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New Bedford Woman's Club and Junior Woman's Club records

Identifier: MC-221

Scope and Contents

Collection consists of meeting minutes, member handbooks, financial records, and scrapbooks documenting the New Bedford Woman's Club and its affiliate, the New Bedford Junior Woman's Club from 1899 through the 1970s. It is divided into 4 series: Series I is meeting minutes, history and annual member handbooks; Series II is Financial Records; Series III is Scrapbooks; and Series IV is the records of the New Bedford Junior Woman's Club.


  • 1898-2001
  • Majority of material found in 1899-1986

Biographical / Historical

The New Bedford Woman’s Club was organized in 1897 by a group of four women, Cora Cleveland, Alice Munsey, Mabel Cleveland and Carrie Gifford, plus eight others. The Club affiliated with the Massachusetts State Federation of Women’s Clubs in 1898, and the General Federation of Women’s Clubs, the national organization, in 1900. The first president was Ada W. Tillinghast, who held early club meetings in her home at the corner of Eighth and Elm Streets. According to the Club constitution, its purpose was the “intellectual, philanthropic, moral and social advancement” of its members. It soon outgrew its space and moved the meetings to the First Baptist Church in New Bedford. In 1917 they raised $12,000 to purchase and renovate the Standish House at 20 South Sixth Street. Meetings continued at this site at least until 1974, when the house was sold to the New Bedford YWCA. The club disbanded around 1990. Among the Club’s accomplishments was establishing playgrounds throughout the city, subsidizing school lunches, supporting the Cancer Clinic and the Dental Clinic in the public school, sending books to the leper colony on Penikeese Island, providing supplies for patients at St. Luke’s, the Veteran’s Hospital in Rutland, and the Sassaquin Sanitorium. During world War I they sold War Bonds, and during World War II they shared their home with the U.S.O. for the entertainment of soldiers. One of their main projects was working with the disabled, founding a Blind Reading Circle in the early part of the 20th century. The New Bedford Junior Woman’s Club was formed in 1940 and composed of women between the ages of 21 and 35. It’s stated purpose “shall be the development of its members in intellectual endeavor, social fellowship and community service.”


17 Linear Feet (18 manuscript boxes, 16 flat boxes and one card file box)

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of the YWCA, 2018. New Bedford Junior Woman's Club records gift of Patricia Gosselin, 2018. Accession # 19-1 and 19-7.

Processing Information

Processed as part of an internship at Simmons University by Carlos Mercado. Prelimiary processing also completed by Paul Medeiros, senior history major at UMass Dartmouth as part of a history department internship.

New Bedford Woman's Club and Junior Woman's Club records
Paul Medeiros and Carlos Mercado
February 2019
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Edition statement
First edition 2019

Repository Details

Part of the Claire T. Carney Library Archives and Special Collections, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Repository

285 Old Westport Rd.
N. Dartmouth MA 02747 USA