A World Apart: 19th and early 20th Century Woman’s Clubs and Societies--SOLD OUT

  • March 02, 2013
  • 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM
  • The Galleries at Moore, 1916 Race St.
  • 0

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Philadelphia was once famously “clubby” and although many were literally “Old Boys’ Clubs,” women developed their own organizations, too, several of which still survive in Center City. Join the New Century Trust’s Meg Kelly for a tour of the Trust--including its dusty upper floors--the Cosmopolitan Club and the Colonial Dames.

We’ll start the tour out at the Galleries at Moore, then head across the street to talk about a building that was torn down almost 100 years ago--the Magdalen Society Asylum on 21st and Race. Although founded by men in 1800 with a mission to reform prostitutes and other “wayward” women, the Magdalene Society was eventually run by women and focused on helping runaways and abused girls.  

We’ll then visit two organizations that stand side by side on tiny Latimer Street but couldn’t be more different--the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America, Pennsylvania Chapter, and the Cosmopolitan Club. Members of the Colonial Dames proudly trace their family lineage back to the colonial period, dedicate themselves to historic preservation, and built their headquarters in the neo-colonial style in 1921. Members of the Cosmopolitan Club originally called themselves the “Foreign Devils” (all were transplants to Philadelphia), dedicated themselves to art and culture and designed their club’s interior in the latest Art Deco/Art Moderne style when it was built in 1930.

From there, we’ll finish up with the New Century Trust, at 1307 Locust Street, which was--and is--dedicated to improving the lives of working women. During the first decades of the 20tht century, the building was the locus for a wide array of political causes including women’s suffrage, municipal reform, consumer issues, labor reform, and citizenship training for women. It also offered temporary lodging for up to three nights a week for as little as 25 cents. This amenity gave single working women a chance to benefit from the city’s offerings while having a safe place to retire for the night, as well as free them from the constraints of living at home.
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