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Dayton Federation of Women's Clubs Records

Identifier: MS-187

Scope and Content

The Dayton Federation of Women's Clubs (DFWC) is a collaboration group that brings together the various women's clubs around Dayton to cooperate and to be more effective as women's clubs. These clubs help and promote each other. In this collection are various materials about the DFWC's activities and events, their membership as well as materials about their connection to the OFWC and the GFWC. The records within the Dayton Federation of Women's Clubs collection are divided into five different series.

Series I, Administrative Records, contains the DFWC’s original 1907 constitution and its revised 1963 version, the organization’s annual reports from 1910 to 1928. Other records in this series include a centennial history of the organization,copies of the 1978 and 1985 standing rules, as well as original meeting minutes for 1907-1930 and from 1979 through 1981. Please note that the early minutes (1907-1930) are fragile and can be difficult to read due to evidence of water damage. Researchers are requested to use the digital files of the early minutes (1907-1930) to reduce handling of the originals. This series also has the awards given to the DFWC from various sources. The Scholarship Loan Fund is a big part of the DWFC and this series has the scholarship bank records and receipts as well as some correspondence all dating 1982-1997.

Series II, Programs, contains the DFWC yearly programs from 1933 to 1977. It also contains correspondence concerning several of the DFWC's most important projects - the Marie J. Kumler Memorial School in 1927, the 33rd Annual GFWC Convention in 1929 and the group's work with the OFWC's Division of the Blind in the mid-1960s. This material is interesting because it documents two of the group's earliest projects.

Series III, Membership, consists of the Dayton Federation of Women's Club yearly directories from 1931 to 1987 and member club's booklets for 1929 to 1988. This series documents the changing membership of the DFWC.

Series IV, Scrapbooks, includes scrapbooks, for 1967-1969, 1977-1979, 1981-1982, 1982-1983 and 1948-1949 and 1986-1988. These mainly consist of information about the club's yearly doings for these spans and include programs, photographs, and newspaper clippings.

Series V, Publications and News Clippings, consists of published books about the OFWC as well as copies of the GFWC magazine, The Buckeye, from 1928 to 1971. This series also contains several book publications dealing with the various Federations of Women's Clubs. Along with these books, this series has the DFWC newsletters from 1986-1999 and newspaper clippings from 1950-1988 about the DFWC, OFWC and the GFWC. There are some gaps in the dates for the clippings. There is an article from Ladies Home Journal from 1917 that documents the early years of the DFWC.


  • Creation: 1907-2007


Restrictions on Access

There are no restrictions on accessing materials in this collection.

Restrictions on Use

Copyright restrictions may apply. Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. Permission to publish, quote or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.

History of Dayton Federation of Women's Clubs

The Dayton Federation of Women's Clubs was founded in 1907 by Marie J. Kumler. Mrs. Kumler brought together the 11 women's clubs then currently active in the Dayton area in an effort to "unite the club women of Dayton and of Montgomery County, Ohio, for closer cooperation and efficiency in the promotion of their major interests, patriotism, education, philanthropy, and civic betterment and to become better acquainted as clubs and individuals and to help one another in every possible way." The Dayton Federation of Women's Clubs became affiliated with the Ohio and the General Federation of Women's Clubs during that same year. After 82 years, four of the original 11 founding clubs - the Advance, College Women's Club, Friday Afternoon and Women's Literary Clubs - are still functioning.

In 1908, the club began its most enduring project, the Marie J. Kumler Scholarship Loan Fund. This fund, which provides interest free loans to young women for higher education, was established through voluntary penny per week contribution from each club member. The monies raised are loaned to deserving students who are sponsored by a member of the Dayton Federation of Women's Clubs. The first beneficiary, as chosen by Mrs. Kumler, was "a deserving factory girl with artistic ability and womanly traits." In 1927, the club attempted to enlarge the program into a "Marie J. Kumler Memorial School" on the outskirts of Dayton. They purchased a working dairy farm for this purpose and issued donation cards in order to raise funds. Their fundraising fell through, however, and they broke their contract in 1928, returning the land to its original owner. The scholarship fund itself continued and in later years, clubs supporting the fund increased their donations to 52 cents per capita per year. The fund also solicits donations through wills, gifts, trusts and endowments.

Charitable work has always been a part of the DFWC's mandate. In 1929, during the Great Depression, AFWC members convinced NCR to turn its auditorium into a soup kitchen for the needy. Early each morning, the women would travel to the auditorium to cook meals for the needy. Another enduring legacy of the early years of the DFWC, however, is Daybreak House, a home for runaway children. This project started when several Federation members discovered that runaway children in Montgomery County were automatically sent to the county workhouse if they could not prove they had a place to stay overnight. In order to prevent this, the clubwomen began taking stray children into their own homes. This one-on-one approach developed into a club-sponsored shelter that opened in 1975. Currently, one of the DFWC's largest projects is its Daybreak fundraiser, a Doll House and Miniature Show every October. These early projects did not go unrecognized and the DFWC was chosen to host the 33rd Annual GFWC Convention, April 22-29, 1929.

Over the years, the DFWC itself has functioned relatively unchanged. Neither World War I nor World War II disrupted the DFWC routine although the club contributed money and supplies to relief efforts. It has become increasingly involved with the OFWC (through its Division of Blind services) and the GFWC (with its "Free Enterprise" program).

Although its original 1907 constitution was revised in 1963, the club has continued to meet on the first Saturday of each month from September through May. Most importantly, it has continued its important charitable, social, and educational work through an increasing number of women's clubs in the Dayton and Montgomery County area.


4.7 linear feet

Language of Materials



Records include annual reports, programs, meeting minutes, membership records, and scrapbooks containing clippings and photographs pertaining to the club's activities. Founded in 1907, the Dayton Federation of Women's Clubs is an amalgamation of Dayton area women's organizations and is engaged locally in charitable, educational and social activities.

Statement of Arrangement

The collection is arranged into 5 series:

Series I:
Administrative, 1907-2007
Subseries 1A:
General, 1907-2007
Subseries 1B:
Scholarship Loan Fund, 1973-1998
Series II:
Programs, 1927-1977, 1987
Series III:
Membership, 1931-1988
Series IV:
Scrapbooks, 1948-1988
Series V:
Publications and News Clippings, 1917-1999
Subseries VA:
Books, 1924-1975
Subseries VB:
Newsletters, 1986-1999
Subseries VC:
News Clippings, 1917, 1950-1988

Acquisition Information

The records of the Dayton Federation of Women's Clubs were donated to the Wright State University Special Collections and Archives in August of 1988 by Mrs. Howard J. Redder, the president at the time.

Existence and Location of Copies

Early meeting minutes from 1907-1930 in Series I are in fragile condition. The minutes are available as digital files (*.tif and *.pdf). Please ask archivist to access them from DigiServ L:\SC&A\MS-187_Dayton_Federation_of_Women's_Clubs.

Related Material

MS-315 College Women's Club of Dayton; MS-349 Progressive Mothers' Club Records; MS-441 Trotwood Women's Club Records

Guide to the Dayton Federation of Women's Clubs Records (MS-187)
Finding aid prepared by Ellen Reeher, 1989
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 1989: Additions processed by Dawne Dewey
  • 2007: Additions processed by Tiffany O'Sheal
  • 2012 November: Further additions were processed by Victoria Penno
  • 2022 : Additions of early minute books were processed by Toni Vanden Bos

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

Special Collections and Archives
3640 Colonel Glenn Hwy
Dayton OH 45435-0001 USA