Faculty Women's Club (1938-2004)
- Existence: 1938 - 2004
The Faculty Women's Club of Saint Louis University was organized in 1939 by Mrs. Leo R. Kennedy, the wife of the Dean of the School of Education and Social Sciences. At that time lay faculty were being hired in larger numbers to enhance the existing faculty, which had been primarily Jesuit. Because most of these new faculty members came to Saint Louis from other cities, they had few acquaintances in the area. Mrs. Kennedy recognized the need for a support and friendship group for the wives of the (then almost exclusively male) faculty, who were at home raising young families, and for a social organization to improve the campus atmosphere.
The response to an invitation to join was enthusiastic, and in a short time the members were asked to plan and serve as hostesses at all-University events. Not only wives of faculty members, but the growing number of female faculty and administators, began to join the club. The club provided a friendship link between the University and its former employees, as well as current faculty and staff. Shared babysitting, swimming classes for children, and neighborhood gatherings were soon followed by planning all-University social events, including post-basketball parties, after-theatre parties, and the annual faculty dinner. They also served as hostesses for the President's receptions, and organized hospitality for international students. They used raised funds to purchase their own silver tea and coffee service for these social events.
Monthly meetings (except during the summer and in January) featured speakers from both campus and off-campus sources, and since they held most of their meetings at Cupples House after it was restored by Father McNamee, the club "adopted" Cupples House as their project, raising funds for art framing, the purchase of a carpet for the master bedroom, repair of the electric piano, and installation of a restroom on the first floor. Among their fundraisers was the raffle of a quilt made by members. They also raised funds for some all-University projects.
Special-interest groups were also developed by the club - an art group taught by one of the members, a book club and bridge club which met in members' homes, among others. Group attendance at University Theatre performances was usually followed by a social gathering.
The final meeting each year, the annual Spring Luncheon, included a ceremony at which officers were honored and new officers installed. Father Maurice B. NcNamee, who served as "moderator" of the Club for over 50 years and attended most of the meetings, annually installed the new officers.
By consensus the group eventually became peripatetic, visiting various historic sites and places of interest, providing the opportunity for many members to see parts of Saint Louis they otherwise would not have seen: e.g. the Shrine of Saint Philippine Duchesne in Saint Charles, the Saint Louis Art Museum, the Saint Louis Cathedral, Hanley House, the former Jesuit Museum in Florissant, Hawken House, Lemp Mansion, Stump Center at Tower Grove Park, the Saint Louis Zoo, the Missouri HIstory Museum, the former Cartier Exhibit at Busch Memorial Center, Antique Row on Cherokee Street, Missouri Botanical Garden, Campbell House, the Vatican Film Library, and the Cahokia Mounds. The club ceased to exist as a chartered organization in 2004, but a number of members continued to meet informally for some time thereafter.