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Our History: Gallery

Our History

A Legacy of  Education & Libraries

Original 1918 GFWC Clarksville Women's Club Victorian clubhouse

The Clarksville Women's Club is rich in history surrounding the club’s beginnings in Montgomery County. In 1901, several local women’s clubs banded together to form The Clarksville Federation of Women’s Clubs. The original purpose was to establish, house and support a circulating library for the community.


In 1918, the Clarksville Federation purchased a stately Victorian building at the corner of Main and N. 2nd streets, which became the home of the first Clarksville Public Library and remained so for nearly 50 years. Prior to this time period, libraries only existed in private homes of wealthy businessmen. Sallie Hurst Peay, the club’s president at the time, purchased the building at auction as the club's representative.

 
The building soon became both a public library and a civic center for various events, such as banquets, lectures, club meetings of all types, concerts and plays. Over the years, the Clarksville Women's Club has expanded their focus to include other Community Service areas such as Arts & Culture, Civic Engagement, Environment, Domestic Violence Awareness, Child Advocacy and the ladies of the club have done so much more.to advance the cultural and civic climate of Clarksville and its residents. GFWC is credited with starting over 700+ public and traveling libraries all across America with Clarksville, TN being an important part of that movement.

Honoring our Past Presidents

The members of the club were the founding mothers of the Clarksville Federation of Women's Clubs names that are still familiar today; names like Barksdale, Runyon, Stacker and Peay

Jane Cunningham Croly

The  GFWC  Story


Founded in 1890, GFWC’s roots can be traced back to 1868 when Jane Cunningham Croly, a professional journalist, attempted to attend a presentation dinner at an all-male press club honoring British novelist Charles Dickens.
 
Croly was denied admittance based upon her gender, and in response, formed a woman’s club—Sorosis. In celebration of Sorosis’ 21st anniversary in 1889, Jane Croly invited women’s clubs throughout the United States to pursue the cause of federation by attending a convention in New York City.
 
On April 24, 1890, 63 clubs officially formed the General Federation of Women’s Clubs by ratifying the GFWC constitution.  Since then, GFWC’s impact has been felt throughout communities across the Unites States and the globe.

"Living the Volunteer Spirit"

Clarksville Women's Club
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