The Saturday Club, ‘Suburban’ Archives, State Federation of Pennsylvania Women

From time to time this writer has occasion to refer to the files of “The Suburban” for material for her column that is nowhere else on record. In bound form these files are complete back to February, 1906, when fire completely destroyed “The Suburban” office, then located on East Lancaster avenue.

This particular type of research work is a time consuming affair for the reason that it is so difficult for the writer to confine her attention to the particular subject on hand at the moment. A familiar name in the next column catches her eye, and she must read that article to the end even though it has no slightest relation to the matter on hand!

The old files are indeed veritable storehouses of records of people and happenings in Wayne back almost to the turn of the century–a composite picture in print of our churches, schools, township government and organizations, in short, of Radnor township itself. From time to time sketches made at random from material in these files will appear in this column.

Opening up to May, 1907, issues, a date just forty-five years past, we read of the election to office of the 16th president of the Saturday Club, Mrs. Milton J. Orme. This month the Club elected its 37th president, Mrs. Spencer V. Smith, who on May 20 will be installed in office. Inauguration day feel on June 4, 45 years ago.

In addition to Mrs. Orme, the officers were Mrs. Robert LeBoutillier and Mrs. S. T. Fulweiler, first and second vice-presidents; Mrs. George H. Wilson corresponding secretary, and Mrs. W. W. Heberton, treasurer. There were six directors: Mrs. C. J. Wood, Mrs. Fulweiler, Mrs. Thomas, Mrs. W. W. Tarbell, Mrs. F. D. Scanlon and Mrs. C. H. Howson.

On Inauguration Day the Club was very festive in its decorations of green and white, the Club colors. Miss Edith G. Freeman was in charge of a musical program which featured songs by the Club Chorus and by Miss Lilian Walter, soloist, and piano numbers by Miss Marguerite Elder. There was also an amusing skit on “Sightseeing” read by Mrs. J. W. Show. The meeting concluded with a discussion of a subject of absorbing interest–the twelfth annual convention of the State Federation of Pennsylvania Women to be held in October at the Devon Inn with the Saturday Club as the hostess Club.

A matter of even greater pride to the Club was the fact that Mrs. Ellis L. Campbell (now Mrs. William Henry Sayen), a woman who had twice been president of the Club, was now president of the State Federation. As such she would call to order the opening meeting of the Federation. As such she would call to order the opening meeting of the Federation. This meeting would be held in the Ball Room of the Devon Inn.

When the 55th annual meeting of the State Federation is held the latter part of this month there will be several thousand women in attendance. In fact there are only about three or four cities in Pennsylvania with hotel accommodations sufficient to house the delegates. This year the convention will be held in Harrisburg. In 1907 an attendance of 300 was considered large. Many of those from the western part of the State came by a specially chartered train.

To plan for their entertainment required a large and efficient committee. Heading it was Mrs. George Miles Wells, a former president of the Club and one of Wayne’s best known women. Assisting her were Mrs. William B. Riley, Mrs. P. S. Conrad, Mrs. S. T. Fulweiler, Mrs. J. H. Jefferis, Mrs. C. B. Stilwell, Mrs. George H. Wilson, Mrs. C. J. Wood, Mrs. Frank Smith, Mrs. W. A. Nichols, Mrs. Harold A. Freeman, and Mrs. A. A. Parker. All of these women were prominent in the civic and social life of Wayne at that time.

When the Convention opened on Tuesday afternoon in the ballroom of the Devon Inn, delegates were welcomed by Mrs. Orme as president of the hostess club. It was a matter of much interest and pride to Saturday Club members that when Mrs. Campbell responded she was speaking not only as president of the State Federation, but as a charter member and past president of the Saturday Club. At the reception at the Inn that evening they were equally pleased that Mrs. Campbell’s address contained “many references to the home Club.”

Special guest of honor at the reception was Mrs. Sarah Platt Decker, president of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs. The evening program of entertainment consisted of the presentation of the cantata, “Sleeping Beauty” by the Saturday Club chorus under the direction of Miss Edith G. Freeman. Solo parts were sung by Miss Florence Fulweiler, Miss Lillian Walters and Miss Freeman.

Another feature of the evening was the reading of a humorous poem on “Suffrage” by a well-known leader of that militant group, Miss Jane Campbell.

It is interesting to note what were the matters of paramount importance as evidenced by the topics of talks given at various sessions. In addition to suffrage, there were those on “Modern Methods of Prevention and Cure of Tuberculosis”, “Home Economics as an Educational Phase in Civics” and one on “Civic Improvement” in which Mrs. Edward W. Biddle, of Carlisle, incoming president of the State Federation stated that “in the great present day movements for civic improvement, unquestionably for the most potent single factor is the influence of womens’ clubs”. Club women were also being urged at this time to use their influence in the matter of Child Labor Laws, an issue of great importance in Pennsylvania. Dr. Samuel Lindsay, of Columbia University, strongly recommended a Child Labor committee in the State Federation in his talk before one of its sessions.

The convention had its less serious side, however, in the way of entertainment for the delegates. One afternoon they were guests at tea of Miss M. Carey Thomas, president of Bryn Mawr College, who later arranged for a tour of the buildings and grounds under the guidance of Senior students. That evening a performance of “Taming of the Shrew” was given at the Devon Inn, followed by the singing of Shakespearean songs under the direction of Mrs. Fulweiler of the Saturday Club.

To those who may not know Mrs. Ellis L. Campbell as the present Mrs. William Henry Sayen, it will be interesting to learn that she is still living in her home on Walnut avenue, and that up to a few years ago was active in the Saturday Club. In addition to serving as president of the State Federation in 1907, she was its first president, and is now an honorary president of that organization.