A Guide to the San Antonio Self Culture Club Records, 1900-1975
Formed by a group of nine San Antonio women in 1900 January, the San Antonio Self Culture Club remained active for seventy-five years, conducting a regular program of lectures on literature and other topics. Beginning with a stated goal of the “attainment of necessary knowledge,” the club later broadened its objectives to include the advancement and encouragement of women in culture, aiding philanthropic work, and “effort along educational lines.”
Membership in the club was initially limited to twenty active and ten associate members, with new members added by election. Membership was eventually expanded to thirty active and fifteen associate members.
Regular meetings were held from October through May, initially on a weekly basis. The number of meetings was later reduced to two or three per month and then to a monthly basis. The work of the club was generally centered around a theme. Early meetings concentrated on study of the Bible, Shakespeare, and other literary subjects. Throughout its history, the club also devoted meetings to fine arts, music, history, travel, education, and social sciences. Presentations were made by members and, occasionally, guest speakers. An annual anniversary day meeting was held in January to commemorate the founding of the group.
In addition to its regular activities, the club took part in civic projects and maintained a student loan fund in the 1930s and 1940s. The club was associated with the San Antonio City Federation of Women’s clubs and took part in its activities.
Members of the club voted to discontinue organized activities in 1974, and the San Antonio Self Culture Club disbanded after celebrating its 75th anniversary in 1975 January.
Minutes, financial records, yearbooks, scrapbooks, and artifacts are part of the records of the San Antonio Self Culture Club, providing a comprehensive portrait of its seventy-five year history.
Minutes generally provide a concise summary of club meetings. Bound volumes of minutes are complete from 1900 through 1911; later minutes cover brief periods, including the final six years of the club’s existence. The volumes also include constitutions and by-laws, some financial notations, and membership information. A volume containing records of the treasurer covers the final seventeen years of the club’s work and includes budgets and routine financial transactions. Yearbooks are complete for the entire life of the club and have been bound into four volumes. Each typically includes the constitution and by-laws, membership roster, schedule of meetings, and subjects of discussions. A notebook, apparently maintained by the club's Historian, contains a summary of information about the past members of the club, including dates each joined or left and other significant milestones. A summary of the early years of the club is also included. Two scrapbooks document the club from its founding to disbandment and include clippings, memorabilia, letters, photographs, and other items. Artifacts include a gavel used at club meetings and two items used in printing club material: an engraving plate for the club name and a printing block of the club monogram.
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[Identification of item], San Antonio Self Culture Club Records, 1900-1975, Col 941, Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library, San Antonio, Texas.
Gift of the San Antonio Self Culture Club, 1975 May.
Processed by Warren Stricker, 1997 February.
Finding aid edited and encoded by Caitlin Donnelly, 2011 March.
Detailed Description of the Collection