Our Vision: "Women and girls have the resources and opportunities to reach their full potential and live their dreams."


Charter Member Adelaide E. Goddard

History of Soroptimist

When It Began

October 3, 1921

During a sojourn in the East Bay while attempting to form an Optimist club in Oakland, he called upon the "Parker-Goddard Secretarial School" in search of a candidate for membership. He explained his purpose for calling, talking several minutes. Presuming that the school was run by two men, he was surprised to learn that, instead, it was operated by women. He sought to excuse himself.

It was then that Adelaide E. Goddard commented, "When the men admit women as members of their service clubs, I would be interested."

This remark sparked an idea for Mr. Morrow. He called together several of the outstanding business women in Oakland to pursue the idea of forming a service club for women. The preliminary meeting was Tuesday, May 31, at 4 p.m., in the Rose Room of Hotel Oakland.

The Articles of Incorporation of the Soroptimist Club were filed by Stuart Morrow in Sacramento, State of California, July 1, 1921. Signed by himself, Sarah Jane Fearn, Oakland, and Cecilia Waldron Heaton, Berkeley, they specified the patriotic, civic, moral, social, personal purposes, and advantages for members; designated that clubs would be founded and operated throughout the United States, with the principal business transacted in Oakland, the terms for the corporation to exist being 25 years; and named himself as originator, founder and general manager of the corporation, therefore having 90 percent of the voting power, property rights, and interest of the corporation.

Meantime, formulation plans were going on. A "preliminary" meeting, held May 31 at 4 p.m., in the Rose room of Hotel Oakland, brought little results, evident by the fact that of the seven women present, none except Mrs. Gladys H. Barndollar, were on the charter member list; nor did they attend any of the other pre-charter meetings.

A second gathering, noted as the "First Meeting of Members - Committee Luncheon" - held in a "private room upstairs in the Venus Cafe in Tuesday, June 21, 1921 at 12:15 p.m.", proved successful, as eight of the nine women in attendance became the "leaders" that were needed.

Photo - The officers were installed and the charter presented at an inaugural banquet in the West room of Hotel Oakland on Monday evening, October 3, 1921.
Those eight and their classifications were:
Mrs. Gladys H. Barndollar - Multigraph(ing) Letter Co., principal
Mrs. Doris C. Tilton - Marinello Skin and Scalp Specialist, principal
Mrs. Adelaide E. Goddard - Parker-Goddard Secretarial School, principal partner
Miss. Grace M. Wetterhall - Real Estate, principal
Mrs. Lillian Blake - Art Dealer, proprietor
Mrs. Mary Hughes Patterson - Piano Teacher, principal
Dr. Mae Green Lineker - Optometrist, principal
Mrs. L. Blanche Roller - Corsets and Blouses, proprietor

 +(Although not the first to pay her dues, Mrs. Barndollar obviously was the "ringleader" among all of these members. Her name was on every attendance list, including the "preliminary" meeting. She was chairman of the first reception committee, a member of the inaugural banquet committee and a "group" captain (groups formed to inspire attendance during beginning months of the club) for various periods of time. Later records show her as club president, 1931-32 and regional (district) secretary, 1932-34.)
With the help of Mr. Morrow, these women outlined the plans for organizing the club. With assistance from Chambers of Commerce, Rotary clubs, school superintendents and others, Mr. Morrow gathered names of prominent business and professional women as potential members. A number of them were invited to
luncheon meetings that were being held weekly at the Hotel Oakland; some were invited as speakers.

From this group and other women, whose names had been submitted by the original "eight", came the charter members of the club, including Violet Richardson (Ward), who we cherish today as our "Founder President". (She has told numerous times how she was invited as a speaker and later elected by breaking the tie-vote by voting for herself). She was the guest speaker on July 25; her name was added as a paid member on August 4 and as present on August 8 for the sixth regular luncheon meeting. The minutes of the election meeting don't show her "breaking the tie" but do say, "Upon a ballot being taken, Miss Violet Richardson was elected president of the club and Mrs. Sue L. Ballard, vice-president."

