Michigan Federation of Women’s Clubs Biographies

Biographies of past presidents and a few junior members of the Federation of Women’s Clubs whose state office was located in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

The Federation of Women’s Clubs in Michigan is part of a broader national and international movement that began in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. These clubs were formed to provide women with a platform to engage in civic and social issues, promote education, and support community improvement efforts. Many influential women in Michigan’s history were involved in the Federation, using it as a platform to further their social and political goals. The leadership of the Federation often included women who were pioneers in various fields, including education, public health, and social work. Many universities and libraries in Michigan hold archives of the Federation’s records, which can provide detailed insights into its activities and impact.

Past Presidents

Alvord, Edith Vospurgh

Alvord, Edith Vospurgh, b. West Webster, a suburb of Rochester, N.Y. She is of Columbia County (N.Y.) Dutch ancestry, first Vosburgh in this country having been born in Albany, N.Y. in 1630. Parents were Addis Emmet Vosburgh and Frances Whitbeck. Moved to Battle Creek, Michigan, in February 1880. After graduating from Battle Creek High School and Olivet College, taught Latin and English in Morris, Illinois High School four years. June 25, 1902, married Dr. William R. Alvord. They have one daughter, Frances Alvord Harris (Fran Harris of WWJ) and three grand-children. Dr. Alvord practiced in Battle Creek until 1908, when the family moved to Detroit. In Detroit, Mrs. Alvord joined Detroit New Century Club, after serving as rec. sec’y. and first vice-pres. she became president in 1913. Resigned to become president of the Detroit Federation of Women’s Clubs, 1913-1915. Editor of the Detroit Club Woman, City Federation organ, 1916-28; recording secretary and first vice-president of the Michigan State Federation of Women’s Clubs, then president 1920-22, Member General Federation Board of Directors in 1922-32, first chairman of American Citizenship, then chairman of Press and Publicity. When the General Federation convention was held in Detroit in 1935, Mrs. Alvord was co-chairman with Mrs. Prout, managing the many Detroit angles of the convention. Acting president of the Salvation Army Auxiliary, 1916-18. The first woman to be elected member of the Highland Park School Board (suburb of Detroit), served 10 years 1918-28, was treasurer 1920-28. Long interested in international affairs, Mrs. Alvord was president of the Detroit Women’s International Education Council, 1930-34, an outgrowth of the Cause and Cure of War Conference on a local level. She was an active worker in twenty-five Community Chest drives. Member of Detroit Citizens’ League Board 8 years. Her most outstanding service to the community has been as executive director of the International Institute, the foreign branch of the Y.W.C.A. in Detroit. She held this position from May 1, 1926 to September 1, 1944, carrying on an intensive program with the foreign-born of Detroit, serving some 24 nationalities. Mrs. Alvord is now the Michigan State Federation of Women’s Clubs Parliamentarian, also holds the same position with Detroit New Century Club and the Adult Education Institute, which meets in Ann Arbor annually and is sponsored by the University of Michigan. Co-editor “History of Michigan State Federation of Women’s Clubs 1895-1953.”

Ashbaugh, Delphine Dodge

Ashbaugh, Delphine Dodge (Mrs. R. H.) the 13th President of the State Federation of Women’s Clubs, was born in Niles, Michigan—a sister of the Dodge brothers, John and Horace, of automotive fame. When Detroit be-came an automobile center she moved to Detroit with the family. Her interest in civic problems turned her attention to women’s clubs as a way to be of service. Member of Detroit Review Club, then president; after holding minor offices became president of Detroit Federation of Women’s Clubs; founded and became president of the Auxiliary to the Salvation Army. In her honor at the close of her administration John Dodge gave to the Detroit Federation their present club house at the corner of Second and Hancock Aves., also financed necessary additions and repairs. Recording secretary Michigan State Federation of Women’s Clubs, 1910-12; vice-president, 1913-14; president, 1914-16. During World War I Mrs. Ashbaugh was appointed Director of Red Cross for Michigan; state chairman of Women’s Liberty Loan Drive. In 1913 was appointed to serve on the newly authorized Detroit Recreation Commission, the only woman so honored. Founded and edited the Detroit Club Woman for six years. Mrs. Ashbaugh spent the last years of her life in California where she died in 1936.

Avery, Clara Arlette

Avery, Clara Arlette, one of the founders and first president of the Michigan State Federation of Women’s Clubs, b. Bradley, Maine, January 12, 1850, one of thirteen children. Father dealt extensively in pine lands in Maine, later in Michigan. To look after the Michigan land he, with his family, came to Port Huron in May, 1853. Moved to Detroit in 1867, and lived at the corner of Fort and Third Streets. Clara was educated in private schools in Detroit. Her interest in reform and civic betterment led her into the woman’s club movement. She founded the XX Century Club of Detroit. Served as president; sent as delegate from that club to the organization meeting of the Michigan State Federation of Women’s Clubs, Lansing, 1895. Member Board of Woman’s Hospital and Infant’s Home; member, Louisa St. Clair Chapter Daughters of American Revolution; member board of Institute of Arts; gave generously of her time to social service; traveled extensively. Died May 8, 1937 in Chicago.

