Jr. Women Form to Do Something Worthwhile
From The News Messenger Centennial Edition 1869-1969

From time to time when a group of Blacksburg girls happened to get together, the remark was persistently heard, "We really ought to have some kind of a club here-we never see each other, and we ought to do something worthwhile for the community". Just such remarks finally led two girls, during the first part of November, 1935, to go see Mrs. RC Connelly, then President of the Blacksburg Senior Woman's Club. Miss Connelly suggested that a group of interested young women meet at her home and let Miss Elsie Dyer, President of the Fifth District Juniors, discuss with them plans for organization.

On Wednesday afternoon, November 13, 1935, a group of eleven girls met in the home of Mrs. Connelly with Miss Dyer, who presented so attractively the advantages of organizing, that all those present were quite enthusiastic. A chairman and temporary secretary were elected immediately and committees were appointed to draw up a constitution. Following Miss Dyer's suggestion we decided to pattern our constitution after that of the Roanoke Junior Women's Club. The club organized with the following charter members: Misses Lucy Lee Lancaster, Mary McBride, Clara Carr Chisman, Sybil Gilmore, Eleanor Wall, Mary Bersch, Dorothy Hunt, Elsa Gudheim, Beulah Allen, Ariel Close, Hallie Close, and Mesdames Paul Ebert, Webb Richardson.

Miss Lucy Lee Lancaster was elected as first president of the group and Mrs. FR Fish, a member of the Blacksburg Senior Woman's Club, accepted the invitation to serve as the first sponsor for the group.

During the first year the club's principal contribution to civic life was a Christmas party for a group of twelve underprivileged children. This was made possible through a benefit bridge party given by the club, and both parties were so successful that it was decided they should be annual affairs.

Since its beginning the Blacksburg Junior Woman's Club has become increasingly more involved in community improvement and affairs. Here are some of the more important or interesting accomplishments of the club over the years:

The club became a member of the Virginia Federation of Women's Clubs in February, 1936 and aroused interest in a Blacksburg Branch Library and donated money to be used for this purpose. Re-published our booklet "Discovering Blacksburg" which is of great benefit to people moving into the area.

Continued our support of local school libraries, band program, Blacksburg Branch Library, Camp Easter Seal, the adoption of a patient at Southwestern State Hospital, and the many other miscellaneous calls of assistance that a group of this kind gets.

Started the free of charge classes in "Mother and Baby Care" to all residents of Montgomery County with the co-sponsorship of the American Red Cross.

Supported the Clinac Linear Excelerator for treatment of cancer.

Sponsored a Brownie Scout Troop.

Won first place in the Vivian Suthers Safety Award on the District level.

In process of forming a branch of "Friends of the Library" in Blacksburg.

Sponsored a local youth in the District Hallmark Art Contest, in which the youth won first place.

Current President, Mrs. Charles Friedman, took office on April 1, 1969.

Object of the Blacksburg Junior Woman's Club, Inc., shall be to unite all loyal and progressive citizens in an intelligent effort toward a better Blacksburg, to promote good citizenship, public health, general culture and civic ideals.

Membership is open to all young women between the ages of 18 and 35, who are residents of the community of Blacksburg. Applicants for membership are required to file a written application in triplicate on forms provided by the membership committee and shall be visited by a member of that committee before the application is submitted to the Executive Board. A prospective member must attend as a guest at least one business meeting before becoming a member.

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Last updated February 5, 1998