Inspired by the theme presented by the National Women’s History Alliance for National Women’s History Month (NWHM) 2019, “Visionary Women: Champions of Peace and Nonviolence,” and in partnership with the League of Women Voters of Coastal Georgia, this month’s editions of Collection Highlights explore the role of Georgia women “who have led efforts to end war, violence, and injustice and pioneered the use of nonviolence to change society.”
This pin commemorates the 75th anniversary of the Tallulah Falls School and is found in the collection of the Savannah Women’s Federation Club (SWFC) records. This pin underscores the efforts, achievements, and popularity of women’s clubs leading into the 20th century.
The women’s club movement in America began in the mid-19th century. Outside of household care, volunteering at church, or in support of patriotic fundraising for Civil War soldiers, opportunities for women to become educated and engage in social and political issues were rare.
The first women’s clubs were established in the mid-19th century and education was a major platform. Women’s clubs are often associated with benevolent projects aimed at bettering society such as working conditions for women, child labor, environmental protection, and resources to help the impoverished. Women’s clubs were often exclusive to white protestant women of means, although as the club movement become more popular, women of religious, racial, and ethnic minorities established clubs around similar platforms serving their communities.
The Georgia Federation of Women’s Clubs (GaFWC) was established in 1895 inside the Women’s Building of the Cotton States and International Exposition in Atlanta. At the 1906 GaFWC Convention, Mrs. Mary Ann Lipscomb of Athens, Georgia, offered a resolution recommending that the Federation establish a school at Tallulah Falls in North Georgia. Mrs. Lipscomb noted the desperate need for a school for children living in Habersham and Rabun counties. The resolution was unanimously adopted, and the Tallulah Falls Industrial School officially opened in 1909. Still residing on Cherokee Mountain, the Tallulah Falls School serves students from the region as well as from across Georgia and the world. It continues to be supported by women’s clubs around the state including the Savannah Federation of Women’s Clubs.
Tallulah Falls School, Georgia Federation of Women’s Clubs
Georgia History, Georgia Federation of Women’s Clubs
Women’s Clubs, National Women’s History Museum