News: Spencer History - Woman's Club


Source: Spencer Centennial Book (1874 – 1974)

The following is a quotation from Page 1 of the History of the Spencer Woman's Club. This history has been kept since the organization of the Club:

"There had been a growing feeling among a group of women in Spencer that if they organized they might be able to accomplish many things for the betterment of the community. With this thought in mind a meeting was called on March 21, 1946, at the home of Mrs. Kenneth Graves, to whom must go in a large measure the credit for the organization of the Club. She explained the functions of such a group, what one would have to put into it in time, effort and money, and what good one should be able to obtain from it. A vote was taken and it was decided to organize. Thus the Spencer Woman's Club came into being."

Constitution and by-laws were drawn up April 1, 1946, and accepted on April 4, 1946. The club also federated with both the District and General Clubs in 1946.

There were 24 Charter Members at the time of organization, at which time the following officers were elected: President, Mrs. K. D. Graves; Vice-President, Mrs. A. W. Beisner; Secretary, Mrs. V. G. Schilleman; Treasurer, Mrs. C. B. Jacobitz.

For the most part, the meetings were held in homes and continued to be until 1964 and 1965 when they started being held in the lunch room of the school.

In 1947 it was voted to restrict membership to 42 and to accept new members only as others dropped out as the membership was getting too large to entertain in the homes. This led to a group of young women organizing a club of their own which was called American Home Department and consisted of 13 young women who held their own meetings and were sponsored by the Woman's Club. Later they withdrew from the Club and formed their own Junior Woman's Club with their own Constitution and By-laws. This club continued until May of 1954 when they disbanded and rejoined the Spencer Woman's Club.

In 1950 the Woman's Club voted to purchase a copy of the book The Life of John Hay written by Dr. Tyler Dennett and it was to be added to the collection of books of "Wisconsin's Own" writers library being sponsored by the General Federation and to be put in the new Governor's Mansion in Madison.

Dr. Dennett was born in Spencer on June 13, 1883. His father was a minister in Spencer in 1879 and 1880 and his mother was one of the first teachers in the early days in Spencer. Dr. Dennett received the Pulitzer Prize in 1933 for a biography The Life of John Hay.

While in the State Department in Washington, D. C., Dr. Dennett discovered the original copy of the Declaration of Independence bearing the signatures of the signers thereof, neglected, dusty and torn. Through his efforts this precious document and also the engrossed original copy of the U. S. Constitution were repaired and placed in the Library of Congress, Washington, D. C. The Declaration is enshrined in a niche in the west wall of the second floor gallery, protected by glass which has been chemically treated so as to exclude all injurious light.

At the meeting held on November 7, 1947, it was voted to sponsor a library for the Village and the club was offered the Directors' room at the bank for it. Later it was moved to the municipal building and has continued there to the present time.

This has been the largest project of the club throughout the years, it having been sponsored entirely by the Woman's Club, with donations made to expenses by the Village of Spencer and the Town of Sherman. In 1966 it was voted to request the Village Board to set up a Library Board, as the library was getting too large for the club to maintain. At that time the balance of the money in the Library Fund was turned over to the Village.

In 1954 Mrs. George F. Hayward donated a collection of miniature logging equipment assembled and built by her late husband. This collection was first displayed in cabinets in the Spencer High School and later, when the Club learned that Mr. Hayward had hoped to have his collection accepted by some organization at Wausau where it could be cared for and properly displayed for the pleasure and education of all interested persons in Marathon County, the club voted to donate it to the Marathon County Historical Society and it was transferred there in September of 1955, along with a framed photograph of the late George Preston Hayward.

On December 7, 1958, the Club sponsored a testimonial dinner honoring Ray J. Tack for his support in furthering the building of the addition to the grade SF school and the gymnasium which is now known as the TJ R. J. Tack Auditorium. Mrs. Earl Reinholz was general chairman of arrangements and was assisted by members of the churches, schools, and all civic H organizations in the village and surrounding territory.

As a means of raising funds in order to accomplish the worthwhile projects undertaken through the years, the Club has had food sales, rummage sales, Halloween Party, Square Dance Party, Christmas Bazaars, Sale of Cook Books, the presentation of a three-act play (with the cooperation of the Lions club), as well as promoting and presenting an annual Spring Fashion Show.

During the years the Spencer Woman's Club has donated over $8,000.00 to the Spencer Library, Care Packages, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Badger Girls State.

Spencer Park Playground equipment, United Fund, Christmas Seals, Red Cross, March of Dimes, Nursing Scholarships and other smaller charitable projects.

In addition to the above the Club has donated clothing, money and various gifts to European Relief, Wood Hospital Gift Shop, Veterans Hospitals, glasses to New Eyes for the Needy, cancelled stamps to Hospitalized Veterans, Indians at Lac du Flambeau, gifts to Northern Colony at Chippewa Falls, gifts and favors to the Colonial Home at Colby.

Club women have been in charge of United Fund Drives, Inoculation Clinics at the school, Eye Testing at the school, and were instrumental in getting voting booths and curtains for the Village.

They have also sent Christmas packages to shut-ins every year since 1946.

During the past few years the club has had a Welcoming Committee who has called on each new family moving into Spencer, leaving a gift for each, the cost of the gifts being paid by the club.



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