The Woman's Literary Club of Baltimore Archive documents the words and lives of a fascinating group of women. They sought lasting fame in print, but have been all but forgotten. This archive is an attempt to remedy that.
The WLCB was not a book club. These women were writers, and determined to see their works in print. This site features over 1100 publications produced by the 300-odd members of the WLCB—and more are being added as they are rediscovered.
Established in 1890 and meeting for over fifty years without interruption, the WLCB provided a place for aspiring novelists, poets, composers, and playwrights to share their work and their dreams. Their motto, "Parole Femine"—taken from the Maryland state motto "Fatti maschii, parole femine" ("Manly deeds, womanly words")—proudly asserted their identity as women, as writers, and as Marylanders.
The Club was founded by two single, working women, Hester Crawford Dorsey and Louisa Courtland Osburne Haughton. The Club accommodated members who ranged across the social and political spectrum, including suffragettes and society wives, teachers and journalists, Confederate sympathizers and descendants of abolitionists, Protestants and Catholics. No Black women, however, were admitted, despite the thriving African American community in Baltimore of the time.
Here, you can explore the varied writings produced by the WLCB, which we have collected into a "Virtual Library" meant to recreate the now-lost library that was carefully maintained by the Club throughout its existence. Supplementing this central collection are contextual materials about the club (Club Records, biographies of Club members, Club History) that researchers can browse and search, as well as standalone Projects and blog posts that interpret the Club, its members, and their work. The data used to generate this site is freely available for download to enable further research activities.
1853 to 1992
This project was made possible through the generous support of the Center for the Humanities at Loyola University Maryland, Maryland Historical Society, the Loyola-Notre Dame Library, Loyola's Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, and the West Virginia Humanities Council.