The Naperville Woman’s Club was founded in 1897 by nineteen woman who were thirsting for knowledge, culture and connection in a farm community, at a time when woman’s intellectual and civic pursuits were virtually unheard of. Over the years with a passion for knowledge the Woman’s Club help found the Naperville Library, contributed some of its first books and eventually helped buy the Bookmobile. The Club played a role in informing the community on Suffrage, hosting lectures and discussions for the community.
Urged by members of the Marshall Fields prestigious chorus, the Club formed its own group in 1922. Successful concerts at “The Walnut Room” were a deciding factor in bringing free store delivery service to the Naperville countryside. The group took “blue ribbon” honors at the 1933 World’s Exposition. The Chorus tradition continued to present day.
The education of future generations of Napervillians was secured in 1915 when the Club petitioned for the initiation of a kindergarten. The Naperville Woman’s Club furnished the domestic science rooms at the high school, as well as, victrolas and records and an ongoing subscription to National Geographic. High school and college scholarships were offered in the arts, nursing and teaching. And the group began a school milk program in 1921. We can thank the Club for the first “picture ladies” bringing art awareness into the grade schools and securing $1500 worth of Crayola products in 1982.
Red Cross fund drives, Liberty Bond campaigns, bandage wrapping, clothing for refugees, gifts for soldiers, the USO and War Bonds were all second nature to the Woman’s Club. They began the Hospital Auxiliary, championed the need for a TB Sanitarium in Illinois and purchased an iron lung during the height of polio.
The Club’s theatricals, poetry contests, creative writers group and musical programs ensured a vivid cultural life for the community. A Penny Art Fund provided prizes for school art contests and money was raised to support the North Central College Artists Series. Roots of the Naperville Art League, as well as, the Garden Club of Naperville can be traced to the Club. The group’s International Relations Committee worked on Naperville’s Sister Cities project. And in 2006 the Club is involved in the preparations for our city’s 175th anniversary celebration!
The Naperville Woman’s Club has raised monies for charitable organizations in our community from inception. Each year the Club selects one non-profit group as a focus charity. In 2007-2008 Ecumenical Adult Day Care, which provides an alternative social daytime environment in a protective setting for frail adults, was chosen.
In addition to monetary contributions, members also provide personal service to local non-profit agencies. During 2006-2007, NWC members worked at Loaves & Fishes preparing over 750 bags of food to be distributed to needy families and senior citizens. Mailings have been organized for Little Friends, DuPage PADS, Naperville CARES, People’s Resource Center and Loaves & Fishes. In 2006-2007, over 10,000 envelopes were stuffed, addressed, sealed and stamped by club members. An on-going project has been sewing neck coolers for the troops in Iraq; over 400 neck coolers have been delivered to Operation Support Our Troops for distribution in packages sent to service personnel.
Courtesy of the Naperville Woman’s Club Website