HISTORY OF THE
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA WOMAN'S
ROSE LUCILE ELLERBE was born in Jefferson County, New York, daughter of Ann Bishop and Thomas Farr Ellerbe. Her early childhood was spent in Mississippi; then the family moved to Minnesota, and Rose graduated from the Mankato High School and attended the State Normal School. Later she took special work at the Chicago University.
She taught school in Iowa and Missouri and it was this profession which brought her to California as a permanent resident in 1887 after a year spent in San Diego in 1884. Her first work was among the Pala Indians in San Diego County and it was from them she caught the romantic spirit of early California which graces all her stories of that period and makes them a rare heritage for the student as well as the casual reader.
The lure of recording these fascinating bits of primitive life prompted her to give up teaching for the wider field of journalism and she was for a number of years on the contributing staff of the Los Angeles Times, serving one year of this time as Club Editor. She also was a frequent contributor to Los Angeles Saturday Night. During these years she wrote many short stories which first were published in such magazines of national repute as Ladies' Home Journal, Colliers, Lippincotts, Munseys and McClures and later gathered into permanent form in “California Yesterdays” published in 1916.
As the outgrowth of years of research work came the writing of the historical novel, “Ropes of Sand,” published in 1925 which will grow ever more and more valuable in accurately recorded detail of the coming of the first Americans to California via the trapper's trail.Other books, “History of San Bernardino County” for the Ingersoll Century Series of 1904, and “History of Santa Monica Bay Cities” for the same series of 1908, earned for her the reputation of an authority on the history of California and the West.
In frail health for some time, this “History of the Southern California Woman's Press Club” was Miss Ellerbe's last undertaking and was only barely finished when she suffered, in October, 1928, a partial stroke of paralysis which caused her death within the few weeks following, at a time when all her friends were hopeful of her complete recovery. The work will stand as poignantly indicative of her devotion to the Press Club since the days of its initial organization, and that she should have volunteered to write this brief history, tediously sifting the records of more than thirty years of activities, must inspire not only those of us who knew her well and worked with her, but those who will come into the ranks of our membership and know her only by this small book, to greater love for and loyalty to our organization.
Miss Ellerbe had been elected to many offices in the Press Club before becoming its president in 1916, an office which she filled with grace and fairness, and with but a single principle in view - that of the greatest good to the Club and a tangible value in return to each individual member. It was this element of value returned to the individual which prompted the organization of the various study sections under her administration, a feature which has now become pivotal in the
different fields of work and which serves to stimulate camaraderie in the membership more than any other single factor in the Club's activities.
In all the membership of the Club there has been no one so universally loved and respected as Rose Ellerbe; no one whose judgment was so unbiased by motive; nor whose integrity remained steadfastly above suspicion in all her dealings as officer, or as friend. New members coming into the Club found themselves unconsciously striving for her commendation; yet each knew that her condemnation held the softening of reluctance. It is these high attributes of character, coupled with a charm of modesty, which leaves with her going a brilliant afterglow of memories like the flush of sunset skies; and her influence always will linger among us like the tintinnabulation of soft chimes – fairness, frankness, loyalty and
ELSIE NOBLE CALDWELL
HISTORY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA WOMANS PRESS CLUB
On March 10th, 1894, ten women met in the rooms of Miss Tessa Kelso, then librarian of the city of Los Angeles, and organized a Branch of the Pacific Coast Woman's Press Association.
Back of this simple statement stands as unwritten record of weeks of planning, talking and writing on the part of two women who were members of the main organization in San Francisco, Mrs. Emma Seckle Marshall and Mrs. Clara Spalding Brown – who later became Mrs. Edward S. Ellis.
The only record of this meeting we now have is the following copy of the letter which the appointed corresponding secretary, Mrs. Brown, wrote to the parent society, announcing the birth of the new organization:
March 15, 1894.
Mrs. Marion B. Foster,
It is with pleasure that I inform you of an important meeting held on March 10th, at the room of Miss Kelso, when our temporary organization was made a permanent one.
The attendance, from one reason and another, was small, but the results of the meeting were very satisfactory. There were present Mrs. Emma S. Marshall, Mrs. Alice M. McComas, Mrs. Carl Schultze and myself, members of the P. C. W. P. A., and Mrs. Burton Williamson, Mrs. Mary Ives Todd, Mrs. S. A. Bowman, Mrs. Jeanne C. Peet, and a Mrs. McLees who is an old newspaperwoman and a prominent temperance worker. All these, being undoubtedly eligible, were admitted as charter members, giving the P. C. W. P. A., at our start, five new members. Two of them at once paid their entrance fee, and it is worthy of note that Mrs. McLees was the first person to do so. She is, I think, national superintendent of the Soldiers' Home department of the W. C. T. U.
The Constitution was read, and a change found necessary in the clause relating to officers, the Branch not requiring so large a working force.
The by-laws of the P. C. W. A. were read and adopted for the use of the Branch, with the following changes:
The initiation fee shall be one dollar, which will not include dues for the first year.
The annual dues may be paid in March of each year, or thereafter.
Regular meetings will be held on the first and third Mondays of each month except in July and August.
The annual meeting and convention will be held the second Tuesday in March.
There will be no assistant recording secretary.
The will be no librarian at present.
After some discussion as to the best ways of having the southern counties represented, the plan of a vice-president in each not appearing feasible, as they could scarcely ever assume the duties of a vice-president at the meetings in Los Angeles, it was moved, seconded and carried to have a corresponding secretary in each county.
Election of officers followed.
Mrs. Marshall, by virtue of her vice-presidency in the main association, became president of the Branch.
Mrs. Burton Williamson was elected first vice-president; Mrs. Jeanne C. Peet, second vice-president; Mrs. Clara S. Brown, corresponding secretary; Mrs. Mary Ives Todd, recording secretary; Mrs. Alice M. McComas, treasurer.
It being late, the meeting adjourned at this point, leaving the executive board to be selected at the next business meeting, when other members will no doubt be present.
Decisive action was necessary at this meeting, because delegates from the National Woman's Press Association will be in this city the late part of April en route to the Congress at the Mid-winter Fair. A movement is on hand among the women's clubs to give them a reception, and it is fitting that the Branch P. C. W. P. A. should take the lead on that occasion. We are now prepared to act, and a special meeting to arrange for the reception has been called for Monday, March 19th.
Attention will be called to our organization by this reception, and we expect to grow and prosper thereafter.
I remain, Very truly yours,
Clara Spalding Brown,
To Mrs. Marion B. Foster,
Secretary P. C. W. P. A.
The first minutes of the new organization in the recording secretary's book are dated June 5th, 1894. However, from the treasurer's book and other sources, we know that various meetings were held to arrange for this reception for the visiting Press Women, which occurred on April 21st. Toward this entertainment the Chamber of Commerce contributed $15.00, and it is interesting to note that the entire expenditures for the event were: Hall, $5.00; ribbons, pins, badges, etc., $6.00; ice cream, etc., $14.25; total $25.25.
One of the city papers thus reports the first entertainment ever given by this organization:
“In the evening the women of the National Press Association were tendered a reception at the Blanchard-Fitzgerald hall. I. H. LaVean, of the Herald, delivered an address of welcome. Mrs. Modini Wood was presented by Mrs. Emma S. Marshall and sang “Polacca.” Captain T. B. Mery followed with one of his happy addresses. Miss Katharine Kimball rendered “Bid Me to Live” (Helton), with capital style, after which Mrs. M. S. Lockwood, president of the Woman's International Press Association, made a few remarks.
“Captain H. Z. Osborne of the Express was next heard. After this meeting adjourned to the rooms of the Press Club, where an informal reception was held and, during the evening, Mayor Rowan made the visitors welcome. The genial host at once won the hearts of the ladies and was forced to hold an impromptu levee after his speech. The visitors sang the “Ride of the W. N. P. A.,” composed en route and descriptive of their journey.”
A. Herald, April 22, 1894.
According to the account of some of the women who assisted in entertaining these ladies of the press, they were a somewhat free and easy lot, and rather shocked their more demure hostesses of the Southern California Branch of the Pacific Coast Woman's Press Association.
The minutes of June 5th record the election of an executive committee, including the officers and Mrs. Mary M. Bowman, Mrs. Mary Hart and Miss Louise Off. Mrs. M. C. Frederick was chosen as corresponding secretary for Santa Barbara County; Mrs. T. B. Shepherd, for Ventura; Mrs. M. L. Craig, for San Bernardino; Mrs. S. B. Munn, for Riverside, and Mrs. Rose H. Thorpe, for San Diego County.
The organization was now well launched; it had given a successful affair for visiting Press Women from many states; it boasted a membership containing some very well known names: Rose Hartwick Thorpe, author of “Curfew Shall Not Ring Tonight”; Theodosia B. Shepherd, internationally known in plant development long before Burbank; Mrs. Ada E. Bowles, a Unitarian minister with a brilliant record; Mrs. Mary Lynde Craig, an early lawyer, who practiced for many years in San Francisco. The latter was the wife and editorial associate of Scipio Craig, publisher of the Redlands “Citrograph,” a widely read and influential newspaper, made noted by the brilliancy of its editor, and his extensive knowledge of horticultural affairs.
The first social meeting of the club took place this same month of June, at the home of Mrs. J. W. A. Off. At the next meeting, July 2nd, 1894, Mrs. Mary E. Hart was appointed chairman of the Press committee, and Mrs. Mary M. Bowman became chairman of program and entertainment. Mrs. Bowman read a paper, apparently the first presented before the club, on “Practical Journalism.”
The next regular session was on October 1st, at which considerable business was disposed of. Among matters discussed was a protest to be sent to the “parent association” in San Francisco against an increase in dues; also the matter of invited guests for social meetings was up for consideration. It was voted to extend an invitation for the next social meeting to Mrs. Will D. Chapin, Mrs. May Whitney Emerson and Professor G. Wharton James; also a letter of greeting was to be sent to Miss Beatrice Harraden, author of “Ships That Pass in the Night,” a best seller of nineties, then on the crest of the wave of popularity.
In November a reception was held at the home of Mrs. Peet and her mother, Mrs. Rebecca Spring, two very remarkable women. At this meeting, Mrs. Spring related incidents of her trip abroad with Margaret Fuller, in 1846, when they visited Thomas Carlyle and many other distinguished literary people of that day. From this time until her death, in 1911, at the age of 99 years and nine months, Mrs. Spring frequently entertained the members of the club with her reminiscences of the many distinguished persons she had known as a member of the famous literary coterie of Boston, and in Europe through her association with Margaret Fuller. Mrs. Jeanne Peet also remained connected with this club until her death in 1922.
At the November meeting of the club Miss Gwendolyn Overton, author of a number of popular novels, was elected to membership. A protest was again entered against the raise of dues announced by the Pacific Coast Woman's Press Association. The social affair of this month was an elaborate musicale at the home of Mrs. Marshall, with a paper by Alice Moore McComas, “Are Literary People Literary?”
At the December social affair, Captain Newton A. Chittenden, explorer and archæologist, whose fame still endures, lectured on the Aborigines of North America and exhibited a large collection of native handicrafts. On this occasion Captain J. A. Osgood, who will be remembered especially by all members of the Friday Morning Club, sang a number of ballads.
During this first year of the club, the initial book contributed to the club library is recorded, a copy of Rose Hartwick Thorpe's poems. The first death of a member occurred – that of Miss Louise Off, a very brilliant young woman of the early Executive Committee.
Removal of Mrs. Marshall to Oakland at this time left the club temporarily without a president, and was deeply regretted. Mrs. M. Burton Williamson was later elected to the office.
March 12th and 13th, 1895, the club held its first annual convention. This lasted two days, with forenoon sessions devoted to business; afternoon programs open to the public, and a reception on the last evening, in the parlors of the Nadeau Hotel. The other meetings were held in the assembly rooms of the Chamber of Commerce at Fourth and Broadway.
The two afternoon meetings of the convention presented good programs which were well attended, although the city was enjoying a heavy rainstorm during this period, and those who lived in Los Angeles in 1895 will remember the condition of the streets after heavy rains.
This proved to be a most important session, as during this meeting it was unanimously voted to withdraw from the “parent association” and become an independent organization.
The reasons for this change are set forth in this letter written by Mrs. Brown:
Mrs. Lillian Plunkett Ferguson,
Corresponding Secretary, P. C. W. P. A.
