Federated GFWC 1891
Federated GFWC/CT 1897
Waterbury Women’s Club, organized in April 1889, was one of 61 women’s organizations invited to a conference in New York, when the seeds of Federation were planted. Waterbury Women’s Club applied for membership and was federated in 1891. Waterbury Women’s Club celebrated 112th birthday this year and joined the Connecticut Federation in 1897. Our service to our community, state and nation has continued without interruption. We promote and participate in every GFWC program. Although our membership is fewer that 60, we still make substantial contributions to many worthwhile projects. To date, Waterbury women’s Club has contributed more than three thousand dollars worth of books and teaching materials to local public schools and libraries for Libraries 2000. Some current activities include sponsoring classical music concerts for local school children. We provide the programs and the city provides the transportation. Since we began this project three years ago, we have served more than five thousand students, mostly inner city youngsters, to a form of the arts they would not normally experience. We give numerous scholarships to high school and college women; we support our local food pantries and soup kitchens – both with donations and volunteer help. We make and donate layettes for welfare babies; we continue to knit bonnets for newborns in our two local hospitals; we make johnny shirts for Operation Smile. We were one of the first organizations to provide our police department with bullet proof vests. When a call went out for repairs to a mobile health van in the city, our Club was the only one to respond, providing new stairs for the van and awnings to shelter patients waiting outside for their appointments. During World War II, our members manned the Victory House on the City Green and held the record for selling the most stamps and bonds of any sponsoring organization. Before the city had “branch” libraries in parts of the city, our club provided and (wo)manned a traveling library to bring books to the public. Back in the early 1900s, when there was a labor dispute between the local trolley line and the city, our members voted to support the drivers and vowed to use only that form of transportation until the matter was settled. When birth control was an issue in the 50s, we had a controversial speaker on the subject at one of our meetings and were picketted by several religious groups! Waterbury Women’s Club members are active in the State and International Federation by attending all regional and national meeetings. Several of our members have held state offices in GFWC/CT. We currently have 10 Gold Card members with 50 years of service, all of whom are still active and attend our meetings.