Four O’ Clock History Club
In October 1888, twelve young women met after school to launch the Four O’ Clock History Club. The object of the Club, according to the Constitution, “shall be mutual improvement and sociability.” The Constitution has remained much the same over the years. Dues have increased and the number of members enlarged from 20 to 24. Later they met on Saturday and in 1951 changed to Thursday. Beginning in the 1890s a 4 O’ Clock pin was worn by members. Programs were given from the beginning. In 1909 the clock design and monogram appeared on programs.
In the beginning four papers were presented each meeting. This was eventually reduced to 3 with discussion and current events. The women strived for mutual improvement. Current events discussion topics over time included the new states being added, the Spanish American War, Spain withdrawing from Cuba, and the United States becoming a world power. Shakespeare, as well as poets and artists of the day, also provided topics. The club spent the first years of the twentieth century studying foreign countries. As time went on, another World War, politics, spies, and scandals all provided discussion topics reflecting history of the era in which they were living. The club has also taken trips to museums and historical sites in Illinois. The balance of intellectual curiosity, historical research, and social comradery has made this club a remarkable example of continued success.