Wonderful 100: The Woman's Club

Lillian Daniel Riddick, first president of NC State's Woman's Club, 1919-1920

Lillian Daniel Riddick, first president of NC State's Woman's Club, 1919-1920

Program from the Faculty Dinner, hosted by the Woman's Club, 11 Jan. 1941
Program from the Faculty Dinner, hosted by the Woman's Club, 11 Jan. 1941

One hundred years ago in the fall of 1919, Lillian Daniel Riddick, Mary Luella Correll Metcalf, and Mary Andrew Nelson helped organize the State College Woman's Club.  They served as its first president, secretary, and treasurer.  (Today the organization is called the North Carolina State University Woman's Club.)

Officers of the Woman's Club, 16 May 1953
Officers of the Woman's Club, 16 May 1953.  Left to right:  Ruth Gaither, Catherine Haig, Bernice Boynton Preston, Ruby Brennecke, Mary Cummings, and Maxine Fountain.

The first constitution of the Woman's Club stated that "it shall be the objective of the club to unite the women connected with the college in a common interest for the promotion of welfare and advancement of State College."  The annual dues were originally $1.00.  Membership was open to all women connected with the university, and in its earliest years that was primarily wives of faculty members.  (Lillian Riddick was wife of college President Carl Riddick, Mary Luella Metcalf wife of entomology head Zeno P. Metcalf, and Mary Nelson wife of textiles head Thomas A. Nelson.) 

Cover of the History of the Woman's Club, ca. 1960

According to an early history, the group was created so that "women connected with the college . . . might meet and learn to know each other."  Lillian Riddick indicated that another impetus of the group was " . . . that a contented woman, with acquantances and friends, makes her husband happy and therefore a more efficient teacher." Offering their services to the campus, in those early years the club was " . . . hostess to every social function given at State College."  Many of these social functions occurred in the college's YMCA Building, where " . . . the Woman's Club stocked the pantry with china, glass and silver."  (The YMCA Building is long gone, but some of the plates still exist in the University Archives.)

Throughout its history, the club activities have been primarily social, and the group has hosted dinners, teas, coffee hours, dances, bridge parties, and other events.  In later years, the club expand its activities to include English conversation classes for faculty spouses and families whose first languages were not English, scholarships and loans to students, fashion shows, and cookbooks.  For years they hosted an annual International Night for students from other countries.  The club has also been interested in exploring North Carolina history and tradition, visiting area cultural centers and museums, touring various parts of the state, and bringing speakers to its meetings.

The NC State University Libraries' Special Collections Research Center maintains the archives of the Woman's Club.  A detailed description of the collection is on our website.  The photo of Lillian Riddick (above) and the list of officers 1919-1945 (below) are from Box 1, Folder 1; the 1941 dinner program from Box 1, Folder 4; and the 1953 officers photo from Box 2, Folder 4.  The "History of the North Carolina State College Woman's Club, 1919-1960" can be found in several folders in Boxes 1-4.  Request to see materials from this collection through the Special Collections online request form (please provide the collection number UA 021.509 and the box number).

List of Officers of NC State's Woman's Club, 1919-1945
List of Officers of NC State's Woman's Club, 1919-1945