Author: Mutual Improvement Club
Title: Yearbook of the Mutual Improvement Club 1913
Location: Oberlin College Archives, Mutual Improvement Club, Record Group 31/6/14, O. C. A.
Document Type: Printed Document
This is the yearbook for the Mutual Improvement Club of Oberlin for the 1913-1914 club year. The yearbook notes the club’s colors, motto, and general focus, and lists active and honorary members and their roles. It describes club activity from its founding in March 1913 until February 1914. The recorded activities of the club in this yearbook indicate that the club’s primary focus was home economics until 1914 when it shifted towards more political topics. The most notable change occurred at the start of 1914 when current events became visible in the topics of discussion such as February’s meeting that was announced as “Debate – Resolved: That Women Should Vote.”
Year Book of the
Mutual Improvement Club
Colors: Blue and White
Motto: Hand in Hand, One Not Before the Other
Study: Home Economics
President………………..Mrs. Philip Anderson
Vice-President……………………Mrs. John Berry
Secretary………………….Miss Frankie Robinson
Treasurer…………………..Miss Annie Heavener
Mrs. Philip Anderson
Mrs. John Berry
Mrs. William Robinson
Mrs. Annie Heavener
Mrs. Henry Evans
Mrs. Loveless Burrell
Miss Frankie Berry
Chairman of Committees
Social …………………………..Mrs. Russell
School …………………….Mrs. Elias Jones
Sick ……………………………Mrs. T. Bows
Art ……………………………….Mrs. Prince
Sewing …………………..Miss Diza Rivers
Parliamentarian ………….Mrs. Elias Jones
Chaplain ………………….………….Mrs. Burton
Village Improvement …………… Mrs. Heavener
Christian Union Society ………Mrs. Elias Jones
ROLL OF MEMBERS
Anderson, Mrs. Philip
Berry, Mrs. John
Burton, Mrs. Julius
Burrell, Mrs. Loveless
Bows, Mrs. Thomas
Barrier, Miss Mary
Cordin, Mrs. Bessie
Cooper, Mrs. Cynthia
Evans, Mrs. Henry
Evans, Mrs. Maria
Gayters, Mrs. John
Heavener, Miss Annie
Jones, Mrs. Elias
Mitchell, Mrs. Edward
Prine, Mrs. Gertrude
Quinn, Mrs. George
Robinson, Mrs. William
Robinson, Miss John
Rivers, Mrs. Alice
Wall, Mrs. John
Philips, Mrs. D.
Mrs. Martha Barrier
Mrs. Susie Heavener
Mrs. Almira Jones
Mrs. Mary Murphy
Miss Diza Rivers
Good Friends, Dear Friends, Salutations, and Greetings to you all.
Organization of the Club
Hostess – Mrs. Anderson
In the quality of the homes of the nation abides the national destiny.
Responses ………………….….….. Current Events
Club life in Denver, Colorado ……Mrs. Sadie Evans
Music …………………………….….. Miss Heavener
Household Economics ………..…. Mrs. Elias Jones
The evolution of the house ….. Miss Sarah Webster
Hostess – Mrs. Berry
Art is a gift and must be used unto His Glory
Responses – Magazine and their Editors
The influences of flowers in the home – How, when and
where to plant them …. Miss Heavener
Art and its influences in the home …… Mrs. Prime
An exhibit of China decoration by hostess.
Hostess – Mrs. Prinne
Books are our best friends, when we tire of them we shut them up. – Emerson
School and homes…………Miss Frankie Robinson
What a woman’s club did …………….. Mrs. Burrell
Advantages of Medical inspection in schools
Hostess – Mrs. Burrell
July first, second, third
STATE FEDERATION CONVENTION
There’s a good time coming. – Wordsworth
Echoes of State Federation
Responses – Vacation echoes.
Report of delegates
Topic – Sanitation
Sanitation in the home, drainage and water supply
Mrs. George Quinn
Dangers and extermination of house fly
Mrs. John Wall
Hostess – Mrs. Will Robinson
Responses – Miscellaneous quotations
Topic – Well balanced Rations.
(a) How to buy and cook meats
(b) How to care for meals
(c) Using of left-overs
Miss Alice Rivers
What can the club do to further the health of the community?
