The Woman’ Club of Bethesda, Inc. was established over a century ago by a group of women who wanted to make a difference in their neighborhood. In 1911 seven determined women met to form a club for the purpose of promoting civic activities and public welfare by helping their neighborhood schools, churches, and hospitals. Almost one hundred years later the founders’ original dedication to charity remains strong.
The early members met every two weeks in their homes, so membership was limited to 35; therefore the club decided that they needed a clubhouse. In 1925 the Finance Committee raised $1500 and purchased three lots on the corner of Sonoma Road and Old Georgetown Road. At that time women did not yet have the right to vote, however these clubwomen had the vision and wisdom to buy and build a clubhouse that would secure the Club’s financial future for generations to come. This is the clubhouse we still use today.
During the war years of 1914-1916 club members sold over $10,000 in Liberty bonds and raised funds to feed French orphans. The club also donated fire protection in the form of a chemical fire engine ready for service.
In January 1926 the club incorporated. That same year the club began keeping newspaper clippings of its history.
In 1933 the Literary section was born.
In 1944 the club held a tea party to raise money for Russian relief. During that year club members also established patients’ library at Suburban Hospital which the club maintained for more than 17 years. During World War II the clubhouse hosted USO entertainment.
In 1959-1960 the Philanthropic Evaluation Committee was formed. Their job was to determine which charities the club will support each year. To this day, the Committee continues to be hard at work.