The Indianapolis Woman’s Club was founded on Feb. 18, 1875, making it one of the oldest and longest-running clubs of its kind in the country. The purpose of the club was the exchange of ideas through presentation and discussion of papers written by members. Its founders were educated, progressive women who were interested in enriching their lives beyond the domestic sphere of home and family.
Among the founding members were May Wright Sewall, an educator and leader in the national woman suffrage movement, and Martha Nicholson McKay, an author. In the early years of the club, many IWC members became involved in the woman suffrage movement and befriended such nationally known women as Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. During World War I and II, the IWC turned its attention to relief efforts and support of family members in the military.
Even as women began to work outside the home in greater numbers as the club reached its 100th anniversary, members remained loyal to the IWC and its traditions. The well-documented history of the club is preserved in the Indianapolis Woman’s Club Collections at the Indiana Historical Society. Today, the club still meets at the Propylaeum – where they have since 1891 – and provides “a window on the world” for its members through exploring diverse topics and sharing ideas.
Visit Destination Indiana at the History Center in the R.B. Annis Gallery or view this and other journeys online at www.destination-indiana.com.
Journey sponsor Indianapolis Woman’s Club
Featured image: Indianapolis Woman’s Club 75th anniversary, 1950 (Gift of the Indianapolis Woman’s Club, IHS)