Travel Club of Bristol (Pa.) records
Held at: Margaret R. Grundy Memorial Library [Contact Us]680 Radcliffe St, Bristol, Pennsylvania
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Margaret R. Grundy Memorial Library. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
On March 1, 1901, Mrs. Emlen Martin organized the Travel Club of Bristol, Pennsylvania with sixteen charter members. The initial objective of the Travel Club was "the general improvement of its members in history, literature, art, and the vital interests of the day." The group hoped to achieve this by discussing the members' travels to other countries and the customs and cultures of those countries. (Later on, the group also took local trips together.) The membership, which was restricted to women, decided to meet fortnightly on Friday afternoons from October through May with an annual meeting in March. Although the group did not usually meet from June to September, special meetings could be called by the president. The Travel Club's colors were green and white, and its motto was "lift your eyes above the horizon." Members could be married or unmarried, but had to be elected by the membership and over the age of 18. (However, due to an increasing number of young women interested in the Travel Club and its activities, the Junior Travel Club was formed in 1930.) Mrs. Martin was the Travel Club's first president and remained in that role for twelve years. Eventually the Club decided to limit all officers to two year terms, except for the treasurer. In 1936, the group was officially incorporated as the Travel Club of Bristol.
Although originally conceived as a social group for women, shortly after its formation the Travel Club recognized the potential benefits it could provide for the community if it were a more service-oriented organization. In order to reflect its change in purpose the Club refined its objectives, which for the remainder of the group's existence were to "develop the educational, civic, and social interests of its members and advance the welfare of the community." With this new mission in mind, the Travel Club supported many programs and organizations both locally and nationally. Among its many projects, the Club created and maintained an annual scholarship award for Bristol Junior-Senior High School, spent many hours volunteering for the Red Cross, raised money for various causes, and helped to build a playground in Bristol.
In addition, the Travel Club was instrumental in the creation of Lower Bucks Hospital. The group donated large amounts of money to help build the facility, and upon its completion continued to support the hospital through countless hours of volunteer services and fundraising. The Travel Club was also involved with Washington Crossing Park in Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania, the place from which George Washington crossed the Delaware River during the American Revolution. Mrs. Elwood P. (Vera) Goslin, the president of the Travel Club from 1949 to 1951, served on a committee for the Thompson-Neely House, a building on the park grounds that had been used as a military hospital. Ann Hawkes Hutton, the first president of the Junior Travel Club, served on the Washington Crossing Park Commission and founded the Washington Crossing Foundation, an organization that promotes the legacy of Washington and offers scholarships to students studying government service. Moreover, the Club donated funds to the park, and for several years members of the Travel Club and Junior Travel Club volunteered as hostesses in several of the park buildings.
The Travel Club was not only interested in supporting those organizations and programs discussed above, but also in advancing the role and activities of women's clubs in general. For several years, the Club participated in multiple levels of federated women's clubs. The Club joined the Pennsylvania Federation of Women's Clubs in 1906, the Bucks County Federation of Women's Clubs in 1914, and the General Federation of Women's Clubs in 1925, and remained part of the General and Pennsylvania federations until 1990 and part of the Bucks County Federation until 1995. The Travel Club sent delegates to the Bucks and Pennsylvania federations' annual conferences, and several members of the Travel Club and Junior Travel Club held offices in the Bucks County Federation of Women's Clubs.
Initially the Travel Club limited its membership to approximately thirty women; however, an increasing number of women became interested in membership each year, causing the Club to change its policies. From the late 1920s through the late 1970s membership numbers averaged around one hundred, with the height of membership being in the mid 1950s, swelling to about one hundred and twenty. The increase in membership in the late 1920s fueled the Travel Club's decision to find a designated space for meetings in order to accommodate its growing numbers. Previously, meetings had been held in the homes of various members, but in 1929, the Travel Club began leasing the building at 321 Cedar Street, a one-story brownstone owned by the Bristol Preparatory Meeting of Friends. After almost thirty years of renting the building on Cedar Street, the Club decided to purchase it, having raised funds from club members and various other people in the local community, including Joseph R. Grundy. The sale was approved in August of 1958, and shortly after the purchase, the Travel Club created the Building Fund to help pay for the maintenance of the club house and its surrounding property. The Club also rented out the home to other individuals and groups, including the Junior Travel Club, on days when it was not occupied for club activities.