Bruce, Jean Frith McIntyre

Bruce, Jean Frith McIntyre (Mrs. Arthur W.) born in Kalamazoo, Mich., only child of Carolyn Cokayne-Frith McIntyre and Alexander Gillespie McIntyre. Educated in the public schools of Kalamazoo, and at the Western Michigan College of Education. After teaching one year in Gales-burg, Mich., Jean taught four years in Kalamazoo public schools until the time of her marriage to Dr. Arthur W. Bruce. They located then in Traverse City. Mrs. Bruce, following the example of her club-conscious mother, be-came actively interested in club work. The year she joined the Traverse City Woman’s Club, elected corresponding secretary, serving two years, and recording secretary two years. In the Grand Traverse County Federation, Mrs. Bruce filled the offices of corresponding secretary, recording secretary, vice-president and president for two years each. The same year, appointed chairman of Library Service for the Northwestern District for two years, then was elected to the offices of recording secretary, vice-president and president of the district for two year terms. When the General Federation of Women’s Clubs pioneered in cancer control work and cancer education and organized the Women’s Field Army under the leader-ship of Mrs. Grace Morrison Poole, General Federation president, Mrs. Bruce served for several years as a state vice-commander. In Michigan State Federation of Women’s Clubs, Mrs. Bruce served one year as chair-man of the Division of Prose Literature; then was appointed chairman of the three Departments, Fine Arts, Applied Education, and Social Welfare for two years in each Department. She also served as chairman of War Service. In 1943, Mrs. Bruce was elected second vice-president of the State Federation, then first vice-president, and served as president from 1947 thru 1949. Mrs. Bruce organized the Past Presidents’ Club of the Grand Traverse County Federation in 1934. She also organized The Dramatiques, has served as their President for 18 years and is still filling the office. She is also serving her 15th year as Advisor for the Traverse City Junior Woman’s Club, being elected annually by the Juniors. Other activities include membership on the Committee for Psychiatric Nursing; and the Advisory Board of the North Central School of Practical Nurse Education since the school was opened five years ago. In the General Federation of Women’s Clubs, Mrs. Bruce has been active as Mid-Western Regional Chairman of Conservation of Natural Resources during Mrs. Hiram C. Houghton’s administration; and has been appointed on the Revision of Bylaws Committee by Mrs. Oscar A. Ahlgren for 1952-1954.

Bulson, Florence Breck

Bulson, Florence Breck (Mrs. Albert Eugene), b. Paw Paw, Mich., Nov. 11, 1857. Educated Paw Paw High School and Ypsilanti Normal. Dr. Bulson graduate of Rush Medical, Chicago; moved to Indiana, then Paw Paw where he and Florence were married. Dr. Bulson a drummer boy in Civil War, fought at Bull Run, Chancellerville, and Gettysburg. From Paw Paw they moved to Jackson where their home became a center for civic and social gatherings. President Tourist Club, 1896-97. Mrs. Bulson was sent as a dele-gate to the organization meeting of the State Federation. Instrumental in changing name of Tourist Club to Jackson Woman’s Club. Recording secretary Michigan State Federation of Women’s Clubs, 1897-98. Designed Michigan Federation pin adopted officially at the Fifth Annual meeting in Jackson, 1899. Director State Federation, 1898-1900. Literary Editor of the Federation Bulletin several years. Organized Jackson County Federation, 1914. First vice-president Michigan State Federation of Women’s Clubs, 1914-16, and president, 1916 to Feb. 1919—an added four months because of World War I. Known as “War President.”” Member Commission on National Defense for Michigan; member War Preparedness Commission; Women’s Liberty Loan Committee; assisted organization of Red Cross units. Member Eastern Star; Daughters of American Revolution; Baptist Church. Three children: Florence, now residing in California; Glenn, Captain in the Medical Corps, World War I, contracted T.B. and died 1929; Erminie, talented musician, at one time organist in Morman Temple, Salt Lake City, died in 1932. Mrs. Bulson’s hobbies were music, art, lectures and concerts. She died March 13, 1924.

Chamberlin, Elnora Shepard

Chamberlin, Elnora Shepard (Mrs. George T.), 12th president of Michigan State Federation of Women’s Clubs, b. July 2, 1864, Hartford, Michigan. Parents, George Washington and Ann Eliza Swisher Shepard. -Graduate Dowagiac High School. Her prime interest, welfare and development of youth of the country, influenced her in choice of teaching as a profession. This interest was manifest throughout her administration as president of Michigan State Federation of Women’s Clubs, 1912-1914. Was first elected to a state office, 1906, as corresponding secretary, followed as 2d and 1st vice-president. Was General Federation State Secretary, 1914-1916. Her administration developed plans for districting Michigan Federation; a Michigan Endowment Fund, and created the Club Extension Department. Worked for Open Air Schools, Continuation Schools, Vocational Training, and Public Health laws. Mrs. Chamberlin has spent her life in Hartford. Two children, a daughter and son. Her philosophy for clubs, “If our organization is not marked by progression it will be marked by retrogression.”

Chapman, Mary MacArthur

Chapman, Mary MacArthur (Mrs. Willis Earle) b. Sept. 6, 1876, Cheboygan, Michigan. Her father, John B. MacArthur, a millwright and engineer, was born in Scotland, came to Michigan, center of lumber industry, by way of Sidney, Nova Scotia, where he married Nancy Melinda Judson of Lyn, Ontario. On death of mother in 1882, leaving two girls and five boys, Mary was sent to Lyn, Ontario, to live with her grandmother. In that small village Mary MacArthur had basic training in unselfishness, moral discipline, spiritual faith, and responsibility as her grandmother and other villagers served as nurses or social workers when illness, death or sorrow visited the com-munity. After 10 years, she returned to Cheboygan to finish high school. At age of 19, entered Medical School at University of Michigan. Her academic medical training was ended in Junior year when she married a young doctor, Willis Earle Chapman, Cheboygan. Dr. Chapman became medical officer in U.S. Army and was sent to Manilla. They spent two years in travel and foreign life. Two children were born, Nathalie Eleanor and Earle MacArthur. Mary Chapman was president of Cheboygan Woman’s Club; president of Northeastern District Michigan State Federation of Women’s Clubs, 1925-27; appointed second vice-president when that office became vacant between elections, 1931-33; first vice-president by election, 1933-35 and state president in 1935-37. Michigan director to General Federation, 1937-39. During World War I, she contributed to war work by teaching chemistry and biology in Cheboygan High School.