Your letter introducing Mrs. Craig and Mrs. Miller as delegates to our convention were duly received; also, the pleasant greeting, for which we return appreciative thanks.
The tidings which I have to convey to you, I fear, will not be welcome; but I trust the cordial feeling of the writers in our Association for the writers of the North will not be questioned.
There has been a growing feeling among us that it would be for our best interests to form an independent organization, and when the matter was brought up in the convention, the motion for withdrawal from the P. C. W. P. A. was unanimously carried.
There were several reasons for this: Our name, Southern California Branch of Pacific Coast Woman's Press Association, was so burdensome as to be ridiculous.
We need all our money here, especially as we have thought it best to reduce our dues to $1.00 a year.
We no longer have representation in an organ of the Association, the “Impress” having suspended. This was an advantage to us. The other advantage of being auxiliary to a northern association, are not apparent.
We are strong enough to stand alone, and will be stronger as an independent organization than as a branch of the P. C. W. P. A., because writers will now join us who have hitherto declined to do so.
Our policy is different from that lately pursued by the “parent association,” being very practical and opposed to spending time and thought on women's congresses or any work not coming directly in the line of press work. Individually we favor all good movements – as a press association we adhere strictly to business, and that business is “the advancement of the professional interests” of the members.
The above is a brief outline of our motives for separation. While we think it best to be independent, we retain pleasant memories of the P. C. W. P. A. and wish it every success.
Some of us will probably retain our membership in it. More would do so if the dues were reduced to $1.00 a year. I certainly would.
To us it seems the wisest plan to have a high standard of eligibility, high initiation fee and low dues.
Our convention was highly creditable for a first attempt. Your delegates and our new member from the north, Mrs. Hester A. Harland, expressed great pleasure with it and thought it a representative gathering of literary women. I may add that the matter of withdrawal did not surprise them.
The name of our new organization is the Southern California Woman's Press Club. Twenty persons signed the constitution at once and ten more are to be counted upon before the next meeting.
I omitted to state in the proper place that one of our reasons for withdrawal from P. C. W. P. A. was the need of a different Constitution, as yours does not fit us perfectly.
Financial matters will be adjusted by the treasurer of the Branch with your treasurer.
I now formally tender the resignation of the Southern California Branch as a body, from the P. C. W. P. A., and remain with the utmost cordiality,
Clara Spalding Brown.
The following letter was received in response to this announcement:
PACIFIC COAST WOMEN'S PRESS ASSOCIATION
March 27, 1895
Mrs. Clara Spalding Brown,
S. C. B. of P. C. W. P. A.
Los Angeles, California.
The Pacific Coast Women's Press Association accepts the resignation of the Southern California Branch, regretting that the Branch finds such action necessary.
Conveying to the Southern California Woman's Press Club our fraternal good-will, I am, dear madam,
Lillian Plunkett Ferguson,
The name, “Southern California Woman's Press Club,” it is recorded, was proposed by Mrs. Mary E. Hart. Although there was objection that the membership was not entirely made up of press women, after some discussion this name was adopted. Also, after due consideration, a constitution, which it was felt met the immediate needs of the new club, was adopted, before the business sessions of the convention ended.
Mrs. M. Burton Williamson, University Post Office, President
Miss Ella A. Giles, Los Angles, Vice-President
Mrs. Mary M. Bowman, 443 Temple Street, Recording Secretary
Mrs. Clara Spalding Brown, 2142 Santee Street, Corresponding Secretary
Mrs. Sarah A. McClees, Corner Soto and Folsom Streets, Treasurer
Mrs. Jennie E. McMullin, Auditor
Mrs. Emma Foster Haberkorn, Librarian
Mrs. Hattie Elliott, Historian
MEMBERS of the S. C. W. P. C.
February 19, 1896
Mrs. Rebecca B. Spring, 504 Soto Street
Mrs. Jennie C. Carr, Pasadena
Mrs. Caroline M. Severance, 606 Adams Street
Mrs. Mary M. Bowman, 433 Temple Street, Los Angeles
Mrs. Sarah A. Bowman, South Los Angeles
Mrs. Clara Spalding Brown, 2142 Santee, Los Angeles
Miss Alzire A. Chevallier, La Crescenta
Mrs. J. Torrey Connor, 533 Fremont Ave., Los Angeles
Mrs. Mary Lynde Craig, Redlands
Mrs. J. C. Davis, Inglewood
Mrs. Hattie Elliott, 344 S. Hill St., Los Angeles
Mrs. Ella H. Enderlein, 213 N. Olive, Los Angeles
Mrs. Ella A. Giles, Hotel Broadway, Los Angeles
Mrs. Emma Foster Haberkorn, Pirtle Block, Los Angeles
Mrs. Hester A. Harland,
Mrs. S. E. A. Higgins, Santa Barbara
Mrs. Suzanne Howells Jordon, Los Angeles
Mrs. Emma Seckle Marshall, 551 Knox, Oakland
Mrs. Sarah A. McClees, Cor. Soto and Folsom, Los Angeles
Mrs. Jennie E. McMullin, 332 Omar St., Los Angeles
Mrs. Sadie B. Metcalfe, South Los Angeles
Mrs. Arthur G. Munn, San Jacinto
Mrs. O. L. Eddy Orcutt, 365 J Street, San Diego
Miss Gwendolen Overton, 237 W. First, Los Angeles
Mrs. Jeanne S. Peet, Harold
Mrs. Theodosia B. Shepherd, Ventura
Mrs. Lilla W. Sickler, Pala
Miss Phoebe Estelle Spalding, Claremont
Mrs. Susie M. Sweet, Pomona
Mrs. Rose Hartwick Thorpe, Pacific Beach
Mrs. Mary Ives Todd, 411 Fremont Ave., Los Angeles
Mrs. Augusta E. Towner, Santa Ana
Mrs. Elizabeth A. Vore, Los Angeles
Mrs. M. Burton Williamson, University
The convention was followed by excursions of the Club to Mt. Lowe on March 14th, as guests of the Mt. Lowe Company, represented by Mr. Wm. H. Knight; and around the Kite-shaped track of the Santa Fe on the 15th.
Through the courtesy of Mrs. D. G. Stevens and Mrs. F. A. Gibson, this same month, the Club attended a reception given in honor of Mrs. Spring, at the home of Mrs. Stevens, corner of Olive and Sixth Streets. At this time, Mrs. Spring related the history of her connection with Margaret Fuller and Count Ossoli, who married Miss Fuller. She also gave several recitations, although she was then past eighty-five years of age. Mrs. Peet modeled from clay a mother and child, with a running commentary on the art of modeling, while Alice McComas accompanied her with a lullaby on the piano.
Another delightful affair is recorded when Mrs. M. Burton Williamson gave a reception for Mrs. Marshall, and the departing founder and president was presented with two books as a gift from the Club. A little gem of verse, “How the Poppies Came,” by Sadie B. Metcalfe, published in the Land of Sunshine, for April, 1895, was read.
The second annual convention of the Press Club occurred March 10th and 11th, 1896. Reports showed a year of active work, with programs devoted largely to literary matters and experiences.
The Club had seriously considered the matter of incorporation; but had not decided that this was necessary as yet.
Here are the programs of the second day of the second Annual Convention, in session March 11, 1896.
The first paper of the afternoon was read by Mrs. J. Torrey Connor, “In the Footsteps of Cable.” Miss Ella Giles followed with “Idealism in Literature” - for which she made an able and scholarly plea; Mrs. Sweet, of Pomona, read a paper entitled “Scraps”; Miss Chevallier gave an interesting account of her “Personal Reminiscences of Literary People”, paying special tribute to the memory of her friend Wendell Philips. The exercises of the afternoon closed with a very excellent address by an honorary member, Mrs. Caroline Severance, founder of the Friday Morning Club and associate of Susan B. Anthony in the initial movement toward woman's suffrage.
In the evening the rooms were well filled. In the absence of Mayor Rader, Mr. W. C. Patterson, President of the Chamber of Commerce, made the opening address, followed by music by the Mandolin and Guitar Club.
Mrs. Hattie Elliott reviewed the years' work, giving an account of the content and scope of articles published by club members. After a recitation and another musical selection, a fine paper, “The Possibilities of a Press Club”, written by Lillian A. Ferguson, of the Pacific Coast Woman's Press Association, was read by Mrs. Brown.
Mrs. Rebecca Spring followed with “Reminiscences of the Poets,” reciting beautiful stanzas by Bryant and others, written to their wives.
Major Carere of the Express delivered an excellent address, giving many practical hints for the newspaper women. Mr. William H. Knight, for years an authoritative writer on astronomical and historical subjects, followed with a brief humorous talk.
A librarian had been appointed, and donations of several books are recorded; the club had subscribed to two literary magazines.
“Life in Shut-In Valley” by Clara Spalding Brown, “Flowers of the Sea” by Mrs. S. E. A. Higgins, of Santa Barbara, and another volume by Mrs. J. Torrey Connor, were reported, all three authors being club members.
The Treasurer's report showed receipts of $36.85 and expenditures of $16.75, during the year.
Among the resolutions presented for consideration, one is very significant at the present moment and shows that the Press Club of 1896 was quite as up-to-date as the same club of today. It read: “Resolved that we recognize with sincere appreciation the past efforts of California women, in securing the signatures of 20,000 citizens of the State, in favor of moderation of the details of vice and crime as printed in the columns of the daily papers, and that we are in sympathy with all good people in continuing the agitation of this subject, so vital to the morals of the home and the nations.”
Another resolution, which so well expresses the spirit that has animated the Southern California Woman's Press Club from its foundation to the present day that it may be called the keystone of our history, was passed at this convention:
“Resolved, That the Southern California Woman's Press Club, having for its aim the advancement of all women writers in Southern California, whether directly connected with newspapers or engaged in broader lines of literary work, rejoices in the spirit of harmony prevailing among its members and in the confidence exhibited by the public towards its simple, unpretentious methods to promote unity of action and good fellowship among literary women.”
Again the reception and program of the evening session drew a large number of visitors and touched a high point of excellence.
This convention was followed by an excursion to Pomona, through the courtesy of the Southern Pacific – an occasion which the members who shared the pleasure remember to this day as full of interest.
The meetings of the club in 1896-97 were held in the Hotel Broadway, 429 South Broadway, then a new building, and included a large reception in honor of Mrs. Spring. This was a very happy affair, with many tributes to the remarkable personality of this veteran of woman's new place in the world. Mrs. Spring, herself, contributed priceless reminiscences of Harriet Martineau and other English writers she had met.
Here is an extract from the minutes of April 6, 1896:
“At close of business Mrs. Enderlein introduced Miss Mary F. McQueen, a member of the New York Women's Press Club, who gave an account of their club and said it was composed not exclusively of newspaper-women but included writers in general, and as associate members women not in literary pursuits, but who were willing to pay and to work for the privilege. They are endeavoring to own their own building and take this method for increasing their funds. She also gave an amusing account of their treatment by the men of the press previous to their making themselves felt by their size and their importance. This seems to be the common experience of women's clubs everywhere.
Her talk was very encouraging and we took heart of grace and resolved more firmly to persevere until we became “large and important.”
In January, 1897, Mrs. Williamson resigned as president and her place was filled by the first vice-president, Mrs. Ella Giles Ruddy.
The third annual convention, March 9th and 10th, 1897, was held in the auditorium of the old Y. M. C. A. building on Broadway near Second. Of especial interest was the report of the librarian, showing eighteen volumes in the library – five of them written by club members; also two scrap books, various files of magazines, and several songs composed by members of the club. Where are these now?
The election of this year placed Mrs. Mary M. Bowman in the president's chair. She had served as recording secretary of the club almost from its beginning, and it is due to her comprehensive reports that much interesting and valuable detail is preserved.
An excursion, lasting from Monday to Thursday, was tendered the members of the club by the management of the new mines recently opened up at Randsburg and Johannesburg. Echoes of this “joy ride” are still reverberating in the minds of those who were fortunate enough to take advantage of the invitation. Another group of the club members journeyed, April 1st, to Catalina, as guests of the Banning Company.
During 1897-98, the State Federation of Women's Clubs was organized and the Press Club became affiliated with it.
Mrs. S. M. Sweet was appointed as a delegate to the National Press Women's convention to be held in Washington.
