| Time and change will surely show
The History of the University Women’s Club
It’s a historical treasure. Our historical treasure. Founded in 1895, the University Women’s Club grew up alongside The Ohio State University and Columbus, Ohio itself. Starting with a few like-minded faculty wives, the UWC’s membership is now composed of scores of women of widely varying personalities, backgrounds, and achievements. One thing has held steady. Despite time and tide, generations of UWC members have been sustained by the UWC’s rich traditions. It began when the population of Columbus, Ohio numbered only a little over 100,000. Ohio State was just 25 years old, the student body numbering fewer than 800. In the late 19th century, the university area was mostly undeveloped, wooded and crisscrossed with ravines. Other than High Street, the sole paved road was 15th Avenue. Sixteenth Avenue was a lane, a lover’s walk through the trees. An orchard surrounded the president’s house on 11th Avenue. Opposite the campus from 15th to 11th Avenue, the only structure upon a long stretch of unoccupied land was a small brick schoolhouse of earlier years. College activities were nearly non-existent. The few fraternities occupied rented houses.
Into this environment came Flavia Canfield, for whom the midwestern university scene was deeply engrained, both as a student and a wife. At a time when few women aspired to post-secondary education, Canfield had entered the University of Wisconsin in 1863, the year the school opened its admissions to women. In 1873, she and James Canfield married. From 1877 until 1891, James taught history, language, literature, and political science at the University of Kansas and then served as chancellor of the University of Nebraska. When he was appointed the fourth president of Ohio State in 1895, Flavia and James, and their children James and Dorothy, moved east to Ohio.
In Columbus, the Canfields found themselves in a small but dynamic city. Growing by leaps and bounds after the Civil War, Columbus by the end of the 19th century was becoming a center of regional commerce and industry. But Ohio State, called The Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College when it was founded in 1870 and located three miles north of downtown, was still a small school when James and Flavia Canfield arrived.
James Canfield was determined to oversee Ohio State’s growth and prestige, and during his presidency, he expanded the breadth of the university’s programs and doubled its enrollment. Flavia Canfield was as active a groundbreaker as her husband. Committed to women’s rights, she believed that the best way to organize women was through the Women’s Club Movement, a phenomenon that was building steam throughout the country. She had been a leader in Nebraska’s Club Movement, and Canfield found Columbus to be still untapped, ripe for organizing. In whirlwind fashion, she organized no fewer than 26 women’s clubs in Columbus.
Jane Denney, a charter member of the University Women’s Club, recalled Canfield’s organizing efforts back in the late 1890s. “She drove an old black horse,” Denney said, “which from its patience and understanding I suspected of having given similar service in Nebraska. We would invade a neighborhood at two o’clock in the afternoon and by four o’clock, a new club would be launched with a name, a motto, a flower, and federation. Mrs. Canfield was keen for federation.”
Organizing women’s clubs was only one facet of Flavia Canfield’s commitment to the community. An artist and writer, Canfield was also a patron of the arts, serving as president of the Columbus Art Association from 1898-1900. Moreover, she published two novels, The Kidnapped Campers, and The Big Tent, and wrote and illustrated a children’s book, The Refugee Family. The literary value of these out-of-print works is unknown, but one must admire a woman of unique energy who accomplished so much at a time when the scope for a woman’s achievement was usually limited to her household.
Although her energy and organizing talents extended in many directions, we remember Flavia Canfield primarily for giving life to the University Women’s Club. She began with the wives of the all-male faculty, organizing a charter membership of sixty known as “The Women’s Faculty Club.”
It was a sensation. Meetings were held in homes. Gathering places for students on or near the campus were just about non-existent, so Canfield arranged a series of UWC receptions for them. Away from the “refining influences of home life,” she knew that young people often neglect the cultivation of social graces, and so UWC members stepped up, entertaining the entire student body. Lemonade was drunk by the barrel.
In 1896, the minutes note that, “At the next meeting, Mrs. Kellicott is asked to read her Great-grandmother’s receipt for crullers.” Yet in the early years of the UWC, such domestic interests were heavily leavened with a push for women’s rights, and with a general sense of progressivism. Flavia Canfield believed that by offering women cultural and intellectual pursuits, they would be inspired to advocate for their own advancement, and for the betterment of the community as a whole. For instance, in 1896, UWC officers signed a petition against expectorating in Columbus’s street cars. The “Expectoration Committee” took their concerns to Ohio’s Board of Health, which endorsed the measure, ultimately leading to the prohibition of the “injurious” habit.
The first printed programs appeared in the 1897-98 year, when annual dues were fifty cents. That year, a quotation from The Tempest on the program cover marked what has become the UWC motto: “Here’s my hand. . .and mine, with my heart in’t.” The programs of 1897-98 reflected Flavia Canfield’s dedication to equality and her interest in women’s place in society.
These included a talk on “The Legal and Political Status of Women,” presented, according to charter member Jane Denney with “wit, sarcasm, and keen logic,” by Eugenia Gordy, whose husband taught philosophy at Ohio State. In 1897, the UWC recorded a favorable stand for women suffrage, and over the years, many members gave their staunch support to the battle, which ultimately concluded in 1920 with the adoption of the Nineteenth Amendment.
While voting rights for women may have seemed unattainable to some in the early years, the reality of domesticity confronted all of the UWC’s members. So a discussion about housework as an academic pursuit surely raised some eyebrows. Creating a School of Domestic Science at The Ohio State University was a novel concept, one incidentally frowned upon by many male faculty members. But James Canfield wanted to add Domestic Science to the curriculum, and may have had a part in inviting Perla Bowman, the first director of Ohio State’s School of Domestic Science, to speak to the University Women’s Club.
Meanwhile, the university was seeing an upswing in female students, and the UWC donated to those students who participated in social service programs at the Godman Guild. In 1900, just after Flavia and James Canfield had departed Columbus for Columbia University in New York, the UWC supported a school board member who, after winning the seat, introduced public school lunches in Columbus.
1900s and 1910s
Mrs. William Oxley Thompson, whose given name was Estelle, served as president of the UWC for nine years: from 1900-1902; from 1904-1905; from 1915-16, and again in 1919.
