Clubs converge at LPL

Ladies' Literary League, the Round Table + more historic Lawrence clubs bucked conventions in their day and today search for fresh faces

"Any time women come together with a collective intention, it's a powerful thing.

- Phylicia Rashad


Lawrence Public Library is pleased to announce that it will host a gathering of historic clubs on Sunday October 28 at 2 PM in the Auditorium. The program is presented in partnership with Watkins Museum of History and KU’s Spencer Research Library.

See event details

“This wonderful idea was the brainchild of the Ladies Literary League, a Lawrence club that was founded in 1882 and still meets today,” said Polli Kenn, Readers Services librarian at Lawrence Public Library. “The League reached out to the library to help connect them with new members who love to read. This made us think that there might be other clubs in Lawrence with similar interests, so we planned a great big historic club meeting.”

The program will include a presentation on the history of clubs in Lawrence by Sarah Bell, Membership Coordinator at Watkins Museum of History, and Deborah Dandridge, Associate Librarian for the Kansas Collection at KU’s Spencer Research Library. Brief club presentations and a social hour will follow to give attendees the opportunity to learn more about and meet members of several clubs that have been in Lawrence for decades.

“The history of women’s clubs in Lawrence is fascinating,” said Sarah Bell. “Women began these clubs because they were excluded from many avenues of public participation and were craving an intellectual outlet. Clubs formed for multiple reasons and causes. The Tennola Literary Club, for example, was founded by women who lived on Tennessee, Ohio and Louisiana Streets — thus the name.”


Participating clubs and founding dates are below. Not all are seeking new members.

20th Century Club (1895)

Altrusa (1951)

Friends in Council (1871)

Ladies Literary League (1882)

Lawrence Bridge Club (1912)

Lawrence Music Club (1892)

League of Women Voters (1931)

Prairie Acres Garden Club (1958)

Round Table (1880)

Tennola Literary Club (1902)

University Women’s Club (1900)

Ventura Club (1895)

Zodiac Club (1878)

Club photos courtesy of Watkins Museum