(a) In homes. (b) In schools. (c) In Streets. (d) In provision of clean air
and water? …..Rev. Delaney
Hostess – Mrs. John Robinson
Frame your mind to mirth and merriment which bars a thousand harms and lengthens life.
Responses – Bits of Wit
Thanksgiving Address ……….Rev. Smith
Hostess – Mrs. Wall
Topic – Home
Responses – Quotations on women
Beautifying the home ……………. Mrs. John Berry
Good reading in the home ….. Mrs. Will Robinson
The training of Children …….. Mrs. Mitchell
Hostess – The Misses Rivers
No race can rise any higher than its women.
Responses – Current events
Social settlement work ……. Mrs. Evans
In what ways may a woman’s club co-operate with the church for the good of the community
Hostess – Mrs. Russell
Responses – Dunbar
Why should we ventilate? …… Mrs. John Russell
How to secure ventilation ……. Mrs. Maria Evans
Debate – Resolved: that women Should Vote.
Affirmative – Mrs. Julius Burton
Negative – Mrs. John Robinson
Hostess – Mrs. Elias Jones
Annual Business Meeting.
Transcribed by Kyla VanGelder
 The club was organized and federated within the same year, seemingly by The National Association of Colored Women (Deborah G. White, Too Heavy a Load: Black Women in Defense of Themselves, 1894-1994, (New York: W.W. Norton, 1999), 27).
 Gertrude Anderson was President of the club for both of its active years. The Oberlin City Directory lists Gertrude and Philip Anderson as residents of 180 South Pleasant in 1899, but there is no further information available on her. This is somewhat surprising since her position as President suggests thatshe was a well-connected and powerful woman in the community (“City Directory,” Oberlin Heritage Center, accessed 5 May 2015).
 Kitty Berry was the wife of John A. Berry (1865-1916), a painter whose family was heavily involved in political efforts to aid Black people. In 1916, Kitty Berry sued her husband for divorce, stating that “her husband swore falsely to an affidavit charging her with being insane” and charging him with “extreme cruelty and gross neglect.” In a statement by John Berry that same day, he wrote that he begs “the good people of Oberlin…to be kind enough to suspend judgement on the cruel charges made against [him] until heard by the court.” Three months later, the Oberlin News reported on 15 November 1916 that John Berry had killed himself by drinking acid. Reverend Delany officiated Berry’s funeral, and he was buried in Westwood Cemetery. Though no further information on either John or Kitty Berry is available, the way women were treated in regards to mental health during this time is disturbing. Women were often subjected to treatments designed to calm nerves or “hysteria” that were either physiologically or physically unsafe. As a Black woman, Kitty would have also faced additional risks had she been declared insane, as Black patients were often used as involuntary experimental subjects by doctors (“Sues for Divorce,”Oberlin News, 16 August 1916; “Statement by John Berry,” Oberlin News, 16 August 1916; “John Berry Dies By His Own Hand” Oberlin News, 15 November 1916).
 Frankie Robinson was born in Oberlin, Ohio, to the prominent Robinson family. She graduated from Oberlin College in 1891 with an A.B. Degree. In an undated secretarial form updating the college on her present life details, she answered the question, “What has been the influence of Oberlin on your life?” with “It has meant everything to me.” She also wrote that Blanche Harris Jones ‘60 (see footnote 9) was one of the “ten most outstanding former students of Oberlin, considered from the standpoint of public service.” In a letter, W. F. Bohn, assistant to the president of the college, wrote to Dean Hirshberg of Western Reserve School of Library Science to recommend Frankie Robinson’s daughter for a scholarship, Bohn described the Robinsons as “an unusually worthy Negro family in Oberlin.” Robinson taught at various schools for Black youth in the South, including Augusta, Georgia, Mayslick, Kentucky, Charleston, West Virginia, and Henderson, North Carolina. She returned to Oberlin after she had finished teaching and remained there until her death. She was a member of First Church for forty-six years (Former Student File: Frankie Ann Robinson. Record Group 28/2, Box 871. Oberlin College Archives).
 Annie Heavener, later Mrs. T. L. Cowan (birth unknown – c.1991). Heavener attended the Conservatory of Music from 1910 to 1914 but left when she married Thomas L. Cowen. Annie Heavener was the stepdaughter of Susan Heavener, who is mentioned in both yearbooks as an honorary member of the Mutual Improvement Club (see footnote 19) (“Annie Heavener (Mrs. T. L. Cowan),” Alumni Magazine, 1916, 637; William E. Bigglestone, They Stopped in Oberlin: Black Residents and Visitors of the Nineteenth Century (Oberlin, OH: Innovation Group, 1981), 102).
