The Friday Club – a member of the New Jersey Federated Women’s Clubs – celebrates 125 years.
To celebrate the milestone, members of the club attended a tea and reception at the Americana in East Windsor on June 4.
Thirteen members presented the general history and the Friday Club contributions for the decade it began, 1896. The women also wore a hat that represented the era’s style.
The Hightstown of 125 years ago was a prospering community. Located at the junction of two major railroad lines, it was a hectic hub of farmers, craftsmen and merchants, according to Shirley Olsen, a member of the Friday Club.
Alice Vose, preceptress of the Peddie School, invited six other women to tea on Jan. 25, 1896. The women then organized the Friday Club of Hightstown.
“Alice probably never imagined that 125 years later, there would still be a thriving group of 40 women carrying on its traditions, working diligently for community interests and supporting women’s issues,” Olsen said. “The educational purpose of the club includes the study of literature and art, the development of civic consciousness and discussions of the vital interests of the day.”
Over the years, the club has set up a scholarship fund for high school seniors who have shown service in their community and have plans to go on to college and the club also sponsors a student at the Career Institute at Douglas College, Rutgers University.
The Friday Club also continues to support the Hightstown Memorial Library, which was established a century ago. The club was also instrumental in initiating and organizing the Hightstown-East Windsor Historical Society.
The club’s membership has deep roots in the community. Many members are named after streets, schools, parks and businesses in Hightstown, which is evident through early club member lists.
“It has accomplished what all capable, successful women’s clubs should, by bringing into its sphere those who desire to improve their world, their nation, their state, their town, and themselves,” Olsen said. “Alice Vose would be proud. So should we all.”