The William Oxley Thompson Library on campus honors her husband, who was Ohio State’s fifth president. Many long-lasting traditions got their start under Mrs. Thompson’s purview. For instance, in 1901, the UWC’s schedule for the next one hundred-plus years was set, meeting once a month on first Mondays, from October through May. Each member entertained a group of ten women students in her home sometime during the year.
By 1902-03, election of officers for the upcoming year was held in March. About 50 members were attending the monthly meetings, still held in members’ homes. Programs most often consisted of music. In April of 1903, typhoid and other infectious diseases were prevalent in Columbus. Surplus funds were set aside for isolation rooms at Protestant Hospital.
Service initiatives continued. In 1904, when meetings began to be held in Townshend Hall, the UWC endorsed a movement to preserve the “Big Trees” in California. In 1906, the UWC’s name was changed to “The Women’s Club of Ohio State University.” In 1911, a UWC committee of three who were college graduates, along with teaching members of Ohio State faculty, sought to establish the post of Dean of Women, so that a chapter of the American Association of University Women could be introduced in Columbus.
Jane Denney was UWC’s second president in 1897; she served again in that role in 1912. In a thoughtful reminiscence of the UWC written in 1920, Denney noted the importance of having a Dean of Women, stating that it “insured expert attention to the welfare of university women, including their social welfare. A woman of intellectual attainment and social grace can do much to establish scholastic and social standing. A women’s building where the women’s activities are centered will greatly facilitate the work of the Dean and will render possible a more intimate influence upon young women from the standpoint of social training.”
The UWC’s executive committee voted 1911 that active members would become “honorary members” when their husbands retired or died. At the time, divorce was apparently not common enough to merit discussion as to how it might affect a member’s standing.
In 1913, reeling from the catastrophic Franklinton Flood in which 90 people lost their lives, the UWC donated for flood relief. The same year, the UWC donated $50 to a student, enabling her to complete her degree. In 1914, the “Study Branch of the Women’s Club” continued to confine its interest to music. The Music Group became the first of dozens of interest groups to arise through the decades, and continued with a strong membership as the UWC approached the third decade of the 21st century.
In 1915, new members to the UWC were greeted in receiving lines at fall teas, the “Newcomer’s Reception” that would continue under the auspices of the University Women’s Club until 1960. New brides were asked to wear their wedding dresses.
During the last two years of World War I, UWC members swore off refreshments, using that budget to purchase yarn for the country’s soldiers fighting overseas. Working with the local Red Cross unit, the entire membership sewed, made surgical dressings, and knit socks and scarves for servicemen. Newcomers knit afghans and garments, which were sent to France. The UWC also sponsored a French orphan, Adrienne Bro. Closer to home, the UWC’s war bonds were donated to Zonta Club of Columbus for an international house for women students. The UWC also offered gifts and financial support that year to Franklin County Children’s Home, which continued over the years.
By 1917, the UWC’s name was changed to its current one, The University Women’s Club. That year, 217 members were recorded. In 1918-19, the UWC held only six meetings as a result of the influenza pandemic that killed 50 million people across the globe. Columbus was not spared.
In 1920, the UWC ended its association with the Ohio Federation of Women’s Clubs. Fall teas expanded to evening refreshments with husbands included. The Art Group formed, the Literature interest group organized, and another group arose, known as “Home Problems,” later to be called “Social Services.” This group made garments for students and donated money to nurses’ organizations for Christmas presents for charity patients. A basement room in University Hall became headquarters for the group to “renew” clothing, shoes, and books for students. Surplus items were either sent abroad to German and Italian families or sold at rummage sales by, in Jane Denney’s phrase, “civic-minded negro women,” who then donated the funds to needy students. Sales of lost and found items generated cash to purchase War Bonds. The UWC also donated furniture to the Alumni House, sewed doctors’ caps and surgical masks, and saved magazines for University hospital wards.
In 1921, postcards were mailed to members each month providing a schedule of meetings, programs, and hostesses. The next year, seeking to accommodate teachers and day workers who were otherwise eligible for membership, a new evening group called “Faculty Women’s Club” was formed. In 1923, the UWC donated $50 toward the construction of Browning Amphitheater. In 1925, the Drama group organized, and members read a spectrum of plays, from ancient Greek to modern drama. A poetry group also formed that year. The UWC honored Mrs. William Oxley Thompson upon the retirement of her husband as Ohio State’s president. And at the end of 1925, the UWC hosted an elaborate Christmas party for the children of faculty members.
Teaching members to swim was the goal of the Physical Education Group, established in 1926. That year at a Faculty Club Tea, the UWC honored Mrs. George W. Rightmire, wife of the university’s new president. That year, the UWC helped refurbish South Hall for nursing students, with proceeds from bridge parties and the donated labor of members.
By 1927, dues were raised to $2.00. The next year, the Home Economics Group gave members insights into the challenges of homemaking. The Social Service Group sent twelve complete layettes to assist Puerto Rican hurricane victims. In 1929, the UWC hosted a reception for the wife of Ohio’s governor. The “Faculty Women’s Club,” established seven years earlier, withdrew from the UWC and established its own identity as an independent organization.
Nineteen twenty-eight saw the formation of the Swimming Group. That year, the Social Service Group recorded a profit of $107.99 from the sale of Christmas candy. The group sewed garments for needy patients at University Hospital.
In 1929, eight hundred attended the Newcomer’s Reception. The UWC also gave a reception for the wife of Ohio’s new governor, Mrs. Myers Y. Cooper. Three hundred members attended. The Faculty Club charged $6.00 for the use of the Grand Lounge. The UWC initiated a yearly calendar and post card to each member, the Home Economics Group entertained husbands at a dinner meeting, and the Physical Education group announced that “difficulty with cold water in the pool had been overcome,” and that horseback riding had been added to its programs.
Later that year, the Newcomers Group entertained the UWC with a play later presented on WOSU radio. The Dames presented a Style Show for the Newcomers Group, the Drama Group listed 48 members, and the UWC cooperated with the Women’s Self-Governing Association in a critical inspection of women’s rest rooms on campus. The result was an improvement in upkeep and equipment. The UWC also presented vocational interviews for students who were interested in occupations other than teaching. Topics discussed were “Part-time Jobs,” “The Two-Job Woman,” and “Women in the Modern World.”