At the annual meeting, held March 1st, 1898, in the rooms of the Friday Morning Club, then located in the Owens Block between Second and Third on South Broadway, the secretary reported eighteen new members received into the club during the year; also three books published by members, “Sweet Song Stories For Children,” Mrs. Rose Hartwick Thorpe; “The Smiling Book,” Mrs. Lu Wheat; and, “In the Footsteps of the Franciscans, by Mrs. J. Torrey Connor.
This year instead of an evening reception, the first annual banquet was held. This is described as - “The largest if not the only affair of this kind that has ever been given in Southern California, being entirely a gathering of women, some of them of national reputation.” Mrs. Ella H. Enderlein acted as toast-mistress. Those who remember Mrs. Enderlein, long an active newspaper woman and member of the Friday Morning Club, know that she handled the position with wit and cleverness. This event occurred on the evening of March 3rd, and ended in time for the guests to catch the “last car.”
At the election of March 21, 1899, Mrs. Clara S. Brown was chosen president, with Mrs. Lu Wheat, first vice-president; Miss Margaret M. Fette, 2nd vice-president; Mrs. Elva E. Day, recording secretary; Mrs. Lilla W. Sickler, corresponding secretary; Miss Olive Percival, treasurer.
A reception was held in the Bellevue Terrace Hotel, which was then a fashionable resort, located at Sixth and Figueroa. Mrs. Kate Tennant Woods, author and journalist of Boston, was a guest of honor and read her poem written for the annual meeting of the National Women's Press Association, at Washington, D. C. Mrs. Woods was later made an honorary member of the Press Club. About two hundred and fifty guests enjoyed the evening, which was largely a social affair.
One of the important changes of the new year was the institution of associate memberships. It was decided that this was better than changing the constitution and lowering the standards of the club by admitting women who were not qualified as paid writers.
As a result of this action, Mrs. Adina (J. W.) Mitchell, Mrs. Charles C. Williams, Mrs. Frances Lewis Hurd, Miss Jessie Washburn and Miss Lillian Whelpley, were received as the first associate members of the club.
In June, 1899, our president, Mrs. Brown, left Los Angeles for Mexico, and afterward went to New York, where she became the wife of Edward S. Ellis, well known author. She did not return to Los Angeles to reside until after his death in 1917. Mrs. Lu Wheat, as first vice-president, took the chair for the remainder of the year. Meetings were for a time held in the Van Nuys Hotel Annex, and during 1900 in the studio of Miss Jessie Washburn, on the top floor of the Bryson-Bonebrake building, corner of Spring and Second. Here, on March 13th, 1900, the sixth annual election of officers took place, Mrs. Wheat, acting president, having left for China. The attendance was so small that it was proposed to put off the election of officers, but this was voted down, and Mrs. J. Torrey Connor was chosen president, with a full set of officials.
The treasury was reported empty, although there were no debts. Minutes for this meeting read:
“It had been decided in a very informal way, that Mrs. Wheat's last meeting with us should be the occasion of a farewell luncheon at Hicks', after our annual meeting; but her sudden departure made that impossible. Then, two or three members, over the telephone, decided that we could and should have the luncheon and let the world know that we were alive. Accordingly arrangements were made and after business was completed we adjourned to the Blue Room of Hicks' new cafe.
“Decorated tables and place cards were ready, more than twenty guests were present, with Mrs. Mitchell as toast-mistress, and a series of happy speeches followed. Among the speakers were Mrs. Arturo Bandini, of Pasadena, and Mrs. C. E. Wood, of San Jose.”
In December, 1900, Mrs. Connors resigned as president and the club was again without its chief executive. Mrs. Lu Wheat, having returned from China, was chosen to fill the vacant place and complete the unexpired term.
The seventh annual business meeting was held in Hicks' Blue Room at 7:30 p. m., March 12th, 1901, and resulted in the election of Mrs. Lu Wheat as president. This meeting was followed by a supper, with a number of guests and a most interesting program. Here is a list of the topics:
“Our President,” Mrs. Attie A. Stowe; “The Editor in His Variety,” Mrs. G. H. Mathewson; “The Unknown Wives of Famous Men,” Miss Helen Davie; “Bits of the Tyrol,” Miss Margaret Fette; a poem, “The Chef's Confession,” Julia Boynton Green; a humorous sketch, written by Sadie B. Metcalf and read by Mrs. Connor; a conundrum, “When Is a Press Club a Press Club?” Mrs. J. Torrey Connor.
At the next meeting, March 25th, 1901 – the date of the meeting having been changed to the fourth instead of the first Monday in the month – the much discussed subject of a change of name for the club again popped up.
As to do this would require a number of amendments to the constitution, Mrs. Attie A. Stowe was designated to prepare the necessary amendments to be submitted to the membership. When these amendments were presented, at a subsequent meeting, after spirited discussion, they were defeated – and the name remained – Southern California Woman's Press Club.
While the subject of a name was under consideration, the club gave a reception for Will Allen Dromgoole, of Tennessee, then a popular novelist. The Times in its subsequent report of the affair bestowed a new name upon us willy-nilly:
“Way up in a yellowhammer's nest on the top floor of the Bryson Building, the literati of Los Angeles, more particularly the portion of them who wear petticoats, gathered last night to pay respect to a little woman who has made for herself a name in the literary world by writing a series of charming short stories and novels, the scenes of which are located principally in the mountains of Tennessee.
“The occasion was a reception tendered by the Writers' Club, formerly the Woman's Press Club, in honor of Will Allen Dromgoole. The function took place in the studio of Miss Jessie Washburn, where the 'writers' have their official headquarters. The rooms were beautifully decorated with the creations of Miss Washburn's brush and natural flowers and shrubbery. About 250 invitations had been sent out and nearly all of the recipients had responded.”
A long account of the affair with many encomiums of the guest of honor follows. It will be seen that even if the Press Club of that day found difficulty in getting together enough members for a business meeting, it could still stage a successful and delightful social event.
During the spring and summer of 1901, a revised constitution was adopted. In December, Mrs. Wheat resigned as president, again to go to China, and Miss Margaret Fette took her place and at the next annual meeting in March, 1902, was elected president, with Mrs. Georgina S. Townsend as first vice-president.
The great event of 1902 was the convening of the Biennial session of the National Federation of Women's Clubs in Los Angeles.
The Press Club in response to the call for cooperation from the club women of the city, arranged for a room in the Camera Club, then a most flourishing organization, as headquarters for Press Women. Members provided badges for themselves and visitors of the profession and aided in entertaining and giving information at the general headquarters, located in a large tent next door to Simpson's Auditorium, 734 South Hope Street, now the home of the Third Church of Christ Scientist, which was the place chosen for the regular sessions.
Following a discussion in regard to holding a reception for visiting Press Women Mrs. Mitchell tendered the use of her house and grounds for this purpose, which offer was gratefully accepted; elaborate preparations were made for the event which occurred on Sunday afternoon, May 4th. Mrs. A. S. C. Forbes and Mrs. Adina Mitchell arranged the program and a large number of prominent local people – the leading newspaper writers of the city, as well as many of the visitors, were entertained.
This was but one of many enjoyable affairs held for the Press Club and its members at the home of Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Mitchell, which was located at Vermont and First Streets and was then outside the city limits. A ten-acre lemon grove, during the years of the Mitchells' occupation of the place, had been converted into one of the most beautiful and unique gardens then to be found about Los Angeles. Here on every Sunday afternoon, Mr. and Mrs. Mitchell kept open house for their friends. Many Press Club members have pleasant memories of happy hours spent here, enjoying the hospitality of the hosts and their charming niece, Miss Dorothy Parry-Jones. Later the Mitchells moved to Coronado and there erected the handsome Moorish residence, now the home of the Mitchell Art Gallery.
Another home which has a very special place in the memories of Press Club members of the early years of this century was that of Mrs. George Drake Ruddy, one of the first “white” or “stucco” bungalows in the city, located on Wilshire Boulevard, where the Bryson Apartment Hotel now stands.
Ella Giles Ruddy and Ella Wheeler Wilcox were girlhood friends in Wisconsin, and for a number of years, whenever Mrs. Wilcox visited Los Angeles, she was the guest of Mrs. Ruddy, who usually entertained for her distinguished friend. The home of the Ruddy's was also often hospitably open for Press Club affairs. Mrs. Ruddy was twice elected president of the Club, serving in that capacity in 1896-1897 and again 1911-1912.
And, while reminiscing, “El Nido,” for many years the home of Madame Caroline Severance, and the mecca of distinguished people from all corners of the world who visited Los Angeles, must not be forgotten. This was on West Adams Street, originally built in an orange grove, and stood back from the street, surrounded by fine trees and masses of shrubbery and vines.
Madame Severance, our honorary member, had belonged to Boston literary circles, and had in her earlier days been associated with the women who first startled the world with a club organization for women. She was also one of the initial gallant group who demanded the ballot for women and began to talk to “women's rights.” Her Sunday afternoons “at home” were long a delightful feature of social life in Los Angeles and were frequented by many of our older members.
To return to the reception of the Southern California Women's Press Club for the Biennial visitors: Here is a report printed the next day:
“Southern California and particularly Los Angeles, never offered prettier courtesy to the stranger within its gates than the delightful garden party given yesterday afternoon at the beautiful country home of Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Mitchell, when they threw open 'Lomita' for the entertainment of visiting press women, writers, authors and many others, with members of the Southern California Woman's Press Club and members of the local biennial committee, assisting.”
An enthusiastic description of the house and the grounds, the lavish decorations and refreshments follows:
“Mrs. Frank Colby, Mr. and Mrs. Jacquard Auclair, Edwin H. Clark, George S. Dobinson, Mrs. Florence Amy Young, the Wyatt sisters, Mrs. Jones and Sam T. Clover contributed to a delightful program of literary and musical numbers. Mrs. Mary M. Bowman, a charter member of the Pacific Coast Women's Press Association, and one of the promoters of the present local organization, read a paper on the early history and romantic life of the Californian, concluding with the old-time Spanish greeting: 'Nuestra Casa son de ustedes y servicen de lo que gustan' – 'Our house is yours – take what you wish.' A hospitality which was truly exemplified by the host and hostess.”
Los Angeles Times, May 5, 1902.
The efforts of the club to assist in the entertainment of the Biennial seem to have been too much for its membership. Only two or three more meetings are briefly recorded for 1902. On January 16th, 1903, a meeting was held with the president, four members and five guests present. After some routine business, two stories by members were read. No mention of any other meeting is found for 1903.
On January 3rd, 1904, a meeting took place with Miss Fette in the chair as president – evidently no election had been held in 1903. This session was largely devoted to business, Mrs. Adina Mitchell and Mrs. Hattie Hoag were appointed delegates to the State Federation of Women's Clubs, dues to this organization being ordered paid; Mrs. Mary Bowman was elected delegate to the Camino Real Convention to be held in the Chamber of Commerce.
The next meeting of 1904 was held March 9th, at the Long Beach cottage of Miss Fette. It was decided to resume regular meetings of the Club and try to “infuse new life and arouse interest among its members.” The day of meeting was changed to the last Thursday of the month at 3 p. m.
At the annual meeting, held March 31st, Mrs. Susan M. Sweet was elected president; Mrs. M. D. Hamilton, first vice-president; Mrs. Sarah Bowman, second vice-president; Miss Rose L. Ellerbee, corresponding secretary; Mrs. Mary M. Bowman, recording secretary; Miss Rosa L. Lee, treasurer.
At this time active steps for the reorganization of the club were taken. The president was requested to find a regular meeting place; the corresponding secretary was instructed to write all active members of the club and newspaper women of the city; - the treasurer's book was to be unearthed and accounts straightened out.
When the club assembled April 13th, Mrs. Sweet reported that the Chamber of Commerce would permit us to meet in a committee room in the new Chamber of Commerce Building, just completed on Broadway, between First and Second; an offer which was accepted “with joy and gladness”; also, she herself would furnish space in her office, at 121 South Broadway, where the club might have a desk in which our books and other material could be kept. It was decided to hold two meetings a month, on alternate Wednesdays, meetings to be called to order at 3 p. m., on account of the occupations of the members.
