Just as men’s service clubs started to appear in greater frequency in the early part of the 20th century, the same was happening with women’s organizations. Motivated to provide philanthropic support to local communities as well as a social outlet for sometimes isolated wives and mothers, women began to create independent clubs that encouraged members to gather and have an impact on local problems.
That was certainly the case of the Talbot County Women’s Club. Seeing the number of men’s social groups growing on the Mid-Shore, the founders of the TCWC saw a real need to form their own organization with a special interest in supporting public health in the region. And for decades, they gathered in school classrooms or used men’s clubs like the Chesapeake Bay Yacht Club to bring together a membership that had reached over 250 women by the 1930s.
That’s when Elizabeth Dixon, one of the Club’s founders and president, made it her mission to find a permanent home for the Women’s Club. And to the delight of the membership, the TCWC bought one of the most historic homes in downtown Easton in 1946.
Much has changed since then. Over the next several decades, membership began to drop as women were liberated from domestic duties and were free to pursue professional careers. And, according to current club president Nancy Lutes, the Club has had to make several changes to keep interest in membership relevant to a 21st-century woman.
To that end, Nancy and her board members have begun to modernize the TCWC programming, with a particular emphasis on leadership skills and financial literacy, for the 150 current members. Those changes have already shown signs of success in attracting new members with its modest $50 per year dues.
But as Lutes points out in her interview with the Spy, the TCWC has a special responsibility to maintain their 18th-century clubhouse as their top priority. And that obligation is not an easy one for a building that needs constant maintenance, including their current immediate need to remove lead paint from the home’s exterior to the tune of some $20,000.
This video is approximately four minutes in length. For more information about the Talbot County Women’s Club, please go here.