

Subseries a. General Financial Records, 1921-1981.

Box Folder

Financial records, 1922-1976, undated.

3 6

Financial records, 1955-1956.

3 7

Financial records, 1955-1958.

3 8

Auditor's papers, 1964-1976.

3 9

Bank statements and deposits, 1957-1960.

3 10

Bank statements and deposits, 1966-1969.

3 11

Bank statements and deposits, 1970-1973.

3 12

Bank statements, bonds, 1970-1974.

3 13

Bank statements, 1973-1974.

3 14

Bequests, 1920-1942, undated.

3 15

Budgets, 1970-1977.

3 16

Cancelled checks, 1933-1942.

3 17

Cancelled checks, 1959-1965.

3 18

Cancelled checks, 1966-1969.

3 19

Cancelled checks, 1969-1972.

4 1

Cancelled checks, 1973-1974.

4 2

Check stubs, 1958-1961.

4 3

Check stubs, 1963-1968.

4 4

Check stubs, 1968-1972.

4 5

General journal, 1931-1932.

4 6

Heyl Memorial Fund, circa 1964-1976.

4 7

Johnson House Fund, circa 1960-1966.

4 8

Ledger, circa 1921-1927.

4 9

Ledger or Account book for "Social Service of the Woman's Club of Germantown", 1930-1934.

4 10

Ledger or account book, circa 1960-1965.


Ledger or account book, 1965-1970.

Box Folder

Mabel Grebe Memorial Fund, donations, 1981.

4 11

Monthly financial statements, circa 1964-1969.

4 12

Monthly financial statements, 1970-1977.

4 13

Receipts or bill stubs, Commonwealth Land Title Insurance Company, 1963, 1965.

4 14

Receipts or bill stubs, McWilliams Pest Control, 1969-1978.

4 15

Receipts or bill stubs, Pioneer Press, 1958-1960.

4 16

Receipts or bill stubs, property contractors, 1968-1969.

4 17

Receipts or bill stubs, property contractor Melvin H. Grebe Jr., 1968-1969.

4 18

Receipts or bill stubs, safe deposit box, 1970-1976.

4 19

Receipts or bill stubs, utility bills - electricity and gas, 1957-1960.

4 20

Receipts or bill stubs, utility bills - electricity, circa 1965-1974.

4 21

Receipts or bill stubs, utility bills - gas, 1969-1977.

4 22

Receipts or bill stubs, utility bills - heat, 1970-1979.

4 23

Receipts or bill stubs, utility bills - telephone, 1969-1977.

4 24

Receipts or bill stubs, utility bills - water and sewer, 1966-1978.

4 25

Receipts or bill stubs, Victor Printing, 1968-1977.

4 26

Receipts or bill stubs, 1:3, circa 1957-1960.

5 1

Receipts or bill stubs, 2:3, circa 1957-1960.

5 2

Receipts or bill stubs, 3:3, circa 1957-1960.

5 3

Receipts or bill stubs, 1971-1976.

5 4

Receipts or bill stubs, 1972-1973.

5 5

Tax records, circa 1953-1955.

5 6

Tax records, including water rent receipts, 1920-1944, undated.

5 7

Tax records, includes receipts related to income, social security, unemployment, property and others, 1956-1960.

5 8

Tax records, including 990 forms and other related papers, 1964-1970.

5 9
Tax records, 1964-1972.
Restricted Access

This file contains social security numbers.

5 10

Treasurer's reports, 1957-1958.

5 11

Subseries b. Debenture Bonds, 1922-1942.


$25 Bond book, 1922-1938.


$50 Bond book, 1922-1938.


$100 Bond book, 1922-1938.

Box Folder

Correspondence, legal records and other notes related to buying and selling bonds, 1922-1942, undated.

5 12

Correspondence related to buying and selling bonds, 1930.

5 13

Correspondence and lists of [bonds purchased], 1930-1931, undated.

5 14

Correspondence and other records related to sale of bonds, 1932-1942, undated.

5 15

Bond transfer slips, 1924-1937.

5 16

Bond certificates (paid bonds), 1940-1941.

5 17

NOT Debenture bonds, war bonds sold, 1943-1944.

5 18

Series IV. General administrative records, 1918-1979.

Box Folder

American Red Cross, includes instructions for knitting various apparel, 1968-1971, undated.

5 19

Annual report or yearbook, 1918-1924.

5 20

Annual report or yearbook, 1924-1927, 1935-1937, 1940.

5 21

Annual report or yearbook, 1944-1954.

5 22

Annual report or yearbook, 1965-1969.

5 23

Antique Show, scrapbook, 1941-1950.

6 1

Antique Show, correspondence, 1947.

6 2

Antique Show, 1:3, circa 1949-1956.

6 3

Antique Show, 2:3, circa 1949-1956.

6 4

Antique Show, 3:3, circa 1949-1956.

6 5

Antique Show, 1:2, 1959-1960.

6 6

Antique Show, 2:2, 1959-1960.

6 7

Antique Show, 1961.

6 8

Antique Show, 1:2, 1962.

6 9

Antique Show, 2:2, 1962.

6 10

Antique Show, 1964.

6 11

Antique Show, circa 1962-1966.

6 12

Book, "Dickel and the Penguin" by Elsa Koenig Nitzsche, 1924.