Cross, Christine McAulay

Cross, Christine McAulay (Mrs. Fred M.), Bad Axe, Michigan. President Michigan State Federation Women’s Clubs 1945-1947; district president 1943-1945. Served in departments of Conservation, Library, History, Fine Arts, Legislation, Social Welfare and Adult Education. B. Little Falls, Minnesota, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth D. McAulay. Came to Michigan when a child. Educated in public schools, Goddard Seminary in Barre, Vermont, tutored in French and German, had courses in Art, Contemporary Literature and Music. Married Fred M. Cross, a Bad Axe business man and has lived in her present home thirty-five years. Interested in community affairs and has served as president of Verona Hills Golf Club and Hospital Auxiliary and is at this time a Michigan Board Member of Women’s Medical College in Philadelphia, Pa. A spacious garden surrounds her home which perhaps gives a small clue to her interest in conservation and her love of the out-of-doors. Has taken four Good Will Tours as a member of a General Federation of Women’s Clubs good will ambassadors. She is president of the Ahlgren World Travelers, known as the “Ahlgren World Ambassadors.”

Felker, Lois L. Teesdale

Felker, Lois L. Teesdale (Mrs. Henry J.) b. Aug. 15, 1851, in Constantine, Michigan. Daughter of Samuel Teesdale and Frances Bryan Teesdale. She received her elementary education in Constantine and was one of the first women to graduate from Albion College, Michigan. Married Henry J. Felker, a lawyer, Oct. 3, 1875, moving to Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he practiced law until his death. Mrs. Felker was delegate from Grand Rapids West End Club to the organization meeting of Michigan State Federation in Lansing, 1895. Besides her interest in club work, she was a botanist and an ornithologist. Was the 8th president of Michigan State Federation of Women’s Clubs, from 1904-1906. She died Nov. 20, 1928.

Fox, Emma Augusta Stowell

Fox, Emma Augusta Stowell (Mrs. Charles E.) was born in Bingham-ton, N.Y., March 29, 1847. Her parents were Allen Goff and Caroline Scott Stowell, whose ancestors came to America in 1624. When Emma was 9 years old, she and her sister moved to Peoria, Ill. Educated in both private and public schools, she was teaching in the North Division High School in Chicago, at the time of the great fire in 1871. In Cambridge, Mass., where she had gone to teach she met Chas. Edgar Fox and married him on November 8, 1876, in her home in Peoria and came to Detroit. In 1884, they moved to 21 Bagley Avenue, her home for many years; where two sons—Maurice Winslow and Howard Stowell were born. Devotion to her family did not lessen her life long interest in the cause of woman and her status in the legal world. She devoted many years to the scientific study of Parliamentary Law, and served as official parliamentarian at conventions of many state and national organizations. She served in this capacity in every state in the nation except Vermont. Member of Board of Trustees Woman’s Hospital for 13 years, acting as treasurer and president. She served two years on the Detroit Board of Education from 1893-1895.

  • In 1897; she became the third president of the Michigan State Federation of Women’s Clubs.
  • 1898; elected secretary of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs.
  • 1901; she was one of fifty women to visit President McKinley to seek a charter for the General Federation of Women’s Clubs.
  • 1902; she was elected vice president of General Federation of Women’s Clubs and the first edition of Parliamentary Usage was published. Since then 4 editions have been published.
  • 1904; she was made honorary vice-president of General Federation of Women’s Clubs.

In October, 1899, the Detroit Parliamentary Law Club was organized. Mrs. Fox was president until her death. Mr. Fox died in 1918. In 1932, Mrs. Fox was appointed Michigan Director to the General Federation of Women’s Clubs. At the age of 85, Mrs. Fox took her first air plane ride to St. Louis and return, to serve as parliamentarian at National Pi Omicron Convention. In 1941, at the age of 94, she received the gold medal as the No. 1 Pioneer Club woman of America. Mrs. Fox had two honorary degrees conferred on her—Doctor of Humanities by Hillsdale College, and Doctor of Letters by Wayne University. During the last year of her life (1944) she served as Parliamentarian at nine conventions from March 28 to November 25, 1944. In January, 1945, Mrs. Fox was taken to the hospital where she received comfort in her daily contemplation of the 91st Psalm, and passed away on February 8, 1945. :

Gould, Josephine White

Gould, Josephine White (Mrs. Lucius E.) was born September 23, 1845, in Hartwick, Massachusetts, direct descendant of Perigrin White, the only child born on the Mayflower as it carried the Pilgrims from England to America, 1620. Her childhood was spent in the East where she gained com-mon school education. No college for girls at that period, but that was no bar to her so far as higher education was concerned. By constant study she gained advanced education. She came to Corunna, Michigan, in 1870, teaching school in that city and later in Owosso. Married Lucius E. Gould, Owosso, in 1875. Few years after her marriage, founded the Oakside private school. She did special tutoring and prepared young men for examinations for entrance to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and Naval Academy at Annapolis. Tutored pupils who planned to enter universities. Was charter member Current Topic Club, Owosso, and active in Owosso Woman’s Club. Was 7th president Michigan State Federation of Women’s Clubs, 1902-1904. Was charter member of Shiawassee Chapter, Daughters of American Revolution. Active member of Congregational Church, especially so with young people. Died Aug. 29, 1923. One son, Lawrence Gould.

Hamilton, Rena Louisa Tompkins

Hamilton, Rena Louisa Tompkins (Mrs. Burritt) b. Coldwater, Michigan, Feb. 12, 1873, daughter of George Benson Tompkins and Frances E. Andrews Tompkins. The family moved to Sturgis where Mr. Tompkins entered mercantile business. Burritt Hamilton, young lawyer of Sturgis married Rena Tompkins, June 12, 1894. There was one son, Ralph Nelson. In 1898, the Hamilton family moved to Battle Creek and with exception of several years’ residence in east resided there continuously since. Their home “The Lilacs” was noted for the beauty of its box-bordered gardens. Mrs. Hamilton early became interested in woman’s club movement, was one of three founders of the Sturgis Woman’s Club. In Battle Creek she became identified with the Woman’s League, serving as president 1913-1915, subsequently president emeritus. In 1912 elected recording secretary of Michigan State Federation of Women’s Clubs, became 15th president in 1919, after serving as second vice-president and vice-president-at-large. During that period was instrumental in organizing the Southwestern District. At close of regime, as president, the Hamilton Club was organized as tribute to Mrs. Hamilton, limited membership of 100. She was elected president “for 99 years.” Elected Michigan Director to General Federation, serving 3 terms. A home and garden lover, she was an organizer of garden club movement in Michigan, served as first president of Garden Club of Battle Creek. Her fondness for roses and interest in their culture led her to organize the Rose Study group. Was member of American Rose Society. In her rose garden she grew 300 varieties, many of them rare. Was regent of Battle Creek chapter, Daughters of American Revolution; active in Young Woman’s Christian Association, Woman’s Club of Service Flag, Battle Creek Woman’s Club, Quaker Club all of Battle Creek; Michigan Historical Club and Women’s Press Association. Active in Episcopal Church, for years chairman for West-ern Michigan of the National Women’s committee for the National Cathedral. Died in Battle Creek, September 4, 1943.

