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Abington Civic Club records


Held at: Old York Road Historical Society [Contact Us]

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Old York Road Historical Society. 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 Abington Civic Club was organized in 1925 by local women as the Highlands Farm Civic Club, “hoping to better conditions in our community and to establish neighborly relations among the residents.” In 1927 it changed its name, broadened its geographical membership, and “federated” by joining the Pennsylvania Federation of Women’s Clubs, with its object "to develop the educational, civic, and social welfare of its members and to advance the welfare of the community." In 1928 it formed a Junior department for women ages 16 to 22 years old, later defined as 18 years or older.

The 2001 "New Members Orientation Booklet" (see Miscellaneous file) offers a brief history of the Club’s activities. It describes the accomplishments of the early years, including the erection of street signs and lights, snow plowing for sidewalks, tree trimming and planting. It "provided food, clothing, and heat for needy families; provided playground equipment for the Highland Elementary School; and awarded a $100/year Scholarship to an outstanding student at Abington High School (this amount has since been raised to $600). In 1929 the club furnished equipment for the Occupational Therapy Department at Abington Memorial Hospital and for many years had an O. T. booth at The June Fete where handmade articles were sold. In 1932, Club members opened a Women’s Exchange in Abington…. During World War II years, the members, in addition to their regular club work, volunteered to help the war effort in the Civilian Defense Office, the Canteen for service men, the USO. Blackout curtains were made for Abington Memorial Hospital. A new Club committee was formed—the Victory Committee, which sold War Saving Stamps and Bonds. They also provided food and entertainment for the service men at the local Church Door Canteen. In 1944, the Club undertook furnishing a Sun Room for convalescent soldiers at Valley Forge Hospital. In 1955, the Club organized a full-scale community assault on the Canker Worm, which was destroying flowers, shrubs and giant oak trees…. In 1969-1970, the big Civic Club project was helping to establish the new Abington Township Library. [It has] supported the library financially ever since. In the late 1970’s and ‘80’s…Abington Civic Club became initial supporters of the 'We Can Say No' [anti-drug] program with a contribution of $500." At the height of its membership in the 1950’s there were 300, with a waiting list for entrance. By 2000, "with so many women in the workforce," membership stood at 100, but was still one of the largest clubs in the Montgomery County Federation.

Like most of the women’s clubs, its fund-raising and other programs were organized through a committee structure that varied over the years. In 1960 the committees were: American Home, Education, Fine Arts, Legislation, Press and Publicity, Public Welfare, Community Affairs, Devotional, Finance, Good Cheer, Hospitality, International Relations, June Fete, Junior Advisor, Membership, Parliamentarian, Program, Abington Hospital, Veterans and Red Cross, Ways and Means, Y. M. C. A.

Some of the Club presidents were: Mrs. John Reid, Mrs. Louis E. Eble, Mrs. Charles H. Williams (Alma), Miss Virginia Hare, Mrs. Gordon Butterworth (Elsa), Mrs. Herbert Graham (Mary), Mrs. Howard Nice (Molly), Mrs. George M. Miller, Jr. (Marian), Mrs. Herbert J. Ely (Ruth), Mrs. William H. Dutcher, Jr. (Helen), Mrs. Frederick Toothill (Florence), Mrs. Horace F. Richter, Jr. (Madge), Mrs. Andrew S. Kohut (Betty), Mrs. Edward M. Lynch (Ruth), Mrs. W. Spencer Bloor (Barbara), Mrs. Baron Rowland (Barbara), Mrs. Kenneth Goff (Hazel), Mrs. Willard Dye (Marge), Mrs. Donald Clague (Norie), Mrs. Walter Anders (Emily).

