The Women's City
Club of Oswego was founded in 1918. The first president of the club was
C.R. Harvey. Dr. Harvey, District Health Officer in Oswego at
that time met a certain Dr. Bodish who was sent to Oswego to help administer
the Food Administration Program of President Herbert Hoover during World
War 1. Ours was not the usual group organized by a mutual click of women
but on called together by a man, Dr. Harvey. Dr. Harvey was requested by
Dr. Bodish, who was very concerned with the work of the Belgian War Relief
in the early days of World War I, to invite an audience of women and to
present the needs of the Belgium People. They came and listened. Then they
carried out many worthwhile projects under the leadership of Mrs. Harvey
chosen February 8, 1918 to be president. This organization was formed to
promote educational, civic and philanthropic work in the community and
to bring into relations of mutual helpfulness the women of the City of
On November 29,1919 the local
club joined the New York Federation of Women's Clubs. Members were anxious
to broaden their scope and keep abreast of the activities of other like
groups. On May 23,1922 the Woman's City Club of Oswego NY was elected to
membership in The General Federation of Women's Clubs. On January
30,1926 the Woman's City Club of Oswego became incorporated under the name
Woman's City Club of Oswego, NY, Inc. They would have meetings at their
private homes or hold meetings at the Pontiac Hotel. Early programs were
most elaborate, bringing of the best speakers, authors, musicians and even
Opera to Oswego.
The Second President, Mrs.
Lucy Norton 1919-1921, a teacher in Oswego Normal School, departmentalized
the Club. Music meetings were held on the First Monday evening of the month,
Literacy on the Second Tuesday evening of the month, Home Economics on
the Third Monday evening of the month, Civic group on the Fourth Monday
evening of the month and the General Business session on the Last Saturday
of the month in the afternoon at 3:00PM with a Tea following the session.
It was then a group of 300 women, one of the largest in the Northern New
York Federation of Women's Clubs.
The Third President, Mrs.
Carrie Paddock 1921-1923, had further aims for the club, a Literacy
program was performed at S. Mary's Hall in June 1922 and the proceeds to
be used as a nucleus for the Building Fund which went toward the purchase
of the Club House.
The Fourth President, Mrs.
William Blackburn 1923-1926 was very stately in manner and of pleasing
The Fifth President, Mrs.
Frederick Leighton 1926-1928, was a financier, philanthropist, organizer
and educator. The Woman's City Club was incorporated on March 31, 1926.
Mrs. Leighton's administration was one of top speed activity and accomplishment.
In 1927 the Board of Directors decided that it would benefit the club to
purchase a building to hold their meetings as the city was then on it's
way to becoming a boom town, and the property would become an extremely
valuable investment for the club. The president at that time of the club
was Mrs. Frederick Leighton. Through her dynamic efforts the Club House
was purchased from Kingsford and Higgins for $6500.00. Renovations and
repairs were not to exceed $2500.00. On February 14,1927 the
Woman's City Club of Oswego, NY, Inc. purchased the current Club House
, a private home. Upon reviewing the title search it came to light that
the property the home is situated on now, was originally sold by the People
of the State of New York to Alvin Bronson May 31, 1825. Mr. Bronson was
a former Mayor of Oswego in the 1850's. The home was renovated to accommodate
the clubs membership for their meetings. The formal opening of the Woman's
City Club of Oswego, NY, Inc. was held on November 18,1927. With a full
program of guest speakers, Hon. Daniel H. Conway (Mayor of Oswego), Chairman
Mrs. Fenton MacCallaum of the Fifth District of Northern Federation of
Women's Clubs, Mrs. William J. Milligan President Northern Federation of
Women's Clubs, Mrs. M.M. Lucid Director Fifth District of State Federation
of Women's Clubs. The Woman's City Club of Oswego, NY, Inc. consisted of
9 Officers, a Club House Committee of ten and a full membership of 300,
the largest membership the club has ever known.
The Sixth President, Mrs.
Udella (Lula) Bartlett 1928-1930, was a musician and formed the Woman's
Club double quartet and Woman's City Club Chorus. She became the 13th President
of the Northern New York Federation of Women's Clubs. She was the first
member of the Fifth district to hold that office. A Student Loan Fund was
set up and much money was sent to the Near East Relief. Mrs. Bartlett had
the morning musicals of Watertown on the programs for the Northern New
York Federation of Women's Clubs.
The Seventh President, Mrs.
Reuben Lavine 1930-1932. She played piano beautifully. Musical group continued
and put on Old Folks concerts with old-fashioned costumes and polk bonnets.
