Girls’ Loyalty Club on Walnut street

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History of Freeland, Pa.
Girls' Loyalty Club in the News

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  • Newspaper coverage of the Girls' Loyalty Club
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Ed Merrick kindly searched out some of these articles documenting the founding and early years of the Girls’ Loyalty Club.


Plain Speaker 9-8-1903: Sewing School Opened
“The sewing school in the Refowich building opened its fall term last evening with a fair attendance of pupils. This school is for the benefit of working girls who are employed in the factories during the day and is the most practical of all our educational institutions. Mrs. E. B. Coxe, of Drifton, is the chief patroness.”

Scranton Times-Tribune 11-7-1903: School for Mill Girls
[A related article reported on a multi-day meeting of the Pennsylvania Congress of Mothers, at which various issues including women’s suffrage, divorce laws, the fight against polygamy, education, etc. were discussed.]
“After Mrs. Schoff’s address, a young lady from Freeland, in charge of an evening school for mill girls and other juvenile workers that was established last January by Mrs. Eckley B. Coxe, was requested to give some account of its methods and of its success among the girls, both very interesting and encouraging. The young lady, sent by Mrs. Coxe to attend this meeting of the Congress and gain suggestions, had not expected to be called upon and made a special request that her name should not be given in the reports of the proceedings.”

Plain Speaker 11-30-1903: Sewing School Social
Opening of the girls’ school, 1903 Opening of the girls’ school, 1903 “The members of the sewing school were treated to a social in the Refowich building Saturday evening, where a select musical and literary program was successfully carried out.” Misses Croll, Sweeney and Gillespie were named as the “efficient corps of instructors,” as was Prof. E. F. Hanlon, “under whose management the institution is being conducted.”

Plain Speaker 11-30-1903: Praiseworthy Institution
Opening of the girls’ school, 1903 Opening of the girls’ school, 1903 “The sewing and cooking school recently organized by Prof E. F. Hanlon in town fills a very important gap in an educational system, in which the practical needs of the daughters of the wage earner have been altogether overlooked. … A knowledge of cooking and sewing are indispensible accomplishments to the future happiness of girls who will in the natural order become the wives of wage earners. … The school is already branching out, the present quarters being totally inadequate to its needs. The upper floor of the Birkbeck brick building has been leased by the management and will be occupied on January 1. A complete outfit of cooking utensils will be installed in the new quarters and the students will receive daily instructions in the science of cooking. Miss Mattie Lewis, a graduate of the Philadelphia Conservatory of Music, has been added to the faculty and will take full charge of the musical instruction. Miss Mary Sweeney has charge of the sewing department, while Miss Croll and Miss Gillespie teach literature and the common branches. …”

Plain Speaker 4-12-1904: Sewing School Entertainment
“The girls comprising the sewing and cooking school gave an entertainment at their rooms in the Birkbeck building and an interesting musical and literary program was successfully carried out. The Coxe ladies of Drifton were present and took a deep interest in the progress of the students. Refreshments were served and all present enjoyed a real social time.”

Plain Speaker 6-29-1904: Campbell-Sweeney [wedding announcement]
… The bride [Mary Sweeney, of Drifton, who married Hugh Campbell of Hazleton at St. Ann’s in Woodside] was formerly “a Hazle township school teacher and also one of the young ladies selected by Mrs. E. B. Coxe to conduct the evening school opened by that lady in Freeland for the special benefit of working girls.”

Plain Speaker 5-1-1905: Girls’ Industrial School Renders Operetta
“An entertainment was held in the rooms of the Working Girls’ Industrial School at Freeland Saturday evening. The affair was conducted under the auspices of the teachers, Mrs. E. F. Hanlon and Misses Lewis and Sweeney, and reflects great credit of both the pupils and their instructors. ‘Peggy’s Dream,’ a popular operetta, was rendered in a manner that surprised the few invited guests who were present. The musical and elocutionary parts of the program show the great progress made by the pupils and the results already obtained in the brief time the school has been opened. Slight refreshments were served and all present felt elated at the successful manner in which the program was carried out.”

Plain Speaker 6-26-1905: Closing Exercises
“The closing exercises of the girls’ industrial school, conducted in the Birkbeck buiding under the patronage of Mrs. Eckley B. Coxe, were held on Saturday evening. “The district school at Blueberry Corner”, a farcical drama in three acts [by Laura M. Parsons – CT], was rendered by the pupils to the great delight of Mrs. Coxe, who with a party of friends graced the affair with their presence. The manner in which the young ladies rendered their respective parts showed careful rehearsal and training. … The play will be re-produced this evening for the benefit of the parents of the girls attending the industrial school.”