6 13

Building plans, measured drawings and invitation, 1922, 1953.

6 14

Citations and certificates of membership, including General Federation of Women's Clubs, 1923, 1931, 1932, 1944, 1945, undated.

6 15

Club history, including short reports and notes created by the "official" club historian, 1968-1969, undated.

6 16

Constitution and by-laws of Woman's Club of Germantown, 1917, 1919, 1928, 1938, undated.

6 17

Correspondence, 1917-1940, undated.

6 18

Correspondence, 1943-1979, undated.

6 19

Correspondence and other papers related to Women's Association of Methodist Hospital, circa 1968-1971.

6 20

Datebook or engagement book, 1956-1957.

7 1

Datebook or engagement book, 1958-1959.

7 2

Datebook or engagement book, 1961, 1965, 1975-1977.

7 3

Ephemera and other printed materials, event programs, 1922-1927.

7 4

Ephemera and other printed materials, "The First Ten Years: A History of the Woman's Club of Germantown", 1927.

7 5

Ephemera and other printed materials, "Silver Chimes: A Retrospect of the Woman's Club of Germantown", 1942.

7 6

Ephemera and other printed materials, 50th anniversary luncheon program, 1967.

7 7

Ephemera and other printed materials, Miscellaneous ephemera, 1918-1919, 1922-1923, 1932-1933, 1964, 1967, undated.

7 8

Ephemera and other printed materials, lists of officers, committees, membership and events calendar, 1969-1975, 1977.

7 9

Ephemera and other printed materials, NOT Woman's Club of Germantown, 1922, 1926, 1929, 1951, 1961.

7 10

Events, 1922-1976, undated.

7 11

Events, Anniversary tea, 1967.

7 12

Events, Charter luncheon, 1921, 1977.

7 13

Events, Sailor's party, includes photographs, 1918.

7 14

Events, scrapbook, 1917-1921.

7 15

Girl Scouts of Philadelphia, program planning instructions, [1951].

7 16

[Guestbook], 1926.

7 17

Johnson House, 1923-1979, undated.

7 18

Johnson House, photographs, undated, [circa 1930, 1950].

7 19

Membership, alphabetical index, circa 1944-1955.

8 1

Mortgage papers for 6300 Germantown Avenue, 1935.

8 2

Newspaper clippings, 1:3, circa 1917-1965.

8 3

Newspaper clippings, 2:3, circa 1917-1965.

8 4

Newspaper clippings, 3:3, circa 1917-1965.

8 5

Notebook containing membership list and financial information, circa 1920.

8 6

Pennsylvania Federation of Women's Clubs, directory, 1968-1969.

8 7

Philadelphia Federation of Women's Clubs, 1941-1942, 1974-1976.

8 8

Photographs of "tree walkers" and Woman's Club of Germantown events, 1941, undated.

8 9

Rental properties, 1957.

8 10

Miscellaneous notes, lists and other unidentified papers, 1922, 1934, 1955, undated.

8 11

Series V. Scrapbooks and photograph albums, 1919-1971, undated.

Box Folder

(Compiled later), circa 1919-1953.

8 12


8 13

1926-1931, 1926-1931.

8 14

The Contributor: A Talking Magazine, 1934.

8 15

1:2, 1934-1935.


2:2, 1934-1935.









Box Folder

Memories of the Silver Anniversary Luncheon, 1942.

8 16




Box Folder


9 1


9 2


Box Folder

circa 1962-1973.

9 3

Acceptances and guest book from 50th Anniversary Tea, 1967.

9 4


Box Folder

"History of the Woman's Club of Germantown, 1917-1971", circa 1971.

9 5

Photograph album, undated.


Photograph album, undated.


Series VI. Woman's Club of Germantown Juniors records, 1929-1964.

Box Folder

Annual reports, 1929-1932, 1934, 1935, 1937-1938, 1949-1951.

9 6

By-laws and amendments to by-laws, undated.

9 7

Financial records, cash receipts and disbursements, 1933-1936.

9 8

Financial statements, bank statements and other related records, 1955-1959.

9 9

Financial records, treasurer's reports, 1958-1960.

9 10

Financial statements, bank statements, receipts and other related records, circa 1960-1962.

9 11

Financial statements, bank statements, receipts and other related records, 1962-1964.

9 12

Cancelled checks, 1948-1955.

9 13

Cancelled checks, 1955-1961.

10 1

Check stubs, 1943-1949.

10 2

Check stubs, 1961-1964.

10 3

Minutes, various meetings, 1929-1933.

10 4

Minutes, stated meetings and board meetings, 1947-1952.

10 5

Scrapbook, 1937-1938.


Scrapbook, 1938-1939.


Scrapbook, 1939-1940.


Scrapbook, 1940-1941.


Scrapbook, 1941.

Box Folder

Scrapbook, 1946-1947.

10 6

Scrapbook, 1947-1948.

Box Folder

Scrapbook, 1948-1949.

10 7

Scrapbook, 1949-1950.

Box Folder

Scrapbook, 1950-1951.

10 8

Scrapbook, 1951-1952.

Box Folder

Scrapbook, 1952-1953.

10 9

Scrapbook, 1953-1954.

Box Folder

Scrapbook, 1955-1956.

10 10

Scrapbook, 1958-1959.

10 11

Scrapbook, 1960-1961.