Hunter, Esther R. Smith

Hunter, Esther R. Smith (Mrs. George Graham) b. Dec. 25, 1872, Genes-see County, Michigan. Parents, Mortimer Wilson and Esther Margaret Evans Smith, pioneer farmers. Graduate of Flint Public School and State Normal College, Ypsilanti, Michigan. Taught in elementary schools, Flint and Ovid, Michigan. Married July 19, 1899, George Graham Hunter, lawyer, Chicago, Illinois. Hunter family moved to Ovid, Michigan, later to Saint Johns, Michigan, 1919. Inducted in club work in Chicago, Ill, served as president Ovid Progressive Club; president of Central District Michigan State Federation of Women’s Clubs and upon its division became first president of West Central District; served as treasurer, vice-president, becoming president, Michigan State Federation of Women’s Clubs, 1924-1926; Michigan director to General Federation, 1926-28; member program committee for Biennial Council, General Federation, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1927; chairman committee on revision of by-laws, General Federation, for Biennial Convention, San Antonio, Texas, 1928; Chairman of Endowment Fund Trustees, State Federation, since 1934; Chairman Committee on Records, State Federation, since 1936; Co-editor, ‘“‘History of Michigan State Federation of Women’s Clubs, 1895-1953.” Member Michigan State Board for Libraries, 1939-1953, appointee of Governor Frank Fitzgerald; chairman, Clinton County Chapter American Red Cross for period of years. Congregationalist. One son, George Graham Hunter, III.

Jones, Irma Theoda

Jones, Irma Theoda (Mrs. Nelson B.) b. in Victory, N.Y., March 11, 1845. 1849 her father, Charles N. Andrews, a physician of unusual ability, moved his family to Rockford, Ill. In the primary department of Miss Anna P. Sill’s female seminary at five years of age, Irma began her education. At the close of her school life in July 1863 she taught one year, then removed to Lansing, where her uncle, John A. Kerr, held the position of State Printer. M. in May, 1865, to Nelson B. Jones. Contributed to various news-papers concerning the Women’s Clubs, Women’s Christian Temperance Union, and the Lansing Industrial Aid Society. She organized the Lansing Woman’s Club and the Unity Club. Honorary member Clio Club, Detroit. Member Michigan Press Association; president Michigan State Federation Women’s Clubs 1896. One of the founders of the Lansing Pilgrim Church. Michigan club women owe to her the history of the first 25 years of the State Federation. Died in Lansing, 1923.

Kangery, Helen

Kangery, Helen (Mrs. Joseph) born in Ironwood, Michigan. Received elementary education in Ironwood Public Schools. Attended Marquette State Teacher’s College and University of Chicago. Public school teacher, grade school principal, and Director of Americanization and Evening Schools in Ironwood. In 1933-35, president Ironwood Woman’s Club; 1943-45, president Upper Peninsular District, Michigan State Federation, having served all elective offices in district; safety chairman winning State award; president, Michigan State Federation, 1949-51, after serving as first and second vice-president; director from Michigan in General Federation, 1950-52. Community service chief interest of Helen Kangery, her activities were co-chairman of Red Cross Nurses Aides of Gogebic County in World War II; chairman of Blood Plasma clinic in Gogebic County, 1945; of Cancer Drive, and of Salvation Army Drive. Received citation from Michigan Office of Civilian Defense and Red Cross for work as volunteer nurses aid, knitting, and making surgical dressings during World War II; State advisor of Women’s activities for National Foundation of Infantile Paralysis.

Keating, Martha Adalaide

Keating, Martha Adalaide (Mrs. Loftus N.) b. Hillsdale, Michigan, March 13, 1848, daughter of Betsy Wolford Cook, and John Potter Cook, pioneer banker and lumberman, early member of the Michigan State Legislature, helping to draft the state constitution. Attended Hillsdale College, oldest graduate at time of her death. M. 1869 Loftus Nano Keating, attorney. Among those instrumental in establishing Muskegon Woman’s Club, 1890. 1904 established Woman’s Club Parliamentary Class, later called Martha A. Keating Parliamentary Class, many of whose members attained prominence in Parliamentary procedures. Club parliamentarian until her death at 93. Twice president Muskegon Woman’s Club 1892-1893. President State Federation of Women’s Clubs 1898-1900. Chairman Clubhouse Building committee, having been named a member by the building’s donor. In 1940 Northwestern district of State Federation conferred on her the medal of pioneer clubwomen, awarded by the General Federation Women’s Clubs. Though loss of vision curtailed her activities somewhat in her later years, she continued her club work as long as health permitted. Mrs. Keating died on Sunday, January 4, 1942, at the age of 93.

Knapp, Bette MacKenzie

Knapp, Bette MacKenzie (Mrs. Alfred J.), b. Cumber, Michigan, January 24, 1875. Educated Cass City High School; eight years University Extension courses. President Tuscola County Federation Women’s Clubs; Art Chairman State Federation; president East Central District of State Federation; president Michigan State Federation 1926-1928; Director General Federation two years, chairman Division Bible as Literature, General Federation five years; attended 12 General Federation meetings; secretary Up-per Mississippi Valley Conference. Taught school 6 years. Embalmer and Funeral Director 30 years. Devoted to her church she was superintendent of the Sunday School, First Presbyterian Church, Cass City 65 years. President of Missionary Society 9 years; President of Flint Presbytereal Society for Missions 4 years; member of the Synodical Board of Missions 4 years; chair-man of the Revision of Constitution and By-laws of Synodical Board; State delegate to the Quadrennial meeting of Missions at Beech Hill, Pa. Only life member of the Flint Presbyterian Board. Endowment Fund Trustee Michigan State Federation of Women’s Clubs. One son, Clark MacKenzie Knapp.

