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Council of Clubs disbands after 103 years of service to Jefferson City

Story and photos by Sally Ince

“Sometimes we have to move on,” Council of Clubs 1971-72 president Pat Sanders wrote when she heard the council would be disbanding this January.

(Photo by Sally Ince)
The Council of Clubs final board members pose for a photo Jan. 28 after their last luncheon at the Capitol Plaza Hotel. In back, from left, Dorothy Goodin, Nancy Ottinger, Crystal Miller and Becky Schlueter; and in front, from left Council president Gala Miller, left, and Council first vice-president Vicki Myers.

For more than 100 years the Council of Clubs has served as one of the largest influential organizations for the betterment of Jefferson City.

The council formed in 1916 as downtown Jefferson City was booming with street cars, the Capitol building was still being rebuilt from the fire and the town’s population was 15,000.

According to “History of Jefferson City” published by James E. Ford, it was the summer of 1915 that a group of progressive women brought together representatives from every church, club and auxiliary to sponsor a lecture from a progressive female speaker who was connected to the famous Breckenridge family of Kentucky.

During her lecture, she urged women to believe that their bodies and their minds where their own and that they should be enjoying more freedoms from male dominance.

The speaker’s name remains unknown, but the women were inspired to continue their co-operation with one another in meetings to discuss future projects that would truly shape the city into what it is today.

(Courtesy of Council of Clubs) This photo in the Council of Cubs historical archives shows members of the Tuesday Club, one of the original clubs in the Council of Clubs.

By Jan. 18, 1916, the Council of Clubs records show they had been established during a lunch at the Central Hotel with six clubs in attendance that included the Needlework Guild, Housewives’ League, the Provident Association, Cherry Street Workers, the Tuesday Club and the Cole County T.B. Society.

Their first line of order brought to the council’s first president and wife of supreme court judge Mrs. C.B. Faris was to fund the employment of a community nurse that would be hired through Red Cross. While the first few nurses only served on a temporary basis, by 1918 Mrs. Eva Bremmerman was selected to work and served the community for 21 years.

Within the council’s first decade, memberships grew from six to 37 clubs, women had assisted the Red Cross during World War I, they began sponsoring the Cole County Crippled Children’s Association, various money-making efforts were completed to purchase Mrs. Bremmerman a vehicle for home visits and the council gained financial security by being accepted into the Community Chest.

“One of the purposes of our club was to get people together to accomplish community activities,” said Gala Miller, the council’s 2015-19 president.

(Courtesy of Council of Clubs) Tina Baldwin was one of the first students recognized by the club and, in a photo from the club’s historical archives, is seen holding her certificate.

By the time the council was celebrating their 50th anniversary, they had succeeded in numerous projects to help assist schools, churches, libraries, clinics, crisis centers, feeding families, supporting both war efforts and supporting the city’s overall health and beautification.

“Now 25 years later the council is still going on, stronger than ever,” 1965-66 president Betty Coil, who served during the 50th year, said at the council’s 75th anniversary. “We can all feel a sense of pride in the small part we have played in its history.”

It was during this time that the council had organized one of its most well-known fundraisers, the fall fashion show. It raised more than $4,000 – one of their highest contributions – at their last show in October, allowing them to donate funds to two non-profit organizations.

(Photo by Sally Ince)
Tina Baldwin who was one of the first students recognized by the Council of Clubs speaks to an audience Jan. 28 during the Council’s final luncheon at the Capitol Plaza Hotel.

“Council of Clubs has been part of the community for so long and the contributions that we have made  throughout the years have made an impact,” Vicki Myers, 2005-08 president and the council’s first vice-president, said as she recalled watching the fashion show grow over the years as a model and director.

As the council’s projects had changed numerous times with the needs of the city, each president was also sure to maintain its traditions for more than 100 years.

Reflecting on its creation, the council had gathered each quarter for lunch to discuss upcoming events, member updates and having been influenced through lecture, it was established that a speaker would be presented at every meeting.

“The speakers that have been brought in have provided a lot of information to benefit the members,” Myers explained.

The council also made sure to recognize past presidents, clubs with well attendance and began recognizing female seniors of the month from each local high school in 1971.

“I still have my certificate from 1971,” recipient Tina Baldwin Sneller said to the audience during the council’s last luncheon on Jan. 28 at Capitol Plaza Hotel and Convention Center. “So young ladies, I was one of the first, and I’m sorry to say that you will be one of the last.”

(Photo by Sally Ince) Council of Clubs President Gala Miller talks about one of the last Student of the Month recipients, her granddaughter Liz Whitworth, during the organization’s final annual luncheon Jan. 28 at Capitol Plaza Hotel.

The council had held that final luncheon Jan. 28 only three years after celebrating their 100th anniversary.

“I would just like to commend you and the officers who have so steadfastly stayed the course over this last two and a half-year period and thank you for doing all that you could to maintain the integrity of the Council of Clubs to this point,” one member said to president Miller during their closing statements.

