A Long Lost Piece of Grafton History is Found
The Women’s Community Club (WCC) of Grafton will be observing 100 years of community, philanthropy and higher education at its sold-out Centennial Gala on Saturday, August 18. The event is held to support scholarships given to local students pursuing post-secondary education. Features will include a half-hour concert with musicians from Boston’s Grammy-nominated orchestra, A Far Cry, along with a fundraising auction offering historic and one-of-kind items handmade by local artisans. Those who missed the chance to buy tickets to the Gala can still place bids at the email address cited below. There is also an opportunity to win a Windsor rocking chair valued at $1000, donated by noted chair maker Conrad Delia; raffle tickets are $10 each, and can be purchased in advance at Gallery North Star or at email@example.com. Photos and descriptions can be found at facebook.com/grafton.wcc.
Judy Rowley, historian for the Women’s Community Club of Grafton, is eager to present her remarks at the event. Long puzzled that the Grafton Historical Society didn’t have any records or old photos on the Club, despite its century of community service, Rowley spent days of searching the Grafton Historical Museum, insisting that something must exist. Then she and Grafton Historical Society administrator Maureen Fisher Fletcher discovered a box that apparently had never been opened. Since the Society was not organized until 1962, it might have been a lost cause – but they hit pay dirt. The Club’s original minutes from 1918 to 1928 were inside – as well as other historical gems. Rowley was thrilled about the discovery, and is looking forward to sharing newly discovered highlights from the Club’s 100-year history.
As described in the minutes of February 8, 1918, the WCC started on that date when 75 women gathered in the Baptist Vestry to organize the Ladies Knitting Club, which raised money, knitted clothing and gave aid and support to American soldiers during the First World War. After the war, and with a name change, the Club turned its attention to efforts within the community. When the Club’s first lifetime member, Susan Daniels, died in 1938, she left a bequest to promote higher education, maintain the Village Park and tune the pianos in the Town Hall, Chapel and Village School. The WCC scholarship program was launched, with Barbara Fisher Rogers receiving the first scholarship of $100 in 1966/67. Since then, the WCC has given out 225 scholarships to 127 Grafton students totaling $250,000 in just over 50 years – an accomplishment for a town of 600! This year, $20,000 in scholarships were given to seven students. Awards are based on scholastic achievement, financial need, community involvement and extra curricular activities and work commitments at school. This year the Club also launched a Centennial Sponsorship initiative, to which the Windham Foundation contributed a leadership gift of $10,000. Other sponsors quickly followed bringing the Centennial Sponsorship effort to $25,000. To learn more, purchase raffle tickets or place an absentee bid, email firstname.lastname@example.org.