In late 1930, the UWC’s 35th anniversary, membership numbered 459, with 25 honorary members. The Christmas Party was limited to children under ten years, an indication of the increase in the number of faculty members at Ohio State. Also in 1930, UWC founder Flavia Canfield died in New York.
Early in 1931, the Constitution was amended to extend honorary membership to those whose husbands had retired but claimed no pension. The Easter Egg Roll was held in Pomerene Hall because of inclement weather. The Philanthropic Committee established a fund to lend or give financial support to needy women students. And within the Art Group, the Craft Group studied block printing, doll-making, and tie-dying, while a rug-making group was also active.
In the fall of 1931, unmarried men were invited to the Newcomer’s Reception and to the UWC’s Social Affairs. Pride and Prejudice was performed by the Drama Group at Campbell Hall. In early 1932, the Music Group sponsored the Spring Concert of the University Symphony Orchestra after a plea by Professor Weigel to gain recognition for the orchestra on campus and in the city. Every member of the Music Group placed twenty personal invitations. Their efforts paid off: the Armory was packed for the event, and three hundred people were turned away.
The Social Service Group that spring completed sixty-eight garments for students and children under treatment at the new University Hospital. And the “Child Development” Group came about to allow members to focus on child-rearing and family relations.
1932 saw the distribution of two thousand invitations by the Music Group, which sponsored the annual concert of the Ohio State Symphony Orchestra. Three thousand attended. The Music Group also established a costume wardrobe that year, intended to be a permanent holding of the Music and Drama groups.
In 1934, Evening Drama was established for members with small children at home. Both Drama groups participated in programs. Nobel Prize in Literature winners were the subject for discussion in the Literature Group.
Seventy-two newcomers joined the UWC in 1935, a year in which 74 women were members of the Music Group. The Craft Group (a spin-off of Art) hooked rugs, made lamp shades, fabricated with metal, and needlepointed. With 44 members, the Physical Education Group started a golf program. Late that year, the Child Development Group presented a panel discussion entitled, “The Constructive Use of Radio” to the Indianola School PTA.
In 1936, Toymakers made its debut, an offshoot of the Social Service Group, offering toys to children in hospital wards.
In the spring of 1939, five hundred attended a reception honoring Ohio’s new governor’s wife, Mrs. John W. Bricker. In April of that year, the UWC honored the new president’s wife, Alma Bevis, at a tea attended by over four hundred. The UWC stressed friendship with community members who were invited to the proceedings as guests. All Lost and Found articles not claimed within a year’s time were donated to the UWC by the University Administrative Council. The Music Group purchased for its library 109 copies of music, which made a total of 246 pieces representing 79 composers.
The Newcomer’s Reception of 1940 consisted of a Sunday afternoon tea instead of the usual evening reception, because funds were unavailable that year for a more elaborate event. Each Newcomer was escorted by a member. The Music Group program was broadcast over WOSU radio.
In 1941, 525 women were UWC members. That year, the Social Service Group helped a blind student and her seeing-eye dog.
In 1942, the Physical Education Group disbands. Home Economics and Crafts merge to form the Home Craft Group. The Ohio State University Auxiliary arm of the Red Cross was established to help with the war effort: a production center in Pomerene Hall was set up, staffed five days a week with members who sewed and knit. The UWC also supplied junior and senior women to serve on the USO on campus. Members donated blood and taught first aid classes. One-hundred dollar scholarships were established for refugee women students. One-hundred dollar scholarships were also initiated for American women students.
Between 1895 and 1943, the UWC changed its constitution and by-laws 21 times.
In 1944, Toymakers stuffed 140 toys for University hospital patients, and fifty toys were sent to Bundles for Britain Association. A six-month subscription for The Columbus Dispatch was sent to the Columbus State Hospital. The social hour of the May meeting honored Mrs. Frank J. Lausche, wife of Ohio’s new governor.
In 1945, the UWC consisted of 462 members and 91 honorary members. Interest groups numbered 11. That year, the Social Service Group made 140 doctor’s caps, 44 nightgowns, 65 diapers, 16 pairs of pajamas, 14 baby bibs, 14 bed jackets, 14 dresses, six boys’ suits, and two boys’ shirts. Also in 1945, the UWC ended the practice of announcing the obituaries of newly deceased members at its meetings, instead recording this information in the Book of Remembrance.
Three hundred dollars in War Bonds were set aside in 1946 for donation to a hoped-for International House for Women. That year, UWC programs included a Town Meeting on the subject, “What Can We Expect of the Moscow Conference?” and a discussion about the topic, “Atomic Energy and its Influence on the Citizens of Tomorrow.” Three-hundred and sixty Newcomers were listed.
In 1947, the Social Service Group bought a Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary for the Scholarship Alumnae House.
Dues were raised to $2.00 per year in 1947, and $3.00 in 1948. In 1949, dues were lowered to $2.50 per year, with Newcomers charged $1.25 for their first year in the UWC.
In 1950, the first Bridge group was organized. That year, Toymakers placed a cart in Children’s Hospital and kept it supplied with books and toys. The Literature Group took a membership in Ohioana. Among many new members in 1950, Kay Bremner held a PhD herself but met the membership requirement of having a faculty husband, Robert Bremner, a historian of American philanthropy. As of 2018, Kay is still a member. She joined the University Women’s Club the same year she was married. “In 1950,” she said, “the faculty in your husband’s department comprised a ready-made social group. It was simply understood that faculty wives and husbands would entertain other faculty couples in their homes. And they often went out together, too, in large groups or in chummy foursomes.”
For instance, Ruth and Charles Morley were automatically connected to the Bremners by virtue of Charles’s faculty job in History. His focus was Eastern Europe. Life experiences drew the two couples closer; Ruth Morley was also a member of the UWC. “When Ruth Morley and I were well into our pregnancies,” Kay said, “I remember all of us going out to Brown Fruit Farm. It used to be out there on Route 23, north of Worthington. Anyway, Ruth and I thought nothing of climbing way up on ladders to pick cherries, even though she was about ready to have her son Hal and I was just about due with our daughter Anne.”
