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New Century Club - MS 251

Introduction | Agency History | Scope and Content | Series DescriptionOrder of Microfilming


The records of the New Century Club of Perrysburg, Wood County, Ohio, cover the period from 1900 to 2013. The collection details the activities of a women's literary club, exhibiting the character of the well-to-do woman in a moderately sized Ohio community. Club minutes, yearly programs, periodic literary endeavors, and a limited amount of correspondence help to give a clear idea of the education and charitable emphasis among women since the turn of the century.

The donation and transfer of these records to the Center for Archival Collections was arranged through the cooperation of the 1982 club president, Mrs. Wayne (Donna) Goodbar, and Jill Gates Smith, field specialist for the Women's Studies Archives Project (WSAP). An addition was received in July 1993 from Mrs. Carol B. Wilson. No restrictions exist on the use of this collection. Duplication is permitted for the purposes of preservation and research. The register was prepared by S. D. Weinandy in March 1983, with additions made by Marilyn Levinson, Curator of Manuscripts, in July 1993 and August of 2013.

 Agency History

The New Century Club was organized in 1900 in Perrysburg, Ohio as an afternoon literary society. This club was formed around the Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Club in 1900 and became known as the Ladies' Reading Club. At the second meeting the name "New Century Club" was chosen and the "Julia Ward Howe" constitution and bylaws were adopted. The first meeting with a complete program was held on December 28, 1900, with a membership of fifteen. Since then membership has ranged from twelve to thirty members.

During the meeting the club members often gave presentations on the history, literature, and major personalities of foreign countries as well as on political and social practices within the United States. Community members from outside the club were invited to speak at meetings with increasing frequency since mid-century. One of the club's major functions has been fund-raising for civic causes, through membership fees and occasional productions. In 1923 the club had a log cabin built in which to hold meetings and to house items of local historical interest. This was soon transferred to Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops for use until it was razed in 1953. Other projects include the landscaping and maintenance of Hood Park in Perrysburg, and the donation of books to the local library. The Club also has had a few literary endeavors such as poetry and, in 1918, a collectively-written novel.

Meetings were held bi-monthly, usually in the members' homes, from October through May, until 1941 when meetings were held monthly.

 Scope and Content

The New Century Club Collection, which spans the years form 1900 to 1993/94 demonstrates the activities of middle and upper-middle class women in a small town society. The material is arranged chronologically by record series and includes minutes, yearly programs, clippings, correspondence, and original writings. Newspaper clippings have been photocopied on acid-neutral paper and the original discarded.

The minutes are the most essential part of the collection. Although the handwriting is sometimes difficult to read, the contents are quite comprehensive, covering the years from 1914 through 1992. In them, the secretaries have recorded in detail the activities of the meetings. This includes individual presentations, recitals, meeting rituals, financial transactions, names of members present, and points raised during the discussion periods. The records of the discussion periods show the political and social awareness of these women from the Midwest since the turn of the century.

The printed programs cover a somewhat larger time period than the minutes, from 1900 to the 1993/94 program year, but are less significant. They are helpful for a less detailed study in that they are largely a concentrated form of the minutes. The programs also contain a list of names of members, officers, presentations, and discussion topics, but they do little more than list them. Missing are programs from 1903-1907 and 1978-1979.

An interesting part of the collection is a novel written collectively in 1918. Although one chapter out of twelve is missing, the quaint intricacies are quite evident in this novel of German spies and love in World War I America. Its main significance is that the perceptions and ideals of these middle-class women during the war years are made clear. Other literary achievements are three poems attributed to club members and an essay, author unknown.

Also included in the collection is correspondence, which is of minor interest. It includes information about a reading course from 1906 and a request from a library that the club hold a library day, also dated 1906. A ledger for the years 1937 through 1954 details financial transactions that also may be found in the minutes. Other material includes the club constitution and bylaws, a declaration of trust of shares of stocks from 1953; a list of program speakers and biographies from 1971-1972, and a 1972 ballot for the revision of the New Century Club constitution and bylaws.

