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Denver Women's Social Union Club Records

 Collection
Identifier: M022

The Denver Women's Social Union Club was founded in 1898 as a mutual-aid society by members of the Social Science Department of the Women's Club of Denver and was called the Social Union. The club was formed to benefit poor and working-class women and their families living in the Delgany neighborhood of Denver, Colorado. Mary C. C. Bradford, Colorado educator and political activist, was considered ''the mother of the Social Union'' because of her involvement in the early years of the Union. In 1921 the Union was reorganized as a philanthropic and social organization; it was renamed The Denver Women's Social Union Club. The Club was formally disbanded in 1977. The records include receipt books, treasurer's account books, a membership book, minutes, calendars, applications for memberships, cards, stamps, clippings, song books, photographs, correspondence, articles of incorporation, invitations, thank you notes and scrapbooks of the Denver Women's Social Union Club. This collection also includes records from the Barnum Women's Club, an organization founded by the Women's Club of Denver.

Dates

  • 1908-1973

Creator

Extent

2.5 Linear Feet (2 record boxes, one letter document box)

Scope and Contents

The Denver Women's Social Union Club, a club for poor and working-class women, was founded as a mutual-aid society in 1898 by members of the social science department of the Women's Club of Denver for the benefit of women in the Delgany neighborhood. It continued to function as a philanthropic and social club until 1973. The collection includes articles of incorporation as well as the minutes of most general meetings from 1908 to 1973, which detail both the business and social aspects of the organization. Scrapbooks covering the years from 1932 to 1958 contain newspaper clippings concerning individual club members as well as the meetings, invitations to meetings, photographs, and thank you notes for assistance received from the Social Union. Other bound volumes include receipt books from 1950 to 1968, minutes from the board meetings (1934-1935 and 1942-1947), treasurers' account books (1927-1935, 1947-1951), and a membership book (1947-1958). A few miscellaneous items such as applications for membership, cards, newspaper clippings, calendars, stamps, song books, correspondence and poetry are included, as well as records from the Barnum Women's Club, an organization also founded and initially overseen by the Women's Club of Denver.

Biographical / Historical

The Denver Women's Social Union Club, a club for poor and working-class women, was founded as a mutual-aid society in November 1898 by members of the Social Science Department of the Women's Club of Denver. The club was established to benefit women and their families living in the Delgany neighborhood. The Social Science Department of the Women's Club of Denver ran a variety of social programs in the Delgany neighborhood ranging from a night school and Traveling Art Gallery to free baths. The Delgany Library was housed in the Railroad Mission at 19th Street and Wewatta Street and it was here that the initial meeting of the Social Union was held during which women resolved to form an organization to meet the needs of the people in the area. Mary C.C. Bradford, a member of the Women's Club of Denver, was later considered the mother of the Social Union because of her help in its early years. She christened the mutual-aid organization 'The Social Union,' a name that was retained until 1921 when it was reorganized as a philanthropic and social organization and renamed 'The Denver Women's Social Union Club.' The Penny Provident Fund, established for members of the Social Union, became the Social Union Savings Bank in 1903 in which club members deposited what savings they could. This money was used as an emergency fund to aid needy members in hard times. Mary C.C. Bradford described the benefits of the Social Union to its members: ''The uplift that the meetings have given to these toil-worn, shut-in lives is incalculable. Vistas of beauty have been opened, stronger thinking stimulated, home problems solved, and best of all, the sense of loving unity established between themselves and their more fortunate sisters.'' (from Some Work of the WCD in A History of the Women's Club of Denver by Mary Sinton)

Meetings generally consisted of business followed by refreshments and a program. During the meeting, women would suggest those in need whom the organization might assist in one way or another and plan benefits such as cake baking contests or raffles. The money thus earned would go to fund the Union's activities. For example, during 1908-1909, the women of the Social Union made visits to homes and hospitals and delivered bouquets, jellies, fruits, bundles of clothing, a total of eight tons of coal, and 14 dollars to the sick and needy. ''We also have endeavored to answer every call of sickness and distress that has come to us, as well as to visit every member of the S.U. who has been ill.'' (from Minutes 1908-1916) The programs were organized by individual members and included a variety of presentations. For example, one meeting on March 29, 1923 included a talk by Mary C.C. Bradford, who gave an ''account of [the] compulsory educational bill and urged women to sign it,'' followed by a program of ''fancy dancing'' presented by Virginia Jardt and Janice Goalstone. (from Minutes 1923-1924)

The last meeting of the Denver Women's Social Union Club was held in 1973 and the remaining 25 members decided to close the books on November 4, 1977 ''due to [the fact that] many of our faithful members passed on.'' (from Minutes 1957-1973).

Arrangement

The collection is partially arranged.;

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Source unknown.

Accruals

No further accruals are expected.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and Archives Repository

Contact:
2150 East Evans Avenue
Denver CO 80208
(303) 871-3428