aMHERST WOMAN'S CLUB

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Our History

In 1928 a celebration of the 35th year of the Women’s Club. Amy Barnes Maynard, front row, third from the left.

In 1928 a celebration of the 35th year of the Women’s Club. Amy Barnes Maynard, front row, third from the left.


May 18, 1893 - Amy Barnes Maynard invited eleven Amherst women to meet at her home on the campus of the Massachusetts Agricultural College to discuss forming a Woman's Club.  Service to the community was to be an integral part of the club from its origin.

In the first ten years, club members addressed the need for a new High School building, a town library, a waiting room for trolleys and a District Nurse.  The club supported the women's Christian Temperance Union campaign against the liquor license, the carelessness of market men with reference to flies, and campaigned for at least one educational moving picture each week.

During the First World War, club members supported Christmas stockings for the War Children of Europe and collected a box of clothing weighing 375 pounds for the Belgian Relief Fund.


In 1924, the club supported a dental clinic for schoolchildren, collected funds for a nutrition class for underweight children and funded hot lunches for children remaining in school during the lunch period.  The club established a milk fund for schoolchildren and assisted at the annual Christmas party for Town children.

From 1932-1933, the club maintained an employment agency during the Depression.

In 1941, the club awarded its first scholarship of $50 for further study to an Amherst girl.  Over the years, the scholarship program has grown to award two $1,000 scholarships each year, available to both girls and boys.

In 1943, the Amherst Woman's Club opened its doors to the service men studying at Amherst College and Massachusetts State College.  The grounds of the clubhouse provided space for various games and the interior served as a place to dance, to write letters home or simply to sit quietly.

Today, the club raises $3,000 each year to fund local charities such as the Boys and Girls Club, Whole Children, Amherst Senior Center, Hospice Fisher Home, Soldier On, Amherst Community Connections, Amherst Survival Center, Safe Passage, Reader to Reader and the Renaissance Center in their efforts to meet the needs of the community.

The club has supported the Amherst Community by participating in Amherst History Day in 2000 and the Amherst House Tour in 2000.  In 2011, the club responded aaffirmatively to the town's request to donate a piece of frontage to enable the town to improve traffic patterns and pedestrian and bicycle safety along Main Street and Triangle Street.

One of the most important tasks of the Amherst Woman's Club has been to maintain the Hills Memorial Clubhouse since 1922.  Through club members' contributions, we have preserved this 1864 Italianate Renaissance mansion for nearly one hundred years.




Mr. and Mrs. Hills resided in the house they called The Hedges.

L. Dwight Hills and Alice Maud Hills

L. DWIGHT HILLS AND

ALICE MAUD HILLS

L. Dwight Hills and Alice Maud Hills were married in 1902. They spent the winters in New York or traveling in Europe, and in the summer, they returned to their in Amherst home, The Hedges.


Alice Maud Hills

ALICE MAUD HILLS

Alice Maud Hills as a young woman, date unknown. This is one of the few images of our benefactress in the Amherst Woman’s Club picture collection. Alice Maud Thomson was born on August 25, 1873, and baptized on August 28, 1873, in the Anglican Church in Philipsburg, Qu├ębec, Canada. Alice Maud was a woman of the last quarter of the nineteenth century – in other words, she wanted more out of life than serving tea and making calls within her social circle. In 1893, she attended the newly-opened Nurses’ Teaching College in Holyoke, Massachusetts, and earned her degree. According to the Springfield Recorder of February 26, 1902, Miss Alice Thomson of Montreal and L. Dwight Hills, president of the First National Bank of Amherst, were married in St. George’s church at Montreal at 3 Monday afternoon. There was a reception at the Windsor Hotel immediately after the ceremony.


Portrait, Alice Maud Hills

PORTRAIT,

ALICE MAUD HILLS

Alice Maud Hills. Stephanie Klug, a member of the Amherst Woman’s Club, did a copy of this portrait circa 2004.


Hall, Hills Memorial ClubhouseHALLWAY,
HILLS MEMORIAL CLUBHOUSE

Looking closely at the picture of the hall, one realizes there are two doors on the right side of the hall – the opening closest to the stairway (marked by a white arrow) and covered with a decorative curtain is the doorway extant today, leading past the library to the door opening onto the verandah.  However, there is another door in this picture, a door closer to the Main Street entrance to the house (marked by a black arrow).  This door led directly into Mr. Hills’ library.  The only clue to its existence is this picture and a break in the chair rail.

Amherst Woman's Club Floor Plan

AMHERST WOMAN'S CLUB

FLOOR PLAN

Floor plan of the public rooms of the Amherst Woman’s Club. This section of the club is available for public or private events.


Leonard Mariner Hills

LEONARD MARINER HILLS

Leonard Mariner Hills, owner of the palm leaf hat factory in Amherst. Mr. Hills built the house in 1864 on the corner of Main and Triangle Streets. William Fenno Pratt designed the house in the Italianate Renaissance style.


Image 12.jpg

1936-37 Renovated library

1936-37 RENOVATED LIBRARY

Mr. Hills’ library after renovations by the Amherst Woman’s Club, 1936-1937. Was the original door opening into the hall (see Image 4) closed up during the renovations and the entire wall between the library and the small hall, leading to the verandah, taken down to increase the flow of people necessary for club meetings?


 In 1928, club members and their guests posed on the front steps of the Amherst Woman’s Club, celebrating the 35th year as a club. On the front row stands Amy Barnes Maynard, founder of the club (third from left facing photo).

In 1928, club members and their guests posed on the front steps of the Amherst Woman’s Club, celebrating the 35th year as a club. On the front row stands Amy Barnes Maynard, founder of the club (third from left facing photo).


  The Hills’ Palm Leaf Hat factory, sited across Main Street from the Hills’ home and extending to College Street.

The Hills’ Palm Leaf Hat factory, sited across Main Street from the Hills’ home and extending to College Street.


About us

Our community is filled with a wonderfully diverse women. The Amherst Woman’s Club (AWC) is bringing those women together to meet and connect with each other.

Join us and discover how the simple joy of connecting with your neighbors, being inspired by a local speaker and enjoying each other’s company can help forge new friendships and a sense of belonging among our spectacular community of women.

Become a member

"A friend may be waiting behind a stranger's face.”               -Maya Angelou

Join us today and come enjoy the company of new friends.

Contact us

Amherst Woman's Club

35 Triangle Street

Amherst, MA 01002

Membership: (413) 549-5679

Event Rental: (413) 549-3971


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