Information for Researchers
Scope and Content
Collection Title: Twentieth Century Club of Berkeley Records,
Date (inclusive): 1904-1990
Collection Number: BANC MSS 90/55 c
Origination: Twentieth Century Club of Berkeley, 1904-1990
Number of containers: 6 cartons, 2 boxes, 7 volumes, 6 oversize folders
Linear feet: 9
Berkeley, California 94720-6000
Physical Location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
Abstract: The records of the Twentieth Century Club of Berkeley span the entire life of this womens' club, from its organization in
1904 through its dissolution in 1989. These consist of the official records, including founding documents, minutes, and legal
and financial records, as well as files kept by the club's presidents and other officials. Also included are the files kept
by members who served as chairs of the various sections and committees which were responsible for monthly programs. The history
and activities of the Twentieth Century Club are most extensively documented in their annual scrapbooks.
Information for Researchers
Collection is open for research.
Copyright has not been assigned to The Bancroft Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts
must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services. Permission for publication is given on behalf of The Bancroft
Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which
must also be obtained by the reader.
[Identification of item], Twentieth Century Club of Berkeley Records, BANC MSS 90/55 c, The Bancroft Library, University of
Material Cataloged Separately
Set of the Year Book and The Twentieth Century Cook Book have been transferred to the book collection of The Bancroft Library.
Photographs have been transferred to Pictorial Collections of The Bancroft Library. Set of club pins, seal embossers, printing
plate, and deposit stamps have been transferred to the Objects Collection of The Bancroft Library.
The Twentieth Century Club of Berkeley was founded on December 13, 1904 by Mrs. H. N. Baldwin, a newcomer to Berkeley who
had long enjoyed the experiences of club life in Los Angeles and Pasadena. Recognizing that the one women's club in Berkeley
was insufficient to meet the needs of this growing community, she invited to her home a few friends, including Mrs. Annie
Little Barry, Mrs. Julia B. Foster, Mrs. Carrie B. Rice, Mrs. Henry W. Taylor, Mrs. L. V. Sweesy, Mrs. William Caldwell, and
Mrs. E. L. Campbell, and presented her idea to form a new organization.
On Tuesday, December 6th, a meeting of representative women had been called to order by Mrs. Baldwin, Mrs. Barry was made
temporary chairman, and the women present voted enthusiastically to organize a new club. At their next meeting, officers were
elected and a constitution, by-laws, and the name, suggested by Mrs. Rice, were adopted. By January 6, 1905, the charter was
closed with 129 names on the roll, and as their stated objective, the "advancement in all lines of general culture and the
creation of a greater interest in whatever is for the good of the community".
Mrs. Barry, who had years of administrative experience with the Women's Christian Temperance Union and other women's clubs,
served as President from 1904 to 1907. During these first three years, she led the club in affiliationing with the California
and Alameda District Federations of Women's Clubs in June 1905, and in its own incorporation as a non-profit organization
on April 23, 1907. Working closely with Mrs. Baldwin, who had experience in club management and finance, the Twentieth Century
From 1904 to 1913, their meetings were held at the Town and Gown Clubhouse, the Hillside Club, and Unity Hall. With the goal
of someday having their own clubhouse, members sold "bricks" to raise money for the purchase of a lot in Elmwood Park, at
the N.E. corner of College and Ashby Avenues. When it became clear that this area would become a business district, the lot
was sold (in 1912 or 13) to American Trust Bank (which later merged with Wells Fargo Bank, whose branch still stands on that
In its stead, a deed to property at 2716 Derby Street was acquired from Mary S. and George W. Haight. On September 30, 1912,
ownership was recorded to the Twentieth Century Home Association, incorporated just five days earlier to sell stock to raise
money for a clubhouse. Other fund-raising efforts included publication of an edition of the Berkeley Gazette in December 1910
and the Twentieth Century Club Cookbook, as well as the hosting of theater and card parties. With a bank loan of $17,000,
the club house was built and opened on October 21, 1913. On December 20, 1920, the Twentieth Century Home Association deeded
both the property and clubhouse to the Twentieth Century Club of Berkeley. In 1910, club historian, Mrs. H. H. Dobbins, summarized
their aims more clearly by defining what they were not: "We are not a civic club, ... not a neighborhood improvement club,
not a mother's club, ... nor are we distinctly a literary club." She went on to explain, "To find and foster the best in every
member, to develop the hidden talents, to furnish a stimulus to continuous intellectual progress to provide a happy and satisfying
social life for our membership, to express always the virtues of helpfulness and friendliness, and the grace of hospitality
--these are some of our aims."
These aims were perhaps best carried out through the members' association together in their section and committee work. Sections,
of which there were as many as nine at one time, included Parliamentary, Public Speaking, Drama, Art and Travel, Home and
Garden, Music, Writers, Browning, Shakespeare, Aesthetic Gymnastics, Mandolin and Guitar, Current Events, Home Economics,
Book Review, Bible, Spanish, and French. Meetings were held at 2:30 pm on the first and third Tuesdays of each month, except
June, July, and August. One meeting each month was devoted to business and a monthly program, the other was a luncheon followed
The club's philanthropic work included establishing a "Linen Loan Chest" for the sick, hosting Christmas parties for needy
children, and distributing clothing to the needy, and fruit and flowers to shut-ins whose names were provided by the Berkeley
Visiting Nurses. Since 1915, when the club joined and helped with founding the Berkeley Branch of the National Needlework
Guild, they contributed the use of their new clubhouse as its headquarters. Other subscriptions during the early days of their
formation included Travelers Aid, Boy Scouts, Alameda County Tuberculosis Society, National Child Labor Committee, Tuskegee
Institute, Save the Redwoods, Red Cross, Mobilized Women, Y.M.C.A., Y.W.C.A., and Berkeley Community Council. Club members
also supported a $200 scholarship for a woman student at the University of California, Berkeley and contributed to the endowment
fund of Mills College when it was the only women's college in the West.
During World Wars I and II, Red Cross units were established at the clubhouse for preparing surgical dressings, knitting,
and Red Cross and relief sewing, in addition to contributing to the War Service Fund, purchasing equipment and beds, and providing
Christmas packages to soldiers. In addition to their on-going support of the War Victory Commission and the Armenian Committee
for Near East Relief, club members adopted two French orphan boys.
In the 1970s, with many of its once active members deceased, resigned, or unable to attend regular meetings, the club struggled
with the many issues concerning their future. In 1973 members had voted to sell their clubhouse; they continued to hold monthly
meetings at the Berkeley City Club until 1989, when the Twentieth Century Club was officially dissolved.
Sources include: "History of the Twentieth Century Club," by Mrs. H. H. Dobbins, in the Berkeley Gazette, December 1910, and
"History of the Twentieth Century Club of Berkeley," by Mrs. Geo. N. Nash, 1959.
Scope and Content
The records of the Twentieth Century Club of Berkeley, 1904-1990, span the entire life of this womens' club, from its organization
in December 1904 through its dissolution in 1989. These consist of the official records of the club, including founding documents,
minutes, and legal and financial records, as well as files kept by the club's presidents and other officers. Also included
are the files kept by members who served as chairs of the various sections and committees which were responsible for monthly
programs. The history and activities of the Twentieth Century Club are most extensively documented in their annual scrapbooks.
The Twentieth Century Club actively supported women in the pursuit of their many interests and served as a major contributor
to service agencies in the East Bay. Their records will be a resource for scholars interested in cultural development, community
service, and the history of women's organizations in this century.