By the mid-1980s the membership levels of the Travel Club began to drop off due to a lack of interest and an aging membership. Additionally, expenses for the club house were recurring and there was less funding available for maintenance. The number of renters for the club house had diminished and Travel Club meetings only took place one Friday each month. Facing these realities, the Travel Club voted to sell its club house on Cedar Street to the Bristol Cultural and Historical Foundation in the summer of 1991, shortly before the Club's 90th anniversary celebration. It was a difficult but necessary decision, and the Travel Club was glad to see the property go to a local organization it supported. Following the sale, the Bristol Cultural and Historical Foundation agreed to rent the club house to the Travel Club for its meetings and other activities. However, the Club’s activities only continued for another four years. With the membership still progressively declining, the Club voted to disband in 1995 and donate its remaining funds. Mrs. Thomas Iezzi was the Travel Club's last president.
The Travel Club of Bristol (Pa.) records include financial and administrative records, scrapbooks, and various other materials such as correspondence, photographs, and ephemera dating from 1901 to 1995. The collection documents the history and activities of a social and service group for women established near the beginning of the twentieth century and lasting more than ninety years in a town northeast of Philadelphia. The collection is divided into four series: Administrative; Financial; Property and legal; and General files. A majority of the collection is volumes of minutes, attendance, and financial records, which have been foldered and boxed in the appropriate series.
Series I (Administrative) contains material associated with the running of the organization, most of which was created by the Travel Club or its members in an official capacity. Series II (Financial) consists of records detailing the Travel Club's financial activity. Series III (Property and legal) features items relating to the Travel Club's building at 321 Cedar Street, its surrounding property, and legal matters pertaining to the Travel Club. Series IV (General files) documents the Travel Club's history with visual, aural, and written material, but also includes material regarding programs and organizations supported by the Travel Club, awards received by the Travel Club, and other facets of Travel Club activity.
This collection may be of interest to historians researching the local history of Bristol, Pennsylvania, women's clubs and societies, or women's history in general. The Travel Club participated in many local projects, and although the correspondence in the collection is limited, the minute books, financial records, and scrapbooks provide a good overview of the activities, finances, and culture of women's clubs during much of the twentieth century. Additionally, current affairs was a topic covered during several of the Travel Club's meetings, and the discussion of events such as the 1930s Air Mail Scandal, World War I and World War II, and the United States' economy are noted in the minute books. As a result, the minutes document these events as seen from the point of view of women, and also how these events affected the people in Bristol.
I. Administrative, 1901-1992; 5.25 boxes
II. Financial, 1927-1995; 4 boxes
III. Property and legal, 1935-1995; 1.5 boxes
IV. General files, 1908-1995; 7.25 boxes
- Margaret R. Grundy Memorial Library
- Finding Aid Author
- Finding aid prepared by Sarah Leu.
- Finding Aid Date
- Access Restrictions
Contact Margaret R. Grundy Memorial Library for information about accessing this collection.
The administrative records include minute and attendance books, annual reports from various club committees, presidents' files and reports, and other related documents. A large portion of this series is volumes.
The minute books (1901-1980) span almost the entire lifetime of the Travel Club and provide detailed, often hand-written, accounts of each meeting.
The presidents' files include correspondence, annual reports, some treasurer reports, budgets, newspaper clippings, and member lists. They also contain material relating to potential donations and sponsored programs, the General Federation of Women’s Clubs, events, and club house rentals.
This minute book is a handwritten copy of the minutes found in Box 2 Folder 1 and Box 2 Folder 3.
The Travel Club’s constitution and by-laws have been handwritten in the back of this volume.
The material in this folder is from the years during the presidencies of Mrs. Howard David (1972-1974), Miss Elma Haefner (1974-1976), Mrs. Russell (Frances) De Long (1976-1978), and Mrs. Adolph Ancker (1978-1980).
This folder also contains a list of historical Bristol dates between the years 1672-1853 as well as a copy of the Travel Club’s installation ceremony.