At the next meeting, the first of many held in the old Chamber of Commerce building, the program included talks on what a Press Club should be, from Mrs. Mary M. Bowman, Mrs. Florence Collins Porter, then actively engaged on the Herald; Mrs. Mary Holland Kinkaid, who had recently come to Los Angeles and was also working on the Herald; and Mrs. Bertha Hirsch Baruch, of Philadelphia, who was a member of the club during her residence in Los Angeles.
Two events of this spring should be mentioned. On March 17th, 1904, the city of Los Angeles celebrated its first Arbor Day observance under the auspices of the Civic League. With other clubs and organizations, the Press Club was accorded the privilege of planting a tree in Elysian Park. Mrs. Rebecca Spring, the first honorary member of the club, now nearly ninety-three years of age, was chosen to plant the tree, and her daughter, Mrs. Peet, was asked to contribute a short poem for the occasion. When our club's turn came, Mrs. Spring supported a very handsome little palm tree in the hole made ready for it, threw in a handful of earth and several handfuls of finely cut rags she had prepared and brought with her, “to make the tree grow,” and then recited in a firm voice a poem written by Mrs. Jeanne Peet, entitled “Planting a Little Tree.”
Another affair was a program provided for the Friday Morning Club by two of our club members, Mrs. Mary M. Bowman, who read a paper on “Old California Pastimes;” and Mrs. A. S. C. Forbes, who presented Spanish dancers and singers in costume.
On Wednesday, May 25th, the club held its first luncheon meeting at the Nadroj restaurant, Third and Hill. This mid-day function was suggested by Mrs. Louise M. George, of the Times, as giving the busy newspaperwomen a chance to get together. At this first luncheon the guests were Mrs. Gussy Packard Dubois, of Pasadena; Mrs. Martha Ingersoll Robinson, of San Diego; Mrs. Florence Collins Porter, of the Herald; Miss Katherine Thompson, of the Times; Mrs. Ida Meacham Strobridge, of Artemsia Bindery; and Miss Helen Coan, artist. To quote the recording secretary:
“After a most delightful two hours spent at the table and in the parlor, the club and its guests decided that a good luncheon and a pleasant time a la our brothers of the craft, were decidedly more agreeable than that infirmity of women's meetings – a program and a never ceasing effort to improve our minds.” By the way, your historian remembers that the price of this initial luncheon was thirty-five cents. From that time until 1910 these informal monthly luncheons were continued. Among the places recalled where they took place are Coulter's lunch-room; the Hotel Westminster; the new Y. W. C. A. building, at Third and Hill, where we also held our meetings for one year; the Lankershim Hotel; and Christopher's. Occasionally, we went Bohemian by lunching at an Italian or Mexican place.
On July 4th, 1904, Mrs. Mitchell entertained the members of the Press Club and their husbands at a tea. Here are the minutes, written by Mrs. Bowman:
“One of the days to be marked with a white stone in the history of the rejuvenated and revived Woman's Press Club was the delightful tea given by Mr. and Mrs. Mitchell and their niece, Miss Parry-Jones, of Wales, at “Lomita,” their beautiful country home in the Cahuenga valley, Monday, July 4th. Most of the members of the club and their husbands, or escorts, were present, except those on the staffs of the daily papers, whose work never ceases, Sundays or holidays. Refreshments were served on tables set in the shaded pepper-tree lane and the guests enjoyed the hours walking through the lovely grounds and inspecting birds, animals and plants of interest, notably an acanthus plant brought from Hadrian's Wall, and clover from the slopes of Mt. Vesuvius, secured during a recent European tour of our hosts. Afterwards Mitchell sang several solos and Negro melodies for our entertainment.”
On July 13th the club closed its year by picnicking at El Molino, the “old mill” on the Shorb Ranch, now the Huntington estate. During the summer, various members entertained the club – one most enjoyable occasion was a day at the “Wickiup” of Mrs. Strobridge, located on the old breakwater at San Pedro. Some of us will never forget the unique little houses that once stretched across this breakwater, overhanging the sea, of which Mrs. Strobridge's was one of the most charming, and all of which were razed during the construction of the Los Angeles Harbor.
At one meeting this year it was announced that Mrs. Margaret Gary Wright wished to present the club with a gavel made of orangewood from her own ranch, which she desired afterwards to present in the name of the Southern California Woman's Press Club to the New England Women's Press Association which she was to attend. The gavel was accepted and, after being embellished with a suitably inscribed silver plate, was duly presented to the eastern organization.
Another incident of the year is worth recording. The minutes state:
“Mrs. Mitchell, by request, outlined a plan formulated in her ambitious and fertile brain for a club-house for the Woman's Press Club, where its members may assemble for business and social meetings and the weary worker may find rest. Mrs. Mitchell actually made this dream sound practical and feasible in her earnestness, despite the sky-high prices of Los Angeles real estate per front foot, the uncertainties of manuscripts in an over-crowded market, and the proverbial financial embarrassment of the professional writer.”
In view of the city's development it is probably that if Mrs. Mitchell's plan had been carried out in 1904, the Press Club might have been in the millionaire class by today.
The first yearbook of the club was issued in the fall of 1904. It contained the names of 46 active members, an outline of the programs for the year and the constitution. From this time on, thanks to the thoughtfulness of Mrs. Bowman, a complete file of yearbooks issued annually is now in the club archives.
During this year the monthly luncheons were generally at Christopher's of beloved memory; two afternoon and one evening session were held each month, in an endeavor to meet the needs of all members. For the sake of convenience the date of the annual meeting was this year changed from March to June.
As an example of the programs which the club was furnishing, the Times, of September 28th, 1904, reported:
“The Southern California Woman's Press Club held the first of a series of evening sessions last night in the assembly room of the Chamber of Commerce. Besides the club members there were several guests. Mrs. Maravene Kennedy, a short-story writer whose work has appeared in several magazines, read one of her productions which was lately published, entitled 'As In a Spring Thaw.' Miss Ruth Comfort Mitchell, recently from San Francisco, read her story of Colonial days: 'On a Stern and Rockbound Coast,” and Miss Amanda Matthews read a story: “The Poet and the Washerwoman.” “Mesquite”, a story of the desert land, was read by Mrs. Idah Meacham Strobridge, who has recently issued her book, “In Miner's Mirage Land.”
All of these writers later became well known authors. During the year 1904-05 36 new members were received into the club, so energetic was the effort to revive the organization and so successful was the labor. In 1905-06, seventeen new members were received. During this year, sixteen regular sessions were held and nine luncheons; twelve receptions tendered members and guests of the club, mostly by members, are reported. A donation of $10.00 for a club-house fund was made by Mrs. Margaret Wright, the nest egg of our present club-house fund. The admission fee for active membership was changed by constitutional amendment, adopted April 11th, 1906, from $1.00 to $3.00; for associate membership from $2.00 to $5.00.
On April 18, 1906, there came the disastrous earthquake and fire, which devastated San Francisco. The club voted to at once send all but $4.00 of the money remaining in the club treasury to the Pacific Coast Women's Press Association. This was done and acknowledged.
PACIFIC COAST WOMEN'S PRESS ASSOCIATION
San Francisco, California
Rose L. Ellerbe,
S. C. W. P. C.
Mr. Dear Miss Ellerbe:
Yours of the 14th inst. containing check for thirty dollars ($30.00) for the Relief Committee, has been received.
We appreciate your kindness with all our hearts. You have certainly been most kind, and believe me, those of our association who are at present in need of assistance, are grateful indeed.
Many of our members who lost heavily are rapidly regaining their poise and are forming new plans for the future.
The members of the Southern California Woman's Press Club have proved themselves loyal and sincere. We appreciate your encouraging words as well as the check you have sent us.
With grateful hearts -
P. C. W. P. A.
June 20, 1906.
Artist members of the Press Club arranged a benefit art exhibition, with tableaux of “Living Pictures,” for the assistance of San Francisco artists. This was held at Blanchard Hall Galleries and resulted in a fund of $58.00. This was made $60.00 by appropriation of the balance necessary from the club treasury. Also, a donation of $10.00 was sent to Miss Ina Coolbrith, the poetess, who lost everything in the fire. Many of our members did valiant work on the various relief committees, Mrs. George Drake Ruddy and Miss Margaret Fette being especially remembered by the writer.
In June, the Press Club put on a program for the Friday Morning Club – a typical newspaper – with Mrs. Mary Holland Kinkaid, newly elected president of the club, as the managing editor. As a sample of this program, the following account is interesting:
“The police reporter (Katharine Thompson) appeared in a Frenchy outfit of rose pink, with a design of pale pink, puckered ribbons worked out on the front breadths thereof, a pink lace hat on her airy head and 24-inch pink gloves on her dimpled hand and arms. She carried a pink parasol with which she toyed coquettishly. The City Hall reporter was in immaculate white. As a clever burlesque, the Friday Morning Press first, last and only edition, outdistanced Puck and Life. The sporting reporter (Rose L. Ellerbe) read a vivid description of the race between short sleeves and long sleeves and a stirring tale of a fight over the tea cups. A general news story (by Lenore King) gave an account of a great moral movement whereby the naked truth and bare facts should be padded or clothed, and the woman who read her report with naked eyes and wearing undressed kids was severely dealt with. Mrs. Mary Holland Kinkaid, as editor-in-chief, furnished an editorial which somewhat redeemed the character of the paper by its serious import.” - Extracts from report in Los Angeles Times, June 15, 1906.
On October 10th, 1906, at a regular meeting, Miss Ina Coolbrith was present and gave a most interesting talk of her beginnings as a writer. Her first poem was written, after much persuasion from Bert Harte, as chairman of the program committee for the celebration of Admission Day, 1868. Another speaker of interest this year was Mrs. Maud Ballington Booth. An excursion to Monrovia where the members were lavishly entertained by the Chamber of Commerce and our own member, Mrs. Harriet H. Barry, associate editor of her husband's paper in Monrovia, was enjoyed by the club. The annual banquet of the club was this year held at Casa Vergugo, where a Spanish dinner was served, and an “Experience” meeting with Mrs. Kinkaid as toastmistress was most interesting.
Mrs. Harriet Barry was the president through 1907-08 and 1908-09. The minutes of the recording secretary, who was still Mrs. Mary Bowman, seem to be missing. As she never failed to keep a full and accurate account of club happenings, this book must be in existence somewhere.
During the first year of Mrs. Barry's presidency, regular meetings were held “in connection with the monthly luncheons at the Westminster Hotel on the second Monday of the month.” In 1908 one of the events was a dinner given by the Hotel Green, of Pasadena, with our member, Miss Grace Tower, a newspaper woman of Pasadena as hostess. A very large attendance featured this dinner, at which Mr. Frank Pixley was the chief speaker. Another event was an evening program put on at Venice, I think – The Pen-Women's Magazine, published “Whenever We Like It,” by the “Inkpot Publishing Company” - a very clever number, the success of which was apparently largely due to Grace Tower.
The meetings of 1908-09 were held in Y. W. C. A. building at Third and Hill. Luncheons took place on the second Monday at noon; meetings the fourth Mondays, at 2:30.
In 1909, Miss Tower was married to John T. Warren, of Honolulu. Many of us attended the wedding in Pasadena and it was arranged that the club should honor the newly-weds with a luncheon. All the plans were completed for an elaborate series of toasts, witty and otherwise, to the happy couple. But on the day of the affair, the bridegroom was unexpectedly called away and the bride was ill. However, Mrs. Mitchell, the toastmistress, was equal to a little contretemps like that – she substituted a dummy bride and groom who received the congratulations, flowers, and bouquets of speech, while the real bride, according to her own confession, wept hot tears into her pillow.
Mrs. D. C. McCan was president for the following two years. During 1909-10 the meetings were held on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month in the Library of the Alexandria Hotel. The luncheons seem to have been dropped at this time, and the custom adopted of serving tea after the open meetings.
The McCans had recently occupied their magnificent new home on West Adams Street (now the residence of W. A. Clark), and frequently entertained the Club and its friends there. One of the most notable of these gatherings was, the reception, given in the name of the Southern California Woman's Press Club, to the visiting delegates of the National Association of Press Humorists. Entertainment was furnished by the artist, Frieda Peycke, then new here, whose infectious smile and clever pianologues convulsed with laughter the professional funmakers. This year the constitution was amended by a clause reading, “The program committee shall be five in number, each appointee to represent one of the following interests of the Club: Music, Drama, Literature, Art and Social life.
