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For Our Mutual Benefit: The Athens Woman's Club and Social Reform, 1899-1920

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  • Coverage Dates: 1899-1920
  • Update Frequency: ongoing

For Our Mutual Benefit consists of two minute books, covering the years 1899-1920, from the Athens Woman's Club collection housed in the Heritage Room of the Athens-Clarke County Library. The minutes provide a detailed record of the educational, social, philanthropic and reform activities of the Athens Woman's Club during the height of the Progressive Era and document the relationships between the Athens Woman's Club and various other organizations of local, state and national significance such as the Georgia Federation of Women's Clubs and the General Federation of Women's Clubs. The materials help shed light on the complexity of southern progressivism, with particular regard to the social and political issues surrounding the regulation of child labor, the enforcement of compulsory school attendance and the passage of a woman's suffrage amendment.

Chartered in 1899, the Athens Woman's Club, like many other women's clubs in Georgia and throughout the United States, was originally formed as a literary club dedicated to the educational and cultural development of its members. Over the next two decades, the club gradually directed its efforts to serve the community beyond its membership by embarking upon social reform and civic improvement initiatives.

The following set of minutes chronicles this critical transition and the notable work performed by members of the Athens Woman's Club, who organized, fundraised and lobbied to establish institutions such as the Tallulah Falls Industrial School and the Crawford Long Infirmary and to persuade university trustees to admit women as students at the University of Georgia.

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