McLean, Evelyn Adele Childs

McLean, Evelyn Adele Childs (Mrs. Sears Richard) b. Childsdale, Michigan. d. Horace Hacks and Frances Lockerby Childs. Attended Wheaton College, Norton, Mass., studied art in Boston and Grand Rapids, Michigan. Taught Art. Official positions: President, Holland Woman’s Club, 1925-27; president of Michigan State Federation of Women’s Clubs, 1933-35, after serving West Central District as president, second and first vice-president. Was Michigan Director to General Federation of Women’s Clubs, 1935-1937. The national depression of 1933, with clubs withdrawing and disbanding, was the period of her presidency. The issue was met with state-wide programs on peace and education. The General Federation of Women’s Clubs Triennial Convention held in Detroit, 1935, during her administration. Member: Grand Rapids Woman’s Club; Grand Rapids Ladies’ Literary Club; Michigan State Education Planning Commission, 1933-35. Member, Hope Reformed Church, Holland. Two sons: Charles and Baxter.

Merritt, Treesa M. Way

Merritt, Treesa M. Way (Mrs. William O.), b. Thedford, Ont., Can.; d. George P. and Francis Minerva (Tripp) Way; student Detroit Training School of English Literature; Michigan State Normal: English Literature, public speaking, and dramatic art. Past President Chaffee Noble School of Expression Alumni; chairman Drama Division Detroit Federation Women’s Clubs; past trustee Detroit Civic Theatre; chairman of Drama, Michigan State Federation Women’s Clubs; dramatic director of Will-O-Way Players; chairman of Drama Michigan Methodists. Member: Detroit New Century; Detroit Theatre Arts; Auxiliary of Wayne County Medical Society; Auxiliary Salvation Army; Detroit Fine Arts Society; Detroit Parliamentary Law Club; Young Women’s Christian Association; Alumni Chaffee Noble School of Expression; honorary member of the speech sorority Omega Upsilon. Organized the drama division in both Detroit and Michigan Federations. Active in community work through the drama, giving programs for welfare funds, and using drama educationally in community centers for drives, etc. Worked to bring the drama back to the churches, giving many plays and pageants which have proved educational and artistic. Recording secretary, second vice-president, first vice-president and president 1951-53 Michigan State Federation of Women’s Clubs.

Mills, Florence

Mills, Florence Gertrude Balch (Mrs. Alfred J.) b. Nov. 28, 1851, Barry County, Michigan. Parents were Luther and Sarah Balch, farmers. Received elementary education in Kalamazoo, graduated at age of 16, began teaching the following fall in Kalamazoo. Married June 30, 1874, to Alfred James Mills, Circuit Judge of Van Buren County. Lived in Paw Paw, Michigan. In 1885, moved to Kalamazoo, Judge Alfred J. Mills served Kalamazoo County as Circuit Judge. Were 3 daughters, Gertrude, Mabel and Helen and one son, James. She was a founder of Civic League; a member 50 years of Ladies’ Library Association, Kalamazoo, the oldest Federated club in Michigan, serving as its president twice; was one of leaders in founding Kalamazoo County Federation; helped organize the League of Women Voters; with Dr. Caroline Bartlett Crane and others organized “The Women’s Civic Improvement League” of Kalamazoo; was 10th president of Michigan State Federation of Women’s Clubs, 1908-1910. Was member of Kalamazoo Board of Education for 12 years, its president in 1934; member’ National Anti-Tuberculosis Executive Committee; member of War Mothers. She was affiliated with Unitarian Church, renamed The People’s Church after Dr. Caro-line Bartlett Crane became its minister. Mrs. Mills died in Kalamazoo, at age of 84. Her life was dedicated to the service of others and her greatest satisfaction in life was in that service.

Palmer, Anna Alexander

Palmer, Anna Alexander (Mrs. Smith) was born in Oakland County, Michigan. Spent much of her childhood in Wisconsin, going to Saginaw, Michigan, when about 17 years old; taught in local schools, later a principal in Bay City schools. Married Smith Palmer, banker, of Saginaw, May 11, 1881. Was charter member and second president of the Saginaw Reading Club; the 4th president of Michigan State Federation of Women’s Clubs, 1898. Member Saginaw Board of Education, 1904, first woman member of the West Side Schools; was appointed by Governor Ferris to Board of Guardians of Girls’ Industrial School at Adrian. She died July 28, 1921, at the age of 79.

Perry, Belle McArthur

Perry, Belle McArthur (Mrs. George) b. on farm in Brookfield, Eaton Co., Michigan. Graduate Charlotte High School after attending district school. Teacher at 15 yrs. Perrys purchased Charlotte Tribune. Made it a model newspaper, Mrs. Perry editing special department called “Good Cheer.” Was first president of Michigan Women’s Press Association. Mrs. Perry founded and edited the Interchange, organ of Women’s Press Association, later emerging as the Federation organ, the Bulletin. Wrote the “Life of Mrs. Lucinda Hinsdale Stone,” called the “Mother of Michigan Women’s Clubs.” President of State Women’s Christian Temperance Union; president of State Equal Sufferage Society. Other offices were, president Charlotte Woman’s Club; of Century Club; organized and first president of Woman’s Council at county fairs, directed the Home Gardening club, work for school children. She moved to Los Angeles, California, living with daughter, Georgia, until her death August, 1925. Her aim and achievements through the years were “growth for service—growth through service.”” Elected 7th president of Michigan Federation of Women’s Clubs 1901. Re-elected 1902. She represented the Charlotte Tribune Club at the organization of Michigan State Federation of Women’s Clubs in Lansing, 1895.