 Margaret Gayters (b.1872) was the daughter of Reece Gayters and Jane Bell Gayters. She was an Oberlin native, and attended the Preparatory Department of Oberlin College from 1890 to 1891. In 1895 she married William F. Robinson with whom she had four children: Frederick M. (b. 1898), Fredonia (b. 1898), Theodore Thomas (b. 1904), and Clarence William (b. 1908). Florinda Gayters (see footnote 14) was her sister-in-law (Pat Holsworth Database, Oberlin Heritage Center).
 Mrs. Henry Evans may have been the wife of a son or nephew of Henry Evans (1817-1886) who was a prominent, freeborn member of the Oberlin community. The Evans family were some of the earliest anti-slavery activists in the town and were well known as an important multi-generational Oberlin family. It seems likely that Mutual Improvement Club member Maria Evans (see footnote 13) was also related to this family (William E. Bigglestone, They Stopped in Oberlin, 69-72 ).
 Eliza Russell (d. 1836) was the widow of John Russell. She lived on Grafton Street and was buried in Oberlin’s Westwood cemetery, though she has no marker (Oberlin News Tribune, 15 May 1936).
 Blanche Virginia Harris Jones (1844-1918) referred to here as Mrs. Elias T. Jones, was “one of the best known colored graduates” of Oberlin College at the time of her death in 1918, having graduated from the Ladies’ Course (later known as the Literary Course) in 1860. After her graduation, she was sent South by the American Missionary Association as one of the first people they enlisted to teach at Black Southern schools. She taught in the South for over thirty years, at such places as Knoxville, Tennessee, where she met her first husband, William L. Brooks. They had one child together in 1872, Maud Rebecca Harris Brooks, who graduated from both Knoxville College and the Oberlin Conservatory. After William’s death, Blanche married Elias T. Jones in 1893 and lived with him in Oberlin where she was an active member of the Second Congregational Church, and participated in many women’s clubs including the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, the Women’s Home and Foreign Missions, and the Christian Union Society. Blanche was present at the 1908 Niagara Movement meeting held in Oberlin. She also continued her studies, writing to the secretary of Oberlin College in 1894 that since 1888 she had studied “mathematics, botany, physics, physiology, history, psychology and German.” Her husband was also a well respected member of the African American community at Oberlin; his obituary in the Oberlin News reads, “Mr. Jones was a man of excellent habits. Thrift was a passion with him, and though he was severely affected with rheumatism for many years, his gardens were enough to put to shame many a well man.” Elias was the son of Allen and Temperance Jones. Albert had come to Oberlin after earning enough to purchase freedom for himself, his wife and their children. He became a well known blacksmith in the town, and consequently became rather wealthy. He was also very politically engaged, but had highly unusual political views for a Black man of this era; once being described as a “ violent, pro-slavery, Democrat.” While this may be an exaggeration, he did run for local office on the Democratic ticket. Four of Allen’s sons, including Elias, graduated from Oberlin College. After his graduation, Elias worked as both a teacher and a miner. When he retired from mining, Elias became heavily involved in both gardening and the National Association for the Advancement Colored People until his death in 1917. (“Elias T. Jones Dies at His Home Sunday,” Oberlin News, 16 May 1917; “Mrs. Blanche Virginia Harris Jones,” Oberlin News, 4 September 1918); William E. Bigglestone, They Stopped in Oberlin, 122-124; “Blanche Harris Jones,” Alumni Magazine, 1918).
 Irene Bows (1865-1935) and her husband Thomas A. Bows were prominent members of the Mount Zion Baptist Church. Irene is noted alongside fellow Mutual Improvement Club member Ella Burton (see footnote 12) as being responsible for a great deal of the church’s early fundraising. Thomas Bows was one of the first deacons of the church and organized several men’s Bible and civic clubs. After his death, Mt. Zion passed a resolution honoring him and his service (“Irene O. Bows – Westwood Database.”Oberlin Westwood Cemetery. web address, accessed 25 August 2015; Oberlin Heritage Center, Oberlin Churches, “Mt. Zion.” R2011.02; Oberlin News Tribune, 3 Dec 1931; Oberlin News Tribune, 17 Dec 1931).