“We all wore white gloves when we went out,” Kay said. “And we carpooled to UWC social events, too, because not everybody had a car. One time, Thelma Grimm was driving.” Thelma’s husband Harold was also a historian at Ohio State, specializing in the Reformation. “Well, on our way, the car broke down. And so Thelma took off her white gloves, and she opened the hood and she tinkered with something or other, and she got the car going again. And then she put her gloves back on.”
In 1952, Toymakers held a special party at the Juvenile Center, offering wrapped gifts for 90 children. In 1954, the UWC’s membership totaled 676. While in past years, Newcomers were paid house calls, this year, telephoning a welcome became standard for the UWC. Dues were raised to $3.00 this year. With an awareness of the growing international nature of Ohio State University, the Cosmopolitan Club was organized in 1954.
Honorary memberships were suspended in 1955, owing to prohibitive cost. A policy of active memberships only was initiated.
In 1956, Marjorie K. Fawcett succeeded Alma Bevis as honorary president of the UWC. University Trustees assist with the cost of the annual Newcomers Reception.
In 1957, The Nina Weigel Memorial Fund was established by the Music Group to provide scholarship funds each year to a woman music major. The Cosmopolitan Group entertained foreign educators in their homes this year. The Recreation Group formed, supplanting the physical Education Group. Recreation offered swimming, bowling, golf, and tennis.
Juanita Harrison joined the UWC in 1957. Her experience reflects the degree to which the UWC and the larger university were entwined. She recalled that her husband Rodney’s department held classes for the wives on ‘how to entertain.’” She explained, “One of the tips we got was, never entertain until after dark so your guests can’t see the dust. But the classes were more about being open, being welcoming. The number one rule was, ‘Do Not Be Afraid to Entertain!’”
The Newcomer Reception given every fall continued to expand. In 1958, 2590 invitations were sent to faculty with an additional 125 special invitations to Trustees and other notables. Evening Bridge Group organized that year.
In 1960, President Novice Fawcett came to the rescue of the UWC by taking over the tradition of sponsoring the fall Newcomer Receptions, which had grown beyond all expectation.
In 1964-65, UWC membership was counted as 796. A University Needs Committee was established. The first three projects were a used clothing exchange for international students, a drive for tickets (theater and concert) for international students, and an emergency fund for international students temporarily without funds. Ideas under consideration were a thrift shop and a loan and scholarship fund.
The UWC purchased a silver service for the Faculty Club in 1965. Items donated include two three-gallon punch bowls with trays, one eight-gallon coffee urn with heater, two nine-cup tea pots, twenty dozen teaspoons, twenty dozen salad forks, and twelve oyster forks for serving.
That year, the Creative Arts Group and Current Issues Group organized, and Evening Gourmet held its first meeting. Parking permits were issued to members on meeting days. A Personal Aid Committee was formed.
In the 1960s, UWC member Marie Batley worked for years at Buckeye Bargains, and she also helped out in the Hospitality Committee, “driving the wives and children of the foreign students around,” she said. In 2018, “foreign” students are “international,” a semantic shift that serves the goal of inclusivity. Such students are now as likely to be female as male. In any case, the role of chauffeuring them around campus or to and from the airport seems to have disappeared with time. But in the 1960s, Marie Batley did just that, and fairly frequently,
On October 17, 1966, Buckeye Bargains, a campus thrift shop staffed by volunteers from the UWC, opened its doors at what had been a veterinary surgery building at 14th Street and Neil Avenue, an equine building with a two-story front door to accommodate the horses in previous years.
In 1967, membership was 892. UWC members and their husbands sponsored a series of events to aid in communication between students and faculty. Faculty couples were paired with dormitory floors.
Longtime member Marianne Naber explained that the May luncheons have always been the longest and most important of the year, because new officers are installed and retiring officers are thanked. Through the last century, May meetings have been at venues large enough to accommodate the group, which in the late 1960s and beginning of the 1970s had reached the high water mark of over 900 members; sites have included the Clintonville Women’s Club, the Fawcett Center for Tomorrow, the Ohio Union, and downtown restaurants such as the Hyatt and the Confluence Park.
A survey taken in 1967 listed 19 interest groups with 441 UWC members participating in one or more group. Ninety-one members were active in two interest groups; twenty-two in three groups; three in four groups; one in five groups; and one in six groups.
In 1968, paid membership numbered 916. From its initial two-year operation, Buckeye Bargains grossed $7,233.62. A sum of $6,000 was contributed to the Scholarship and Loan Funds with over 125 students receiving assistance. Buckeye Bargains was made a standing committee. The Sponsorship Program to welcome newcomers began with an open house in October and continued through the year as new arrivals joined the UWC.
With a membership of 317, the Newcomers’ Group published its own newsletter, Newcomers’ Notes. The Clothing Exchange was dropped, as Buckeye Bargains was filling the needs of international students. Afternoon Gourmet Group was developed, an offshoot of Evening Gourmet.
The following year, Buckeye Bargains recorded sales of $4,240. Proceeds went to scholarships and the University Women’s Club Emergency Loan Fund. Dues were raised to $5.00 in 1969, and Afternoon Antiques and Gardening Group were formed. Also in 1969, a volunteer referral agency run by the UWC evolved into the city-based Volunteer Action Center, which went on to become a United Way Agency, known as CALL/VAC
In 1970, the UWC’s membership numbered 970 (the high mark as of this writing, in 2018). Dues were raised to $5.00. While the university celebrated its centennial, UWC observed its 75th anniversary. The UWC opened an office in the Fawcett Center; work there included the coordination of a language bank, and the maintenance of a file dedicated to rental housing information. That year, the Creative Arts Group disbanded, leaving a total of 20 interest groups. UWC members produced The Centennial Cookbook, netting a profit of $5,212.68 on the sale of 2,985 copies. The UWC added Evening Antiques to its roster of interest groups, and Bridge and Dinner Group organized, inviting husbands into the bridge scene. Eileen Heckert, Broadway star and Ohio State alumna, was the speaker for the November luncheon meeting. In conjunction with the May luncheon, an art and craft sale raised $363.33 for the Student Scholarship and Loan Fund.
