More than 100 years ago, Jane Cunningham Croly, a professional journalist from New York City, was told women were not welcome when she wanted to cover a dinner at an all-male press club honoring British novelist, Charles Dickens. In response, she formed the Sorosis Club for women in 1868.
Twenty-one years later, the Sorosis Club brought together members of similar clubs in 19 states to form the General Federation of Women’s Clubs. Now the GFWC is the largest volunteer organization in the world.
Under the motto “Unity in Diversity”, GFWC has built an outstanding record of accomplishment.
It is an international women’s organization dedicated to community improvement by enhancing the lives of others, educating communities, and expanding opportunities for women. Club women raise millions of dollars annually, working millions of hours on thousands of projects.
GFWC was an important force in founding America’s first national parks and supported the creation of the National Parks Service. GFWC was instrumental in securing national support for the United Nations. The Federation had campaigns for seatbelts in all cars, lights on neighborhood streets, and accurate labeling of food and medications in the early years.
The General Federation of Women’s Clubs of Massachusetts was chartered into the GFWC International on February 5, 1894. It was founded in 1893 by Julia Ward Howe (author of the Battle Hymn of the Republic). The objective is to bring the women’s clubs of Massachusetts together to provide a networking system for clubs within the state, with other state federations, and with GFWC International. Jointly with GFWC International, local clubs are credited with establishing more than 75% of the nation’s libraries.
The Westborough Women’s Club was founded in 1916. Over 100 women met to begin the organization. Their first play was Prunella in 1917. Many years later, 1936, the Westborough Players Club would be formed as a result of the members’ interests. Club members ran a community thrift shop from 1933-1941. Westborough Women’s Club ran a kindergarten class for the town from 1945 to 1976 when the town took over. In 1963 the club saw the Hundredth Town Chorus form as a spinoff of their musical endeavors over the years. Community improvements projects have been a mainstay of the club. Scholarships to high school students began in 1926. In1956 Mrs. Louis Denfeld presented a silver coffee service in honor of her mother, Mrs. Walter Metcalf. Mrs. Metcalf was the first club president of Westborough Women’s Club.