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The Complete Club Book for Women Including Subjects, Material and References for Study Programs; together with a Constitution and By-Laws; Rules of Order; Instructions how to make a Year Book; Suggestions for Practical Community Work; a Resume of what Some Clubs are Doing, etc., etc.

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CHAPTER I Suggestions for Club Work

There is no difficulty in starting a club; any group of women who are interested in the same things may form themselves into a simple organization. But the great question will surely arise: What shall we study? And here club members are certain to divide into three distinct classes.

The first group consists of women who have for years been absorbed in home-making and child-rearing. The world of books has been practically closed to them. The club to which they wish to belong must offer them an opportunity for self-development, one in which they will obtain the culture which comes from the study of art and music and literature; one where their hungry minds will be fed.

But the group of young women,—perhaps college graduates,—have no sympathy with this desire; they have had enough of books! They demand that all the energies of the club shall be devoted to the good of the community, to the "larger housekeeping," to preparation for citizenship. Who can stop to write dull papers on Italian Art in this day of efficiency?

Between these two groups of women there is a third, made up of women who have kept up their reading in spite of family cares, and who also believe in the practical work outside the home which seems to them almost within their grasp. But they lack self-confidence; speaking in public is absolutely impossible; even to lift a voice in a club discussion is a serious matter.

Now the perfect club takes cognizance of these three classes of women and provides for them all. It offers to the first group an opportunity for study; and surely no woman ever grows beyond the place where she still has something to learn. There are always fresh fields of poetry and travel, of music and art which unfold with the years and tempt one on.

And then it offers training to the timid woman who fears to hear her own voice. At first she may merely read a club paper, but little by little she learns to give a quotation, to put a motion or offer a suggestion; and finally she finds she can speak without notes, or take her part in a debate and hold her own with self-possession and dignity. And that means that she has acquired a liberal education.

As to the energetic class between these two, the ideal club has plenty for them, also. There has never been an opportunity for community work like that offered to-day, offered especially to those women who have been made capable by their training in their own little study clubs to cope with questions of hygiene, of tenement house wrongs and immigrants' problems; they have the widest scope for their energies. If they are wise, they will accept the opportunity of using the woman's club and make it a center of social service.

The following programs are planned to cover all these requirements. The first one is intended to lay out many lines of community work from which each club is asked to choose what best suits the needs of her own locality. Every second club meeting may be given to the study of the various problems presented by the town, and remedies may first be suggested and then resolved upon. Coöperation with other clubs is also urged, and also the need of working with, rather than against, the city fathers.

Alternating with meetings on these practical and helpful lines clubs are invited to study some one of the subjects which follow this first comprehensive program. Whatever appeals most to club members, music or history, literature or travel, may be selected. References to books are offered to assist in preparation of club papers.

It will be found that, on the whole, it is seldom best for a club to choose a miscellaneous program for an entire year's work. Too often such a choice means a grotesque range from Life in Early Egypt to the Waverley Novels, and from the Panama Canal to Spring Flowers....