When 80 women, representing as many classifications of businesses and professions, had signed the charter, it was closed. Election of club officers took place on Monday, September 26, 1921 at the "first annual meeting", as mentioned the above, naming to serve with the president and vice president: Nellie M. Drake, treasurer; and directors, Miss Edna B. Kinard, Mrs. Doris Tilton, Mrs. Gladys R. Leggett (Penland), Mrs. Blanche Rollar and Mrs. Adelaide Goddard. (A newspaper clipping dated Aug. 24, but not giving the year, shows a photo of Mrs. Goddard, who had originally sparked the idea, as "corresponding secretary of the Soroptimist club, a woman's group organized on lines similar to the Rotary club.")

Dues were set at this annual meeting as $1.50 per month. "Stuart Morrow, managing director, presided and was assisted in conducting the ballot by Mrs. Ormsby (who was admitted as a charter honorary member, making the charter list actually number 81), Mrs. Barndollar, Mrs. Harris, Mrs. Rollar, Mrs. Flippen and
Mrs. Boyd. The secretary was to be appointed by the board of directors, which took place at its first meeting and named Mrs. Helena M. Gamble "at a salary of $25 (twenty-five dollars) per month."

The officers were installed and the charter presented at an inaugural banquet in the West room of Hotel Oakland on Monday evening, October 3, 1921. The new board held its first meeting immediately following the banquet.

Hotel Oakland - the Rose Room was the location of the first (the 'preliminary') meeting of Soroptimist
May 31, 1921

Photos, etchings from Soroptimist International of the Americas archives

The First Club

Thus the first Soroptimist Club in the World was organized, with Miss Violet Richardson of Berkeley as its charter president.

The foregoing quotes are directly from a 7x8 1/4" Standard Diary, which was among two boxes of materials from the personal files of Helena Gamble, who later became federation historian, "for the remainder of her life." In Stuart Morrow's own handwriting, this small black book records all of the regular luncheons,
including the annual meeting, that were held prior to the inaugural dinner, the record of payment of dues by the members, verifying the 81-member charter list, including three associates and the one honorary; minutes of the election and charter meetings and the board meeting following.

Along with this book are letters to and from the organizer and his assistant and copies of much of the correspondence that went toward setting up both the 1926 meeting in Oakland and the 1927 sessions in San Francisco. They explain his absence from both of these meetings.

Early historians of most of the first 230 clubs in the federation (some very brief and others in good detail) are among these documents, which also reveal many of the problems, disputes, pleasures and accomplishments of the early Soroptimists.

These artifacts were given by Helena Gamble to Harriet P. Tyler, charter member and past president of the Soroptimist Club of San Francisco and past  federation secretary and president (1942-44). She passed them to Southwestern's past regional director, Alta Hengy of Oroville, who in turn gave them to Past Governor Matie Barker in 1970, after learning how enthused she was over the then forthcoming Golden Jubilee and the history of Southwestern Region. "I've tried to give them to others," Past Director Alta told the then governor, "but no one seemed to place the value on them that I feel you will." ...You may well believe she was right, as they have proved to be some of the most valuable information available in writing this early history of the Soroptimist organization.

On October 10, at noon, just a week following the installation ceremony, the first official meeting was held. President Violet commented in her president's report, "We began and closed on time and have continued the practice throughout our charter year."

During that first year 22 new members were admitted and 14 charter members were removed from the rolls, (one by death). The fundamental principle of classification was maintained: membership was opened to only one woman in each classification of business or profession. Attendance rules were enforced. Bulletin notices kept members informed and reminded of programs for each meeting. Publicity was good. The club's constitution and bylaws, as drafted by Eloise B. Cushing, Emily D. Wilkie and Dr. Pauline Nusbaumer, were accepted on November 21, 1921.

When first organized, the Soroptimists met as a luncheon or friendship club, according to the first president's report, but not for long. President Violet was presiding at an inter-service council meeting, when Monroe Deutsch, vice-president of the University of California, Berkeley, suggested that these clubs (Rotary, Kiwanis, Soroptimist and Optimist) should exist for service, rather than merely for friendship.

From that day on, SERVICE was the KEY word for SOROPTIMISTS. The stated purposes of the club then were "to foster the ideal of service as the basis of  all worthy enterprise and to increase the efficiency of its members in pursuit of their occupations by broadening their interests in the social, business and civic affairs of the community through an association of women representing iverse vocations."

