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History of the Country Woman's Club

Our organization, known as the Country Woman's Club of Campbell, had its beginning early in January, 1905. At that time a small group of women interested in the improvement of their town and the development of themselves, met in one of their homes and formulated plans for a club.

Articles of Incorporation, dated January 19, 1905, were drawn up. Purposes of the organization were stated and remain to this day.

Mrs. Ida Price was elected to serve as the first president and was reelected for the three succeeding years.

In May, 1905, a room was rented in a building at the corner of Campbell Avenue and South Central and was outfitted as a reading room. These ambitious women voted that same month to purchase property on the southwest corner of Campbell Avenue and First Street from the town's founder, Benjamin Campbell.

In April 1907, the women voted to borrow money and erect a temporary one-room building. The books were moved to this building. Meetings continued and at first each member had charge of a meeting. She prepared book reports, etc. and presented them to the group. The women decided it would be easier to have a yearly theme and programs were planned accordingly. We still follow this procedure. The women kept before them the vision of a library building for Campbell, and ways of making money were planned and carried out. Finally, an intensive campaign was begun. The sum of $10,000 was finally subscribed and work began on the building.

On September 17, 1923, the Club held its first meeting in the Library Room of the new building, and on October 8, they met for the first time in the Community Room. On the evening of November 19, 1928, just five years later, a special ceremony was held and the mortgage was burned.

What foresight this small group of women had, and what intestinal fortitude to stick to a task and see it through to completion. You can well imagine the dinners and special projects on which the women worked to raise funds then and in future years to enlarge the kitchen, install a new roof, and purchase chairs to accommodate larger groups. The members never tired of working to keep the building in repair because they had accomplished their goal, a lovely room for a branch of the county library as well as a community room to meet the needs of the ever-growing farming community.

The community room served a variety of needs in addition to being a meeting room for the Club. During wartime, the room was used for Red Cross sewing. When Campbell became a city in 1952, some of the early City Council meetings were held in this room. Talent of the membership was encouraged as well as talent from the locals schools, and many young musicians performed before the club. Young artists were also recognized for their talents.

Members of the Club have always been ready to accept change when they felt it was for the good of the organization. In 1972, it was deemed advisable to sell our building. It now houses commercial enterprises, but remains one of Campbell's historic buildings. We now meet in rented quarters with occasional luncheon meetings held in various restaurants throughout the area.

The Club's long time efforts to provide our community with a permanent library culminated in the passage of a bond issue in 1967, which resulted in the construction of the Campbell Branch of the Santa Clara County Library system, which opened in 1975.

The Club still supports the library as well as the Campbell Historical Museum. Its display was first housed in our building and later moved to the lower level of the new library. In 1984, the museum relocated to the Campbell historic Firehouse #1 building and also in 1994 expanded to the Carriage House next to the Ainsley House.

In 1998 the Club implemented a Supporting category of membership. Women unable to attend daytime meetings now have the option of attending evening meetings.

Our Club still recognizes young talent and the major portion of our fund raising efforts go towards scholarships to students of the Campbell Union High School District. In 2000 the Club fulfilled its obligation to fund an endowment to support those scholarships.

Our Club was the first organization to support the community efforts to restore the Heritage Theatre. A pledge of $25,000 to the Theatre by the clubwomen was fulfilled in 2003.

We belong to the Federation of Women's Clubs on the District, State, and National level. We have been a successful club because we have kept our ideals high and because we are a working group, always keeping in mind the ideas of helping one another, growing as a group and spreading good influence throughout our community. The Club feels that the years have proved the wisdom of its aims, and we invite you to join us in further carrying them out and extending our usefulness in new endeavors.

Veva Chamberlin
President 1966-1968
November 1983, Revised 1985, 1994, 2000, 2002, 2003.

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