90th Anniversary Celebration of
The Woman's Club of Larchmont, Inc.
October 2. 2015
A "High Tea" was held at the Larchmont Yacht Club for the 90th Anniversary of The Woman's Club of Larchmont, Inc, A History Table displayed photos, programs and articles of events over the years, along with a running slide show of faces old and new.
Many members were in period costumes, with colorful hats, boas, and long pearls of the Flapper Age, etc. Stunning floral arrangements complemented the inviting baked goods, jams and spreads evoking the past era along with an excellent assortment of teas and coffees. A glass of wine or soft drink elicited private toasts at the tables.
The President welcomed everyone with a speech (printed below)
after which she had arranged for all to toast with a glass of sparkling bubbly.
A great time was had by all.
See speech below...
WELCOME SPEECH 90th ANNIVERSARY
by Anne-Mieke Smeets, President 2014-2016
Welcome to the 90th Anniversary Celebration of our Woman's Club of Larchmont. I would especially like to welcome all our members and their guests, and the visiting presidents from other Women's Clubs:
Joyce Balint, Bronxville Women's Club, Mary Ann Boustead, Woman's Club of White Plains, Christine Cowan, Manor Club of Pelham, Julie Marbach, Woman's Club White Plains, Catherine McSweeney, Manor Club of Pelham;
plus our honorary members Laura Eckeley, Larchmont Library and June Hesler, Larchmont Library. I would also like to welcome Nancy Seligson, Supervisor Town of Mamaroneck; Peter Fanelli, Trustee Village of Larchmont; Jaine Elkind Eney, Trustee Town of Mamaroneck and a member; Ernest Odierna, Trustee Town of Mamaroneck;
and, of course, our own past Presidents who are here today -- Doree Kluss,
Camille Odierna, Janet Day, and Lorraine Stratis.
"It has long been a dream and desire of a number of Women in Larchmont to establish a Woman's Club," this according to the minutes written on January 30, 1925. There were 12 founding members (see our Yearbook) and the idea of establishing the Club was to improve the quality of life for women, children and families in their immediate area. The main thought was to be interested in all problems in the community. The Club is non-partisan and no member shall be barred because of politics or religion!
You might enjoy the early description of what makes a perfect member according to the standards of the Twenties: "One must be charming, refined, personable, attractive, educated, of good moral character, ideally no children, own property, and belong to other organizations! The Club was an important entity that helped bring a lot of change to the Larchmont/Mamaroneck communities.
In the ensuing years as membership increased, the scope of work has gone beyond Larchmont to include state projects helping children from broken homes, assisting battered women, helping families stricken with major illnesses, aiding working parents in need of child care and helping parents cope with the loss of a job.
In the 90 years of existence, the Club changed a lot when members started to join the work force, especially during World War II. An evening section was established, but abandoned after many years and incorporated into the Club as it exists today. Many great programs were offered; trips, plays, dancing lessons, gardening classes, language and art classes, lectures, fashion shows, discussion groups, dramas, music programs, even the making of teddy bears for Westchester Medical Center's Christmas celebration. The Club offered an impressive array of community programs over the years, however, one of its principal purposes was -- and still is -- Philanthropy. We are quite successful in organizing such events. Each year all the considerable funds raised at the Philanthropic Luncheon are distributed to local charities and institutions.
It is really fascinating to delve into our history and get a glimpse of it by looking at the photos, articles, etc. on display at today's "History Table." In 1985 a history book The First Sixty Years was distributed to all members, and in 2000 a special book The Woman's Club of Larchmont, Inc. A History: 1925 - 2000 was published and distributed.
At the 50th Anniversary of our Club in 1975, the then Past President Mrs. Albert Bollengier, Jr, remarked: "Meeting the challenge of tomorrow is an ongoing concern of the Woman's Club of Larchmont. If an organization cannot meet the needs of changing circumstances, it is doomed." Although those words sound very gloomy, I have to say that celebrating our 90th anniversary today with this High Tea is a grand highlight. It is testimony that our Club is doing well attracting enthusiastic young as well as mature members, and I am very optimistic to see a long future ahead.
Enjoy this wonderful High Tea, and if you would like to stay a little longer
afterwords, please come to the Club Room to continue your conversations with a nice drink for a little while longer!
I thank all members who helped organize this wonderful event, especially Pat O'Donnell, our Club Historian, who took care of all the reservations, Camille Odierna for putting the History Table together with Pat and me, and Dee vanEyck with her committee who made the beautiful invitations and centerpieces. Many members were involved in the planning, and I thank you all very much for your help. Also a thank you to those who are lending us some of their beautiful tea cups and saucers (Debbie Campbell, Lorraine Stratis, and Mary Bonner).
Let us all raise or glasses to the Happy 90th Anniversary!
Enjoy the afternoon!