Concerts were held to pay the mortgage. Nan Russell was in the musical
group, the individual groups were so large they separated in many of the
present day groups in Oswego which had their origin with the Woman's City
Club. Mrs. Lavine passed away in 1987.
The Eighth President, Mrs.
Lester Turney 1932-1934, who later became Mrs. Harry King put on many
one act plays and did a good job of writing poetry.
The Ninth President, Mrs. Clarence
Leighton 1934-1936 did a great deal of entertaining and raised money by
card parties in her home. On Saturday afternoon one could always look forward
to the most beautifully decorated tea tables with silver and table arrangements.
She brought her own great interest, Art to the Club.
The Tenth President, Mrs.
Alanson Page 1936-1938, and her daughter put on Christmas Children's
Parties. She was proud that the Woman's City Club was the only group with
a Club House of their own.
President Mrs. Elbert Gaeta
1938-1940, was the West Baptist Minister's wife. And they were not here
too long but left to do great missionary works in Japan.
President Mrs. Edwin Waterbury
1940-1942, sincerely carried on the work of the Welfare Department. She
had very successful card parties. First Aid classes were held. Club went
on record of approving the appropriation of money for the restoration and
expansion of Oswego Normal School. A concert was held to raise money for
President Mrs. S. M. Peters
1942-1944, sponsored teas and dances for the Cadet Air Corps based at the
State Teachers College and assisted in the various branches of the Red
Cross, making bandages, collecting for drives and being helpful in other
ways. The Club went on record of opposing socialized medicine. Club House
was rented for Nurse's Aid Group.
President Mrs. David Russell
1944-1946, had a mortgage burning as enough money had been raised through
all the programs and projects past and current to pay off the mortgage.
President Mrs. John O'Connor
1946-1950, had visions of renting the upstairs area as an apartment, and
getting rid of some of the furniture. Another mortgage was taken out to
finance the renovations. A new furnace was installed, new roof up on the
house and the apartment was rented. Meetings changed to supper meetings.
The membership was now at 72. Money was given to the hospital and to the
Philomalians. The Woman's City Club played an important part when Oswego
County celebrated the centennial. Players rented the apartment for one
year. Mrs. Ruth Mowry chosen as President of the Northern New York Federation
of Women's Clubs. The exterior of the Club House was painted.
President Mrs. Arthur Smith
1950-1954, put on hat shows. Silver Tea Set and Silverware was purchased.
Parlor and dinningroom was painted. The constitution was changed to opening
meetings with a Salute to the Flag, singing one verse of America and closing
with Mispah benediction. Programs were serving meals to the Garden Club,
Medical Auxiliary, Farm Bureau and the Winter Club. Also worked with scouts
and held Children's Christmas Parties.
President Mrs. Evelyn Turner
1954-1956, hat shows continued and the Woman's City Club of Oswego hosted
the Northern New York Federation Convention that year at the Pontiac Hotel
with Speaker Dr. Foster Brown. The Club received a certificate from the
General Federation of Women's Clubs of Washington, DC. Ladies rod to a
Tea at Hewitt Union with a police escort. The membership was 78 now.
President Mrs. Zelma Turney
King 1956-1958, President for a second time, hat shows continued, a
play presented and our Sunshine Fund started with Mrs. Dorothy Odsted chairman.
Mrs. Emma Lou Morris in charge of refreshments for Hat Shows, Campbells
Department Store furnished the hats for the Hat Shows. Dale Carnegie
Courses were held. Mrs. Marshall donated an original art painting
and Mrs. Anne Riley won the painting. The mortgage was again paid off and
another $2500.00 taken out for more renovations. The front porch was removed,
shrubbery planted, a new gas range was purchased, lace tablecloth purchased
and new siding on the Club House. The Club House's valuation was set at
President Mrs. Sidney Davis
1958-1960, was the founder of the Bridge Marathon held at our Club House.
The Club sold tickets for two plays to be presented at the Pontiac Hotel
for the benefit of the YMCA. The Woman's City Club made arrangements for
a campaign kick off dinner for the Community Chest. Members of the Club
served as judges for snow sculpturing at Oswego State College. They contributed
money and sponsored a commencement breakfast for 200 graduates and their
dates from Oswego State College. Contributed for Foreign exchange
student. A benefit Musical was presented at the Club House as another fundraiser.
More upkeep and additions to the Club House, new carpet installed, and
new wallpaper purchased. Mrs. Nan Russell became President of the Northern
New York Federation of Women's Clubs.
President Mrs. Teresa Marshall
invited the newly formed Art Guild to have exhibits and Tea at the Club
House. Dinning room table was purchased with pads, a flag was purchased.
Projects were a cookbook started and rummage sales held.
