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Conversational Club of Norristown papers

M140

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

Repository:
Bryn Mawr College
Creator:
Conversational Club of Norristown.
Title:
Conversational Club of Norristown papers
Date [inclusive]:
1885-2013
Call Number:
M140
Extent:
4 Boxes
Language:
English
Abstract:
The Conversational Club of Norristown is a women’s education club founded in 1885 that continues to meet today whose purpose is the “Study of History, Literature, and Art, and the promotion of intelligent thought and conversation.” The collection of the club’s papers consists of records of the meetings and activities of the club from 1885 to 2013 primarily in the forms of minutes, programs, correspondence, and other sources collected by the club.
Cite as:
The Conversational Club of Norristown papers, Special Collections Department, Bryn Mawr College Library.
PDF Version:

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Biography/History

The Conversational Club of Norristown is a women’s education club founded in 1885 by Isabella Smith. Under her direction, the members met unofficially until October 1887 when they adopted a constitution. The club’s purpose was the “Study of History, Literature, and Art, and the promotion of intelligent thought and conversation.” The group held weekly meetings from November to March where members explored an agreed upon topic for the current year. These topics were split into sections for individual meetings. At each meeting, two members gave essay presentations of twenty minutes, then a third member read an excerpt of some relevant published text for ten minutes. This was followed by a discussion session.

A majority of the original members were wives of doctors, factory owners, and clergymen. They met in members’ homes in downtown Norristown; membership was initially limited to thirty members but that number was reduced, first to twenty-five, then to twenty. Besides regular thematic programs, club activities have included biannual dinner parties and occasional outings.

The club, now more than twenty-five years past its centennial anniversary, continues to meet, and keeps many of the same traditions. They have made small changes over the years like reducing their meetings to twice a month in 1969 but nevertheless, they continue in their core purpose of women’s education and maintain the same meeting format, yearly topics, and winter and spring dinner parties.

Scope and Contents

The Conversational Club of Norristown Papers consists of records of the meetings and activities of the club. The collection is arranged in three categories: “Records of Meetings”, “Business and Financial Records”, and “Club History”.

Records of Meetings includes the yearly programs - comprehensive records of the topics studied at the meetings from 1890-91 to 2012-13; minutes of the meetings from 1890 to 2007 (with some missing years); essays that were presented at meetings between program years 1939-40 and 1994-95; photographs taken at dinners within the last thirty-five years; menus from several annual dinners; and a box of various trinkets distributed when responsibilty for the year’s presentations was assigned.

Business and Financial Records includes correspondence from 1935-2005, primarily RSVPs for dinners, membership acceptances, and member resignations. The financial records include treasurer's reports, receipts, a few returned checks, and records of dues and contributions.

Club History includes publications on the club’s history, clippings from newspapers and other primary sources about members of the club (1935-2003); various obituaries and funeral programs for members of the club; awards programs for the Norristown Area High School where the club gave a yearly award; records on similar organizations; and maps with directions to the homes of members.

Administrative Information

Publication Information

Bryn Mawr College,  2015 June

Finding Aid Author

Finding aid prepared by Jo Dutilloy

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

The Conversational Club of Norristown papers are the physical property of 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

This collection was a gift from the Conversational Club of Norristown

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Controlled Access Headings

Subject(s)
  • Adult education of women
  • Independent study.
  • Women -- Education
  • Women--Societies and clubs.

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Collection Inventory

Meetings and Programs.

Programs.

Box Folder

Program Committee - Members and Responsibilities.

1 I:1

Programs (1890-91) - (1892-93).

1 I:2

Programs (1893-94) - (1897-98).

1 I:3

Programs (1897-98) - (1901-02).

1 I:4

Programs (1902-03) - (1906-07).

1 I:5

Programs (1906-07) - (1909-10).

1 I:6

Programs (1909-10) - (1912-13).

1 I:7

Programs (1912-13) - (1915-16).

1 I:8

Programs (1915-16) - (1918-19).

1 I:9

Programs (1918-19) - (1922-23).

1 I:10

Programs (1923-24) - (1928-29).

1 I:11

Programs (1929-30) - (1932-33).

1 I:12

Programs (1932-33) - (1935-36).

1 I:13

Programs (1935-36) - (1937-38).

1 I:14

Programs (1938-39) - (1940-41).

1 I:15

Programs (1941-42) - (1943-44).

1 I:16

Programs (1944-45) - (1946-47).

1 I:17

Programs (1947-48) - (1949-50).

1 I:18

Programs (1950-51) - (1952-53).

1 I:19

Programs (1953-54) - (1955-56).

1 I:20

Programs (1956-57) - (1958-59).

1 I:21

Programs (1959-60) - (1961-62).

1 I:22

Programs (1962-63) - (1964-65).

1 I:23

Programs (1965-66) - (1967-68).

1 I:24

Programs (1968-69) - (1970-71).

1 I:25

Programs (1971-72) - (1973-74).

1 I:26

Programs (1974-75) - (1976-77).

1 I:27

Programs (1977-78) - (1979-80).

1 I:28

Programs (1980-81) - (1983-84).

1 I:29

Programs (1983-84) - (1986-87).

1 I:30

Programs (1986-87) - (1989-90).

1 I:31

Programs (1990-91) - (1992-93).

1 I:32

Programs (1993-94) - (1995-96).

1 I:33

Programs (1996-97) - (1998-99).

1 I:34

Programs (1999-2000) - (2002-03).