“The program committee shall arrange two formal evening affairs of a social and literary character in the course of the year, invitations to be referred to and issued by the executive board.”
Miss Laura Grover Smith was chairman of this program committee and with the aid of her assistants furnished many brilliant programs for the year.
The meetings of 1910-11 were held in the Friday Morning Club House, Ninth and Figueroa Streets – then known as the Woman's Club House. After this, meetings, which had during the life of the club been held on nearly every day of the week – and indeed of the month, remained fixed on the second and fourth Tuesdays, until 1923, when they were changed to the first and third Tuesdays.
The treasurer's report for October 10th, 1910, shows funds on hand of $368 of which $200 was specifically known as the club house fund; $100 was a time deposit and $68 was in checking account. Mrs. Attie A. Stowe, who had served the club as treasurer since 1905-06, and was popularly known as the “watchdog of the treasury”, was compelled to resign this year on account of ill health. The minutes of Mrs. Emma L. Reed, recording secretary, read:
“After recalling six years of earnest, efficient and cheerful service, in many lines, given the club by Mrs. Stowe and expressing the regret of the members that her wise care of the club's finances should have to be withdrawn, Mrs. McCan called for a rising vote of thanks, which was heartily responded to by all members present.
Flowers were also presented the retiring treasurer.”
On December 27th, 1910, the club held its first evening session under the new rules, a musical program under the direction of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Girard giving great pleasure. A reception and dancing followed the program. The president was assisted in receiving by the two vice-presidents, Mrs. Samuel T. Clover and Mrs. Elizabeth de Jeans Budgett.
Among events of this most successful year of club work was the organization of a branch of the Press Club in San Diego, starting out with ten members. Like its parent club, this organization was soon able to stand on its own feet and has ever since flourished as the “San Diego Woman's Press Club.”
A proposition to donate a lot on Mt. Washington to the Press Club, provided it would put up a building, brought forth a good deal of discussion but was finally declined because of the restrictions placed upon the property and its remote situation.
On March 14th, 1911, the burning issue of the time – Woman's Suffrage – first came up in the club, with an afternoon devoted to its discussion. It was moved by Mrs. Barry that the “Southern California Woman's Press Club officially identify itself with the movement for woman's suffrage, and so far as lies within its power, aid in its adoption in the State of California.” After arguments pro and con this motion was laid upon the table, but it was decided that the club should devote an afternoon to listening to a discussion of the subject by speakers selected by the official bodies of the Suffrage party and the “Southern California Association Opposed to Suffrage.”
The minutes of this famous meeting were later removed from the records; but many members recall one of the most hectic sessions ever held by the club. Senator Lee Gates, distinguished attorney, spoke for the suffragists; Willard Huntington Wright, later famous as the author of “Los Angeles Chemically Pure,” published in the Smart Set of which he was then an editor, was at this time a young member of the Times staff, who posed as being violently opposed to votes for women. He had prepared a paper which contained statements so offensive to his feminine audience that some of them were hissed. This so angered the speaker that he forgot his written address and retorted with warmth, saying more, doubtless, than he meant. The result was an uproar that probably was an important factor in placing the Press Club as a body in the ranks of the suffragettes.
The annual report of the secretary for the year, read at the final meeting, June 25th, 1911, showed a membership aggregating 147. There was a balance in the club treasury of $375.85, of which $66.65 was in the checking account. The final meeting of the club year took the form of a luncheon and reception at the beautiful Altadena home of Mrs. Hampton Story, who had been for some time chairman of the social committee, and who had contributed largely to the success of the monthly teas.
Mr. McCan presented the club with a handsome new gavel and begged the privilege of keeping the old one as a souvenir of her “pleasant association with the club.” She also suggested that past presidents of the club constitute an advisory board to meet with the acting president, and executive board and arrive at some plan whereby sick, needy, or discouraged women writers might find the club “a faithful friend in a needful day.” It was unanimously voted by the club that the past presidents act as an advisory committee in accord with Mrs. McCan's suggestion.
Mrs. Ella Giles Ruddy was president during the year 1911-12, the meetings continued to be held in the Woman's Club House. At the first regular session of the year, the treasurer, Mrs. Reed, reported a balance on hand of $486.88 and, on motion of Mrs. Stowe, another hundred dollars was added to the club house fund.
At the meeting, October 31st, the constitution was again amended to provide for a primary ballot to be mailed to members; also for the standing committees to be, “Advisory, made up of resident past presidents; Printing Press, Membership, Social, General Program, Shop Talk Program and Club House.” Also that “The Program Committee shall represent all the different interests of the Club.”
January 23rd, 1912, Mrs. W. H. Housh, chairman of art, presented an “Art Program” to the club and its guests which was memorable. Mrs. Housh, herself an authority on art, spoke; then introduced Mrs. Mary H. Gridley, a club member, who read a paper on “Art as a Creative Force”; this was followed by a paper from James E. McBurney, artist, the “Poetry of Art.” Mrs. Julia Bracken Wendt, one of America's foremost sculptors, then gave the club a demonstration of creating an artistic form from a lump of inanimate clay, with a few strokes and deft touches producing therefrom various portraits in the round.
On March 28th, the Hotel Maryland, Pasadena, and Mrs. Louise M. George, our member, tendered the club a reception to meet Miss Zona Gale, the novelist, who was spending the winter at the hotel.
On March 26th, the club, which had some years previously withdrawn from membership in the State Federation, rejoined that organization. Also, Mrs. Galletly, a member, offered to donate to our library a set of Encyclopedia Brittanica – when there was a place to keep it. Evidently the club was never able to meet this condition, and Mrs. Galletly died without delivering the proposed gift, although it had been accepted with enthusiasm.
Mrs. Harriet Williams Myers was hostess to the club and its guests at her home on Avenue 66, Highland Park, for a picnic luncheon and the final meeting of the year, when the new president, Mrs. Emma L. Reed, and the other new officers, were installed.
The new year, beginning October, 1913, with Mrs. Reed as president, opened with a long cherished plan of many club members, seemingly in the way of fulfillment – this was a home of our own in the down-town district. In the Chamber of Commerce building a large room – No. 408 – had been secured and fitted up as club headquarters. Members by paying $1.00 a year were privileged to have passkeys to this room and to use it for rest, visiting, or tea, under certain restrictions.
Mr. Haines Reed, son of our president, presented the club with several pieces of office furniture; Mr. Earl, of the Express, Barker Brothers and Hamburgers responded with generosity to Mrs. Reed's earnest appeal for help in the matter of furnishing the room.
It was soon comfortably equipped; we were supplied with our own dishes, a “shower” provided teaspoons, teacups and saucers, and the year started out happily.
Before the end of the second year, however, it was found that it was not practicable to retain these headquarters without having someone permanently in charge. Members holding keys sometimes forgot to wash their own dishes or restore supplies used; it appeared that others beside the members were having access to the place, and the experiment only lasted through two years.
The club experienced a most active year in 1913. For example, the program for October was as follows: “October 1st, Housewarming. Talks by past and present officials and club members. Contributions of cups and saucers and teaspoons to new club room. Refreshments. October 8th, Shop Talk: “Literary Marketing,” Miss Grace Adele Pierce, Miss Mary Richards Gray, and Miss Florence Lillian Pierce, of the Tribune. October 15th, The Fourth Estate. Qualifying for Reportorial Work, Juana Neal Levy (Herald). October 22nd, Luncheon at Coulter's Cafe. Guests. “Breaking into Print,” Miss Julia Ellen Rodgers.
And they kept up four meetings a month throughout the year. On February 27th, 1913, Miss Marthine Dietrichson, one of our musicians, arranged a musical program for the evening, which was largely attended. On April 8th, Miss Florence Pierce presented a Musical Matinee, with Carrie Jacobs Bond as the principal artist. On April 20th, Mr. Harry Girard gave a Musical Matinee for the club and its guests. The year closed with a picnic at the home of Miss Cora Foy, at San Rafael Heights.
In 1913-14, the Shop Talk Committee with Rose L. Ellerbe as chairman, announced: “Dramatic Construction, under successful playwrights will be accorded four programs. Verse-writers of the club will submit work to the Committee for one program. The Successful Short Story will form one program. A Newspaper Day will be arranged by Mrs. Estelle Lawton Lindsey.
“Members of the club desiring to form groups for the more intimate study of drama, verse, or short story will register with the chairman.”
This announcement resulted in the formation of a drama club which Mrs. George Veach Wright conducted during 1913-14.
As to the work of this year, the report of Mrs. Eva Hamilton Young, Corresponding Secretary, is copied, since it not only presents a full picture of Press Club activities, but is a model report of the same:
ANNUAL REPORT FOR THE YEAR ENDING JUNE 23, 1914.
By Eva Hamilton Young, Recording Secretary.
Since the last annual meeting, the Southern California Woman's Press Club has held thirty-six regular meetings, nine social teas and six dinners. The Executive Board has held nine regular meetings and eight called meetings, making a total of forty-four for the year, from which our president has been absent but once. The club has enrolled fifteen new members, elected one to honorary membership, and three have resigned. The regular sessions of the club have been held in the clubroom, 408 Chamber of Commerce building.
Throughout the year the programs have been of general interest. Although the study of the modern drama was made a strong feature of the year's work, it did not exclude other literary features. The subjects treated have been of the widest range. Authors' Travels, the Little Theatre, Drama Analysis, Modern Newspaper Work, Experience Day, Poet's Day and Useful Information. Regarding Scenario Writing, by Grace Adele Pierce; Desert Stories and Phases of Life on the Coachella Valley, by Mrs. Haines Reed, have each in turn received the thoughtful consideration of the club.
A noteworthy meeting was a brilliant evening function given in the Ebell Auditorium, December 30th, when our club entertained members and invited guests with a reception, and Miss Norma Gould and Mrs. Ted Shawn furnished a delightful program of classic dances. After the program general dancing was enjoyed.
Another meeting of unusual interest and brilliancy was the twentieth birthday of the club, which was celebrated with a dinner at Christopher's.
One hundred members and friends were present. Mrs. Reed, our beloved and popular president, introduced the speakers with rare tact and kindness. A number of toasts were given by past presidents and others, and the evening closed with “Auld Lang Syne.”
To Miss Cora Foy is due the credit for the sustained excellence of the fourth Tuesday programs, presenting as after-dinner speakers such notable persons as Mrs. Kate Upton Clarke, Mrs. Charlotte Reeve Conover, Miss Gertrude Workman, Miss Laura Grover Smith, Mr. L. E. Behymer, Mr. John Blackwood and Dr. Edward Huntington Williams.
To Mr. Otheman Stevens the club is indebted for an original paper on Drama Analysis, which proved of great interest and worth to the members.
Not a little of the pleasure that comes from an informal atmosphere induced by the “cup that cheers” was due to the kindly ministrations of the Social Committee, of which Mrs. Fletcher Howard was chairman. Mrs. Howard has been untiring in her efforts to provide interesting programs for these social afternoons, and many rich treats of prose and poetry have been presented.
Others who have contributed to our entertainment are: Miss Pearl Rall, Mrs. Harmon Ryus and Mrs. Hampton L. Story, curators of the Ebell Music Section; and the Men's Press Club, with invitations to receptions and dances; Miss Amanda Matthews and Mrs. Alice Harriman, Mrs. Bertha Lincoln Heustis and Mrs. Haines W. Reed, have given most generously of their talent for our pleasure.
Our club has gone on record this year for three great principles:
First – The agitation for a League for Authors' Rights.
Second – An evolutionary movement for greater co-operation between the press and the public.
Third – The endorsement of the World's Peace Movement.
It is to Mrs. Emma L. Reed, our retiring president, and her untiring work, unfailing kindness and courtesy to all, that we owe our live and gratitude for the past two years of unbroken harmony and prosperity.
During the year 1914-15 Mrs. Lavinia Graham, club editor of the Examiner, was president and the meetings were held in the rooms of the Los Angeles Teachers' Club in Trinity Auditorium. This year, and until 1917 when the war interfered, the Press Club monthly dinners at Christopher's with our beloved member, Cora Foy, the inspiring genius, were a prominent feature of our club life. These were informal in character and the price at first was fifty cents. Cora Foy and Mr. Christopher between them always managed to provide for everyone who came – although sometimes not more than fifty reservations had been made in advance and perhaps a hundred persons appeared before the party sat down. Many of the most worthwhile and distinguished men and women who visited Los Angeles were guests at these dinners, as well as our local celebrities.