The first president's report further reflects that the projects during the first year included a "Save the Redwoods" campaign, a heating plant for the Rescue Home, establishment of a vocational guidance bureau in cooperation with the YWCA, which later was made a branch of the California Employment Service; and care of three destitute families at Christmas.

Since women from cities other than Oakland were invited to membership (8 or 10 from Berkeley, one from Alameda, all others from Oakland), the club was called the Soroptimist Club of Alameda County. In 1928, when the Berkeley club was chartered, most of the Berkeley women who had been members of the Alameda
County club had been transferred to Berkeley, including Charter President Violet Richardson (Ward). The Alameda County Club then became the Soroptimist Club of Oakland, also known at "the Mother Club".

The idea of Soroptimism grew rapidly. Mr. Morrow traveled extensively to organize other clubs. The Founder club was a good pattern for him to follow, both in organization and bylaws.

The San Francisco club was chartered by him, March 6, 1922, followed in the same year by clubs in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. Having "personally carried Rotary across the ocean to other lands several years previously," at the very beginning of organizing the Alameda County club, Mr. Morrow had visions of
an international Soroptimist organization.

It was impossible for him to do all the organizing alone. So, on July 21, 1922, a memorandum of agreement was signed appointing Violet Richardson, Dr. Fannie Williams and Oda Faulconer, presidents of the Soroptimist Clubs of Alameda County, San Francisco and Los Angeles respectively, as directors of the
Soroptimists Club, Inc., for the purpose of organizing Soroptimist clubs within California. It also fixed initiation fees for new club charter members at $15, with one-half going to him, one-third to the club, the remaining $2.50 going to establish an extension fund.

Because of pressure of family and employment, these women were unable to travel to any great extent, so they hired Helena Gamble, a charter member of the Alameda County club who also was a professional organizer and campaign manager, to do the organizing of clubs within the state, which she did until 1927.

This freed Mr. Morrow to organize more clubs on the east coast and to travel to Europe, where he organized the Greater London, England, and Paris, France clubs within 1924. When the club was organized in London, it became the social rage for the season; the charter meeting was attended by 250, including members of the Royal family.

A May 19, 1926 agreement between Mr. Morrow as managing director and Mrs. Gamble denoted her as field organizer to develop clubs outside of California (at least two each year, herself), train appointees to do the work in each state and report not less than once a month, in full detail, to the managing director. It set a $20 charter member initiation fee, of which $10 would go to the field organizer for her expenses; $2.50 to the managing director, $2.50 to a sub-organizer and $5 to the individual club's organization expenses.

In a letter to the first federation president, Helena stated that when she "arranged with the three Soroptimists presidents to organize clubs, in 1923, they felt Mr. Morrow had gotten too much money", so she organized within California for $7.50, one-third going each to Mr. Morrow, the local club's treasury and to her for all expenses, including traveling and hotels ... a small sum, considering "that I was one year organizing the San Jose Club and made a trip there every week, you can readily see that it cost Helena several hundred dollars."

The First Regions

As more clubs were organized on the west coast, there grew a need to meet jointly and develop programs that pertained to all clubs. Up to this time, each had operated independently. Keen interest also was developing in Mr. Morrow's early "visions"! The time was nearing for considering federating into a State, National and International congress of Soroptimist clubs. For the best interests of the members and of the individual groups, he was petitioned by several of the clubs to call a convention for that purpose. Through a circular letter and questionnaire, combined with a pre-holiday "Season's Greetings", the keenest interest was found to be among the west coast clubs.

Therefore, with the consent of Mr. Morrow, the first called west coast meeting of Soroptimist clubs was held at Hotel Oakland, California, on August 25, 1926. It opened with Dr. Luella Swauger, president of the Mother" club, in the chair. Mr. Morrow was not present, although he had been expected to attend. He asked that Violet Richardson Ward represent him in the meeting.

(Another interesting sidelight, a direct quote from the letter dated June 24, 1926, from field organizer Helena Gamble to Stuart Morrow, in Detroit, Michigan, in which was enclosed a letter for his approval, which he gave, calling the conference in Oakland on August 25, 1926 at 11 o'clock.

