Woman's Club of Wilmette and the Library

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The Woman's Club of Wilmette was established in 1891, and it has been an important part of the Wilmette community ever since. The Club even helped establish the Wilmette Public Library that we know today! In the 1890's, Wilmette's library was organized by the Elmwood Library Association, which lent out books from a small library at Arcanum Hall. In 1895, a fire broke out and damaged all the books. Members of the Woman's Club salvaged as many books as they could, and managed the small library until a free public library was established in 1900. One thousand new and salvaged books were donated to the new Wilmette Free Public Library. 

The Woman's Club was founded by a former schoolteacher named Ida Law, and the first meetings were held at her home. For its first year, it was a reading circle, but as membership grew and their focus expanded to include philanthropy and civic reform, they changed the name to Woman's Club of Wilmette. In 1910, they held their first meeting in their new permanent home on Tenth and Greenleaf. During this time, the Woman's Club printed annual Year Books, which included a directory of all members and a calendar of events, and Woman's Club Bulletins, which included information about upcoming meetings and articles written by members. The Library has a set of Year Books from 1913-1972, and Woman's Club Bulletins from 1923-1942. Schedule a visit to our Local History Room to check out these booklets, or browse our Local History Digital Collection to see newspaper articles and photos from the Woman's Club!

Read more history about the Woman’s Club on Wilmette Historical Museum’s blog or learn more about the history of the library.

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EvaAnne Johnson
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