The Current Interest Group disbanded in 1971. The theme for the October Open House was “Centennial Gardens.” The Art Group presented an etching once owned by Professor Ralph Fanning to the UWC. The Music Group organized a bake sale to add to the principal of the Nina Weigel Memorial Scholarship Fund. The Sponsorship Committee reported that 113 sponsors contacted 383 newcomers, 71 of whom joined the UWC. The Newcomers’ Group became the Newcomers’ Division. The UWC acquired a dishwasher and two coffee makers for the Main Library Browsing Room, sharing half of the cost with the library.
In 1971, Libby Herson was the UWC’s president. Her key accomplishment was negotiating with Ohio State President Novice Fawcett and his wife, Marjorie Fawcett, for a better environment for Buckeye Bargains. “And that’s when Buckeye Bargains finally moved from the equine building with the two-story front door to another space, near where we are now,” she recalled. The May, 1972 luncheon honored Mrs. Marjorie Fawcett.
In the fall of 1972, executive officers became known as the Executive Committee. Two new interest groups were approved: Duplicate Bridge and Foreign Languages. The Book of Remembrance was brought up to date. In March of 1973, the Art Group arranged an art show to accompany the program featuring the sculptor Ann Entis. In May of 1973, finances dictated the closing of the UWC office in Fawcett Center for Tomorrow. That month, members visited Kingwood Gardens in Mansfield and toured the branch campus as guest of the Mansfield Branch Women’s Club.
UWC member Marcy Woelfel recalled the emphasis on reaching out to international faculty members and their families. “Getting to Know You” was the unspoken motto of the International Wives Club, she said. “Helping the wives acclimate to life in Columbus was the main thing,” she said. “We arranged for them to take English classes, we cooked and shopped with them, we set up craft courses for them. The Red Cross offered parenthood classes. But the wives could join the International Wives Club only after their husbands gave their consent! It was another time, don’t forget.”
During the 1973-74 year, calendar information was each month was included in the monthly newsletter rather than being sent separately every three months. Luncheon at the Faculty Club prior to meetings was inaugurated. The Office of Third Vice President was instituted to coordinate all interest groups and to act as liaison between the groups and the Executive Committee. Evening Toymakers elected to join its afternoon counterpart. The Welcoming Committee assumed the function previously handled by the Newcomers’ Division of the UWC. Newcomers and Interest Groups transferred into the body of the main group. The Community and Student Services Committee assisted in the parent orientation program throughout the summer quarter.
For the first time, the red seal of Ohio State University adorned the cover of the yearbook in 1974. Since its inception, Buckeye Bargains had taken in $34,355.36. A new format was adopted for the monthly newsletter, in which the yearly calendar was omitted.
From July of 1975 through March of 1976, the Student Emergency Fund was used by 267 students.
In January of 1976, approximately 200 attended UWCs dinner dance. Total memberships in the UWC’s interest groups numbered 635. In February, a mini-course was presented: “Personal Money Management.”
In the fall of 1976, a two-year New Member Interest Group was formed. Identification cards for wives of full-time faculty, widows, and wives of emeriti became available. The Social Service Group received a Certificate of Recognition from the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Retardation.
In the 1977-78 year, a revised standard format for the UWC Newsletter was adopted. A group of volunteers assisted in the opening of a library in Kent Elementary School. The Art Group contributed three Children’s Art Scholarships to the Department of Art Education. And the constitution was amended to permit divorced UWC members to retain their eligibility for membership as long as they continued to pay their dues.
This was a significant development. From day one, the UWC designated itself as a club for the wives of faculty members. Moreover, women frequently joined the club in pairs or groups whose husbands belonged to the same academic department–UWC members spoke of themselves as “Chemistry wives,” “History wives,” “Geology wives.” Now, the issue concerned divorce, which had become more common as the twentieth century unfolded. The question concerned a member’s status if her marriage to a faculty member ended.
The Committee decided, “eligibility, once established, is permanent.” In more intimate terms, the UWC President Daisy Nemzer sent a letter to all members in May of 1977 clarifying the Executive Committee’s decision. She asked, “should we immediately abandon an active member of long standing when her marital status changes, and her need for friendship is greatest? Do we continue to deny membership to those whose spouses not have not acquired a professorial post, or might the rank of dedicated instructor suffice for membership? Should those new to our campus have available a group composed of other newcomers where they will be compatible and comfortable for the first year or two?”
Looking into both the past and future, Nemzer stated that, “some of the fine rules and regulations, written in the past, have lost their appropriateness in our changing times and with altered social structures.”
Nemzer’s pronouncement became the first step in broadening the UWC’s membership criteria. Yet to join the UWC in the late 1970s, one still needed “faculty wife” status. It was at just this time that Manel Tuovinen joined the UWC, and in a familiar way—through campus connections. She said, “My husband Olli and I, and our three kids all under four years of age, arrived in Columbus from Finland in late 1978. Olli had been offered a faculty appointment to teach Microbiology at The Ohio State University. The wife of the Dean of the College of Biological Sciences, Patricia Dugan, invited me for lunch at one of the University Women’s Club meetings. That was my introduction to this great club. I joined soon after. Participation in the club was open only to wives of regular and visiting faculty at OSU.”
In December of 1978, International Wives continued to be special guests at the luncheon meeting, and wore their countries’ native attire. In February of 1979, a brunch for families was held, which was well-received by working women as well as older members. To avoid raising dues, a voluntary contribution drive raised $468. Evening Antiques became inactive, and Evening Gourmet members joined Afternoon Gourmet. The Welcoming Committee was discontinued. A second cookbook, Faculty Favorites, was published. And, after twelve years of operations, Buckeye Bargains had raised a cumulative total of about $50,000 for student scholarships.
The 1979-80 year was a busy one for the UWC, which co-sponsored a YWCA program entitled, “Women Into the ‘80s.” Duty rosters of Executive Committee officers were revised. A second printing of Faculty Favorites was ordered. Social Service Group continued to present a gift to the Ann Tweedale girls at their annual tea.
Manel Tuovinen recollects: “In 1980 Marolyn Halverson, who was on the executive committee, asked me if I would host the Annual International Coffee for new and visiting international faculty wives. I agreed and this was the beginning of my hosting the coffee at my home for 25 years. At the beginning it was a morning coffee when the wives would come to my home with their young children. I had baby sitters to care for the children while the wives enjoyed meeting other international wives and members of the University Women’s Club and learning about the club activities and the community at large. Later on, it turned into an evening reception the wives could attend while the husbands took care of the kids at home. I still have contact with some of those visiting, international wives who are now back in their home countries.”
