THE Faculty Women's Club of the University of Michigan owes its inception to the inspiration of Mrs. Marion LeRoy Burton, who had been greatly interested in the work of a similar club at the University of Minnesota and who was thoroughly convinced of the value to a university community of such an organization.
Accordingly Mrs. Burton invited a representative group of fifty University women to meet at her house on October 26, 1921. At this time Mrs. Burton explained the function of the club at Minnesota and its value in welcoming newcomers and through its various sections providing an opportunity for bringing together groups of women interested in the same subjects for study or recreation. It was also agreed that such a club should have no connection with any federation of women's clubs and should not duplicate their activities in any way.
After some discussion, the motion that the Faculty Women's Club of the University of Michigan be formed was made by Mrs. George W. Patterson and seconded by Mrs. Fred N. Scott, and was unanimously carried. A nominating committee was selected, and at a meeting held December 10, 1921, the first officers were elected — Mrs. Marion LeRoy Burton as president, Mrs. Henry M. Bates as vice-president, and Mrs. Emil Lorch as secretary.
The first list of women eligible to membership was decided upon at this time and consisted of "wives and women of the faculty beginning with the rank of instructor. Wives of directors and women holding that title and members of the library staff according to selection to be made by the Librarian." The membership fee was set at $1.00 per annum. Since that time there have been many changes made in the eligibility lists, but the dues have always remained the same.
In addition to the newcomers' section, which had begun its work as soon as the club was started, with calling on strangers, the first sections formed were day-nursery, dramatic, and athletic. The athletic section was discontinued after a short time, but the day-nursery section assumed great importance for some time, and the dramatic section has continued to the present.
In January, 1923, the Regents of the University granted to the Faculty Women's Club, as a meeting place and as a center for the work of the day nursery, the use of the building which had housed the University Health Service, and which stood on the site now occupied by the Burton Memorial Tower. From a very simple beginning, with voluntary helpers to care for the children of the club members who might wish to leave them there during certain afternoons of the week, this work grew to great proportions. The upper rooms of the building were given over to the use of the children. Equipment for lunches and for play activities was installed, and a helper was hired. Later, in January, 1925, by an arrangement with the Regents of the University, the Merrill-Palmer School of Detroit took over the day nursery and operated it as a branch. This work was continued until June, 1929.
Meanwhile the club continued to hold its meetings in the lower rooms of the building. Arrangements for the serving of simple teas necessitated the purchase of some dishes and silver, which the club still owns. The sections were increased as interest in various subjects was manifested, until, at the present Page 419time (June, 1940), nine divisions are very active. They are: art (with three subdivisions), painting, music, garden, drama, play-reading, bibliophiles, bookshelf and stage, and newcomers.'
In 1929, with the opening of the Michigan League Building, the old clubhouse was given up and the general meetings of the club have since been held there.
At this time no doubt remains in the mind of anyone as to the value to the University community of the Faculty Women's Club. It has functioned with increasing success for nineteen years, has a paid membership of 468, and is enjoying a period of great and worth-while activity.