Southern Illinois University Carbondale. University Women's Club | Southern Illinois University Special Collections Research Center
The University Women's Club consists of Southern Illinois University women faculty and staff, wives of faculty, and daughters of faculty. The Women's Club was officially organized on April 20, 1948, but the unofficial "Women's Club" began in 1937. Faculty teas were held by the University in an attempt to let everyone become acquainted with each other. Five of the wives, Hulda Dallman, Ellen Davis, Alicia Schneider, Beryl Bowden, and Mildred Gellerman, formed a sewing club and invited all of the wives to join. In 1940, the five women who founded the sewing club decided to separate from the new members. The original five women remained a sewing club and the newer members were called the "Newcomers Club". In 1941, Mrs. Pulliam called a new meeting to have others vote for a faculty wives' club, but World War II inhibited the growth of the club. The sewing club and Newcomers club continued meeting during the war and helped keep the group together until the faculty addressed the need for a women's club following the war.
The Women's Club began when letters were distributed encouraging women to join. The official by-laws for the group stated, "This shall be a social organization, the purpose of which shall be to afford its members an opportunity to broaden their acquaintance, to further friendship, and to serve the University in any way the group may deem advisable". The group decided to sponsor an event with the University and name it "Women's Day". A huge success for the club, the event was continued until 1962. The Newcomers Club eventually became a subsidary group within the Women's Club. The Vice President of the Women's Club would ultimately serve as the head of the Newcomers.
Over the years, the Women's Club grew significantly, forming interest groups appealing to a variety of women. A scholarship fund was established that provides assistance to women at various stages of their education. The club continues to sponsor annual teas and coffees, luncheons, and excursions. A number of events and group activities bring culture to the group in fun and exciting ways.