In the fall of 1980, paid membership numbered 657. Buckeye Bargains volunteers shared 5000 hours of their time to serve over 3000 customers. The Music Interest Group provided background music during tea at four of the meetings. A new interest group, Luncheons for Eight, was organized. The Gardening Group became inactive, but would be resuscitated a few decades in the future. And Mrs. Audrey Enarson was honored at the May 1981 luncheon.
Manel Tuovinen said, “One of the first groups I joined and chaired soon after was the Child Development Group. This was a very supportive group and we shared a lot of knowledge and experiences. After a few years as the children matured and there were no younger faculty wives joining the club. Most of the younger wives were working during the day, so this group closed down.”
In October of 1981, the luncheon meeting combined a reception for Mrs. Mary Eleanor Jennings, wife of the new president, and newcomers. A third cookbook, Buckeye Hostesses, was planned. Leisure Press, the publisher, bought out to rights to Centennial Cook Book and Faculty Favorites. The new cookbook was based on the two previous books, plus celebrities’ recipes.
The Corresponding Secretary became the Newsletter Editor. Donations contributed by 143 members totaled $740.50 and ranged from $1.00 to $45.00. New Members’ Standing Committee was created to develop evening programs in combination with a sponsorship program.
Ohio State University President Edward M. Jennings was the speaker at the October, 1982 meeting. The following April, the Art Group hosted a Hospitality Brunch, and members displayed their artwork. The University Needs Committee was dissolved and replaced by Volunteer Projects of UWC and Liaison Projects. The Continuing Membership Committee’s name was changed to the Membership Committee. Throughout the 1982-83 year, Toymakers contributed 144 toys to Franklin County Children’s Services. And over 50 UWC volunteers helped with summer orientation.
In 1983, Dianne McKenzie joined the UWC as a faculty wife. “My longtime friend Jane Collinson invited me to a UWC fashion show and luncheon,” she recalled. From that moment and throughout the next three-plus decades, McKenzie actively participated on many fronts, taking a variety of leadership roles.
In 1990, Jane Collinson died of melanoma. McKenzie recalled that the Music Group dedicated a program recital in her memory. “I attended and was moved by the quality and beauty of the performance,” she said, “but even more by the members’ reverence in this time of sorrow and celebration for Jane. I saw then the deep value of the club.”
Dianne McKenzie continued to reminisce about the UWC. “Ellie Rauch and B.J. Wagner were two members who impressed me with their love of life,” she recalled. “Both had twinkles in their eyes, a clever way with words, a quick wit, and a love of life. Ellie invited me to Poetry Group at Gerry Boyce’s home. It was reminiscent of an afternoon tea in a novel, with seven courses of sweets in addition to poetry and conversation. I began thinking, ‘if I were to attend Poetry Group eight times a year, by the end of the year I would know much more about eight poets. And after ten years, eighty poets!’ I concluded that by joining a number of groups, I would gain a world of education, friendship, and activity.” For years, Dianne McKenzie belonged to fifteen groups. In 2018, McKenzie and her UWC friends still meet one another coming and going, and often still carpool together.
During the 1984-85 year, dues were raised to $6.00. The addressing system for the Newsletter was computerized. Members voted on their choice of logo for UWC, which would appear on yearbooks and stationery. Five luncheon meetings enjoyed the attendance of more than 100 UWC members.
UWC member Priscilla Meeks recalled her early memories of the club. “When I joined the UWC in 1984,” she said, “a beautiful tea service was set after the luncheon meeting. Coffee, tea and cookies were served. I believe this tradition continued through the 1980’s. It provided a great opportunity to socialize.”
Summer Orientation was made a standing committee. At the March brunch, the Director of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, Maestro Badea, was speaker. As of July 1, 1985, the UWC had contributed $111,500 to scholarships and Student Emergency Loan Funds. Of this sum, $96,000 came from Buckeye Bargains and $15,500 came from cookbook sales.
UWC member Juanita Harrison’s service for the club was extensive but not at all unique; throughout the years, many members have worn several hats during their membership. Harrison served as secretary twice, then vice president, then in 1984, UWC president. With an extensive background in choral music, she performed and directed four programs over the years for UWC’s monthly luncheon meetings, and she hosted scores of musical presentations for the Music Interest Group. In 1985, she chaired the Big Ten Conference of University Women’s Organizations.
In the spring of 1986, the first Big Ten University Women’s Club Conference was held at the University of Michigan. The UWC delegation found it to be very stimulating.
Nineteen-eighty-six saw UWC membership increase to 699, the highest number of the previous ten years.
In 1987, dues were raised to $10.00. Buckeye Bargains reported a total of $114,000 donated to scholarships since its opening in 1966. Six hundred and five members purchased Buckeye Hostesses, resulting in $2,200 for scholarships in 1987/88 and $1,500 in 1988-89. The 1989 May Luncheon featured a spring fashion show hosted by Fabric Farms at the Confluence Park Restaurant.
In 1989, Buckeye Bargains earned $11,600, bringing its total scholarship and emergency loan funds to $148,100 over the shop’s first 24 years of operation. International Hospitality welcomed international faculty and their families. The OSU International Wives Club and the International Visitors Council both promoted understanding and friendship by cooperating with Ohio State’s Office of International Students and Scholars, providing programs for newly arrived international graduate students, scholars, and faculty, and their families.
In 1990, Ohio State’s new president, E. Gordon Gee, spoke at the October luncheon. In 1992, a problem with the UWC’s bill from the IRS was resolved; as it turned out, the UWC did not have to pay a delinquent sum of $1,400. That year, the UWC was inducted into the President’s Club. Dues were raised to $15.00 per year. And in March of 1993, Mrs. Marjorie Fawcett died, the university president’s wife who had been instrumental in the development of Buckeye Bargains.
In 1991, the UWC published an engagement calendar entitled, “Stipelman with Style,” featuring selections from Ohio State’s historic Costume and Textiles Collection. Sales of the calendar would support scholarships.
