Well aware of their historic precedence, the Woman’s Literary Club of Baltimore kept meticulous records, especially during the first twenty-five years of its existence. The papers of the Club, held at the Maryland Center for History and Culture in Baltimore, Maryland, include membership logs and dues books, over 3,000 pages of handwritten (and later typed) meeting minutes, printed programs, printed and manuscript versions of the Club constitution, scrapbooks, correspondence, and other materials relating to the Club. Many of these documents have been transcribed or otherwise transformed into digitally searchable documents on this archival website.
The Maryland Center for History and Culture holds complete minutes for meetings between 1890 and 1920, and rough transcriptions of the vast majority have been uploaded to this site. Notes for additional seasons are in the process of being transcribed and all are being annotated to provide historical and situational context for the benefit of students and researchers.
The WLCB had programs printed for each of their weekly meetings, and an almost complete collection of programs from 1890-1914 is held at the Maryland Center for History and Culture. Each program lists the date, order of events, titles of works shared, who created those works, who presented them to the Club, and which committee was in charge of organizing the meeting. The data contained in these programs has been transcribed and made available as part of this archive.
One of the first tasks the WLCB laid out for itself was creating a constitution and a set of by-laws. The Club revisited this document at different points over the years, and issued new versions in the form of printed pamphlets and manuscript copies preserved in large, leather-bound volumes held at the Maryland Center for History and Culture. This site includes transcriptions of Constitutions from 1890, 1894, and 1902.
Club membership was documented in varying forms over the Club’s existence. Extant in the MCHC collection are dues books for the Club’s early years, as well as “roll call” lists taken at the May business meetinsg and occasionally at other times during the season. The Club also documented the nomination, election, and induction of new members and member resignations in the Club minutes. These dispersed data are being consolidated into a single spreadsheet, available in provisional form here.
Note: All materials included here are held at the Maryland Center for History and Culture and were transcribed with the support of an Aperio Series of Humane Texts grant from the Center for the Humanities at Loyola University Maryland. They are reproduced here with permission. Those seeking to consult the original documents should contact MCHC.