Among dinner guests may be recalled Sir Beerbohm Tree, Frederick O'Brien, John Emerson, Tyrone Power, Richard Walton Tully and his Hawaiian singers; Miss Zona Gale, Admiral Thomas, Mrs. Ella Flagg, Frank Spearman, Charles F. Lummis, Professor H. C. Rolfe, Upton Sinclair, D. W. Griffith, Irving Pichel, Marah Ellis Ryan, Vance Thompson and many others.
This was particularly a newspaper women's year, all the local club and society reporters rallying about Lavinia Graham. It was said that:
“Los Angeles press women have to their credit the making of history, especially in the great campaign for woman's suffrage, when they worked with brains and typewriters to make the dream of California women come true. The victory in that campaign was due as much to women writers as to the justice of men voters.
“Every great movement started by women's clubs, has had the support of press women, and often great measures have been introduced at the instigation of press women who, because of their positions, had necessarily to remain in the background.”
Pearl Rall, in the Graphic of August 19th, 1916, said:
“In the Press Club's active membership are almost all the local newspaper women of the various dailies of the city. Directing the policies of the club in the last year has been Mrs. Lavinia Griffin Graham, of the Examiner staff, as president, and her term of office has been exceptionally brilliant. Mrs. Graham is one of the busiest, most influential and widely known newspaper women of the city. Dorothy Willis, of the Tribune-Express staff, has been a prominent factor in the club's success of the year also with her clever pen and personal endeavor.
Ruth Sterry of the Herald, a 'sob-sister', without a present equal in the local field, successful in scenario and short story writing, is another; Mrs. Dorothy B. Johnson, of the Times; Miss Lenore King, sometimes known as “Charlie Angeleno', who purveys volumes of society for the Examiner each week and knows everybody's family history, way, way back; Ruth Dennen, of the Examiner; Mrs. Juana Neal Levy, of the Herald; and Estelle Lawton Lindsey, formerly of the Record and one of the most brilliant and indefatigable workers in the newspaper circle it has been my pleasure to know. Can the men offer any better evidence of downright hard laborers and efficiency experts in the field? I think not, and these women all belong.
“Many interesting things could be told of the women who make up the rank and file of the club. Rose Ellerbe, who will direct the policies of the club in the coming year as president and who is just bubbling over with great plans, is contributing to Munsey's, the American Gentlewoman, and various periodicals in addition to the articles for the Times; Mrs. Lindsey is upholding the club's honor in council circles of the city; as is Mrs. D. C. McCan, the only woman president of a civil service commission in the United States. Mrs. Clara Shortridge Folz is conducting a magazine of her own, “The New American Woman,” in addition to the practice of law. Mrs. Harriet Barry is editor of the “Woman's Bulletin”, while Mrs. Elsie Smith Trueblood, formerly society editor of the Times, looks after the fortunes of the Club Federation organ. Mrs. Anna Dwight Satterlee has a novel and one play to her credit in the last year. Dr. Evangeline Jordan is a contributor to several dental publications. Mrs. Lillian Pelee has written for Out West and the International Studio. Adeline Stanton, sister to Philip Stanton, has appeared in “Sunset” and several other magazines. Corinne Bartlett Dodge, Mrs. Ella N. Duffield and Mrs. Lillian Ballagh, of the Matinee Musical Club, also have been heard from in musical composition. Mrs. Inez Townsend Tribet is a regular contributor of children's stories and illustrations, to a large eastern newspaper, and so the list grows.”
For the year 1916-17, Rose L. Ellerbe, president, the meetings were held in the Brack Shops. The Shop Talk chairman was Dr. Hughes Cornell; the Literary Program chairman, Mrs. Georgina Townsend; Dinner Programs, Mrs. Bertha Lincoln Heustis; but as usual, these successful dinners were still aided by the indefatigable and capable work of Miss Cora Foy. Fostering a plan long advocated by the president, the constitution was this year changed to permit of the creations of various “sections,” devoted to the special study of Verse, Drama, Fiction and Feature Story writing. The year ended with a picnic luncheon at the beautiful home and grounds of Mrs. Helen Lukens Gaut, on Arroyo Drive, Pasadena, where the Press Club and its guests have several times spent happy hours.
Mrs. Hector Alliot was president during 1917-18, with headquarters still in the Brack Shops. This was the year when all America was chiefly concerned with the great world disaster of war. The Press Club maintained its general activities; with Pearl Rall, chairman of Shop Talk, and Mrs. Margaret la Grange, chairman of Literary Programs; but owing to the tremendous increase in cost, and everyone's being so engrossed in war work, the monthly dinners were dropped during 1918, an annual dinner being substituted.
As a benefit for the Red Cross Auxiliary of the Friday Morning Club, the Press Club, on March 11, 1918, presented a program entirely composed of members' work, which netted a considerable sum for the cause. Features of this program were: Children's Songs, Mrs. Ella W. Duffield; Poems by Myra Nye, Grace Dennen, and Neeta Marquis; Reading by Helen Klokke, with Musical Settings by Monaemia Luax Botsford; Monologue, Berenice Johnson; Spanish Songs, Mrs. William Wiley Johnston, sung by Manuela Budrow (in costume); and a one-act Play, by Florence Pierce Reed, acted by Florence Reed and Bertha Wilcox.
Mrs. Mary Clough Watson was another war period president, serving during 1918-20. The organization and work of a Patriotic Service Committee, with Mrs. Eva H. Young, chairman, was one of the new features of this time; also a Music Section for the composers, musicians and song writers of the club was an added interest.
The twenty-fifth anniversary of the founding of the club was celebrated in 1919 by a dinner which took on the aspect of a banquet, with special honors paid to the two founders of the club, Mrs. Emma Seckle Marshall and Mrs. Clara Spalding Ellis, who were present. The annual picnic and installation of officers took place at the home of Mrs. Dora Oliphant Coe. The club increased its investment in war bonds during 1919 to $600.00.
In 1920-21 the club meeting place was again changed, this time to the old Ebell Club house on South Figueroa Street, where for the next five years we found a club home. Our members will always retain pleasant memories of this hospitable building which has now passed into history. The two years, 1920-22, with Mrs. Georgina Townsend at the head of affairs, was a most successful period in club history. Motion picture production was attracting to Los Angeles and Hollywood creative talent from all over the world.
Many of the clever women writers at once identified themselves with the Woman's Press Club. The annual report for the year ending June, 1921, states:
“The general program committee, comprised of the president, Mrs. Townsend, as chairman, Clara V. Winlow, chairman of Shop Talk, Iva Whitman Robinson, Achieved Results, and Kathleen Shippen, Music, presented particularly brilliant programs during the year. Twenty distinguished authors, musicians and artists of national and international fame addressed the club. Each program also featured members, thirty-seven of whom appeared or had work presented.”
A desire to aid in the recognition of American musicians and composers resulted in the creation of a committee to “further an American Music Movement which shall create a just appreciation of American music and composers in the minds of the public.” With Mrs. Rita Green Breeze as chairman and Miss Neeta Marquis aiding, a large amount of publicity was launched in a very short time. The Public Library and the Chamber of Commerce took up this movement, and the State Federation of Women's Clubs endorsed it. This effort was the contribution of the Press Club to the Americanization progress featured that year.
February 28th, 1922, a President's Day was initiated, with fourteen out of the eighteen living presidents of this club present. Presidents of a number of other clubs also were among the speakers.
There appeared upon club programs during these two years Governeur Morris, Henry Herbert Knibbs, Eugene Manlove Rhodes, Penhryn Stanlaws, illustrator; William R. Lighton, Edgar A. Guest, Rupert Hughes and his wife, Adelaide Manola Hughes; Samuel Blythe, Cleveland Moffett, Will Levingotn Comfort, and many others.
Thirty new members were added this year, making the total enrollment 181 active members; 11 associate; three professional, and 18 honorary members – the highest enrollment in the history of the club to this date.
The first year of Blanche Harriman Verbeck's administration, 1922-24, saw several innovations. Among these were the “Personal Contact Committee,” Mrs. Mary Clough Watson, chairman, which was intended to express the friendliness of the club by personal visits, letters and flowers, or more substantial help, in cases of sickness, bereavement or need.
Another was the Marketing Bureau, with Nina Maud Richardson as manager and Rita Green Breeze, as chairman. This was an effort to carry into effect a long cherished hope of club members that sometime we might have an agency of our own to handle manuscripts. After nearly two years of faithful trial, it was found that the results did not justify the necessary expenditures, partly owing to the fact that our leading writers had already established relations with New York agents, who were in a better position to know the needs of the market than any Pacific Coast agency could be.
The report of Nina Maud Richardson, secretary, is here reprinted in order to show the difficulties which must be met in such an enterprise:
“To the Honorable Board of Directors and Members of the Southern California Women's Press Club:
“In submitting the following report it must be taken into consideration that it has not been possible to separate the work that might have come to the secretary as an individual from that coming because of connection with the Press Club. The secretary has never made a distinction in keeping her own records, having in mind almost exclusively the upbuilding and strengthening of the Marketing Bureau.
“To undertake to itemize the work of the Bureau would be out of place in this report. An idea of the volume of office work may be gained from the fact that during the months when such records were being kept, we averaged something more than two hundred and fifty telephone calls, one hundred callers and interviews, and thirty-five personal letters. This does not include circularization for the work of placing lectures and programs, nor correspondence with publishers. In all we have sent out something like twenty thousand pieces of mail matter advertising the Bureau in one way or another.
“The secretary has given an average of not less than five hours' time per working day to the Bureau, has had an assistant who has averaged more than that amount of time, and the services of stenographers, typists, mimeographers and multigraphers whenever necessary.
To this must be added office rent, telephones, stationery, postage, telegrams, and the expense of trips out of town made in connection with handling lectures and programs. The secretary feels that the sum of $200.00 a month is a very reasonable figure for the work done, if it were to be computed in the terms of ordinary office practice.
“The average monthly income from all sources that might be credited to the work of the Marketing Bureau, including the placing of manuscripts, criticism, reading fees, programs and lectures runs just under $80.00.
“The Bureau has sold forty-seven short stories, two book-length and one novelette manuscripts, twenty articles, a very few sets of verse, and made sixty-four lecture and program arrangements.
(Signed) Nina Maud Richardson,
September 18th, 1924.
During 1923, a Federation Secretary and a Motion Picture chairman were added to our roll. Music, with Miss Kathleen Shippen, chairman, was a special feature, and many “honor” guests were presented. November 13th, the date of meetings was changed from second and fourth Tuesdays to first and third Tuesdays of the month. Dues were raised this year from $3.00 to $5.00. For the first time, monthly bulletins, giving programs, speakers and club news, were substituted for post-card notification. The bulletins, which have become now an established feature, giving information as to the work of members and their sales, as well as programs, have proved an important factor in keeping members in touch with club activities and giving all a contact, not otherwise possible, with the work of the club and its membership.
In the spring of 1924, the Press Club put on a society vaudeville under Mrs. Verbeck's supervision, which attracted a large attendance. The annual birthday dinners had now taken on the character of “banquets”, impressive in attendance and with many distinguished guests present.
The chief event of the administration of Emmy Matt Rush, who took the office of president for 1924-25 was the movement to increase the building fund in order to secure a lot and have a club home.
A resume of this club year by Ida Bole McCandless, recording secretary, covers the chief features of this important year.
Twenty-five new members were accepted during the year. Monthly Radio Programs were established, and broadcast over KFI, under the auspices of the Press Club, on the last Tuesday evening of each month, featuring the work of our members. These were inaugurated in the month of November, 1924, by the president, Emmy Matt Rush.
Two contests, open to members of the club, one in short stories and one in poetry, were financed by the club treasury, the prizes amounting to fifty dollars, awards being made at the annual banquet in May, 1925.
Other investments were additional silver and china, more adequately to care for and serve our guests at our social functions.
Also, we have purchased three handsome Morocco-bound loose-leaf books for the use of officers, as well as a beautiful leather-bound Guest Book.
Also, we have made a contribution to the Building Fund from the general club treasury, to the amount of two hundred and fifty dollars.
A further purchase of which the Club is proud is the giant Redwood Tree in the Memorial Redwood Grove of the California Federation of Women's Clubs, located in Dyersville Flats, Humboldt County, California, this tree to be known as “The Emma Matt Rush Tree, of the Southern California Women's Press Club” - so named in honor of our president.
