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After World War II, the American military was downsized by over 11 million individuals. This flooded the job market, and with a shortage of jobs, the women who went to work for the war movement were pushed back into their traditional domestic roles. Women’s clubs became a tool for many of these women to stay at home and take care of their family while still being able to have an active role in their community.   Click on the headlines to the left to read two examples of how the Cape Girardeau Business & Professional Women’s Club reached out to others in the area through community service.

(Click on the headlines to the left to read articles)
 
The Cape Girardeau Home Economics Extension Club (pictured to the right) hosted lectures on a variety of topics, from the newest cleaning techniques to civil defense.   The Home Economics Club also worked very closely with the 4-H program coordinating projects.

Source:  Deevers Spring Valley Home Economics Extension Club Scrapbook, Lorena, 1944-1968. 
Spring Valley Home Economics Club, February, 1940
   
In 1958, the Quest Club of Cape Girardeau organized the Sewing Division of the Women’s Hospital Auxiliary within the Southeast Missouri Hospital.  To the left and below, you will see images of Quest Club members working on their sewing projects.

Source:   Quest Club Scrapbooks, 1974-1985.
Members completed the sewing projects, in large part, in the homes of the members. Some members used electric sewing machines, but much of the work was done by hand.  
 
Over a period of ten months, over 70 Sewing Division volunteers logged 2,555 hours of volunteer work, producing 2,614 sewn articles of linen for the hospital. The auxiliary, as a whole, logged over 10,000 hours of volunteer labor, becoming vital to the hospital’s operation.  

(Click here to view the full size article)

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(Click here for full article)   The Missouri Federation of Women’s Clubs began a statewide program on uterine cancer awareness and prevention, and in 1962, the MFWC honored the Quest Club for its efforts. (Click here to see certificate)  Later that year the General Federation of Women's Clubs further honored the Quest Club for all of its community outreach.
 
Although the main focus of most women’s clubs was usually their own communities, the women also worked for causes on a global level.  The Wednesday Club promoted international relations within their club and community. The women hosted international visitors from many places including France and India, who were traveling through the area.  The women pictured below were a group of such travelers who coordinated their visit from France with the General Federation of Women's Clubs.   Many of the Women's Clubs in Cape Girardeau welcomed and hosted the French visitors at various events. (Click here for full article)
 
(Click here to see this photo with caption)
Source:  Mulkey Collection, Patty, 1857-1996.
 
Along with the Wednesday Club and the Business & Professional Women’s Club, many others helped to host the Pan-American Good Will Festival. The clubs participated in activities and provided the Panamanian Scholarship to Southeast Missouri State Teachers College for the foreign exchange student program.   In the image below representatives from the MFWC and Southeast Missouri State Teachers College give one such scholarship recipient, Miss Judith Guevera, a book of Missouri Lore.   (Click here to see full article)
 
(Click here to see photograph with caption)
Source:   Wednesday Club Collection, 1902-2003.
 
Although many thought women’s clubs were created for women to gather and socialize, they were actually a means for women to improve themselves. Over the years, this self-improvement created a sense of need for community and world-wide improvement.  
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