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Ladies Social Club of the Philadelphia Rifle Club minute books


Held at: German Society of Pennsylvania: Joseph P. Horner Memorial Library [Contact Us]611 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19123

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the German Society of Pennsylvania: Joseph P. Horner Memorial Library. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

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The Ladies Social Club of the Philadelphia Rifle Club (Philadelphia Schützen-Verein) was founded 12 February 1914. According to the minutes of the first meeting, the aim of the Ladies Social Club, expressed by Mrs. Jacob Busch in an address to the group, was to collect annual members’ dues, to hold social functions, and to assist the Rifle Club to the best of the members' ability. Mrs. Busch also reported that the women's club had the sanction of the president of the Rifle Club, Charles Seider, as well as the full approbation of the board of directors.

The Philadelphia Rifle Club, or Schützen-Verein, to which the women's organization offered its support was a German-American society founded in November 1846 [1], and incorporated in 1870. From around the mid 1920s the Schützen-Verein used the English form of its name: Rifle Club. Besides holding shooting events and festivals, it was also a social club. Women had apparently taken part in the shooting activities of the Rifle Club since early in its history, and a women's prize was first offered at a shooting event in 1867 (Huch 17).

At its first meeting, the Ladies Social Club elected the following officers: Mrs. C. Seider, president; Mrs. J. Kramer, vice president; Katharina Naegele (Mrs. C. G. Naegele), secretary; Mrs. J. T. Kieffer, financial secretary; and Mrs. J. T. Stoelker, treasurer [2]. The minutes record the names of 19 women who signed as members and paid their dues, of one dollar; the same women are noted as being elected as directors. New members are steadily recorded in the minutes of following meetings, which were held approximately once a month. At least 170 members are recorded as having paid annual dues in 1920. In the mid 1920s, when tallies for attendance at meetings began to be regularly recorded, the number of attendees ranged as high as 182 (at the meeting of 7 January 1926). In the 1930s to early 1940s attendance at meetings varied from around 90 to as high as 201 (at the meeting of 2 March 1939).

In a later period of the club's history, from the late 1950s through the 1960s, meetings were usually attended by well over 100 women, with attendance ranging as high as 346 (5 November 1959). However, attendance at the last meeting recorded in the extant records was only 65, on 4 February 1971.

The Ladies Social Club planned and held social events such as coffees, card parties, dinners, and dances. Money was collected for coffee and cake at events, and raffle tickets were sold on donated prizes. From its funds, the club made gifts and financial contributions to the Philadelphia Rifle Club. In the era of the First World War, the club purchased liberty bonds (minutes, 1 May 1919), and, after the war, it made a contribution to a bazaar held in Philadelphia for the benefit of starving women and children of Central Europe (minutes, 5 May 1921). In the late 1950s until at least 1971 the club's social activities seem to have consisted mainly of luncheons. In that period it regularly made charitable donations to organizations including the Lighthouse of the Blind, and distributed Christmas gifts to needy children.

From the time of its founding the Ladies Social Club met at the clubhouse of the Rifle Club in the Schuetzen Park near Tabor Station (Philadelphia and Reading Railroad), which was located at around 8th Street and Tabor Road, at the edge of the Olney neighborhood of Philadelphia [3]. The clubhouse was destroyed by a fire on 28 February 1923, and the members met temporarily at a bowling alley in Schuetzen Park, until a new clubhouse was completed in November 1923 [4].

Correspondence found with the extant records suggests the Ladies Social Club was active until at least 1980.


[1] The founding day is given as 20 November 1846 in a chronology of the society printed on the letterhead used for a Philadelphia Rifle Club letter of 1927 found in the present collection (folder of loose items, Box 1). In a souvenir book commemorating the Rifle Club's 60th anniversary ( 60. Stiftungsfest des Philadelphia Schützen-Verein), in 1906, the founding date is given as 29 November 1856.

[2] It appears that the women in most if not all instances are identified by the initials of their husbands. However, the secretary, Mrs. C. G. Naegele, usually signs the minutes "K. Naegele," and in the early entries signs with her full name, Katharina Naegele.

