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Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Salmagundi Club, 1898

For many years, Lloyd V. Tuttle contributed historic photos and information to the Defiance Crescent-News for his column: "A Backward Glance."  The Salmagundi Club was discussed on Tuesday, April 23, 1963.

"This is a picture of the Salmagundi Club taken after a meeting in 1898.  The literary club was organized three years before the photograph in 1895.

Pictured are, from left, back row: Mrs. John W. Winn (mother of Probate Judge, John Winn), Mrs. Carrie Bowlby, Mrs. Peter Weigerding (mother of Rena and Eda Weigerding), Mrs. H. B. Tenzer, Mrs. K. V. Haymaker (mother of Mildred Haymaker), Mrs. Catharine Weisenburger;
Seated in center, Mrs. Della Brechbill, Mrs. Katharine Sites, Mrs. Laura Lind (mother of Krotz-Brady), Miss Helen Phelps, and Mrs. Violet Weisenburger.

The picture was contributed to the 'Backward Glance' by Mrs. C. J. Thompson, Jr., 1540 South Clinton St.  It was given to Mrs. Thompson by Mrs. Katharine Sites, after the former became a member of the club in 1932." 

The word, "Salmagundi," was defined as "a general mixture, potpourri, a miscellaneous collection," which could describe the studies of the group quite well.  In early newspapers, we read that a subject for the year would be chosen, and then members would present papers connected to that subject.  The club often sponsored events, some to benefit the public library, and occasionally, husbands were invited to play Pedro, a popular card game of the 1900s.

In 1909, the Defiance Crescent News published a series called "Clubdom in Defiance," and on May 22, the Salmagundi Club was featured:


Late in the fall of '95, a number of ladies met at the home of Mr. F. S. Bowlby, and under the supervision of Miss Helen Phelps organized a Literary Circle.  A code of rules and regulations drawn up by Miss Phelps were read before the ladies and as all were pleased, they were unanimously accepted. On the first election of officers, Mrs. Mary Tenzer was elected President; Mrs. Delia Brechbill, Vice President; Mrs Violet Weisenberger, Secretary and Treasurer.  The second meeting was held the following Friday at Mrs. Bowlby's to further the plans suggested at the first gathering.

The objects sought were mutual help, intellectual improvement, andsocial enjoyment.  Meetings were to be held every two weeks on Friday afternoon, from two-thirty until four at the home of the members in alphabetical order.  The carnation was chosen as the flower, colors being pink and green.  A number of names for the circle were presented and from these names, Salmagundi was chosen.  Miss Phelps christened the Circle, and since then has been known as our God-mother. 

Of the original number, seven still remain, Eugenia Haymaker, Catherine Sites, Mary Tenzer, Catherine Weisenberger, Violet Weisenberger, Ida Weigerding, Carry Bowlby, Helen Phelps and Mary Krotz-Brady, the last three being associate members."

At this point, a list of past members and officers was given, which might be obtained from the newspaper listed above. 
For the first three years, the club studied everything American - origin of the race, birds, flowers, songs ,novelists, humorists, sailors, soldiers, and statesman.  In the fourth year, English authors were studied and, for the first time, the group printed their annual book of programs.
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The fifth year focused on English and French history, as well as studies of those countries, as well as Italy and Spain.  Russia, Shakespeare, Grecian and Italian art, American art, Japan, Holland, the Colonial period and the rise of the West were some other topics for the year, along with many others. 

The reporter concluded:

"The papers presented have been of a high order and could not have been prepared without wide reading and careful thought.
Each has derived most benefit from her own work, but those who listened with attention must have gleaned many golden grains of knowledge.  Through these, we have gained a wider interest in the places brought before us and so have vastly extended our horizons."



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