The May, 1994 luncheon meeting concluded with a historical Hat Show, in which members modeled millinery styles from the past century. June 18-20, 1993, saw the Fifth Biennial Conference of Big Ten Universities, this time held at Ohio State. According to an attendee’s notes, “it was very well done.”
During the 1993-94 year, only four meetings were held at the Faculty Club. Three meetings were held elsewhere, as construction on the campus made it difficult to find parking. Buckeye Bargains was going strong; in a Columbus Dispatch article, longtime Buckeye Bargains volunteer Beverly Stevens recalled a graduate student from Kenya who arrived in Columbus in the dead of winter with only a sweater. Buckeye Bargains members found him coats and boots, which helped him adjust to a colder climate. In 1994, UWC Quilters made 30 “lovies” (small quilts) for children staying at the Ronald McDonald House.
The UWC celebrated its upcoming centennial with the publication of Seasonings Change Cookbook. Fall 1994 celebrations featured members in vintage costumes, piano offerings by the Music Group, a quilt from the Quilters Group, vocal music from member Carol Notestine, posters of UWC history, and remarks b Dr. Constance Gee, honorary president. Also in 1995, it was noted that Buckeye Bargains, in its first 29 years, had awarded 147 scholarships totaling $207,200.
Before 1995, when UWC member Jackie Merchant established a computer database, the UWC’s membership was tracked by hand. When a woman joined, the membership treasurer recorded her information on a 3” x 5” card. These were handwritten for several decades and then typed. The year the member joined was noted at top right. Bottom right listed the husband’s faculty position at Ohio State. Every year, on every card, the membership treasurer recorded the receipt of dues on the little cards, which were stored in metal filing drawers. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, with nearly 1000 members, this must have been a time-consuming job.
In the fall of 1995, it was noted that the UWC had 493 members, 22 Interest Groups, and members volunteering many hours at Buckeye Bargains, University Hospital, Summer Orientation, International Wives, and other community services.
UWC member Ruth Paulson remembered 1995, the year she joined. “Pat Corbato invited me to attend the Club’s 100th anniversary celebration, held at the Faculty Club.
We were both members of the Thursday Morning Quilters, an interest group that no longer exists. The group crafted a beautiful commemorative quilt to be placed on the lectern.” In 2018, the quilt is still adorning the lectern at the monthly luncheon meetings.
To mark the UWC centennial, the May 1996 meeting was held in the atrium of the State Capitol building. In September of 1996, Buckeye Bargains moved to a new location in the basement of Converse Hall, at the corner of Tuttle Park Place and Woody Hayes Drive. That year, the UWC adopted an open membership policy. Since its inception in 1895, a requirement for membership had to have had a faculty spouse; now, to maintain and expand membership numbers in a time when most women worked outside the home, the UWC adopted a more inclusive criterion for membership.
Dianne McKenzie recalled that, in 1997-98, the year she served as UWC president, the club decided to change its membership requirement from “Wives of Faculty Member” to “Friends of the University.” McKenzie said that the decision to “grow the membership” provided the UWC with wonderful friends and experience, expertise, and leadership. The decision to accept members outside the range of faculty wives was made because many of the incoming faculty wives were working during the day, with careers of their own, unlike in past decades. Their work schedules precluded attendance at the daytime luncheon meetings. As a result, UWC membership was declining.
Dianne McKenzie recollected the productive year in which she served as UWC president. “In 1997-98,” she said, “Thursday Morning Quilters made 85 lovies and household goods, which were delivered to Ronald McDonald House. Toy Makers created a multitude of toys delivered to children in crisis or need. Social Service sewed chemo caps and lap robes for cancer patients. Manel’s Tea received international women whose husbands were visiting scholars at OSU. We raised funds through Hospital Service Board projects, and decorated the hospital for Christmas. Garden Group planted and tended the Faculty Club garden. Some assisted Dr. Mac Stewart in the Parent/Student visitations and lunch duty, and helped several president’s wives in their duties. Our members also volunteered in International Wives, English As a Second Language, and the United Nations Festival.” Consequently, the UWC won a $300 University Service Award in 1998.
In the 1998-99 year, luncheon reservations cost $8.95. Buckeye Bargains accumulated $9,500, bringing to $244,500 the total given for scholarships in the group’s 32-year history.
In 1999, the Seasonings Change cookbook was still being marketed by the UWC, proceeds going to scholarships. Membership dues for 1999-2000 were $15.00.
In 2001, the UWC instituted a service award to honor members who went beyond the call in service to the Club. It was known as the UWC Meritorious Service Award.
In 2001-02, luncheon reservations cost $9.50. In 2001, Buckeye Bargains contributions totaled $13,000.
In 2002-03, the use of the term “chairman” had largely been replaced with “chair” in The Year Book. “Chairman” would reappear in the 2005-2006 book. Luncheon reservations cost $10.25.
In 2003-04, Buckeye Bargains raised $15,500. As had been true over the UWC’s history, many members involved themselves in one, two, or three interest groups. There were exceptions. Donna Cavell said, “When I finally retired in 2004, I was able to experience the joy of joining as many interest groups as I wanted.” For Cavell, that number evolved over the years to 15. “I now have the pleasure of knowing so many dynamic women,” she commented.
In 2004-05, Buckeye Bargains contributed $16,000 toward scholarships. In 39 years of the shop’s operation, $323,000 had been donated. As had most always been the case, the luncheon programs during the 2004-2005 year were vivid and varied. These included a discussion of historical accuracy in stagecraft given by Prof. Alan Woods of the Department of Theatre, a talk about children experiencing cancer treatment at Ohio State’s The James, and “Pest Control by the Victorian Housewife,” presented by Ohio State entomologist David Shetlar.
During the 2005-06 year, a cumulative total of more than $340,000 had been raised during Buckeye Bargains’ 40 years. Manel Tuovinen was honored to receive the Meritorious Service Award for the period 2005 -2006.
The year of 2006-07 saw a change in the title of the UWC’s annual roster and program booklet; the Year Book had become The Gray Book. Buckeye Bargains raised $18,000 that year.
Members numbered 362 during the 2007-08 year, but the UWC lost several members who had belonged to the Quilters Interest Group. The exodus came about as a result of an unresolved dispute with the club’s treasurer.