[3] The Rifle Club had purchased that park in 1893 and opened there in 1894. Immediately before that, from the 1870s on, it had occupied a park at Queen Lane near Schuylkill Falls, as well as a hall at N. 3rd Street, below Green (Arbeiter Hall).

[4] See minutes, 1 March 1923, and 1 November 1923 (minute book, Box 1), and the chronology of the Rifle Club printed on the Philadelphia Rifle Club letter of 1927 (in accompanying folder of loose items).


Huch, C. F. "Der Philadelphia Schützenverein." In: Mitteilungen des Deutschen Pionier-Vereins von Philadelphia. Heft 22 (1911), p. 13-18. (GAC AE 1102)

60. Stiftungsfest des Philadelphia Schützen-Verein. Philadelphia, 1906. (GAC AE 970.2)

The collection comprises three minute books of the Ladies Social Club of the Philadelphia Rifle Club, the first two covering the period from the club's founding, on 12 February 1914, until 6 January 1944; and the third, the period from 5 November 1959 to 4 February 1971. The secretaries of the club who mainly recorded the minutes in the two books were Katharina Naegele (Mrs. Charles G. Naegele) and Lee Steeb, respectively. The minutes contain lists of members who paid dues, and financial accounts of receipts and disbursements. Also included is some loose correspondence: two items from 1924 and 1927 are addressed to the Ladies Social Club from the Philadelphia Rifle Club and reflect the relationship of the two organizations; two other items are correspondence between two members of the Ladies Social Club in 1980 and 1982.

Originally processed July 2013; revised February 2014, with addition of minute book 1932-1944.

German Society of Pennsylvania: Joseph P. Horner Memorial Library
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Violet Lutz
Finding Aid Date
The processing of this collection was made possible through generous funding from the Max Kade Foundation, as part of the grant project "Retrieval and Cataloging of the German-American Experience, 1918-1960."
Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Copyright restrictions may apply. Please contact the German Society of Pennsylvania with requests for copying and for authorization to publish, quote or reproduce the material.

Collection Inventory

Minute book, 12 February 1914 - 7 January 1933. Bound volume, 400 p. The minutes are mostly signed by Katharina Naegele; the name and address of Mrs. S. Abernethy are inscribed on the inside front cover. At the back of the book are lists of officers and directors, 1915 to 1931. The following items that were laid in are housed in a folder in the same box: 1) resolution of the Philadelphia Rifle Club, dated 26 February 1924, handwritten by the secretary, Albert Theo Amann, and with the seal of the society, thanking the "Lady members of the Round Table Card Club" for the gift of a table, mirror, and scarf; 2) letter from the Philadelphia Rifle Club, dated 31 May 1927, signed by the vice president, Peter Eidenberg, thanking the Ladies Social Club for its assistance to the Entertainment Committee on the occasion of the last card party and dance. The letterhead is printed on an 11 x 17" broadside (now in two pieces), folded to four pages, with a timeline of the Rifle Club history occupying one page, and, on the verso, a full-sheet advertisement for the Rifle Club, with illustrations of the Schuetzen Park and buildings.
Box 1
Minute book, 4 February 1932 - 6 January 1944. Bound volume, 400 p. (p. 236-393 are blank). The minutes are signed by K. Naegele. At the back of the book are lists of officers and directors, 1932-1941.
Box 2
Minute book, 5 November 1959 - 4 February 1971. Bound volume, 300 p. (p. 206 to 300 are blank). Minutes are mostly signed by Lee Steeb. Note on inside front cover reads: "1946 became secretary." The following items that were laid in are housed in a folder in the same box: 1) financial records, 1968-1970; 2) receipts and notes, circa 1970-1971; 3) note, with envelope postmarked 3 March 1980, from Mrs. Louise Schnaebele to Mrs. Grace Redding, enclosing a typed excerpt from the minutes of the club's first meeting in 1914; 4) note, with envelope postmarked 30 April 1982, from Mrs. Louise Schnaebele to Mrs. Grace Redding, enclosing a handwritten excerpt from the minutes of the club's first meeting in 1914.
Box 3

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