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Growing Together

As the United States entered the World War I, club focus shifted away from local interests . Before long, both the General and Missouri Federation of Clubs began “war work,” helping with the Red Cross and other service organizations.  The GFWC created many committees during the war, including the Local Defense Committees for Women, and War Relief Committees.  The GFWC these groups overseas to do volunteer work .  Through one such group, the Overseas Service Unit, under the direction of the YMCA, the GFWC sent a group of 100 women to Europe to assist wounded soldiers in the aftermath of World War I.   

After the war ended, attention shifted back towards club missions and the national clubs worked to promote a sense of harmony after the war, as seen in the 8th Biennial Convention theme: “Peace for Reconstruction.” With international affairs and women’s suffrage becoming more important, many women felt a need for action among the clubs within the Missouri Federation. Clubs enacted many resolutions as the clubs became more interested in areas such as politics, and civic involvement. 

In 1935, the Quest Club formed with the mission of promoting knowledge and thought.  One of the ways that the Quest Club did this was by holding symposiums on topics such as local history.  One such symposium, discussed the growth of the city while members of the community recalled stories from the early days.   (View article)
Due to the Great Depression of the late 1920s and 1930s, many club members became more involved in politics in the interest of creating a better society for themselves and others.  In 1934, the women’s clubs of Missouri conducted their own study of unemployment insurance, old age pension, and equal rights for women.  Many area club women joined political campaigns clubs, like the Democratic Women's Club.
The flyer (pictured at left) advertise the Regional Conferences for the National Democratic Women's Club in 1936, listing the guest speakers and the issues for discussion.  (Click here to view full size image)  Many women attended meetings like those advertised on this flyer and worked to find solutions to local and national problems.

The book of stamps, pictured to the right,
is from the 1944 presidential campaign.
Many women worked tirelessly for candidates, like Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who they believed would improve living conditions in the United States

Source: Williams Papers, Gladys Roberts, circa 1894-1982.
Vote for FDR Book of Stamps
The Business & Professional Women’s Club of Cape Girardeau also participated in local politics by holding political platforms for local politicians and discussions on democracy.

Business Women Discuss Political Platform at Meeting

                      (Full text article)

The GFWC coordinated with each state's women's clubs to ensure that all members were registered to vote.
Some of the others causes the local women’s clubs advocated for were:
  • prohibition
  • health and child welfare education
  • convict housing and production of commodities
  • promoting Missouri and the Missouri Poster Association
  • promoting Missouri’s flowers through parks 
  • international relations
  •  taxation
  • peace
  • equal opportunities for men and women
Continue to Social Change and Self-Improvement:  The Post War Years
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