Buckeye Bargains contributed $19,000 to the UWC Scholarship Fund.
Marba Wojcicki joined the UWC in the Fall of 2007. The following year, she was asked to represent Newsletter editor Judy Gallucci, a full-time chemistry department colleague of her husband’s, at Executive Committee meetings. “The women were welcoming, warm, and helpful,” Wojcicki stated. A few years later, when she was UWC President, Wojcicki shared similar first-impression stories from other members in the monthly President’s Letter.
In 2009, UWC President Anne LaPidus asked Dianne McKenzie to chair the 2015 Big Ten Women’s Conference, a two-and-a-half day event which would be held in Columbus, and which would require extensive committee planning and action.
Some of the issues to be tackled were advance notices, invitations, and registration; venues, speakers, activities, and entertainment; lodging and transportation; information packets and welcome gifts; table decorations; safety and security; and of course finances. McKenzie had attended three earlier conferences, held in Minnesota, Indiana, and Michigan, and understood the protocols and planning requirements for such events.
In the spring of 2010, UWC President Susan Clark attended the Big Ten Conference in Wisconsin and conversed with the planners of that event for insight into its financing and management in advance of the Columbus Conference in 2015.
The UWC executive committee decided to terminate the Meritorious Service Award Program at the end of 2010s.
In May of 2010, the luncheon program focused on Buckeye football. Earle Bruce, head coach from 1979-1987, presented: “Ohio State Football: Facts and Fables.” Buckeye Bargains earned $14,000 for scholarships the previous year.
In 2010-11, Marba Wojcicki served as UWC President. In October of 2010, Ohio State President E. Gordon Gee addressed the UWC at its luncheon meeting. His talk was entitled, “Working Together to Create Our Shared Future.”
“When I was president,” Wojcicki said, “several of us began to wonder why the Club’s three scholarships weren’t being recognized in the brochure printed for donor events, even though our Buckeye Bargains was invited. We found out that, since Ohio State was a Title IX school, UWC could not legally limit scholarships to women. We could say that we provide scholarships ‘with attention to, but not limited to, female students….’”
The following year the scholarship pages of the Gray Book included the both legal language and the proper number for each of the three scholarships.
Buckeye Bargains once again made $14,000 for scholarship support in 2010-11.
During the 2011-12 year, the UWC counted nineteen interest groups. In March of 2012, the luncheon program featured Dale Schmidt, President and CEO of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, who brought several zoo animals with him to the Faculty Club.
In 2012-13, the UWC counted a membership of 322. Antoinette Beynen served as President that year. “My presidency,” said Beynen, “followed in the footsteps of Patricia Herold, who was a superb leader and organizer. She re-wrote the books on the UWC presidency and it made my year a smooth, enjoyable experience. As President-Elect, I planned to emphasize artistic talents among our membership, and with the cooperation of the Faculty Club’s Art coordinator, we organized an exhibit and sale of works by our members. That year, Buckeye Bargains blossomed as well: with Rhonda Bova at the helm, we contributed $20,000 to scholarships that year, up from $17,000 the previous year.”
During 2013-14, when Connie Oulanoff was UWC President, the usual earmarks unfolded smoothly. The UWC welcomed scholarship recipients at the November luncheon, and honored fifty-year members and past presidents in 2014.
Much of the Executive Committee discussion was dedicated to planning the 2015 Big Ten Conference. The Steering Committee included Dianne McKenzie, Chair; Chryssoula Barbas, Chair of Communication; Antoinette Beynen, Ex-Officio; Marilou Beachler, Conference Logos and Themes; Donna Cavell, Liaison with Other Big Ten Clubs; Evelyn Dardig, Conference Treasurer; Donna Dodge, Décor; Dorothy Driskell, Faculty Club Liaison; Juanita Harrison, Consultant; Tricia Herban, Program Planning; Connie Oulanoff, Event Planning (Planetarium booking); Bonnie Stevens, Consultant/Adviser; Manel Tuovinen, The Blackwell Accommodations; Janet Mount-Campbell, Volunteer Coordination; Myrna Mumm, Secretary. With Marilou Beachler’s groundwork, it was decided that the Conference theme would be “Quest for Knowledge” along with Ohio State’s red “Block O” and Buckeye Leaf logo. The Executive Committee set aside $15,000 to fund the conference.
Janet Mount-Campbell served as UWC President in 2014-15. The UWC hosted the 16th biennial Big Ten Women’s Association Conference at the Blackwell in June 2015, and planning for this event dominated the Executive Committee’s discussions and activities during Mount-Campbell’s tenure.
Still, the UWC maintained its rhythm during a year of intense planning. Twenty-three new members joined the club. The Interest Group Fair was revived at the October 2015 meeting, with all 19 Interest Groups participating. The Hospitality Committee created unique centerpieces reflecting the activities of each Interest Group. The Scholarship and Student Support Annual Scholarship Reception was held at the Student Union in October. Two Buckeye Bargains co-chairs, Bonnie Stevens and Colleen Houser, attended, along with President Janet Mount-Campbell. Four scholarship recipients also attended.
The UWC awarded 22 deserving students a total of $34,955 in student scholarships. The five recipients who attended the November Luncheon were given a Buckeye Doll made by Sheila Smith, a longtime member of Toymakers.
Buckeye Bargains held successful sales before three luncheons. Fifty-year members were, as is UWC custom, honored at the February luncheon.
Fifteen Past Presidents were honored at the March luncheon. One new Interest Group, The Walkabouts, made its appearance. And during the 2014-15 year, the webmaster became an appointed position.
But filling the post was difficult. Editing the old website proved too great a challenge and no one wanted to build a new one. So Janet Mount-Campbell’s husband Clark, a professor in Ohio State’s Engineering Department, volunteered to create a new site on Wix, which could be done at no cost.
He kept the website updated throughout the year. For a club long defined by a membership of “faculty wives,” a “faculty husband” stepped up to the plate, playing a critical, behind-the-scenes role for the UWC. After Janet Mount-Campbell’s term, Pat Camp took over as webmaster.
Conference attendees enjoy dinner in the President’s Box, Ohio Stadium