A Tradition of Study and Service

1894

Club organized with 71 charter members aiming to increase women's influence in the growing city by advocating for educational and community improvements.  Initial efforts were promoting kindergartens and Mothers Unions (later PTA) in Kansas City public schools.

1895

Provided supplies for the first kindergarten, including adequate clothing and shoes for disadvantaged children to attend school. Eight kindergartens were established by 1899.

1896

United with other organizations in founding the Missouri Federation of Women’s Clubs, affiliated with the General Federation of Women’s Clubs, Inc. that later expanded globally.

1897

Formed Traveling Library #1 with the purchase of 75 books that were circulated among rural communities in a horsedrawn wagon.

1903

Hosted first Philanthropy Day and held annually thereafter for the club to raise money for charitable donations.

1907

Started a fund offering interest-free loans to female students attending Missouri colleges. The college loan fund was turned over to the Missouri Federation of Women’s Clubs in 1909 and named the Phoebe Jane Ess Loan Fund in honor of the Athenaeum president who originated the idea.

1914

Built the Athenaeum Club House on the northeast corner of Linwood Boulevard and Campbell Street, dedicated to the service of the club for the next 101 years.

1915

Formed Mercy Sewing Committee to sew garments for a children’s hospital that later became Children’s Mercy Hospital. Club members continued the task until 1950, contributing more than 4,000 garments.

1918

Formed Conservation Sewing Committee with members altering adult clothing to fit children. The altered garments were distributed by the Social Service Bureau of Kansas City. Club members produced more than 7,000 garments in this endeavor that expanded over two decades.

1920

Began teaching classes on American citizenship and English to new immigrants. This evolved into establishing the Naturalization Council for Greater Kansas City in 1938.

1920

Held a Suffrage Victory Pageant after ratification of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution.

1923

Hosted a tea for First Lady Florence Harding at the Athenaeum Club House during President Warren Harding’s visit to Kansas City.

1926

Club officers welcomed Queen Marie of Romania when she visited Kansas City for the Liberty Memorial dedication.

1928

Club officers assisted Mayor Albert Beach in receiving Charles Lindbergh when he visited Kansas City in his famous plane, The Spirit of St. Louis.

1932

Established the Laura Conyers Smith Municipal Rose Garden in Loose Park with the planting of 200 rose bushes.

1942

Formed a Red Cross Sewing Committee to make hospital bed jackets, pajamas, and infant gowns. Over 400 garments were contributed to the American Red Cross in this three-year effort.

1942

Club members canvassed neighborhoods in a Defense Bond Drive, selling $136,426 in war bonds.

1947

Established a rehabilitation fund to purchase orthopedic supplies for General Hospital. More than $15,000 was donated through 1965 to purchase leg braces, corrective shoes, artificial eyes, prosthetic limbs, back braces, and eye glasses for disadvantaged patients.

1953

Joined the Missouri Federation of Women’s Clubs effort in founding Missouri Girls Town, a residential facility caring for abused and neglected girls. Originally established in Mountain Grove, MO and moved in 1980 to an expanded campus in Kingdom City, MO.

1959

Conducted a two-year project showing school children a Keep America Beautiful film and sponsoring art students in making promotional posters and bumper stickers after Mayor H. Roe Bartle declared 1959 as Litter Free Year in Kansas City.

1972

Contributed 250 Christmas gifts to the Mission East Nursing Home.

1976

Contributed 250 gifts to the Mission East Nursing Home for Valentine’s Day.

1979

Celebrated the Athenaeum Club House listing in the National Register of Historic Places.

1984

Purchased playground equipment and bedroom furniture for Rose Brooks Center, a shelter serving domestic violence victims.

1990

Donated $5,000 to dedicate a named room in Oliver-Hook House, the third residential house built on the Missouri Girls Town campus.

1991

Held a fashion show luncheon at Bartle Hall with 300 in attendance, raising $13,000 for the historic 9th & Paseo fountain that was being refurbished and dedicated as the Women’s Leadership Fountain.

1992

Contributed over 100 stuffed animal toys to the Linwood Police Station to comfort children who were confronting unpleasant circumstances.

1992

Donated $5,000 to Missouri Girls Town to dedicate a named room in McDonough Hall, an administrative building with a library.

1993

Club members sewed 50 fabric dolls to donate to Operation Smile, an international humanitarian effort providing surgical care for children.

1994

Commemorated the Kansas City Athenaeum centennial with a festive evening event highlighted with the presentation of a proclamation of achievement signed by Mayor Emanuel Cleaver.

2001

Dropped the gender barrier by allowing men onto the membership rolls.

2003

Celebrated the golden anniversary of Missouri Girls Town. Annual Athenaeum donations, along with members making personal donations, have surpassed $250,000 in support of the program at Missouri Girls Town.

2005

Hosted the first Madhatter’s Ball, a successful event that led to hosting four subsequent balls in the following years to raise funds for historic preservation of the Athenaeum Club House.

2014

Celebrated the Athenaeum Club House centennial.

2014

Held the 112th Annual Philanthropy Day, culminating more than a century of fundraising that enabled the club to donate over $150,000 to charities.

2015

Athenaeum Club House sold to the Foundation for Delta Educational and Economic Development, continuing the building’s purpose of service and educational endeavors.

2019

Instigated a ten-year plan of donating $45,000 annually to 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations.

2020

Donated $1,300 to the Kansas City Public Library as the sponsor of printing 5,000 Suffragists Coloring Books in celebration of the 19th Amendment Centennial.  The coloring books were given to children visiting the library.

2020

Club members made more than 2,600 protective face masks in response to COVID-19 protection needs.  The masks were distributed to schools, daycare centers, nursing homes, and other places making urgent requests.