 Diza Rivers, sister to Alice Rivers (see footnote 18) was the granddaughter of Dr. Stanislas D’Anglas, a white man originally from France who settled in Louisiana. D’Anglas had children with a woman of mixed race background; the family eventually came to Oberlin, where Dr. D’Anglas may have taught French at the College while his daughters attended classes there . Like her mother and many of her aunts, Diza Rivers attended Oberlin College, enrolling in the Preparatory Department from 1878 to 1879. Though she did marry, after the death of her husband, Rivers reverted to her maiden name, or possibly never changed it in the first place. Rivers taught sewing throughout her life, as seen in the articles[b] in the Oberlin News-Tribune. Twenty years after Rivers chaired the Sewing Committee for the Mutual Improvement Club, the News-Tribune continued to describe her efforts to teach this necessary skill to women. On 9 November 1934, they reported that Rivers needed sewing machines to continue to improve the lives of the women who were “earnestly desiring to help themselves and their families by learning how to sew or how to better their present abilities.” Rivers focused her efforts on working women, and her classes were offered at a night school to accommodate their schedules (“Sewing School Needs More Sewing Machines,” Oberlin News Tribune (Oberlin, OH), 9 Nov 1934; William E. Bigglestone, They Stopped in Oberlin,176-177).
 Ella Burton and her husband Julius S. Burton (d. 1940) were active members of Mt. Zion Baptist Church for over 40 years. He was the organizer of the Men’s Civic Club, active in the Phillis Wheatley Center, and served on the Board of Trustees for the Phillis Wheatley Association. He is buried in Westwood Cemetery. Ella Burton was a member of the adult Sunday School class at Mt. Zion and was noted by the church for fundraising efforts of her and her fellow Mutual Improvement Club member IreneBows[a] (“J. S. Burton Dies at 69,” Oberlin News-Tribune (Oberlin, OH), 10 May 1940; the Mount. Zion file from the Oberlin Historical Society, R2011.021).
 Maria Evans, possibly also known as Mariah, was born in Virginia in 1858. Her second husband was Matthew Leary Evans, with whom she had two sons, one of whom was named William (she also had a daughter from her first marriage, whose last name was Johnson). The family lived on Groveland Street in Oberlin, Ohio. She divorced Matthew in 1889, and afterwards appeared to work as a laundress. See footnote 7 for more information on the Evans family and their legacy in Oberlin (Pat Holsworth Database, Oberlin Heritage Center).
 Florinda Emma Paxton was born in 1864. In 1886 she married John Gayters, with whom she had four children: George Alfred (b. 1886), John Martin (b. 1889), Cyril Gaston (b. 1892). The family lived on North Main Street in Oberlin and were members of the United[c] Church. The Oberlin News notes that John Gayters was a close friend of Charles Grandison Finney, the evangelical preacher and second President of Oberlin College (The Oberlin News, (Oberlin, OH) 4 February 1926; Pat Holsworth Database, Oberlin Heritage Center).
 Georgia (or Georgie) Walden Mitchell.
 Minnie Belle Quinn, neé Poague (1867-1943) was recognized in the Oberlin News-Tribune on 6 September 1935 after she informed them that she had been a subscriber to the paper for forty-six years. She married her husband George Willis Quinn (1859-1932), a builder and contractor, in 1889 and had begun her subscription then. George was noted by the Tribune as a “valuable citizen.” Minnie Quinn’s note was in apparent reply to a note published above it which stated that Minnie’s fellow Mutual Improvement Club member, Ella Burton, had been a subscriber to the paper for thirty-two years. (“Subscriber 46 Years,” Oberlin News-Tribune (Oberlin, OH), 6 September 1935; Oberlin News-Tribune (Oberlin, OH), 11 July 1939; “Minnie Belle Quinn-Westwood Database.” Oberlin Westwood Cemetery. web address, accessed 25 August 2015).
