May (Mrs. B.W.) Klipstein,
Woman’s Monday Club, Mother of Local
Organizations, Celebrates 47th
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
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.
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
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
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
Source: Woman's Monday
Club 1897-1949 Scrapbook #1, p.37