Women’s clubs and societies have a long history in Missouri. Prior to the Civil War, most women’s clubs were either religious in nature or auxiliaries to men’s organizations. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, numerous women’s organizations were formed for social, educational, civic, professional, or philanthropic purposes. Additionally, clubs with specific political goals began to organize, often in the form of suffrage organizations, and eventually engaged in issues such as abortion, equal rights, and discrimination.
- Adams, Lucinda J. "From the Stacks: The Twin Citians: A Black Women's Club and Its Battle for Civil Rights in Kansas City."
Missouri Historical Review 62, no. 110 (October 2015): 70-73.
- Bender, Robert Patrick "This Noble and Philanthropic Enterprise: The Mississippi Valley Sanitary Fair of 1864 and the Practice of Civil War Philanthropy."
Missouri Historical Review 95 (January 2001): 117-139.
- Firkus, Angela. "'Work, Play, and Be Merry but Don't Forget the First!': College Women and the Founding of Phi Theta Kappa in Missouri."
Missouri Historical Review 112, no. 4 (July 2018): 260-279.
- Ford, Elyssa. "'We Sure Led the Parade:' Alma Nash, the Missouri Ladies Military Band, and the Push for Women's Suffrage from Rural Missouri to the Nation's Capital."
Missouri Historical Review 113, no. 3 (April 2019): 145-165.
- Montgomery, Rebecca S. "With the Brain of a Man and the Heart of a Woman: Missouri Women and Rural Change, 1890-1915."
Missouri Historical Review 104 (April 2010): 159-178.
- Morris, Monia Cook "The History of Woman Suffrage in Missouri, 1867-1901."
Missouri Historical Review 25 (October 1930): 67-82.
- Nickell, Frank, and Cox, Jessica. "From the Stacks: Amy Husband Kimmel and the Wednesday Club of Cape Girardeau."
Missouri Historical Review 110 (January 2016): 132-135.
- Painter, Mrs. W. R. "Achievements of the Missouri D. A. R."
Missouri Historical Review 20 (April 1926): 382-387.
- Scott, Mary Semple "History of Woman Suffrage in Missouri."
Missouri Historical Review 14 (April-July 1920): 281-384.
"’Missouri Day' Program for Missouri Club Women."
Missouri Historical Review 9 (July 1915): 241-247.
"Temperance Societies Flourished in Missouri a Century Ago."
Missouri Historical Review 46 (January 1952): 147-149.
Many of the State Historical Society’s holdings are included in Merlin, the shared library catalog of the four University of Missouri campuses. The State Historical Society holds numerous books both about the history of women’s clubs and societies in Missouri as well as publications generated by these organizations. The best means to search for women’s societies is with the subject term “Women -- Societies and Clubs”. For a more specific search on women in Missouri, simply add the subject term “Missouri” to your search.
Edna Fischel Gellhorn - Edna Fischel Gellhorn was a suffragist, civic leader, and reformer who helped found the National League of Women Voters. She dedicated her life to helping and serving others through her work as a social and political activist.
The State Historical Society of Missouri manuscript collections contain materials dealing with organizations that promote the goals, careers, or viewpoints of women. Examples of these collections include the Women’s Progressive Farmers Association of Missouri, Inc. Records, the Book Lovers’ Club Records, and the Greater Kansas City Women’s Political Caucus Records.
Missouri Association of Colored Women's Clubs Records - Records of the state organization and member clubs of an association to improve the status of black women in the home and community include correspondence, financial records, conference files and programs, and information on the history of the organization and member clubs.
The vertical files contain magazine and newspaper clippings, handwritten information donated by patrons, bibliographies, programs, brochures, flyers, and other materials that, by reason of their physical formats, cannot be placed on the shelves with books. SHSMO's Columbia Research Center has numerous vertical files on specific women’s clubs, such as the Fortnightly Club. Ask a librarian or archivist for more assistance with these paper files.