 Bertha A. Cowan (1875-1928) was born in Ohio to James Madison Cowan and Eliza Yance Cowan. Bertha studied at the Oberlin Conservatory from 1885 to 1888. In 1895 she married John Morton Robinson. They had seven children together: John W. (1896-1982), Eugene M. (b.1898), Ona L. (b. 1903) Clyde Franklin (B. 1904), Dorotha T. (b. 1910), Lulu (b. 1918), and Beatrice (b. 1921). The Robinsons were a prominent Black family in Oberlin during the nineteenth century; Bertha was the sister-in-law of both Frankie Robinson and Margaret Robinson, and many of her family members were listed as notable members of the Mount Zion Baptist Church. Despite this prominence, and Bertha’s education, she was a working woman, and apparently found employment as a laundress. Bertha’s social position was therefore very different than that of most white women’s club members, and suggests a greater amount of economic diversity in these organizations for Black women. In 1928, the Oberlin News reported that Bertha was murdered by Otis Grant, the husband of her employer. Grant’s wife had sued him for divorce and he responded by shooting both her and Bertha, before fleeing the county. Both women were killed and their funerals were held at Mount. Zion Baptist Church (Pat Holsworth Database, Oberlin Heritage Center; “Columbus Police Find Grant’s Car: Victims Buried,” Oberlin News, 29 May 1928).
 Alice Elvira Rivers (c.1869-1932) was a student at Oberlin College from 1889 to 1894. After college she lived for a time in Berlin, Germany. According to the information in her student file, she was a caterer. Her sister, Diza Rivers, was also a member of the Mutual Improvement Club; see footnote 11 for more information on her and their family (Alice Rivers Student File; Oberlin News Tribune, 28 July 1932).
 Mary Wall (1860-1934), formerly Mary F. Shanks, was the daughter of William and Anna Shanks. William was a civil war veteran and worked as a farmer and laborer in Oberlin. Mary married John Wall in 1879. John Wall (1842-1912) was the son of North Carolina plantation owner Stephen Wall and his slave Rody. Under the provisions of Stephen Walls’ will, his children were all freed and given money upon his death. John, his brother, and most of his half-siblings then moved to Oberlin, where all of them attended the College’s preparatory department (John enrolled in 1860). In 1863, John enlisted in the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, remaining a member of the regiment until it was mustered out in 1865. During his military career, he attained the rank of Sergeant. John and Mary Wall lived in Oberlin after John’s military service, and raised at least four children. According to Oberlin historian William Bigglestone, they adhered to the Quaker faith, but Mary is noted as a member of Oberlin’s First Congregational Church in her obituary, making it uncertain precisely what their religious beliefs were. During his time in Oberlin, John worked at several maintenance related jobs, and served as the town constable,making him a well known figure. The couple is buried in Oberlin’s Westwood cemetery (“Former Resident to be Buried Saturday,” Oberlin News-Tribune (Oberlin, OH) 13 April 1934; William E. Bigglestone, They Stopped in Oberlin, 207-211).
 Susan (Susie) A. Brown (c.1842-c.1914) moved to Oberlin with her parents in 1852 at the age of ten. She married twice-widowed George Heavener in late 1889 or early 1890. Though the couple had no children of their own, George had several from his previous marriages and Susie became a beloved step-mother. Her step-daughter, Annie Heavener (see footnote 5) was also a member of the Mutual Improvement Club. The Heavener family made their home at 183 S. Park Street in Oberlin for over 30 years. Susie was a prominent member of the First Congregational Church, and was extremely active in movements for the rights and progress of Black women. (William E. Bigglestone, They Stopped in Oberlin, 102).
 Almira Scott (d. 1923) was from Oberlin, Ohio, and attended Oberlin College from 1866 to 1870. Her first husband, George Mitchell, graduated from Oberlin College in[d] 1869, while her second husband, John C. Jones, whom she married in 1882, graduated in 1859. The couple lived in both Greensboro, North Carolina, and Nashville, Tennessee, where Almira died (Almira Scott Mitchell Jones, Student File, Oberlin College Archives).
 Mary Nettle Waring (1865-1931) was born in Russia Township, Ohio. She attended theOberlin Academy. In 1893, she married Robert Y. Murphy, with whom she had three children: Margaret, who died in infancy, Robert, and Luke. Luke studied at Morehouse College. Mary Murphy was a member of First Church and affiliated with the N.A.A.C.P. For reasons unknown, she committed suicide in 1931 (Oberlin News-Tribune, 5 November 1931).
 This is italicized like the quotes that follow; however, this does not appear to reference an outside source. It just seems to be a general greeting to welcome the reader into the yearbook.