"Violet was married last Wednesday, June 16th, and has gone to the High Sierras for her honeymoon. Her sister, the widow, was married the same night ... Does it not seem funny, the first president of the Mother Club, the first president of Los Angeles Club and the first president of San Jose Club have all married this year?")
Violet Richardson Ward
Clubs on the Pacific coast, in order of their chartering, were Alameda County, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Sacramento, Long Beach, San Jose, all in California; Seattle, Washington; Portland, Oregon; Spokane, Washington and Vancouver, British Columbia. Minutes show 20 delegates representing 700 members
in these 10 clubs.

Discussion at this first meeting centered on:
1. The need for a federation
2. The International nature of the organization
3. The desire to own the name 'Soroptimist'
4. Miscellaneous club problems, such as classifications and types of memberships, payment of dues, need for a parliamentarian, proposed support of a National Girls' Week

Five major committees were appointed: Mae Carvell, Los Angeles, was named chairman of a committee to obtain from Mr. Morrow a proposition designating the amount of money he would accept to give up all rights to Soroptimist clubs. Violet Richardson Ward, as his representative, was asked to communicate with him
to secure a definite proposition and to report it to the committee.

Eloise B. Cushing, Alameda County, was to chair the committee to contact all clubs and obtain an expression of their sentiments over purchase of the name "Soroptimist".

Mrs. G.M. Starr, Portland, Oregon , was to head a committee on constitution and bylaws.

Mrs. Ruby Barnham, Long Beach, was to chair a committee to determine costs (ways and means) and check back with the clubs.

Northern, Central and Southern area representatives Iris Lutz, Portland; Mrs.  Earle, Sacramento; and Gertrude Maynard, Los Angeles, were selected to arrange for and carry out the second conference (actually a continuation of this meeting) early in 1927 and to select the time and place. Mary Dry Boldemann and
Florence Curry, of San Francisco and San Jose respectively, were unanimously authorized to continue in their present capacities of chairman and secretary and to open the 1927 conference.

At this second conference, held in San Francisco June 28-30, 1927, Mae Carvell, charter member of the Soroptimist Club of Los Angeles, moved that  "For the purpose of the election of a regional director at this convention,  the geographical divisions be specified in the tentative constitution and code,  i.e.,: Northwestern, Southwestern, North Central, South Central, Southern, North Atlantic, South Atlantic, and New England."

Thus, with unanimous approval, southwestern Region was formed, along with the seven others that were specific by name and by the states that would comprise them.

Minutes of this 1927 meeting further report that Jennie Todd, Alameda County charter member, was elected the first Southwestern regional director.

These and other actions were unanimously approved by the International Federation of Soroptimist Clubs, as it became known, due to one club being in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

The basic principles of regional structure and the comprehensive laws written at that first meeting are the foundation of what Soroptimism is today, the largest International classified service organization for women in the world.

Purchase of Name "Soroptimist"

As a result of the work of all the committees appointed and plans that were laid at the first meeting of the west coast clubs, success was attained, but not easily.

Aimed at forming an international Soroptimist organization during the planned June 1927 conference, inquiries were sent to Mr. Morrow seeking his demands for selling his property rights and vested interests in the Soroptimist Club, Inc.

In a letter from Houston, Texas, dated May 30, to Mrs. Mary Dry Boldemann, conference presiding officer, in a disturbed tone over his circumstances, Mr. Morrow wrote: "In considering this question I have had to bear in mind that I have given up my time exclusively for the last six years to founding the Soroptimist club and to the organization and development of its various branches in the United States, Canada, England, and France and that this work has up to this provided merely my actual living and traveling expenses, beyond which I
have not even one dollar to show for my six years work ... Apparently, either from a per capita tax or from the purchase of my interests for cash must come any profit accruing to me in the entire matter ... therefore, it appears fitting that I should submit two offers, one in per capita tax, the other for cash, which are as follows:

 "(1) For the surrender of all my rights, title and interest in the Soroptimist Club, I will accept a per capita tax of one dollar per annum to continue during my life (I am now seventy-one years of age) obligating myself to
establish, maintain and conduct in the city of Los Angeles an office as headquarters of the international association. Or, I will accept a per capita tax of fifty cents per annum for the same period, but without any obligation.

