A not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) organization Serving the community since 1925 in Philanthropy, Community Needs, the Arts, Education including programs on Literature and Writing, and Well Being programs for all ages.
Our Club History
In an article entitled “Retrospection” written for the May, 1931 Villager (the monthly magazine published by the Bronxville Women’s Club) by Mrs. Presley Bisland, the founder and first president of the Bronxville Women’s Club, the author chronicles the beginnings and growth of what eventually became the Bronxville Women’s Club.
Mrs. Bisland wrote, that during the winter of 1914, two women, Mrs. Frederick Ackerman and Mrs. Arthur Lawrence, called a meeting at the latter’s home to which a small group of women was invited. At this meeting was formed the nucleus of what later became the Bronxville Civic Club. Meeting at the Hotel Gramatan, the women discussed politics, prison reforms, and civic duties. They kept a sharp eye on Village matters and many improvements were the results of their considered suggestions. Special attention was given to the subject of paramount importance—Woman Suffrage.
For a number of years the members faithfully did their work. However, like many other organizations of its type, the Civic Club did not receive the recognition, financial and otherwise, which it deserved. As a result, at the annual meeting of January 1923, the Club members decided that Suffrage, having been granted to women (August 26, 1920) and its chief aim accomplished, the Club’s usefulness was now over and it should be disbanded. However, “the impending loss of such a valuable organization spurred the incentive for a revival of interest,” and some months later, Mrs. Bisland was elected president and Mrs. Harvey McClintock, vice president.
The year following the reorganization saw interest in the Civic Club again waning and in the new year of 1925 the members resolved to decide the question, “to be or not to be.” Twenty-five Bronxville women, representative of various organizations, were invited to meet and to give their best judgment as to the future of the Club. They were unanimous in the decision to merge the Civic Club into a new and larger organization and on February 26, 1925, with 176 women enrolled, the Bronxville Women’s Club was born. It was decided to limit the membership to 600.
“It was as if a whirlwind had swept the Village.” Less than twelve months later the full membership had been reached and the limit was increased to 800. By January of 1927, the membership again being full and with many applicants waiting, the Board increased the number to 1000.
Before the Club was a year old members realized that the meeting place, the golf house in Lawrence Park West where Sunnybrook Gardens Apartments now stand, was inadequate. Instead of continuing to spend money for rent, the Board decided to look for a suitable plot to build a new clubhouse. The president, Mrs. Bisland, donated the present site in one of the choicest locations in the Village, the northwest corner of Midland and Tanglewylde Avenues. With a thousand members contributing fifty dollars each, funds were raised in a short time and the building of the new clubhouse began in the Spring of 1927, with Penrose Stout, a Bronxville resident, as architect. By the Club’s 25th Anniversary, the mortgage of fifty-five thousand dollars had been satisfied.
The depression years of the 1930’s and the war years of the 1940’s greatly diminished the Club’s membership roster. However, the Club’s service to the community with its philanthropic, cultural and social activities continues as strong as ever.
The architectural and historic significance of the Clubhouse was recognized when it was placed on the Westchester County Inventory of Historical Places in 1999 and on the National List of Historic Sites in 2007. Its multipurpose ballroom boasts near perfect acoustics for concerts and plays, and local organizations use it for meetings and fundraisers. Membership eligibility has broadened to allow for persons throughout the metropolitan New York and Hudson Valley area and to include, and more actively recruit, men in the general membership. As from the beginning, the Club's primary dedication has been to the community as a philanthropic, educational, and cultural center. Part of that mission is to maintain the building and grounds for the future. In the summer of 2009 extensive repairs and refurbishing of the building's plumbing and heating system, and ballroom were completed. Other projects are "in the pipeline." The Club is re-emerging as a center of multi-faceted programs along with an ongoing membership drive. And then again, sometimes it is just a place to take respite from the hectic routine of daily living.
Freya (Bundi) Ruegsegger