The Dundas Women’s Study Club is Celebrating 100 Years


The Dundas Women’s Study Club is celebrating what its twenty charter members wouldn’t have imagined when they gathered on September 16, 1924 for their very first meeting. Over the next 100 years, women of the Dundas area gathered to study various topics of interest, from government to geography, from mental illness to various social problems, from local politics to education in the schools. Topics were researched by members and their findings were presented as papers read at the monthly meetings.

In the early days, the club met twice a month and two papers were read at each meeting, plus discussions of current events. Generally, there was a theme for the year such as countries of South America, advances in medicine, community improvement, world trade, refugee relief, the Bible, and travelling in the U.S. Members did their research without a computer.

While women had the right to vote, many were somewhat confined to their homes, and still wanted to influence legislation and provide better working and living conditions for their families. Many did not have the opportunity to get a college education but were determined to learn in the Study Club setting.

In 1937, the Dundas Women’s Study Club joined the General Federation of Women’s Clubs, a national organization which provided topics for study and study aids for those who were presenting papers. The General Federation of Women’s Clubs was founded in 1890 by Jane Cunningham Croly, a New York newspaper reporter, to support clubs throughout the nation and to further efforts at providing education, improving working conditions, health care and scholarships.

Meetings were held in member’s homes, so membership was limited to 25 to fit into most homes. In 1972, meetings were reduced to once a month. In 1974, members voted to withdraw from the General Federation but continued to operate as previously, often getting guest speakers to present topics. There has always been a social component to the meetings, closing with a light lunch and conversation. Each year there is a Christmas party, and ends with a banquet in May.

The Club has had an impact on Dundas and the surrounding community. Letters were frequently sent to local and state entities to request better signs, lighting and maintenance for safer sidewalks, bridge repairs, and a community building in Dundas. A clean-up - fix-up day was proposed. There were many relief activities during and after World War II, including sending CARE packages to war-torn European countries, making bandages, sending seeds, layettes, and other needed supplies. Over the years, many Betty Crocker coupons, S & H Green Stamps, and other coupons were saved for various needs, including an incubator for a hospital, CARE, the welfare of Indigenous People, and the developmentally and physically disabled.

While there was a school in Dundas, it benefited from the Club’s concern and generosity. Books were donated to the school, along with a painting (The Santa Fe Trail) which now hangs in the City Hall. Teachers were honored at a tea, and students received prizes for citizenship.

The Club sponsored several flower garden shows, art shows, and a public forum on drug dependency for the Dundas area. Trees were purchased for the park, contributions were made for the park pavilion roof, and for a fire and rescue truck. When a member dies, there is a memorial donation made to the public library in her honor of a book reflecting her interests, a tree is planted in her honor, or a donation is made to a charity she favored.

The club responded to local tragic situations by collecting clothing and household items after a fire, and putting together food packages for needy families. Area food shelves and the Community Action Center continue to receive contributions every year.

On June 22, 2024, there will be an open house to celebrate our 100 years of education and service. It will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Dundas City Hall. Come meet the current members and descendants of the original 20 charter members. There will be many displays of program booklets, photographs and other items of interest. A skit called, “School Daze” written by one of our past members, Helen Howie, will be performed at 11 a.m and 2 p.m.