"(2) For the surrender of all my rights, title, and interest in the Soroptimist Club, I will accept the sum of six thousand dollars in cash."

After the discussion at the June 1927 conference in San Francisco, a compromise settlement was approved in the amount of $5,500, to be met before August 1 (only 30 days hence). Eight western U.S.A. clubs underwrote the purchase fund: Alameda County, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle, Portland, Spokane, Sacramento, and Los Angeles.

From a history of the San Francisco club, written October 30, 1931, comes, "San Francisco had the honor and privilege of being one of those eight clubs. Our pro rata was $619.75, which we had to raise during July, our vacation month. This was done by borrowing from two of our members. These loans were repaid with
interest, the last payments being made in January 1928. Every Soroptimist club on this continent indicated its intention to share in the purchase price; the European clubs sent a group check as proof of their good faith."

From San Jose's history, written this year, comes, "Our proportionate expense amounted to $389.50, against which we recorded several small refunds the following year, from monies given by the other clubs participating in addition to the original eight."

American Federation Formed

At a meeting held June 4-5, 1928, in Washington, D.C., the American Federation of Soroptimist Clubs was formed, with two-year terms and a convention each biennium. There were 31 delegates from 14 clubs within the United States and one in Canada, who took part in this action. They were from five districts with a total of 15 clubs, of which seven were from Southwestern district (region).

It is in order to state here, that, since Soroptimism began in Alameda county, since Southwestern region was the home of four of the first ten clubs - Alameda County, San Francisco, San Jose, and Sacramento - and since the first vice president, Jennie Todd, was a charter member of the "Mother" club, the region's history is inseparable from that of the Soroptimist Federation of the America's, Inc. Therefore, it is important that the story of Southwestern Region include the early history of Soroptimism.

At this first Federation convention in Washington, D.C., the "Soroptimist Emblem" was adopted. Its story, too, is sacred to Southwestern Region.

The Soroptimist Emblem

Mrs. Anita Houts Thompson, founder member, whose Soroptimist classification was "designing and engraving", submitted an emblem design, in competition with others, which was adopted as the official Soroptimist emblem. This now is our
official emblem, used on all Soroptimist pins and Soroptimist stationery.

In searching through the archives while preparing for the 50th Anniversary activities and history, it was learned quite by accident that Anita Houts Thompson's grandson resides in Reno, Nevada.
Doris O'Connor, past Reno club president, was on her way to her club's installation when a young man (seeing her pin) approached her with great enthusiasum about Soroptimism. "My grandmother designed the Soroptimist emblem," he said. Doris couldn't believe her ears. But later, when he presented her with
a faded envelope of old clippings and letters, she knew that she had found gold.

Among the letters was one written to Helena Gamble by Anita Thompson, which reads in part: "Jennie Todd, then our Alameda County president, appointed a committee of three to design something reflecting our aims and ideals. As the writer's claassification was that of designing and engraving, the other committee members
left the matter to me.

"Needless to say that in the work of love, I put forth my best efforts to produce a worthy design. After much thought, and with the asisistance of an artist to make concrete my ideas, the design was ready for submission. It met with unanimous approval of our local club and was sent to Washington D.C., to take its place with other competitive designs. There again, it met with unanimous approval and was adopted officially.

"The design, as you know, represents womanhood with her arms uplifted in a gesture of freedom and acceptance of the responsibilities of the best and highest good. The leaves and the acorns represent the strength of our organization and the leaves of the laurel typify victory and achievement."

From Juneau, Alaska, Martha Edwards, Soroptimist club president, wrote, "We are proud possessors of the original mold of the Soroptimist emblem. The original mold of the plaque was sculptured by the late Victor Alonza Lewis of Juneau, nationally known artist. His daughter, Mrs. Chairman Gross, a former resident of Juneau, found the mold in her father's affects and presented it to the Soroptiist Club of Juneau in May, 1950."

According to other documents among historic files, this emblem was selected from among 18 entries.