The Press Club again made actual history this year, for one of the outstanding features of the years' work was the interest and activity displayed in the matter of the creation of a fund known as the Southern California Woman's Press Club Building Fund. A lot has been offered the club on Olive Hill, at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Vermont Avenue, at a remarkable low figure, the owner wishing to create and organize a community of culture upon this hill-top.
In order to consider this, or any other building site for the club, it became necessary to incorporate the Southern California Woman's Press Club under the State Laws of California, and this has been done.
To stimulate interest in the matter of increasing the Building Fund, various methods and channels were established, viz: the Memory Fund, the Honor Roll, Life Memberships, and the Monthly Musical Teas. Thus the Building Fund has grown into a matter of deep interest, ever increasing with club activities, both in size and dimensions. It is hoped, therefore, that the not too far distant future will find the Southern California Woman's Press Club happily ensconced in its own home.
The Memory Fund received its nucleus with a donation from the president, in memory of her father, Charles Matt, and her brother, Joseph Charles Matt. To this was added a contribution by our beloved Margaret Gary Wright, in memory of our departed co-worker and past president, Susan M. Sweet.
In closing this, our annual report, the retiring Executive Board wish in this more formal manner, again to report its last official action, viz: The recommendation to the club body, that our two founders, EMMA SECKLE MARSHALL, and CLARA SPALDING ELLIS, be elected and voted, “PRESIDENTS-EMERITUS” of the Southern California Woman's Press Club, in recognition of their collaboration in founding for us, this Club of which we are so proud!
Ida Bole McCandless,
Articles of Incorporation
State of California
Department of State
I, FRANK C. JORDAN, Secretary of State, of the State of California, do hereby certify that I have carefully compared the transcript, to which this certificate is attached, with the record on file in my office of which it purports to be a copy, and that the same is a full, true and correct copy thereof. I further certify that this authentication is in due form and by the proper officer.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and have caused the Great Seal of the State of California to be affixed hereto this 2nd day of July, A. D. 1925.
FRANK C. JORDAN
Secretary of State
By (Signed) FRANK H. CORY, Deputy.
Articles of Incorporation
KNOW ALL MEN BY THESE PRESENTS: That we, the undersigned, all being residents of the State of California, have this day voluntarily associated ourselves together for the purpose of forming a corporation under the laws of the State of California, and we hereby certify:
First: That the name of said corporation is “Southern California Woman's Press Club”;
Second: That the purpose and objects for which it is formed are to advance the interests of women who are, or have been, professional writers, illustrators, composers, or publishers, and to promote acquaintance, cooperation and friendship between them, and for the advancement of all lines of general culture consistent therewith; also to acquire by purchase, lease, gift or otherwise, real property and to lease, own and hold such real estate as may be necessary for the business and objects of the corporation, and more particularly for the purposes of a club building, and for such purposes to buy, sell, mortgage, or otherwise hypothecate or incumber for such purposes and to issue such notes, debentures or other evidences of indebtedness as may be required for the furtherance of the purposes of this corporation, and to acquire by purchase, gift, lease, or otherwise, such personal property and to deal in the same for this purposes of this corporation, and to enter into and transact such and all other business as is usual to and not inconsistent with corporations of like character and purposes:
Third: That the principal place where the principal business is to be transacted and club meetings are to be held shall be in the City of Los Angeles, County of Los Angeles, State of California;
Fourth: That the term for which it is to exist is fifty (50) years from and after the date of its incorporation;
Fifth: That the number of its Directors shall be twelve (12) and that the names and residences of those who are appointed for the first year are:
Emmy Matt Rush, 1533 Fairfax Avenue, Hollywood, California.
Anne G. Nissen, 740 Garfield Avenue, South Pasadena.
Ida Bole McCandless, 331 E. Kelso Street, Inglewood, California.
Iva Whitman Robinson, 952 Hudson Avenue, Los Angeles, California.
Bess J. Crary, 1949 E. Fourth Street, Los Angeles, California.
Alice W. Forsyth, 5556 Echo Street, Highland Park, California.
Mrs. Fannie Mattoon Gleason, 1110 W. 30th Street, Los Angeles, California.
Clara Spalding Ellis, 5017 Townsend Avenue, Eagle Rock, California.
Mary Clough Watson, 1726 N. Harvard Avenue, Los Angeles, California.
Rose L. Ellerbe, 433 N. Kenmore Avenue, Los Angeles, California.
Grace W. Frye, 1426 W. 28th Street, Los Angeles, California.
Emma Seckle Marshall, 5516 La Mirada Avenue, Los Angeles, California.
Sixth: This corporation shall have no capital stock.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, we have hereunto set our hands and seals this 9th day of June, 1925.
Emmy Matt Rush
Anne G. Nissen
Ida Bole McCandless
Iva Whitman Robinson
Bess J. Crary
Alice W. Forsyth
Mrs. Fannie Mattoon Gleason
Clara Spalding Ellis
Mary Clough Watson
Rose L. Ellerbe
Grace W. Frye
Emma Seckle Marshall
STATE OF CALIFORNIA
County of Los Angeles } ss.
On this 9th day of June, 1925, before me, Edgar L. Martin, a Notary Public in and for said County and State, residing therein, duly commissioned and sworn, personally appeared Emmy Matt Rush, Anne G. Nissen, Ida Bole McCandless, Iva Whitman Robinson, Bess J. Crary, Alice W. Forsyth, Mrs. Fannie Mattoon Gleason, Clara Spalding Ellis, Mary Clough Watson, Rose L. Ellerbe, Grace W. Frye, Emma Seckle Marshall, known to me to be the persons whose names are subscribed to the within instrument, and acknowledged to me that they executed the same.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and affixed my official seal the day and year in this certificate first above written.
(Signed) Edgar L. Martin
Notary Public in and for said County and State
It may be noted that the vaudeville entertainment given by the club in the spring of 1925, with Miss Beatrice McKenzie in charge, made a record by placing $224.25 in the building fund. This fund, which was credited with $500 in the spring of 1924, by the end of 1925 had increased to $1,681.95.
The president elected in June, 1925, was Nellie Dean Graham, who proved herself so devoted to the interests of the club and so efficient in her administration that, for the first time, precedent – the unwritten law that no woman should be re-elected more than once – was broken and she was re-elected in the spring of 1927 to her third term.
With the opening of the new club year, September, 1925, the club once more changed its meeting place, this time moving to the assembly room of the Friday Morning Club House, where it is still located. With Helen Allingham Vaughn chairman of “Open Day” programs, and Dessa M. Fultz chairman of “Shop Talk” programs, each meeting was stimulating and interesting. The half-hour of music provided by Mrs. Nona Geiger and Miss Nelle Gothold during the three years was one of the delightful features of the open program.
Another precedent was shattered when, by unanimous and enthusiastic vote, Dr. Frederick Warde was made an honorary member of this club – our first and only male representative. When we find another man so worthy of the honor in every way as Dr. Warde, we shall probably repeat the experiment.
During 1927 the name of the president, Nellie Dean Graham, was placed upon the Founders' Roll of the Eleanor Joy Toll Memorial Home, belonging to the Los Angeles District Federation of Women's Clubs. In an effort to increase the size and efficiency of the Press Club library, Mrs. Hester Alverson Moffatt was appointed librarian. Miss Nina Maud Richardson loaned the club a new bookcase and all members were and are urged to place copies of their publications on file here. It is very regrettable that, owing to the many changes in the location of the Press Club, most of the library collected in the earliest days has disappeared. One loss deeply to be deplored is the handsome guest book presented to the club in 1912 by Mrs. D. C. McCan, retiring president, which contained a roll of distinguished names which can never be replaced. The search for this book has thus far been unavailing; but it is still hoped that it may some day be located.
Within the past few years a number of books have been presented and these are now kept in a securely locked case, together with the valuable books of the Press Club clippings and other material which preserves our past records.
Some of the books of clippings and one of the recording secretaries' books are also missing. Perhaps these may in time be located.
At the annual meeting held at the home of Anne G. Nissen in June, 1928, Elsie Noble Caldwell, who had served the club devotedly and brilliantly over a period of more than twelve years, was installed as president. (Editor's Note: - Miss Ellerbe did not live to complete the account of Mrs. Caldwell's administration as she expected to do in this history. Therefore a portion of the report of the recording secretary for the year 1928-29 is inserted here.)
“The meetings of the Southern California Woman's Press Club have been held on the first and third Tuesdays of each month in the assembly room of the Friday Morning Club House, throughout a year filled with inspiration by contact with some of the finest minds in the educational and artistic circles of Europe and America.
“Members and guests were welcomed by Rena Strong Bowling and Hazel Gough, chairman and vice-chairman of hospitality, with Sadie Bliss Curtis, chairman of the Social Committee, graciously presiding during the tea hour at Open Day meetings.
“Upon the resignation of Rose Wile Baruch, Beryl Caton was elected treasurer by the Board of Directors, with $172.15 on hand. At the close of the year, July, 1929, the balance stood at $215.44; the Building Fund, $2,701.67. At the final meeting of the year the president requested that a motion be made to take $100 from the checking account and place it in the Building Fund. The motion was lost by a very narrow margin.
“The year has taken heavy toll from our membership, leaving a vacancy that can never be filled. Rose L. Ellerbe was so much a part of every fibre of the club that her loss is sadly felt by the whole club.
“The Shop Talk Programs for the year were based on the theme “Inspirational Contacts,” Charlotte Herron, chairman.
“Installation meeting in June took the form of a luncheon in Mission Gardens, Mount Washington. Dr. Walter Pitkin of Columbia, one of the greatest American authorities on short story writing, was the speaker. Reports from officers and committee chairman, and the installation of officers by Mrs. Hector Alliot followed:
“An interesting experiment of the year was the establishment by the President of a Press-Studio Section in response to many requests during several years past, for an evening meeting of the club. These meetings were planned as dinners to be held on the second Tuesday evening of each month, at which honor guests and speakers should be those who had achieved success in press and studio fields. Officers of the section were: Music Chairman, Nona Claridge Barker; Press, Lucile Tate Burgess; Studio, Lela Gidley; Hostesses, Eleanor Lerch and Betty Gilmore.
“The first meeting occurred at the Coates Studio Inn with one hundred and twenty-five present. Speakers were Lee Shippey of the Los Angeles Times, and W. S. Van Dyke, M. G. M. Director. Racquel Torres, star in “White Shadows of the South Seas,” was honor guest; Lani Ruttmann did ancient Hawaiian dances, and Neal Begley, tenor, sang.
“Subsequent meetings were held at the Windsor Tea Rooms.
“At the second, speakers were Wm. de Mille, director; Clara Bernager, dramatist, and Patterson Green, music critic for the Examiner. Honor guests were Marah Ellis Ryan, Grace Tower Warren and Huntely Gordon.
“At the third meeting, Mrs. Wallace Reid, producer; Walter Lang, director, and Orlando Northcutt of the Evening Express, were speakers. Honor guests were Burr McIntosh and Virginia Sales. Music was contributed by Claire Monteith, baritone, and Daisy Dunham, at the piano.
“At the fourth meeting were John F. Neff of the Los Angeles Times and Lew Collins, Universal director, speakers. Bertram Grassby, Col. McDonnell and Jerome Storm were honor guests, and Frederick Vance Evans, baritone soloist of the evening.
“Because of lack of attendance the Executive Board decided not to continue this section.
“The president deserves warm congratulations on the exceptional success of the annual banquet, held on March 12th, at the Elks Club, and the gratifying number of illustrious men and women who were guests of the Press Club on that occasion. Izola Forrester Page served most cleverly as toast mistress, introducing among others Mr. and Mrs. Winter Hall, Mabel Baker, Torrey Ford, Agnes Christine Johnston, Jerome Storm, Alma Whitaker, Gladys Unger, Mr. and Mrs. Wm. J. Locke and Miss Locke, Sewell Ford, Dr. Frederick Warde, Mann Page, Frank Dazey, Alfred Perry, Mr. and Mrs. Sinclair Gluck, Burr McIntosh, Mary Carr Moore and Humphrey Read. Nelle Gothold was soloist for the evening.