Prout, Mabel Severin Olsen

Prout, Mabel Severin Olsen (Mrs. Robert Ira Cole), b. Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Graduate Superior Normal School, Superior, Wisconsin. Teaching and church work occupied earlier life of Mabel Prout. Taught in public school Eau Claire and religious education in summer session in Ripon College, Ripon, Wis. After marriage to Dr. R. I. C. Prout, moved to Wakefield, Michigan. Following his death, 1939, has lived in Minneapolis, Minn. Started in club work as Junior in Eau Claire, Wis., 1909; first office, president Woman’s Club, Wakefield, 1920-22; president of Upper Peninsula District, Michigan State Federation, 1927-29, having served in all elective offices in district. Rose through ranks of State Federation to president Michigan Federation, 1931-33; director from Michigan of General Federation, 1933-35; state co-chairman, General Federation First Triennial Convention, Detroit, 1935. Services in General Federation of Women’s Clubs include: 1941-44, chairman of Nutrition War Service Department; 1944-47, chairman of Finance; 1947-50, chairman of Budget; 1950-52, treasurer; 1952, Elected second vice-president to serve to 1954. In 1935 she collected and compiled recipes for a cookbook—“A Cook’s Tour’’—of 218 recipes from 83 clubs in 24 countries. Her hobbies are cooking, music, and reading.

Russell, Helen Cary

Russell, Helen Cary (Mrs. Dorian M.), b. Aug. 6, 1874, Wayne Co., N.Y. M. Dorian M. Russell, May 19, 1902 in New Orleans where she was employed as expert court stenographer. Moved to Grand Rapids, Mich., 1907; president Ladies’ Literary Club, 1921; later president Grand Rapids Federation of Women’s Clubs. First State Federation job was chairman Civil Service Reform of which she said “Most important and least interesting of committees.” Recording secretary State Federation, 1918; vice-president, 1920-22; president, 1922-24; director for Michigan General Federation of Women’s Clubs, 1924-26. Editor Michigan Federation Forum, 6 years. – Appointed Michigan State Welfare Commission by Gov. Brucker; member Michigan State Board for Libraries, 1934-41, appointed by Gov. Fitzgerald; Member Grand Rapids Board of Education, 6 years, retiring 1942. Member D. A. Blodgett Home for Children Committee; past vice-president Child Labor Association of Grand Rapids; member Evangeline Board of Grand Rapids; secretary War Savings Stamp Committee for Grand Rapids District; member Grand Rapids first tax—advising committee. Member Park Congregational Church. Two sons, Orlando and Joseph A. Died Oct. 25, 1946.

Seeber, Estelle Hanchette

Seeber, Estelle Hanchette (Mrs. Rex Robert) b. Hancock, Michigan. Elementary education in Hancock Public Schools. Attended Liggett School, Detroit; Vassar College, Poughkeepsie and Columbia University, from which she received Degree of Bachelor of Science. Taught, 1914-18; an institutional manager, 1921-27; since, a housewife and clubwoman. Official positions: president, Houghton Civic Club, 1935-37; from 1936, served Michigan State Federation of Women’s Clubs as recording secretary, 2nd vice-president, 1st vice-president and in 1943 became -president for two terms. In the General Federation, she was Michigan Director for one term, 1944-45; chairman of Credentials, 1945-47, and co-chairman Consumer Relations, 1947-1949. The outstanding event in her administration was to be the Golden Jubilee, celebrated in 1945, the 50th birthday of Michigan Federation. By order from Office of Defense Transportation came the regulation “No Conventions,” the plans for the annual meeting in 1945 and program for the Golden Jubilee were cancelled.

Sickles, Mabel L. Townsend

Sickles, Mabel L. Townsend (Mrs. John Edward) was the 26th president of the Michigan State Federation. B. July 25, 1883, in Grand Blanc, Michigan, daughter of George F. and Helen L. Townsend, pioneer farmers of Genesee County. There were 9 children, 8 girls and 1 boy; Mabel was the 6th daughter. Known in Genesee, Oakland and Lapeer Counties as the Townsend Teachers. Mabel educated in Grand Blanc High School and Ferris Institute, studied voice in Flint, m. John Edward Sickles also a musician, June 21, 1905. Their one daughter is an accomplished musician. President Flint Sorosis Club, president Genesee County Federation Women’s Clubs; chairman Literature, East Central District State Federation; Honorary member Flint Sorosis and Columbian Club of Flint. Worthy Matron Flint Chapter Order Eastern Star; president Genesee County Association Order Eastern Star. 1935 appointed second vice president State Federation; elected first vice president 1937; president Michigan State Federation 1939-41. General Federation Director for Michigan 1941-1942; president of Council of Presidents, General Federation 1940. Chairman Committee to place State and Foreign Flags used at Golden Jubilee Convention General Federation at Atlantic City. Hon. L. D. Dickinson, Governor of Michigan, appointed Mrs. Sickles only woman representative on the Michigan National Defense Council, World War II; appointed member of National Advisory Commission on Woman’s Participation for the State of Michigan by Grover A. Whalen, president New York World’s Fair 1939, member advisory Commission of Michigan School for the Deaf; guest speaker Michigan State Fair 1940. Honorary vice president of the Woman’s Guild of the First Presbyterian Church, Flint.

Smith, Frances Wheeler

Smith, Frances Wheeler (Mrs. Clement), daughter early settlers Milo Wheeler and Amanda Haight Wheeler, b. Woodland Twsp., Barry County, April 3, 1850. Taught in country schools at age of 15. M. Clement Smith, Circuit-Judge Barry and Eaton Co.; director Michigan State Federation Women’s Clubs 1900; treasurer, 1902-04; vice president 1904-06; state president, 1906-1908. Nov. 1893 organized Hastings Woman’s Club. Responsible for first lecture course in Hastings, and for organization of anti-tuberculosis society. Mrs. Hannah Barlow, first president of Hastings Woman’s Club 1893-95, followed by Mrs. Smith. Died Hastings April 10, 1922.