President Mrs. Grant Lindsley
1962-1964, she had been the Fifth District Chairperson for the Northern
New York Federation of Women's Clubs as well as Chairperson of the Oswego
County State Federation, and Mrs. Charles Turner was Fifth District Chairperson
of the Oswego County State Federation. Donations were made to the Heritage
Foundation, Exchange Student Fund and Salvation Army Doll fund. The usual
fund raising activities continued.
President Mrs. John Morris
1964-1966, it was an active year The New York Federations of Women's Clubs
was entertained at the Club House. 20 attended the hat show at YMCA, it
was the 5th Annual Show, Mrs. Mowry was the Moderator. The Male Quartet
from the Congregational Church was the entertainment. Fred's Hi Fi Record
Center furnished additional music during the show.
President Mrs. William Caruso,
1966-1968, a new mortgage was taken out for repairs to the apartment upstairs.
The Club purchased new stationary, contributed to Korean Child Fund as
sponsored by the Northern New York Federation of Women's Clubs. Club house
was opened for sewing of cancer dressings.
President Mrs. David Russell
1968-1970, serving for a second time, began a fundraiser of serving Lenton
President Mrs. John Cochrane
1970-1972. The American Association of University Women honored Mrs.
David Russell. Remodeling of the apartment still taking place. The mortgage
was again paid in full. The Club now has 65 members.
President Mrs. Raymond Smith
1972-1974, during her term the Woman's City Club hosted the 64th Annual
Convention of the Northern New York Federation of Women's Clubs. Major
repairs still being made.
President, Mrs. Michael
Whelahan 1974-1978, held two terms and was also President of the Northern
New York Federation of Women's Clubs. The Northern New York Federation
of Women's Clubs was entertained at Hewitt Union with Rosemary Nesbitt
as the speaker. Revisions were made to the constitution. Mrs. Whelahan
passed away while in office.
President, Mrs. Paul Hutko
1978-1982 was a busy teacher and also held two terms. The rent was raised
on the upstairs apartment. Members worked on the antiques and collectibles
at the Hospital Bazaar. Two High School students were awarded scholarships
from the Northern New York Federation of Women's Clubs. The Club House
dinningroom was wallpapered.
President, Florence Mahany,
1982-1984, again we hosted the Northern New York Federation of Women's
Clubs Convention. It was held at the Masonic Temple in Oswego. The Club
took part in the annual Fourth of July Parade. The Bridge Marathon was
a great success, the Marathon supports the scholarship fund. Supper meeting
times were changed from 6:30 PM to 6:00 PM.
President, Nellie Feistal
1984-1994, held the position of President of our Club for the longest ever,
5 terms. She initiated a full and complete inventory to be taken of the
Club House. And a new system set up for the Treasurer. A new sign was put
on the building. Other renovations done were a new hot water heater, repaired
cornice, porches, railings, cellar door repaired and painted, kitchen painted,
refrigerator replaced, front porch carpeted. Purchased 5 new tables and
16 chairs. New constitution printed and yearly programs printed. Club House
Room was rented for showers, and apartment rent raised. Bridge Marathon
continues. Contributions made to Heart Line, Jaycees Fourth of July Parade
fund, Office of the Aging Anniversary Party, Art Guild and Human Concerns.
Also a new set of dishes were purchased on April 23, 1986 from the local
D.A.R. Many more programs and projects were undertaken over her ten years
of service. The club membership at the time she took office was at 68 members.
The Presidents from 1994-2004
Mrs. Becky Dodge 1994-1996
To this day
the Woman's City Club of Oswego, NY, Inc., remains in the same building,
143 West Third Street in Oswego, New York as it did beginning in November
18,1927. Our membership is now 20 active members and 5 honorary members.
Although at some point in time the lawn to the south was sold and presently
houses Dr. Kim's office and parking lot. The clubhouse still contains the
original 3 marble fireplaces, and many of same dishes and silverware purchased
in the beginning. The piano that was purchased in 1927 is still in the
Club House. The upper floor houses an apartment and the lower floor is
maintained as the Club's meeting and dinner hall with a full kitchen. Meetings
are held on the third Tuesday each month, much the same as they began in
1927, with a Salute to the Flag, a collective reading of the Club Collect,
a guest speaker and a dinner, with the business part of the meeting held
after dinner. Business meetings are run under Roberts Rules of Order.
The Woman's City Club of Oswego, NY, Inc. still offers a yearly scholarship
to an Oswego High School Senior
Mrs. Anne Zink 1996-2000
Mrs. Jeanne Kavanaugh 2000-2004
Ms. Cora Finn 2004-2006