Although the council’s disbandment is bittersweet, its members will “move on” as Pat Sanders had mentioned in her letter and many members will continue to make a difference within other organizations.

As their final act of service, the Council of Clubs voted to donate all of their remaining funds to the United Way of Central Missouri and to the Cole County Department of Health where they began.

The council also plans to donate all of their documents to the Historic City of Jefferson in hopes to preserve their legacy as one of the most influential organizations in Jefferson City.

“The generous service of all those who were part of the Council of Clubs throughout the years will continue to have a positive lasting effect in the lives of many,” Sr. Barbara Neist, of El Puente Hispanic Ministry, wrote the council in a farewell letter.

The history of Council of Clubs

1916-26

  • Various money-making events too place to fund the services of community nurse
  • Purchased a car for community nurse transportation 
  • Council members worked with the Red Cross during WWI
  • Began sponsoring the Cole County Crippled Children’s Association
  • Became included int the Community Chest after 9 years of establishment

1927-36

  • Participated in highway beautification project winning fourth place and state recognition
  • Members began canning and preserving fruits and vegetables for families in need
  • Gave $100 to free lunch programs of schools
  • Re-stated the council policy that although they organized primarily to support a community nurse that they would begin cooperating with other organizations such as schools and churches
  • The council’s 20th anniversary was celebrated 

1937-46

  • Sponsored Clean-up, Paint-Up, Plant-Up campaign with the Chamber of Commerce
  • Sponsored the Drive for JC Symphony ticket sale to raise some profits for the council 
  • Aided WWII efforts by holding a Women’s Division of War Chest Drive to collect papers, rags and iron for the salvage
  • January 1943 Miss Anne Kallenbach was hired as community nurse and served for 27 years
  • Established a pre-natal clinic in Washington Park Baptist Mission
  • Held money-making efforts to support Soldiers Center
  • Endorsed pre-marital blood tests
  • Purchased new children’s books for the library
  • Set up a Well-Baby clinic in the Courthouse
  • Donated $100 to the School Milk Fund
  • 250 persons including 114 delegates from 35 women’s organizations attended the Silver Tea to celebrate the council’s 25th anniversary in 1941

1947-56

  • Endorsed one solicitation under the United Community Fund
  • Endorsed the Teen-Town project
  • Pledged cooperation with Civil Defense Program
  • Sponsored a Publicity Workshop
  • Miss Kallenbach was selected Woman of the Year by LaVida chapter of the American Business Women’s Association
  • Participated in projects to improve city bus services
  • 46 women’s organizations are now members of the council 
  • The council’s 40th anniversary was celebrated with a luncheon in 1956

1957-66

  • Supported Business and Professional Women in their campaign to make the city cleaner and more attractive
  • Organized a “Worry Clinic” for analyzing problems of the day with 200 women in attendance 
  • Endorsed the Clean Water Campaign and sewer bonds 
  • Emphasized a need for quarters to house juvenile delinquents other than the jail
  • 52 women’s organizations were now members of the council
  • The council’s 50th anniversary was celebrated in 1966 

1967-77

  • Endorsed resolution of Cole County Historical Society to keep Lohman’s Landing as historical sight
  • Inaugurated the “Lenore R. Goshorn Service Award”
  • Held a Babysitter clinic with 200 enrolled
  • Appointed representative to Cole County Commission on drug usage
  • Miss Anne Kallenbach retires 
  • The council begins to recognize senior women from area schools in 1971
  • Sponsored United Way to help older adults receive health screening program 
  • 55 women’s organizations are now members of the council
  • The council’s 60th anniversary was celebrated with a Reassembly Tea at the Executive Mansion in 1976

1978-88

  • Purchased monitors for families who could not afford apnea monitors for infants in danger of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome as part of the Well-Baby Clinic
  • Purchased an electronic thermometer for the Child Health Clinic at the Cole County Health Department
  • The Council’s first Fall Fashion Show fundraiser was held at the Governor Hotel in 1986

1989-91

  • The annual Fall Fashion Show was held at Capitol Plaza Hotel to benefit the Rape and Abuse Crisis Center, Friends of Children and the Well-Baby Clinic
  • The council’s 75th Anniversary Tea was celebrated at the home of council president Mildred Monaco
  • Council was presented a resolution from Western District Commissioner Art Erharrdt for 75 years of dedicated services to the city and county
  • A patriotic program was held by a group of Legionnaires and Disabled Veterans on proper flag etiquette and instructions

1992-2019

  • Donated $2300 each to the Senior Citizen Center, the Jefferson City Day Care Center and El Puente from the fashion show’s proceeds in 2010
  • $1,800 to Salvation Army and $1,800 to The Family Counseling Center from the, proceeds of the show 2011 
  • The council’s 100th anniversary was celebrated with a luncheon at Capitol Plaza Hotel in 2016
  • The council disbands after 103 years of service on January 28, 2019

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Samantha Pogue




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