Sweetnam, Euretta Coleman Banister

Sweetnam, Euretta Coleman Banister (Mrs. John L.) b. July 24, 1878, Woodbridge, New Jersey; daughter of Coleman Banister, Bishop of Episcopal Church and Louisa C. Webb. Married Dr. John L. Sweetnam, Manistee, Michigan, June 19, 1914. Education: Elementary Episcopal School, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.; Keble School for Girls, Syracuse, N.Y.; Syracuse University, N.Y.; Northwestern University, Chicago, Ill. Occupation: Apprentice teacher, Fort Wayne, Ind.; teacher Grand Rapids, Mich.; principal in city schools, Grand Rapids, Mich.; Supervisor Bureau Social Aid, Manistee Co. Activities: president, Michigan State Teachers’ Association; president, Manistee Lakeside Club; Manistee County Federation of Women’s Clubs; Northwest-ern District Michigan State Federation, vice-president, 1939-41, and president Michigan State Federation of Women’s Clubs, 1941-43. Michigan director to General Federation of Women’s Clubs, 1943-1944; Member, Michigan State Welfare Department; Regent of Daughters of American Revolution, Manistee Chapter; member, Board of Education, Manistee; hostess, Governor’s Convention, Mackinaw Island, 1937, appointed by Gov. William Comstock; Michigan representative to International Congress of Women, Chicago, appointee of governor; president, Civic Betterment Committee, Manistee, which won first honors in state in two nation-wide contests. Was instrumental in restoring Ramsdell Theatre, Manistee. Episcopalian. Two sons, George B., and David Webb. Died March 5, 1953.

Thompson, Mary E. Green

Thompson, Mary E. Green (Mrs. Charles L.) was born in Darlington, Wisconsin, Nov. 12, 1863. After completing education, taught first in Wisconsin, coming to Muskegon in 1889 as principal of the old Union School, later replaced by the Hackley School. She was married to Dr. Charles Ly-man Thompson, a pioneer Muskegon physician, on October 15, 1892. She took an active interest in various Muskegon and Michigan organizations, After death of Dr. Thompson in 1912, her interest in human welfare and her practical efficiency created a demand for her service in organized activities. Outstanding was her keen interest in the Woman’s Club, having served as delegate to organizational meeting of Michigan State Federation at Lansing in 1895. She served Michigan State Federation of Women’s Club as corresponding secretary, treasurer, finance chairman, chairman of the legislative committee, chairman of many departments, second vice-president, first vice-president and became state president in October, 1930. Was re-elected in October, 1931, but passed from life Nov. 15 following. She was the first active president to pass from life since the organization of the Federation in 1895.

Mrs. Thompson was president of Muskegon Nurses’ Association for 15 years. Was an early leader in the local Young Women’s Christian Association, serving as a trustee and member of Board of Directors. Was secretary of Muskegon Social Service Agencies. Since 1926, when chairman of Legislative committee of the State Federation and leader of a movement for approval of $200,000 appropriation by State Legislature for completion of the Women’s Training School at Okemos, she was recognized as a political leader by state Republican leaders. Because of long-time interest in all child welfare movements, Governor Brucker named her a member of the Advisory Council of State Conference on Child Health and Protection. She was the 2lst president of Michigan State Federation of Women’s Clubs. There was one son, Lyman.

Warner, Ora G.

Warner , Ora G. (Mrs. Earl), b. Charlotte, Michigan. Eldest of five children. Moved to Elmira at age of 16. Taught District School 1 year; Elmira Primary 3 years; second grade Gaylord 2 years. Educated Ferris Institute, Michigan State Normal, graduate courses at Wayne University. M. Maurice Keyworth 1907, lived LeRoy, Michigan 2 years, teaching 1 year. Moved to Lake City—taught 7th grade 314 years. President Lake City Woman’s Club; moved to Gaylord 1914; organized Camp Fire Girls group; president Gay-lord Study Club. Concentrated on War Work 1916-18. Lived in East Jordan 1919-21. President of Woman’s Club and President Charlevoix County Federation. From East Jordan to Hastings president Woman’s Association of Presbyterian Church. Moved to Detroit 1923; president Clio Club. Organized Hamtramck Woman’s Club and Junior Club; chairman Americanization Detroit Federation 2 years; 1 year as recording secretary of Detroit Federation. President International Center Branch, Detroit Young Women’s Christian Association 9 years. Member Board of Young Women’s Christian Association Detroit 11 years. President P. E. O. Sisterhood Chapter M; recording secretary Michigan State Chapter P. E. O. 3 years. State Commander Woman’s Field Army for Cancer Control. Recording secretary, second vice-president, first vice-president, president 1937-39 Michigan State Federation of Women’s Clubs; Director General Federation 2 years. Chairman of Credentials General Federation 1932-35. President Upper Mississippi Region Conference 1939-41. Member Fort Pontchartrain Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution; Highland Park Woman’s Club; Mark Chapter Order Eastern Star; National League American Pen Women. Mr. Keyworth D. June 1935. M. Earl Warner 1938.

William, Lucy Hubbard White

William, Lucy Hubbard White (Mrs. William Brown), b. November 26, 1858, Lapeer, Michigan. Academic education at Lake Forest Academy, Illinois. Life spent in Lapeer, wife of Hon. William B. Williams, Circuit Judge of Lapeer and Tuscola Counties; were 5 children. Culture, with executive ability, contributed to many improvements of city. Organized: Lapeer Tuesday Club, president 12 yrs.; Civic Improvement Club, responsible for parks, flowers and general improvement of town; president, Michigan State Federation, 1910-12; Audubon Club; Shakespeare and Browning Club; treasurer, General Federation of Women’s Clubs, 1921-24. Delegate from Lapeer Tuesday Club to organization meeting of Michigan State Federation in Lansing, 1895. With aid of Congressman Louis C. Cram-ton, established Lapeer City Library. She was member Garden Club of Michigan; Regent Lapeer Chapter, Daughters of American Revolution; member, Colonial Dames of America. Died in Lapeer at age of 83.

