May (Mrs. B.W.) Klipstein, Administration 1946-1948


Woman’s Monday Club, Mother of Local

Organizations, Celebrates 47th Year


                                By KARA HUNSUCKER


            It is inevitable that when a group of women resides in a small town they become banded into a club.  But clubs come and clubs go, for many organizations have not the loftiness of purpose, the strength of character that enables them to overlook petty differences among members, the clarity of vision that causes them to look ever forward.

            Mother of all clubs in Corpus Christi is Woman’s Monday Club, which has had that loftiness of purpose, that character and that vision which has resulted in its successful work for almost half a century.  On this Valentine Day it observes its 47th anniversary.

            Entwined in the history of the organization is the growth of Corpus Christi itself, a tale of continued progress through lean years and good ones, through war and peace.

            On Feb. 14, 1897, nine women gathered to form the nucleus of Woman’s Monday Club.  They were Mrs. G. R. Scott, founder, Mrs. Henry Redmond, Mrs. G. W. Westervelt of San Antonio (the three remaining charter members), Mrs. Fannie Southgate, Mrs. Alfred Heaney, Miss Henrietta Mallory, Mrs. David Hirsch, Mrs. Ada McCampbell Henderson and a Mrs. Christi, a Scotch woman who was visiting Mrs. Henderson.

            For 12 years, Mrs. Scott was to remain leader or president of the club; officers were not officially elected until Jan. 23, 1899.  Mrs. W. B. Hopkins was first secretary.  Mrs. Southgate, who passed away in 1901, was chosen vice-president.

            Down through the years, members have studied every subject from the history of Virginia to Goethe, from mythology to Bret Harte.  During the Spanish-American War period, they studied Cuban history.  Fifteen-minute Spanish lessons were conducted one season at each meeting, while at another time, the study subject was Wagnerian operas.

            Woman’s Monday Club is a pioneer organization in Texas.  Mrs. Redmond took the club’s report to Dallas around the turn of the century when the Texas Federation was formed.  Later came organization of the General Federations of Women’s Clubs, with the Corpus Christi club also prominent in that work.

            Informal summer meetings were held the first few years, attended by visitors to the city.  Prominent guests of Woman’s Monday Club have included Mrs. Percy V. Pennybacker, only Texan ever to head the general federation, Mrs. Philip Moore, president of the Council of Women of the United States and former state head, and Mrs. Grace Morris Poole of Massachusetts, also a national president.

            Work of the club has been varied and has included a multitude of projects.  First scheme was to raise money for a Carnegie Library in the city in 1899, but this plan fell through because the city could not give necessary financial backing at the time.

            The home of Dr. and Mrs. Henry Redmond was the scene of the initial reception for teachers, held on May 13, 1901.  Education has always been a primary interest of Woman’s Monday Club and over 100 boys and girls have benefitted from two scholarship loan funds for paying expenses in college, business school or nurses’ training.

            In the early years, the club urged Latin-American students to complete high school work by awarding them $10 gold pieces upon graduation.

            Baby Week was sponsored in 1916, and woman’s Monday Club received national recognition for having furnished Corpus Christi with the first pullmotor and the first chemical engine.  During the First World War, the club entertained Army wives, officers and soldiers and sold $650,000 in Liberty Bonds.

            Beautification of the city has also been a pet project, with landscape gardening, improvement of the bluff. erection of a zero milestone in Artesian Park and planting of trees in South Bluff Park included in the work.  Two lots for Artesian Park were purchased by the club.

            When William Jennings Bryan and his wife visited Corpus Christi, Mrs. Bryan was entertained by Woman’s Monday Club.  For the occasion, Mrs. E. A. Born made a cake, a white angel food.

            First cooking school here was sponsored by the club, with a representative sent from the famous Boston Cooking School as instructor.

            As the “mother club,” the organization has thus sponsored many other clubs here, among them being La Retama Study Club, Cosmos Art Club and Harmony Music Club.

            In order to retain that close-knit feeling of friendship, membership in Woman’s Monday Club has been restricted to 30, and down the years some 110 women have been members of the organization.  There are also honorary members, present ones being Mrs. Edwin Flato, Mrs. Clara Driscoll, Mrs. Roy Miller, Mrs. Richard King, Mrs. Lorene Jones Lewis, Mrs. Mary Mathis and Mrs. T. A. Anderson.

            Officers are elected in January and assume office at the spring luncheon in May.  Past presidents, some of whom have served two or more terms, are Mrs. Scott, Mrs. W. W. Jones, Mrs. Born, Mrs. William Gerhardt, Mrs. Frank E. Ring, Mrs. Redmond, Mrs. Frank A. Tompkins, Mrs. John P. Pondrom, Mrs. Sam Rankin, Mrs. E. L. Bernard, Mrs. Carrie Lichtenstein, Mrs. Frank DeGarmo, Mrs. H. H. Watson, and Mrs. E. B. Neiswanger.  Mrs. Hood Boone is now president, with Mrs. J. B. Hubbard as president-elect.

            Mrs. Redmond, who spent an interesting three years in Europe during the 1880’s while her husband was studying medicine, served as president of the state federation from 1923-25.

            Known as the “Admiral of the Valley,” Mrs. Scott has likewise been prominent in state and national federated club work and was president of the Fifth District at one time.  Mrs. F. A. Tompkins has served as first vice-president of the state federation.

            Studies for the current year have been inspired by the war and include meetings on the Chinese people ,the Japanese, Hawaii, the Philippines, women in war, Mussolini.  Stalin, the North African battlefields, progress in aviation, Alaska and India.  The club has made three afghans for the Red Cross and equipped two casualty stations at Community Center in addition to other wartime activities.

            And so through a third war, one finds Woman’s Monday Club an active organization.  True to its motto, the club is “looking back to pleasant memories and forward to the land of promise.”

Source: Woman's Monday Club  1897-1949 Scrapbook #1, p.37


May Klipstein

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