Though this is placed in the yearbook in the same format as the quotes noted above and below, this does not seem to be a quote from an exterior source.
 This quote comes from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, a nineteenth-century American poet. He is the writer of “Paul Revere’s Ride,” “There Was a Little Girl,” and other famous poems. It would have been a well-known quote at this time, as this poet’s work was common household knowledge (“Henry Wadsworth Longfellow,” Iz Quotes, 2015, accessed 7 May 2015).
 China decoration dining sets were popular home items that indicated status through their fragile elegance (“Mary Louise McLaughlin: vase (L. 1987.11)”, In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000).
Though this quote cites Ralph Waldo Emerson as the source, it appears that this is a mistake, as the quote is variously attributed to Mark Twain or Sol Smith Russell.
 The NACW met in Galloway Hall of Wilberforce University, in Wilberforce, Ohio, from 4 August 1914 to 6 August 1914. They honored John Brown and Margaret Murray Washington, wife of Booker T. Washington, and discussed women’s suffrage, prohibition, and dress reform. Matilda J. Dunbar, Paul Laurence Dunbar’s mother, was present, and was well received (see footnote 9 in Document 2 for more information on poet Paul Laurence Dunbar) (Elizabeth Lindsay Davis and Sieglinde Lemke, Lifting as They Climb, African-American Women Writers, 1910-1940 (New York: G.K. Hall: Prentice Hall International,1996), 55).
 This could be a reference to Charles Mackay’s “Poem of Sentiment Poems of Sentiment: VI. Labor and Rest The Good Time Coming.” The poem is an assurance that there are better times ahead for the younger generation (Bliss Carman, et al., eds, The World’s Best Poetry, Volume VI, Fancy, 1904).
 This is a reference to the larger network of Black women’s clubs through which the Mutual Improvement Club was federated (Deborah G. White, Too Heavy a Load, 27).
 Reverend Frank S. Delaney was a prominent pastor at Rust Methodist Church, the first African American church and congregation in Oberlin and in Lorain County. He was influential within the church and the town for his religious genius and his support of advancing the church. He was pastor from 1910 to 1917 (Oberlin Electronic Group, “HISTORY OF,” Rust Church History, web address, accessed 8 May 2015).
 A quote from The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare. Well-read people at the time would have recognized this reference, directing one’s thoughts towards laughter and happiness as a medicine to lengthen life (William Shakespeare, The Taming of the Shrew. London: Printed for J. Tonson, and the Rest of the Proprietors, 1734).
 Reverend B.K. Smith was a noted pastor at Mount Zion Baptist Church. Mount Zion was a respected Black Baptist church, founded in 1880, compared often with Rust Methodist Church as another prominent and respected African American Church. Rev. Smith was one of the first long-term pastors at Mount Zion, beginning his time there in 1901 and resigning his position to Rev. George Washington in 1917 (Oberlin Electronic Group, “Mount Zion Baptist Church,” Fall 2003, web address, accessed 8 May 2015).
 This quote comes from Dr. Monroe Major’s Noted Negro Women, a book that would have been well- known in Black women’s clubs at the time. The inclusion of this quote is heavily political and refers to the progress of Black people in intersection with the progress of women. This is one of the first overt mentions of race within this yearbook (Monroe A. Majors, Noted Negro Women: Their Triumphs and Activities, (Jackson, Tenn. : M.V. Lynk Publishing House, 1893); Deborah G. White, Too Heavy a Load, 27).
 The presence of religion within this yearbook is greater than its presence in the following year book. There is a visible shift between these two yearbooks from emphasis on religion and home to emphasis on politics, education, and health, often primarily outside of the home.
 Rev.George Washington took the place of Rev. Smith as pastor of Mount Zion Baptist Church after his graceful resignation in 1917. Rev. Washington was chosen because he was better-educated and Smith was still completing his education at Oberlin College Graduate School of Theology (Oberlin Electronic Group, “Mount Zion Baptist Church,” Fall 2003, web address, accessed 8 May 2015).
 This is the first introduction of a large political issue as the center for discussion at a Mutual Improvement Club Meeting. The issue of suffrage had been a topic in mainstream women’s rights dialogue for quite some time; it had been on the ballot in the State of Ohio in 1912, and lost, so, it was logical that this club would debate its relevance.
[a]Removed “took on.”
[d]Changed from “class of.”