1 I:35

Programs (2002-03) - (2012-13).

1 I:36

Minutes.

Box Folder

Minutes (1889-1901).

1 I:37

Minutes (1890-1910).

1 I:38

Minutes (1891-1896).

2 I:39

Minutes (1896-1902).

2 I:40

Minutes (1910-1919).

2 I:41

Minutes (1922-1928).

2 I:42

Minutes (1928-1933). 2 Folders.

2

2

I:43

I:44

Minutes (1935-1938).

2 I:45

Minutes (1938-1944). 2 Folders.

2

2

I:47

I:46

Minutes (1944-1947).

2 I:48

Minutes (1947-1951). 2 Folders.

2

2

I:49

I:50

Minutes (1953-1962). 2 Folders.

2

2

I:51

I:52

Minutes (1962-1974). 2 Folders.

2

2

I:53

I:54

Minutes (1974-1976).

2 I:55

Minutes (1976-1978).

2 I:56

Minutes (1978-1980).

2 I:57

Minutes (1980-1982).

2 I:58

Minutes (1982-1984).

2 I:59

Minutes (1984-1987).

2 I:60

Minutes (1987-1989).

2 I:61

Minutes (1989-1991).

2 I:62

Minutes (2000-2004).

3 I:63

Minutes (2004-2005).

3 I:64

Minutes (2005-2007).

3 I:65

Essays, 1939-1995.

Box Folder

Essays (1939-40).

3 I:66

Essays (1940-41).

3 I:67

Essays (1941-42).

3 I:68

Essays (1942-43).

3 I:69

Essays (1944-45).

3 I:70

Essays (1945-46).

3 I:71

Essays (1948-49).

3 I:72

Essays (1949-50).

3 I:73

Essays (1950-51).

3 I:74

Essays (1951-52).

3 I:75

Essays (1952-53).

3 I:76

Essays (1953-54).

3 I:77

Essays (1954-55).

3 I:78

Essays (1955-56).

3 I:79

Essays (1956-57).

3 I:80

Essays (1957-58).

3 I:81

Essays (1958-59).

3 I:82

Essays (1959-60).

3 I:83

Essays (1960-61).

3 I:84

Essays (1961-62).

3 I:85

Essays (1962-63).

3 I:86

Essays (1963-64).

3 I:87

Essays (1964-65).

3 I:88

Essays (1965-66).

3 I:89

Essays (1966-67).

3 I:90

Essays (1967-68).

3 I:91

Essays (1968-69).

3 I:92

Essays (1969-70).

3 I:93

Essays (1971-72).

3 I:94

Essays (1973-74).

3 I:95

Essays (1976-77).

3 I:96

Essays (1982-83).

3 I:97

Essays (1991-92).

3 I:98

Essays (1994-95).

3 I:99

Essays Undated.

3 I:100

Photographs, 1979-2006.

Box Folder

Photographs 1979-1984.

3 I:101

Photographs 1986.

3 I:102

Photographs 1991-92.

3 I:103

Photographs 1993-94.

3 I:104

Photographs 1994-95.

3 I:105

Photographs 1995-96.

3 I:106

Photographs 1996-97.

3 I:107

Photographs 1997-98.

3 I:108

Photographs 1999-2000.

3 I:109

Photographs 2001.

3 I:110

Photographs 2002.

3 I:111

Photographs 2003.

3 I:112

Photographs 2006.

3 I:113

Photographs Undated.

3 I:114

Ephemera.

Box Folder

Spring and Winter Dinner Menus.

3 I:115

Trinkets.

Box Folder

Samples of Some Trinkets Given in May.

3 I:116

Conversational Club Trinkets.

3 I:117

Correspondence and Financial Records.

Correspondence, 1919-2005.

Box Folder

Correspondence 1919.

4 II:1

Correspondence 1935-41.

4 II:2

Correspondence 1944-46.

4 II:3

Correspondence 1946-48.

4 II:4

Correspondence 1949-51.

4 II:5

Correspondence 1952-55.

4 II:6

Correspondence 1959-62.

4 II:7

Correspondence 1962-63. 2 Folders.

4 II:8 - II:9

Correspondence 1964-65. 2 Folders.

4 II:10-II:11

Correspondence 1966-68.

4 II:12

Correspondence 1968-70.

4 II:13

Correspondence 1970-72.

4 II:14

Correspondence 1976-81.

4 II:15

Correspondence 1982-84.

4 II:16

Correspondence 1984-86.

4 II:17

Correspondence 1986-89.

4 II:18

Correspondence 1990-92.

4 II:19

Correspondence 1994-96.

4 II:20

Correspondence 1993.

4 II:21

Correspondence 2000-05.

4 II:22

Correspondence Undated.

4 II:23

Financial Records.

Box Folder

Treasurer's Reports.

4 II:24

Receipts of Expenditures.

4 II:25

Returned Checks.

4 II:26

Records of Dues and Contributions.

4 II:27

Club History.

Box Folder

Club Histories. 2 Folders.

4 III:1 - III:2

Clippings on Club.

4 III:3

Clippings on Members and Families, 1980-2006.

Box Folder

Clippings 1980's.

4 III:4

Clippings 1990's.

4 III:5

Clippings 2000's.

4 III:6
Box Folder

Memorials.

4 III:7

Awards Programs: Norristown Area High School.

4 III:8

Similar Organizations.

4 III:9

Maps and Directions.

4 III:10