In the Beginning
The Saturday Club was formed to fill a need for women in the community to enrich their own lives outside the home. The club’s official motto “Dare to be Wise” gives a clue to what ladies of the late 1880’s faced when attempting to broaden their horizons. At the time, it was radical for women to meet outside the home or even call their association a “club.”
Twelve enterprising women, who accompanied their husbands to Wayne where they would conduct business, first met on Saturday, February 16, 1886 in Wayne Hall (no longer standing) adjacent to the Wayne Presbyterian Church. And so The Saturday Club – one of oldest women’s clubs in Pennsylvania and nationwide – was born.
Meeting programs usually took the form of papers presented to each other on such topics as literature, science, art, music, and matters of the household. In 1894, the club’s purpose became more oriented toward activism with the addition of the Philanthropic and Legislative sections.
In 1895, when Saturday became a school and business holiday, the club’s meetings were changed to Tuesdays. The name of the club, however, remained unchanged and today, the club continues to hold its monthly membership meetings on Tuesday evenings.
In 1898, club members pooled their resources to purchase the lot and build the clubhouse where it still stands. Designed by architect David Knickerbocker Boyd and modeled after William Shakespeare’s home in England, the Tudor-style building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.
Over the Years
The Saturday Club has demonstrated its commitment to the surrounding community throughout the duration of its long history. Highlights include:
- Campaigning for child labor laws and the protection of women from assault in 1907
- Founding the first kindergarten in Wayne
- Raising funds for French orphans during World War I
- Converting the Clubhouse into a 60+ bed temporary hospital during the 1918 Influenza Pandemic
- Starting a theater group called The Footlighters (now in Berwyn, Pa.)
- Establishing an emergency Red Cross Hospital at the clubhouse and selling more than $85,000 worth of war bonds during World War II
- Preparing volumes of books in Braille for the Royer-Greaves School for the Blind in Paoli during the 1930s
- Operating the Peter Pan School for Retarded [sic] Children – a nursery school to provide early education for developmentally delayed and disabled children in the 1960s
In recent years, the club has greatly increased its focus in fundraising and philanthropy. Highlights include:
- Running a popular Arts & Crafts Show and Antiques Show in the 1980s
- Creating the annual Holiday Market, which began in the 1980s and is still held today in conjunction with the November Membership Meeting
- Establishing The Saturday Club Cotillion, which was established in 1991 continues to educate community youth on etiquette and manners essentials today
- Hosting the American Girl Fashion Show, which ran from 2003-2010 and raised more than $750,000 for organizations including the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Dragonfly Forest, Mommy’s Light Lives On, The Children’s Crisis Treatment Center and The Center for Autism
- Hosting the popular bi-annual Women’s & Children’s Consignment Sale, which began in 2009 and is still successful today
- Developing and hosting the TSC Shuffle 5K & Kids Race, which began in 2016 and has quickly grown into one of the Club’s largest fundraisers
- Developing and hosting Handbag Bingo, which began in 2016 and is one of the club’s most popular social and fundraising events throughout the year
In addition to its philanthropic efforts, the club has published three award-winning cookbooks – Philadelphia Main Line Classics (1982), Main Line Classics II: Cooking Up a Little History (1996), and Main Line Entertains (2005).