In 1912, a group of Philadelphia women, including Margaret Yarnall Newbold, Christine E. Biddle, Gertrude Ely, and Sarah Lowery formed this group that dedicated itself to volunteerism.
What is the name of their organization?
Answer: The Junior League of Philadelphia
The Junior League of Philadelphia was founded in 1912 by a group of women from several well-to-do area families, including Constance E. Biddle, Gertrude Ely, and Sarah Lowery. From the outset, the League became involved with charitable efforts to aid children, the poor, and the sick, and volunteered time and money to hospitals and charity organizations. During World War I, the League focused its activities on war relief, hosting fundraising events and volunteering as nursing aides at area hospitals. In 1924, the League became the caretakers of Sweetbriar Mansion in Fairmount Park, raising money to restore the old home which would serve as their headquarters into the 1930s.
Throughout the Great Depression, the League concentrated its efforts on unemployment and homeless relief, including the distribution of clothes and food, in addition to becoming chief benefactor of the Children’s Heart Hospital. During World War II, the League’s attention again shifted to war relief and hospital volunteering. The 1950s saw the establishment of the annual Follies, a performance event which provided funding to the Children’s Hospital. In 1976, the League members volunteered their time to several Bicentennial initiatives throughout the city and published their first of three cookbooks.
The Junior League of Philadelphia continues to operate today, promoting volunteerism, developing the potential of women, and improving the community at-large.
HSP’s collection of records from the Junior League of Philadelphia (#3717) spans much of the organization’s history from its founding in 1912. It contains board and committee meeting minutes, newsletters, member directories, and annual reports.