Junior Member Biographies

Bush, Mary

Bush, Mary (Mrs. Richard G.) in 1946 helped organize the Royal Oak Junior Woman’s Club, her first club work. Served as first president, 1946-1948, then Ways and Means chairman one year; 1949-51 president Parent-Teachers Association Branch. Director on executive board of Royal Oak Junior Woman’s Club; Vice-president Junior Department Michigan State Federation of Women’s Clubs. As Junior chairman Michigan State Federation of Women’s Clubs, she attended two General Federation Conventions; two General Federation Board meetings; State and District meetings and visited and spoke before many Junior clubs in the State. She has two daughters, 11 and 7.

Cameron, Anna Marie

Cameron, Anna Marie (Mrs. James Potts), b. Lewiston, Idaho. Graduated Lewiston State Normal School. Came to Port Huron, Mich., Aug. 1924. Taught in Port Huron Public Schools, 1924-36. President Junior Ladies’ Library Association, Port Huron, 1932-34; secretary Junior Council, Michigan State Federation of Women’s Clubs, 1933-35; president Junior Council, Michigan State Federation of Women’s Clubs, 1935-37.

Damm, Irene M.

Damm, Irene M. (Mrs. Rolland) Secretary Muskegon Junior Club, 1935-36; president, 1938-41; program chairman Michigan State Junior Council, 1936; vice-president of Council, 1936-37; president, 1937-39; 1941 chosen to represent Michigan Juniors at General Federation Convention in Atlantic City, their 50th annual meeting. One evening devoted to Juniors who arranged a rolling chair parade, each state represented by their Queen. It was a thrilling experience. Recording Secretary Muskegon’s Senior Woman’s Club, 1942-44.

Harris, Helen B.

Harris, Helen B. July 27, 1917. Educated Public Schools, Blooming-ton, Ind.; A.B. Indiana State University, 1938. Graduate work, Indiana University, Michigan State, Wayne University, University of Michigan, 1939. Joined Muskegon Heights Junior Woman’s Club; 1941-42 chairman Ways and Means Board of Muskegon Heights Junior Club; 1942-43 2nd _ vice-president Muskegon Heights Juniors; 1943-44 1st vice-president; president 1944-46. 1947 elected Vice-Chairman Juniors, Michigan State Federation of Women’s Clubs; 1947 attended General Federation of Women’s Clubs convention as delegate; 1947-49 state chairman of Juniors, Michigan State Federation of Women’s Clubs; 1948 organized and federated Muskegon Heights Sub-juniors; 1949 attended General Federation of Women’s Clubs Convention, Hollywood, Fla., as Junior delegate; 1949-51 recording secretary Michigan State Federation of Women’s Clubs; 1951-53 chairman for “Build Freedom with Youth” contest. 1938-49 teacher of Latin and English, Muskegon Heights Junior High; 1949-51 Employment interviewer, Edison Co., Detroit; 1951 returned to Muskegon Heights as director of a newly established Department of Counseling and attendance. Member Muskegon Heights Recreation Commission, serving as recording secretary and currently as chairman of the Commission. Member Board of Directors of Muskegon area Child Guidance Clinic.

Pierce, Hazel

Pierce, Hazel joined the Highland Park teaching faculty in the fall of 1920. 1921-23 on staff of Highland Park Recreation Commission. 1923 secretary-treasurer Highland Park Junior Woman’s Club; first in Michigan (with exception of Muskegon’s Young Woman’s Guild); president, 1925-27. 1925-1930 nine Junior Clubs were organized in the Metropolitan area, patterned after the Highland Park group. 1926 advisor to the Federation group of juniors; 1928 Junior Council of the Highland Park area formed. Hazel was their third president; 1933-35 president Michigan State Junior Council, 71 clubs. Chairman of arrangements for Juniors General Federation of Women’s Clubs Triennial 1935. Served on Community Council Board of Highland Park, Board of Lucy Thurman Branch Young Women’s Christian Association. Original group now known as Alpha Chapter High-land Park Woman’s Club. President Highland Park region of the M.E.A. Treasurer and President P.E.O. Sisterhood, Chapter AR, active in A.A.U.W., Recording Secretary of her branch, Director Retired Teachers of Region 11 of Michigan; Director of Area C of Michigan Classroom Teachers’ Department, Chairman Program Committee Ubly Woman’s Club.

Robins, Justina Spottswood

Robins, Justina Spottswood (Mrs. Harry M.), b. Byron, Ill. Daughter Robert Spottswood and Frances Eleanor Ellis. Grandparents settled in Canada across from New York State; in time moved across to New York remaining only three months, in which time Justina’s father was born, an American citizen. Educated Rockford, Illinois High School and University of Michigan where she met and later married Harry M. Robins. In 1906 established their home in San Francisco and lived there during the great earthquake and fire. Returning to Michigan they lived in Grand Rapids for two years then came in 1913 to Detroit, their permanent residence. Justina joined Highland Park Woman’s Club; served in minor offices and on committees, then as president; president P.E.O. Sisterhood, Chapter N; president Detroit Garden Club 3 years. 1923 appointed Michigan’s first chairman Junior membership; in 1925 became Junior membership chairman, General Federation Women’s Clubs. Also in 1923 one of promoters and founders of Highland Park Young Women’s Christian Association; chairman building committee which acquired the lot and supervised plans for building corner Woodward and Winona Avenues. Mrs. Robins is a life member Highland Park (now Northern) Branch of Detroit Young Women’s Christian Association.

Wilson, Jeanette Wedekind

Wilson, Jeanette Wedekind (Mrs. E. K.), in 1927 joined Northwestern Junior Club (now Sigma Omicron Sorority) and in 1934 became its president. State president of Juniors, 1939-41. Joined Detroit New Century Club, 1942; state senior chairman of Juniors 1943-45. Due to the death of her husband, Joseph C. Wedekind, 1947, Jeanette gave up some of her club work and was employed 1947-50 as executive chairman, Patient Aid Commit-tee, American Cancer Society. Became chairman Dept. International Relations, Detroit Federation of Women’s Clubs, 1950-52, and 1951-53 was chair-man of Program, Detroit New Century Club. Member Metropolitan Board Y.W.C.A., 1939-43. During World War II, vice-chairman of radio for American Red Cross; member of Speakers’ Bureau since 1943.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Pin It on Pinterest

Scroll to Top