 Series Description


Arranged chronologically
Includes the records of meeting activities such as individual presentations, membership records, recitals, meeting rituals, financial transactions, and group discussions.

ca. 1920, 1990.
Arranged chronologically
The constitution and bylaws of the New Century Club including amendments up to 1919 and a 1990 revision.


An inquiry by the New Century Club into the Bay View Reading Club; and the Reading Club's response.

1906, 1968.
Arranged chronologically
A letter from the local library encouraging the New Century Club members to hold a library day and to continue their support for reading, and a letter listing memorial books donated by the Club.


Both a photocopy and the original are included in this collectively written story set in World War I America.

1937, n.d.
Includes poems by club members, Mrs. Edith Bradenhuber and Nellie Berning, and a small piece on "friendship," author unknown.


Arranged chronologically
Details the club's financial transactions.


1936-1991, n.d. (Scattered)
Arranged chronologically
Includes articles relative to the club printed in local newspapers, such as a poem, early club history, and club activities.

1900-1977 (scattered).
Arranged chronologically
Contains programs, photographs, certificates, and news articles (photocopies) documenting the club's activities which were removed from two scrapbooks for preservation purposes.


1900-1903, 1907-1977, 1979-1994, 1999/2000-2006/2007, 2009/2010-2013/2014
Arranged chronologically
Provides a concise source of club members' names, officers and activities.

1950, 1953, 1971-1972.
Arranged by type of document.
Contents include a declaration of trust of shares of stock, a note on club history, one list of program speakers and biographies, a ballot for the revision of the New Century Club constitution and bylaws, and an invitation to the Club's Semi-Centennial.


Box 1


  1. Minutes, October 1914-May 1923
  2. Minutes, October 1923-May 1932
  3. Minutes, October 1932-May 1940
  4. Minutes, October 1940-June 1945
  5. Minutes, October 1945-June 1953
  6. Minutes, October 1953-March 1960
  7. Minutes, April 1960-June 1967

Box 2


  1. Minutes, October 1967-December 1978
  2. Minutes, January 1979-June 1992
  3. Constitution, ca. 1920, 1990
  4. Correspondence--Bay View, 1906
  5. Correspondence--Library, 1906, 1968
  6. Novel--Original (Chapters 1-5), 1918
  7. Novel--Original (Chapters 6-10, 12), 1918
  8. Novel--Copy (Chapters 1-5), 1918
  9. Novel--Copy (Chapters 6-10, 12), 1918
  10. Poetry and club history, written by Adele Brownlee, 1937, n.d.
  11. Ledger, 1937-1954
  12. Clippings, 1936-1991, n.d.
  13. Scrapbook material, 1900-1977 (scattered)

Box 3


  1. Programs, 1900/01-1902/03, 1907/08
  2. Programs, 1908/09-1911/12
  3. Programs, 1912/13-1915/16
  4. Programs, 1916/17-1919/20
  5. Programs, 1920/21-1923/24
  6. Programs, 1924/25-1927/28
  7. Programs, 1928/29-1931/32
  8. Programs, 1932/33-1935/36
  9. Programs, 1936/37-1939/40
  10. Programs, 1940/41-1943/44
  11. Programs, 1944/45-1947/48
  12. Programs, 1948/49-1951/52

Box 4


  1. Programs, 1952/53-1955/56
  2. Programs, 1956/57-1959/60
  3. Programs, 1960/61-1963/64
  4. Programs, 1964/65-1967/68
  5. Programs, 1968/69-1971/72
  6. Programs, 1972/73-1975/76
  7. Programs, 1976/77-1979/80-1980/81
  8. Programs, 1981/82-1983/84, 1988/89-1990/91
  9. Programs, 1991/92-1993/94
  10. Programs, 1999/2000-2005/2006
  11. Programs, 2006/2007, 2009/2010-2013/2014
  12. Miscellaneous, 1950, 1953, 1971-1972
  13. Photograph, n.d.

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