The story of the emblem, as interpreted by Patricia Calhoun, has been reproduced and printed at all levels in Soroptimist literature. Many clubs and members have in their possession parchment copies of the narrative on the emblem, which had been signed and presented to them by Helena Gamble, founder member who had attained the distinction of being named Federation historian for life.

Spectacular Growth

From the beginning, Southwestern region accepted challenges that extend Soroptimism and promote its ideals and has usually "led the action".

At the formation convention in Washington, D.C., in 1928, Federation President Ruby Lee Minar offered an award to the director whose district organized the greatest number of clubs. During that first biennium - 1928-1929 - eleven new clubs were organized, eight of which were in Southwestern district. Mae Hutchins, Southwestern district director, won the award of $100 in gold coins.

Blanche Edgar, Sacramento club charter member, served as Southwestern regional (district) director in 1930-1932. She also cherishes another honor - the record of having helped organize 103 clubs, some outside of Southwestern region (including Tokyo, Japan). Hence, for years, Blanche has been known as "Mrs. Extension" and identified by her slogan, which she loves to yell, -"TimbeR-R-R !!!"

Largely due to "Mrs. Extension's" efforts, by 1951, Southwestern region had grown to 118 clubs and to 131 by the end of that biennium (June 30, 1952). Division was inevitable and so decided by convention action, July 1952, with 67 clubs to the south making up Pacific region and the remaining 64 in northern California, northern Nevada and Hawaii retaining the name "Southwestern".

Steady growth has continued, with only slight recessions in membership from time to time. Business or growth developments caused a loss of four clubs during the years, but two were gained by a boundary change that added all of Nevada to the region, and three new clubs were added, therefore on October 3, 1971,
Southwestern Region proudly listed 134 clubs, making it the largest region both in clubs and membership in the federation.

Beginning of Soroptimist International Association

In 1927, Soroptimist clubs from the United States and Canada met in San Francisco and formed an International Federation. Through the constitution and by-laws, they had attempted to cover all Soroptimist clubs and set up a National Council for each country, thus allowing for growth.

Hopes were that this was a step toward fulfilling Mr. Morrow's original vision of a world-wide Soroptimist organization. The first meeting of the International Federation was set for June 1928 in Washington, D.C.

However, shortly before the 1928 convention, word was received from Miss Amy KerrSander that the overseas clubs did not feel bound by the 1927 constitution and that they had formed a European Federation, of which she was president. She and other overseas representatives attended the 1928 convention as

It was decided in Washington, D.C., to discard the 1927 constitution and bylaws, identify that meeting as "Preliminary International Meeting of Soroptimist Clubs" and to organize an International Association and a separate American Federation, including clubs of the United States and Canada.

The new International constitution adopted in 1928 said that membership would consist of all Soroptimist federations (two in existence). For each federation there would be a representative body composed of the presidents and two vice-presidents and contact would be made through that body. International conventions were to be held quadrennially, beginning in 1930.

That year-1930-became the most eventful year of Soroptimism to that date: the first bienniennal convention of the American federation in Philadelphia, June 2-5, was followed by the International convention in London, June 14-18, attended by representatives from the United States, Canada, England, Scotland,
Holland, Belgium, France, Germany, Austria, and Italy.

In 1934, a third federation, the Federation of Great Britian and Ireland, came into being.

Another important change came at the 1938 convention in Atlantic City, N.J. with an amendment to elect a liaison secretary as a tie between the federation presidents and International committee chairmen. Elizabeth Hawes, London, England, was elected and served until 1948, when she retired. Dr. M.M. Garot of Denmark took her place at the Harrogate, England, convention and served until 1952.

Growth of Soroptimism, SIA's activity in new international organizations, (such as the United Nations), and a desire to realize social projects, made evident the need for a permanent international board with a president and constitution.

A permanent board was elected and a constitution adopted at the Copenhagen convention in 1952.

Thus Soroptimist International Association, as it is today, came into its rightful place in the Soroptimist organization and Mrs. Gertrude Huitt, an attorney living in East St. Louis, Illinois, a past president of the Soroptimsit Club of St. Louis and a past American Federation president, became SIA's first president.

* reprinted from Southwestern Region's history book entitled "Out Where It All Began" written and compiled for a celebration of Soroptimist's 50th anniversary in 1971 and updated and reprinted in 1996 for the celebration of Soroptimist's 75th anniversary, prepared by the Founder Region 75th Anniversary Committee and entitled Founder Region "The Way It Was".

