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Records of the Melrose Woman's Club

Identifier: Ms 070

Scope and Content

The collection includes the minutes from 1891-1963, questionnaires from 1955, 1957, 1962-66 and a file of miscellaneous records from 1970-74. The minutes from 1891-1904 are on loose-leaf paper, organized chronologically. These minutes include records of the first elections of officers, dues paid, membership rosters, and literature lists. In particular, the 1891 minutes include transcripts of talks given to the group on women's rights, marriage laws, and equal education and employment for men and women. The minutes also detail fundraising efforts for constructing the new hall, completed in 1893. The minutes from 1908-1963 are in ledgers, organized chronologically. These include descriptions of debate topics, details on the annual luncheons, fundraising and donation details, membership rosters, election results, and discussions on the sponsorship of the public library. The questionnaires detail the group's activities during 1955-57, 1962-66. These include mostly service-orientated activities such as general beautification projects and the group's scholarship fund. The miscellaneous folder contains two copies of the Articles of Incorporation dated 1970 and three booklets that contain the calendar of events from 1972-1974.


  • 1891-1974



The collection is open for research.

Biographical/Historical Note

The Melrose Woman's Club was established as the Literary and Debating Society in 1890. It was one of the first women's clubs in Florida, founded by women who moved to the area of Melrose from New England. In 1893, carpenter E.L. Judd built the hall where the Literary and Debating Society conducted their meetings. In 1946 this building became the Melrose Woman's Club. The hall is still used by the group and in 1978 it was listed on the National Register of Historical Places.

The Literary and Debating Society created the Improvement Society for Melrose in 1891 and in 1895 opened its library for public use. The women met to listen to speakers and debate on topics such as equal rights, music, education and finance. The club had annual luncheons and conducted fundraising events for the community. In 1959 the club took on the responsibility of sponsoring the public library. The club's general purpose is the "literary, educational, civic, and social improvement of members and of the community."


1 Linear feet (2 boxes)

Language of Materials



Records (including minutes, membership rosters, secretary and treasurer reports, questionnaires, etc.) of the Melrose Woman's Club, previously the Literary and Debating Society.

Physical Location

University of Florida Smathers Library Building

Related Material

The correspondence of Elizabeth Holmes Orr in the Orr Family Papers may be of interest to researchers, as Mrs. Orr maintained a winter residence in Melrose.

A Guide to the Records of the Melrose Woman's Club
Finding aid created by Katherine Walters
March 2007
Description rules
Finding Aid Prepared Using Dacs
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida Repository

George A. Smathers Libraries
PO Box 117005
Gainesville Florida 32611-7005 United States of America