The Shakespeare Club of Pasadena was organized in 1888 and has the distinction of being the first women’s club in Southern California. Miss Claribel Thompson and Mrs. Lydia Nash, meeting for the first time at a church social, discussed the need for a literary club. The following week they met to formulate plans. With twelve charter members, a Constitution and By-Laws were adopted. The Club’s purpose: the cultural, educational and philanthropic interests of its members. That purpose still prevails today.
During succeeding years, the Club became a forum and launching-point for numerous “progressive” ideas of the new century. Public kindergarten, public restrooms, Juvenile Court and the Pasadena Humane Society are but a few of the projects initiated by Shakespeare Club volunteers.
One of the oldest Club traditions is their association with the Pasadena Tournament of Roses, which began in 1897, contributing toward prizes each year and serving picnic lunches in Tournament Park to visitors. The Shakespeare Club entered its first float, a decorated carriage, in 1906, and had four prizewinning floats in the years 1929-32. The Queen’s Luncheon, held at a regular meeting of the Club, has been a tradition since 1952.
In addition to their civic activities, Club volunteers successfully financed, built and enlarged what was known as the Stratford House to include meeting rooms as well as a large auditorium seating 900 people. In 1971, the Club sold Stratford House and moved to its current location in the Everett House on South Grand Avenue.
During these more recent years, The Shakespeare Club has continued its legacy of past accomplishments. The Shakespeare Club has maintained high standards and traditions and continues to participate actively in many community projects.
Club HISTORIAN: Candace L. Campbell
Past Presidents and Board Members
Standing, left to right: Mrs. William A. Spill, Mrs. Joseph H. Dorn, Miss Anna L. Meeker, Mrs. Clayton R. Taylor, Mrs. Ernest H. Lockwood, Mrs. Charles E. Ashcroft, Mrs. Edwin M. Stanton, Mrs. Charles J. Wendland, Mrs. Leo g. MacLaughlin, Mrs. Lewis H. Turner, Mrs. Chester S. Rohne, Mrs. Edwin F. Hahn, and Mrs. Arthur J. Wingard.
Seated, left to right: Mrs. Lon F. Chapin, Mrs. Louis O. Eastman, Mrs. Leon C. Brockway, Mrs. Alice Malcolmson, Miss Bessie A. Wilson, and Mrs. Porter L. Parmele.
Click here for a glimpse into an interesting November 1926 Event, “A Century of Fashion” put on by the Shakespeare Club members of the day.
Click here for the booklet “A Brief History of the Shakespeare Club”.