“Nina Maud Richardson, first vice-president, presided at the awarding of the annual prizes. Katherine Lipke was chairman of the Short Story Contest; Ethel Barnhisel, Poetry, and Georgia Maxwell, Plays.
“Mrs. Caldwell presented Marah Ellis Ryan, distinguished novelist, as honorary member for this year.
“The Membership Committee, Ruth Towne Smith, chairman, brought ten new members into the club, all of whom have achieved some success in writing for publication.
“The Current Achievements of members as published in the monthly calendar, show the year as having been one of creditable accomplishment. Stress has been laid upon the professional character of the club and what it has offered its members.
It is impossible to mention all the women who have given devoted and valuable service to this club. Many have stood by through years of prosperity and years of discouragement and filled any post where they were needed. With such members the best interests of the club have come always before their own personal wishes, and to them we owe all honor.
I have already spoken of the long and invaluable service of Mrs. Mary M. Bowman as recording secretary and Mrs. Attie A. Stowe as treasurer. Perhaps the most thankless and onerous work in connection with any club is that of treasurer – and, at the same time it is the most indispensable office. The Press Club owes its gratitude to such women as Mrs. Hugh Harrison, Mrs. Ida Simoneau and Mrs. Rose Baruch, who have served term after term in this position. Mrs. Emma L. Reed served as corresponding secretary and as treasurer before her presidency; Mrs. Eva H. Young was recording secretary for three years; as was Mrs. Elsie Noble Caldwell. Hazel K. Gough and Myra Caine Grant have also held that office in recent years, and Rena Strong Bowling served most efficiently for three years.
Mrs. J. W. Mitchell, Mrs. Hampton L. Story, Miss Cora Foy, Mrs. Fletcher Howard, Mrs. Hugh Harrison, Mrs. Eva H. Young, Mrs. Ida Bole McCandless, Miss Bess Crary, and others, have served teas and dinners and otherwise looked after the social side of our club life.
Mrs. Fannie Mattoon Gleason was our parliamentarian from 1922 until her death in 1928. Mrs. Emma Seckle Marshall succeeded Mrs. Mary Bowman as club historian in 1919 and held that office until her death in 1926. Miss Rose L. Ellerbe was chairman of the program or of the Shop Talk programs, at different times, for six years.
Some of the older members, who served when the club was smaller and there were not so many from whom to choose as later, have been members of the executive board many times. Mrs. Ellis, for instance, was on this board continuously for the first five years of the organization, and since her return from New York has been almost constantly a member of the executive board. Mrs. Mary M. Bowman was a board member from the beginning of the club until 1907 – thirteen consecutive years. Again she was historian during the last four years of her life.
Miss Ellerbe, between 1904 and 1926 held various offices which placed her on the executive board for sixteen years; Mrs. McCandless has acted on the board for eight years; Mrs. Watson has served seven years; Mrs. Townsend was a member of the board for seven years; Mrs. Young, Mrs. Emma L. Reed, Mrs. Harriet Williams Myers, Mrs. Hugh Harrison, have all been repeatedly upon our official board. The list of those who have faithfully attended board meetings and carried the burden of business affairs and management might be extended to include almost everyone who has ever been placed upon our official list. Particularly I should include Nellie Dean Graham who, for three years, guided our club affairs with discretion and with graciousness.
Miss Nina Maud Richardson's activities in and for the club have been almost unlimited. It is impossible to detail the generous help she has given us in many practical ways since she first became associated with us.
It would be a pleasure to give a list of the books published by women who are, or who have been, on our membership list; to give a list of the successful plays produced; of the scenarios made into pictures; of the noteworthy stories and articles printed in periodicals. But to obtain a complete list of the books alone at this time would be almost impossible. And the volume of printed matter written by our members, quite aside from “newspaper stuff,” would require a big book to name, I am sure.
Mention can be made of but a few of the most notable writers who have gone out from our club, or who are still members, such as Gwendolin Overton, Bessie Beattie, Ruth Comfort Mitchell Young, Maravene Kennedy Thompson, Dr. Hughes Cornell, Forestine Hooker, Rose L. Ellerbe, Elizabeth de Jeans, Mary Holland Kinkaid, Idah M. Strobridge, Lillian Sutton Pelee, Bertha Sinclair Cowan, Caroline Foster, Harriet Williams Myers, J. Torrey Connor, Marion George Lindsey, Clara V. Winlow, Marah Ellis Ryan, Dr. Lulu Peters, Grace Moon, Marion McLean Finney, Elizabeth Gordon, Opal Whiteley, Abbie N. Smith, Alice Harriman, Mrs. Florence Hull Winterburn, Grace Adele Pierce, Amanda Matthews Chase, Mae Van Norman Long, Nell Martin are among some of those whose books have attained distinction.
Of verse and song writers the names are so numerous that I will not attempt to mention them; so also play and scenarios.
At a meeting of the short story writers of the club, held June 15th, 1915, in the home of Rose L. Ellerbe, the short story section had its origin. It was then agreed to meet once a week to read, discuss and criticize short stories. Without any formal organization the little group met for a time at the homes of members. But soon we secured permission to meet in the library, at first in the evenings. From that date to the present time, the short story section has continued to meet regularly. For the first two or three years we met weekly, with no vacations and with no official recognition. In 1917 the club constitution was changed to allow the formation of sections “For the study of a branch of literature” upon the request of five members, and a Section Committee was instituted. The first section committee was appointed – Miss Rose L. Ellerbe, chairman; Mrs. Ruby Archer Doud, verse leader; Mrs. Emma Seckle Marshall, Fiction leader; Miss Mary Richards Gray, features; Mrs. Lillian Pelee, drama.
The various sections were formed. But the verse section was soon merged into the Verse Writers' and became an organization affiliated with the National Verse Writers' Clubs; while the drama section brought so many requests from outsiders to join that it soon became the Playcrafters, an independent organization which has ever since filled a unique place in the dramatic movement of the city.
The Short Story Section continued to function, with Mrs. Emma S. Marshall, Miss Ellerbe, Mrs. Alice Harriman, Mrs. Caroline McQuinn, Mrs. Georgina Townsend and Mrs. Ruby Archer Gray at various times serving as leaders. During its existence almost every member of the club who has ever attempted to write a story has attended its sessions. A very large number of stories have been read; frankly criticized; often rewritten and again reviewed. Much technical study of short story construction and constant study of markets has been a part of its work. Many stories born in this section have been sold and published; some of them have won prizes.
It is not too much to say that this section has been an important factor in bringing many members into the club, chiefly for the privilege of attending its meetings and securing its help.
Also, these weekly meetings have promoted a feeling of close fellowship and acquaintance which is one of the rare pleasures of life and which has contributed much to the solidarity of the Press Club.
The Short Story Section has functioned regularly since its formation in 1915. It now meets under the direction of Mrs. Gray.
In 1918 a Music section, with Mrs. J. H. Ballagh as leader, was added; in 1919-20 Mrs. Alice Harriman was leader of the Short Story section and Miss Neeta Marquis was in charge of the Verse section, reorganized. In 1925 the Verse section, which had been allowed to lapse, was once more revivified with Mrs. Leetha Journey Probst as leader. This section has met regularly since that year and has become an important factor in the life of the verse writers of the club.
Our first prize contest took place in 1915, when on June 15th a prize play, “Grandma,” written by Dr. Lottie C. Park, was read by Mrs. M. E. Johnson. In 1916 prizes were offered for short stories and verse, resulting in first prize for a short story going to Rose L. Ellerbre for “As Man to Man”; second prize for story, “Mesquite”, going to Mrs. Florence Pierce Reed; first prize for verse went to Mrs. Sadie B. Metcalfe for “Mirage,” and second prize to Mrs. Lilla W. Sickler for “A Chant Royale.”
In 1920-21, for the first time a prize of $10 each was offered for a story and verse. The winners were announced as: Frances Wierman, for the short story, “The Stepmother,” and Neeta Marquis for verse entitled “The Gate Called West”; honorable mention for stories went to Neeta Marquis and Iva Whitman Robinson, and for verse to Elizabeth McCabe Gilmore and Alice Harriman.
In 1922-23 Mr. and Mrs. Verbeck offered prizes for Mother poems and for short stories. First honors for the short story went to Alice Harriman, with Alice Brown and Georgia Maxwell receiving honorable mention; Ethel Brooks Stillwell won first prize for verse, Alice Forsythe and Iva Whitman Robinson mentioned.
In 1923-24 Mrs. Verbeck offered three prizes, one for the best shop talk program, which was awarded to Grace Frye, for the limerick shower which convulsed the club and its guests; one for the largest number of new members brought in by any individual also went to Grace Frye; one for the best article on the Hollywood Bowl went to Grace Wallace.
For the year 1925 the sum of $50.00 was provided by the Press Club as prizes in the annual contests. The announcement of winners was made at the annual banquet – Ethylean Tyson Gaw winning first prize for short story, “Dancer of King's Highway,” with Iva Whitman Robinson first honorable mention; Beulah May received first honors for verse, with Ethel Brooks Stillwell second.
In 1928, with the $50.00 again set aside for prizes, Nina Maud Richardson received the first prize for the stories with “Tempered Winds of Crook Street,” and Rena Strong Bowling received the second; Mrs. Julia Boynton Green, first, and Beulah May second prize for verse.
In all prize contests the manuscripts are submitted under a pseudonym and the final judgment is passed by a committee of three people – all outside of the club membership. The names of winners are not known until the envelopes are opened at the annual banquet. The announcement of these prize contests has become an interesting feature of the evening, awaited eagerly by the contestants and members generally.
We have taken a birdseye – or perhaps it would be more up-to-date to say – airplane view, of the life of this organization during its thirty-five years of struggles, of successes, of disappointments and of joys. The Southern California Woman's Press Club has had its vicissitudes; has fluctuated at times form the simple yet high standards of its founders. Yet, on the whole, we may say in all sincerity that this club has steadily maintained its declared object, “To promote acquaintance, good fellowship and co-operation among women writers of this coast, and to advance their professional interests.”
Always this has been a club of writers, and the programs have, on the whole, tended to help members by giving information, assistance, technical training, the right kind of publicity, and by bringing together those whose business is writing, or creative work in any form. Programs of a high literary order have been constantly presented by our own members and by writers who have visited Los Angeles and vicinity in the earlier days, and who are, more and more, making Southern California a literary center.
We, who have long been members of this club, have seen the marvelous changes which have brought the great moving picture industry, with its hosts of writers and workers, into existence; we have seen the small city of the nineties grow into a metropolis, with its opportunities for every department of creative work practically unlimited. We have watched the literati of America turn this way for inspiration, for homes, for employment. We have tried to keep pace with all this advance and to avail ourselves of the new chances offered to all creative workers.
But always the strongest feature of this club has been the spirit of friendliness, of camaraderie, which has existed among its members and has marked its progress. We have mourned together as one beloved member and friend after another has passed on – beyond; we have rejoiced together as we have watched some tyro climb the hill of success; we have talked over together our checks and our rejection slips. And we have held out a friendly hand to each new member coming to join us and to each one departing from us for some other field of labor or of pleasure.
Our open sessions, our luncheons, teas and dinners have not only promoted acquaintance and friendship among our own members; they have brought together many writers, musicians, artists and other people of note, who have added to our opportunities and to our enjoyment, as well as given pleasure to our guests. Yet, primarily, this is a working club made up of women who are writing for a living – women who may be considered as professional in their interests, and the social side of our club life of necessity is – or should be – subordinated to this fact.
We still have unfulfilled dreams. We still look forward to having a meeting place of our own. That this may take the form of an assembly-room, with an office and other facilities planned to meet our needs, in some down-town business block, seems to some of us the most feasible and practical solution for this particular organization.
And we all hope that someday the Southern California Woman's Press Club may sponsor a Marketing Bureau and a Writer's Magazine that shall become distinctively Los Angeles institutions. We have yet visions, also, of a literary magazine on the Pacific Coast which shall approximate the “big four” of the Atlantic Coast and furnish a market for our highest idealism, our most inspired and finished work and which shall, at last, publish the “Great American Novel,” done by a California writer here in our own California.
Transcribed by: Jeanne Sturgis Taylor.
Source: “History of the Southern California Woman’s Press Club 1894-1929” by Rose L. Ellerbe, Southern California Woman’s Press Club, 1930.
© 2011 Jeanne Sturgis Taylor.