In 1868, newspaper writer Jennie June Croly was refused admission to a dinner given by the Press Club of New York honoring Charles Dickens because she was a woman. Her indignation was such that she interested some of her friends in forming a club for women named, “Sorosis” (a collective fruit formed by the union of many flowers).
In 1890, there were 97 clubs in existence across the US. These groups were formed into a permanent organization, renamed “the General Federation of Women’s Clubs.” Today there are 8,500 clubs with 350,000 members around the country.
Women’s club members have fought for the first child labor laws, cancer detection campaigns, human rights, crime reduction, enactment of the 8-hour work day, election reform, equal rights for women, consumer protection legislation, establishment of public libraries, and domestic violence protection, among other causes to help better the human condition.