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Woman's Club of Olympia

Founded in 1883, the Woman’s Club of Olympia is one of the oldest women-only clubs on the West Coast. From a nucleus of a few women who in some cases defied their husbands to attend the first meeting, the club has grown and retained its vitality throughout its 129-year history.

Abbie Howard Hunt Stuart
Abbie H. H. Stuart, WSHS Collections.

Many dynamic and forward looking women have helped to create and maintain the club. Its first president, Abbie Howard Hunt Stuart was known as the "Mother of Women's Clubs" and founded other clubs in the area. Mrs. Stuart had belonged to the Woman’s Club in Boston and was the driving force in the Olympia Club's organization. An independent-minded woman, she had worked as a bookkeeper and was a graduate of Tremont College. She married Robert Stuart, who was the Federal Land Commissioner of Washington Territory in Olympia. After his death, she undertook the job of answering letters and recruiting settlers to Washington Territory. Abbie Howard Hunt Stuart was also president of the Women's Suffrage Association in Olympia which was founded in 1871, and she worked steadily for passage of women's suffrage legislation. As president of the Club, Abbie Stuart encouraged the club to conduct businesslike meetings and to enlarge its horizons away from purely domestic topics. More...