Stuart Morrow, organizer
"Managing Director"

The Birth of An Idea - by Stuart Morrow

 I have been invited to relate in the Year Book of the San Francisco
Soroptimist Club how the first of these clubs came to be started, and it may be of interest to Soroptimists to learn that it was an observation made to me by a woman that gave me the first suggestion.

In the summer of 1921, being at that time a resident of Oakland, California,
I was asked to assist in the formation of an Optimist Club in the city. While
thus engaged, I made a call upon one of the business colleges for the purpose of interesting its manager (whom I assumed to be a man) in becoming a member of the Optimist Club. The manager, however, turned out to be a woman. Upon my explaining to her the object of my call, she expressed her regret that it was not a club for business and professional women that was being organized, in view of the fact that business and professional men already had several organizations
patterned after the rotary Club, while the women did not have any at all.

The seed thus sown in my mind took root and germinated to such good purpose that it was only a short time afterwards that the Mother Soroptimist  Club became an accomplished fact. Some years previous to this, and upon my own initiative, 
I had carried the Rotary Club idea across the Atlantic, and had successively and successfully organized Rotary Clubs of Dublin and Belfast in Ireland, of Glasgow and Edinburg in Scotland, and of Liverpool, Birmingham and London in England. The experience thus gained I found most helpful in starting Soroptimist Clubs, and I decided to aim always at quality rather than numbers, but at the same time never to leave a club until it had been placed upon an absolutely permanent basis, irrespective of how long a time it occupied or how inadequate the financial returns. I also resolved to cover first the leading cities of the world rather than limit my activities to any one state or group of states. The prestige that has thus accrued to the Soroptimist Club places it in the forefront of all women's organizations.

It is my earnest desire that the slogan, "Quality, Harmony, Service," may ever be the guiding principle of every organizer of a Soroptimist Club. Quality - as regards the high grade of its membership; Harmony- as between its members; and Service - not only to its members, but to the city, to the nation, and to that great cause of friendship between nations, upon which the future progress of civilization will undoubtedly depend.

- Reprinted from San Francisco club's 1925-26 Yearbook.


Thanks to those who published the 50th Anniversary book as recognized here.
"Credit for help received goes to Violet Richardson Ward, charter president of the first Soroptimist Club of Alameda county; to Eloise B. Cushing, founder member of the Soroptimist Club of Alameda county, and to all the past regional directors and governors, who did so much for the organization in the past 50 years.

To Governor Charlotte Chichester for her encouragement, to Past Governor Mary Gianotti for extra research and leg work and Past Governor Matie Barker for time spent assisting in documenting historical facts and editing.

To Fiftieth Anniversary Steering Committee - Dorothy Cox, MaryEllen George,  Mary Gianotti and Bayonne Glenn - all of whom have given much time and support.

To other Southwestern Soroptimists: Alice Brandt, Marjorie Brown, Mauda  Crockett, Kay Davis, Dora Finnemore, Marie Graves, Ilse Greer, Geneva Kipp, Margaret Knott, Aimee Lubin-Buehl, Alverna Osborn, Mildred Palmer, Bernadine Quinlan, Dorothy Sarnes, Pamela Schlaepfer, Barbara Stevenson, Violet Unland,
Isabelle Portale, Dottie Locke, Dorothy Wright, Ortha Wulfing, all club Fiftieth Anniversary and history committees and all others who may have contributed in any way; and

To Venturists: Past Governors Marcia Batrez and Celesta Delaney.

My special thanks to Violet Richardson Ward. Without her inspiration, enthusiasm and inexhaustible fund of information, this story of Southwestern Region's first 50 years could not have been written."

The balance, as published, was organized by the 75th Anniversary Committee: Patti Cross, Catherine Burns, Margaret Bockman, Julia 'Bess' Combs, Mary Gianotti, Dorothy Avilla, Governor.

*This web-printing of Founder Region "The Way It Was" reproduces the original publication without reinterpreting the content by editing (except for obvious typos) or with a new layout, with the exception of adding  photos and illustrations.