The material in this folder is from the years during the presidencies of Mrs. Russell (Frances) De Long (1982-1984), Miss Alice S. Smith (1984-1986), Mrs. Keith (Helen) Rosser (1986-1988), and Mrs. C. Clayton (Gladys) Bintliff (1988-1990).
The material in this folder is from the years during the presidencies of Mrs. Keith (Helen) Rosser (1986-1988), and Mrs. C. Clayton (Gladys) Bintliff (1988-1990).
The material in this folder is from the years during the presidencies of Mrs. Keith (Helen) Rosser (1986-1988), Mrs. C. Clayton (Gladys) Bintliff (1988-1990), and Mrs. William E. Riker (1990-1992).
The material in this folder is from the years during the presidencies of Mrs. C. Clayton (Gladys) Bintliff (1988-1990), and Mrs. William E. Riker (1990-1992).
Financial records represented include account and member dues books, bank statements, invoices, tax material, treasurer's reports, financial correspondence, budgets, and checkbooks. There are several volumes in this series.
The account books contain records from 1927-1995 and provide information about bank accounts, member dues, committee funds, and money acquired from fundraising efforts.
Special events include luncheons, anniversary celebrations, and Christmas parties.
The materials in this series cover the purchase of the house by the Travel Club, the home's sale to the Bristol Cultural and Historical Foundation, insurance, individuals and organizations that rented space in the club house, property maintenance, legal correspondence, paperwork for the club's incorporation, and monetary donations or objects left to the Travel Club in wills.
This folder contains color slides of the new fence constructed in 1981.
The Building Fund project was created shortly after the Travel Club purchased their club house in order to raise money for house maintenance. This file contains correspondence to members about the project, an outline of the property on graph paper, Building Fund subscriber lists, and a photo static copy of the deed transfer to the Travel Club.
This folder contains correspondence and lease agreements pertaining to the rental of the Travel Club’s building by other groups and individuals.
General files mostly contain material relating to the club's history in the form of anniversary speeches and programs, scrapbooks, yearbooks, newspaper clippings, and photographs. There is also a folder on the club's disbanding, and folders from two Junior Travel Club presidents with material similar to that found in the Travel Club's president files in Series I. The Junior Travel Club president files also contain ephemera and memorabilia from local and state women's clubs conferences. Causes supported by the Travel Club, awards given to the Travel Club, and some correspondence are also present in this series.
This series contains a few volumes.
This folder contains an audio cassette tape recording from May 1, 1981 of the Travel Club’s eightieth anniversary celebration titled Our 80th Birthday; programs and booklets from the sixty-fifth, seventy-fifth, eighty-fifth, and ninetieth anniversary celebrations; speeches given at the seventy-fifth, eightieth, and ninetieth anniversary celebrations; copies of the Travel Club Tea Song lyrics, and an undated document titled “Ode to the Bristol Travel Club” signed by Mrs. Walter Pitzonka, a longtime member of the club. A program from the club’s fiftieth anniversary can be found in the guest book located in box 12, folder 8.
This volume contains a program from the Travel Club’s fiftieth anniversary celebration.
Clippings contain information about both the Travel Club and the Junior Travel Club, and many of them are photocopies.
This scroll contains poems written as tributes to past presidents of the Travel Club. The poems were read during the club’s Past President Day celebration on May 6, 1949. The event is described in the Minute book from 1945-1949 in box 4, folder 2.
This folder contains both color and black and white photographs as well as negative strips and sheets. There are also two Kodak disc film negatives from 1984. Disc film was a photographic format produced between 1984 and 1999, but was not very popular and is therefore somewhat rare.
The contributions documented in this folder mostly relate to the Travel Club’s support of the Bristol Junior-Senior High School.
The scrapbook’s pages are unbound. There are also photocopies of the scrapbook’s pages in this box.
The scrapbook’s pages are unbound.
This play was performed by members of the Travel Club on May 17, 1935. The performance is described in the Minute book from 1932-1936 in box 3, folder 5.
The yearbooks beginning with the years 1901-1907, 1912-1926, 1988, and 1990 are not in the collection.