This collection consists of minutes, financial records, scrapbooks, yearbooks, and newsletters of the Abington Civic Club, 1925-2002. Civic Club Executive Board minutes, 1945-1974, 2000-2002, and General Meeting minutes, 1925-1932, 1941-1990, 2000-2002, provide only very general information on fund-raising, contributions, and interest group activities, and special events. Money was raised through a wide variety of means, including card parties, sales of goods, raffles, and Kiwanis “Peanut Day.” Donations, in addition to those mentioned above, were made to the Visiting Nurses Association, Norristown State Hospital, various other local groups and to County and State Federation projects. Some of the annual events were Men’s Night, arts and crafts exhibit, sewing contest, Mother-Daughter dinner, Friday Night Frolic, members’ play, and annual meeting. The minutes provide no information on the programs that followed the business meetings.

Financial records consist of general account books, 1931-1949 (3 volumes), Treasurer’s annual reports, 1926-1946, 1951, and miscellaneous receipted bills, 1928-1931, 1938-1939. The printed Yearbooks, 1933-2001, provide Officer’s and Committee Chairmen, Treasurer’s Report, program calendar, membership list (beginning 1939, with addresses beginning 1944), and President’s Annual Report (1949-1964). There are newsletters, 1976-2000. Miscellaneous records include School Board reports (Kay Peterson, Education Committee Chairman), 1968-1971 (continued as insertions in General Meeting minutes, November 1971-October 1974), Ways and Means Committee files, 1980, 1982-1988, and historical notes.

Scrapbooks, 1938-1940 (2 volumes), 1955 (on worm initiative), 1975-1994 (5 volumes), include Club newsletters and other memorabilia, clippings, and photographs.

There are newsletters, 1976-1980, 1984-2000.

There are also Junior Civic Club Board and Regular Meeting minutes, 1971-1978 (3 volumes), account book, 1971-1979, President’s Reports, 1969-1972, 45th anniversary history, 1973, Yearbooks, 1959, 1974, and a volume of awards and certificates of appreciation, 1952-1974. The minutes record the Junior’s interest in Pennhurst State School and Hospital and the Montgomery County Association of Retarded Children and various activities similar to the “senior” Club. Presidents during the period covered by the records were Mrs. David G. Chadwick (Carol), Mrs. Richard Harris (Marie), and Mrs. Joseph Grande (Elaine).

Box 1 Executive Board minutes, 1945-1976; Emily Anders Board meeting files with annotated agenda & minutes, 2000-2002

Box 2 General Meeting minutes, 1925-1932, 1941-1969

Box 3 General Meeting Minutes, 1969-1990; Emily Anders General meeting files with annotated agenda & minutes, 2000-2002

Box 4 School Board Reports (Kay Peterson, Education Committee Chair), 1968-1971 Ways and Means Committee file, 1980, 1982-1988 Newsletters, 1976-1980, 1984-2000 Historical Notes Miscellaneous, 1948-2003 Yearbooks, 1933-2001

Box 5 Account books, 1931-1949 (3 volumes) Receipted bills, 1928-1931, 1938-1939 Treasurer’s Annual Reports, 1926-1946, 1951

Box 6 Junior Civic Club Board and Regular Meeting minutes, 1971-1978 Junior Civic Club account book, 1971-1979 45th Anniversary history, 1973 Yearbooks, 1959, 1974

Box 7 Junior Civic Club President’s Reports, 1969-1972

Box 8 Scrapbooks, 1938-1940 (2 volumes), 1955, 1975-1994 (5 volumes) Junior Civic Club Awards and Certificates of Appreciation, 1952-1974

Gift of Abington Civic Club

Summary descriptive information on this collection was compiled in 2011-2012 as part of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania’s Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories (HCI-PSAR), using data provided by the Old York Road Historical Society. The HCI-PSAR project was funded by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

This is a preliminary finding aid. No physical processing, rehousing, reorganizing, or folder listing was done in the HCI-PSAR project.

Old York Road Historical Society
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by staff of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories using data provided by the Old York Road Historical Society.
This preliminary finding aid was created by staff of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania’s Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories (HCI-PSAR) using data provided by the Old York Road Historical Society. The HCI-PSAR project was made possible by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
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