Here are the names of the girls who acted in the play:
Louise Anthony
Mary Bartele
Theresa Bartele
Agnes Brogan
Mary Callahan
Annie Carr
Katie Carr
Maggie Carr
Ida Dinn
Bid Ferry
Grace Gallagher
Margaret Gallagher
Josephine Glott
Anna Logan
Rose McElwee
Minnin Munce
Grace Murphy
Mary O’Donnell
Veronica Ondeck
Mary Reinsmith
Norah Reinsmith
Annie Romana
Anna Welch
Anna Welsh

Scranton Times-Tribune 12-29-1908: Mrs. Coxe Erects School for Girls
Widow of Wealthy Coal Operator Gives Freeland a Beautiful $30,000 Building
Opening of the new Girls’ Loyalty Club “ … The school is practically finished and will be dedicated next month. … The industrial home is the culmination of a movement started by Mrs. Coxe twenty years ago. She believes that girls destined to be the wives of wage earners, in order to be happy and the mothers of families, should know a little about housekeeping, cooking, needlework and care of children and things of that kind rather than Latin, Greek or Botany.”

Wilkes-Barre Times-Leader 9-21-1910: Will Open October 1
“Preparations are now under way for the opening of the Girls’ Industrial school that is maintained by Mrs. E. B. Coxe of Drifton. The institution is now known as the Girls’ Loyalty Club and it is one of the best features Freeland can boast of as it affords the working girls an opportunity to gain a knowledge in cooking and sewing. A course in the common school branches is taught as well as a musical course.”

Plain Speaker 7-15-1918: Women Organize War Work
Branch of Ladies’ National Defense Society Organized
“A branch of the Ladies’ National Defense Society has been organized in Freeland by a number of patriotic ladies of Freeland and vicinity. … The district allotted to the new organization comprises Freeland, Upper Lehigh, Sandy Run, Pond Creek, Eckley, Highland, Jeddo and Drifton.
… Food conservation and the elimination of waste in the home will be its chief forte. … Through the courtesy of Mrs. Eckley B. Coxe the ladies have been granted permission to give a luncheon at the Girls’ Loyalty Club rooms on Walnut street on some date to be later announced. The meetings of the organization will be held in the Municipal building every Thursday afternoon.”

Plain Speaker 9-4-1918: Girls’ Loyalty Club
“Members of the Loyalty Club will be glad to know that the club will resume activities this month. Registration for classes will take place this week. On Thursday evening, Sept. 5, at 7:30, the assembly hall will be open for old members to register for classes. On Friday evening, Sept. 6 the hall will be open again for new girls to register. Separate registration evenings have been assigned for old and new girls on account of the large membership of the club.”

Plain Speaker 12-17-1918: Talks for Loyalty Club Girls
“Miss Jean Hamilton, the general secretary of the National League of Women Workers will visit the Girls’ Loyalty Club on Tuesday evening, December 17, where she will be entertained socially and deliver an address to the girls. …” [Note: In 1920 this organization (established in 1897) would be renamed National League of Girls Clubs. The Girls’ Loyalty Club seems to have joined this organization at some point. – CT]

Standard-Speaker 6-28-1919 Guests of Miss Anna Bonoma
This clipping discusses visitors who are nieces of Mrs. E. J. Field, “who was formerly in charge of the Girls’ Loyalty Club in Freeland.” They are part of the Smalley Trio, endorsed by John Philip Sousa and booked as the banner attraction for a Chautauqua program. While in Freeland they are staying with Miss Anna Bonoma at her home on Centre street, “who is one of Freeland’s well known musicians and soloists.”

Standard-Speaker 7-1-1921 Girls’ Loyalty Club Exhibition
“The annual exhibition of art needle work made by the girls of the Loyalty Club, will be held on Saturday, July 2nd in the assembly hall of the Club House. Afternoon, from 2.30 to 5.30. Evening from 7.30 to 10 o’clock.”

Standard-Speaker 6-15-1922: Attending Club Meeting
“Miss Beard who is in charge of the Girls’ Loyalty Club on West Walnut street, left in company with Miss Anna Williams, who is attached to the clerical staff in the First National Bank, for a trip to Vassar College. They will attend a very important club meeting at which time delegates from every state in the union will be represented.”

Standard-Speaker 6-16-1922: Serving as Delegates
“The Misses Genevieve Hanlon of Adam street, and Mary Shovelin of Washington street, who take an active part in social and educational affairs at the Girls’ Loyalty Club on West Walnut street, were among the representatives from the club who left for Vassar College to attend the annual meeting of girls’ clubs.” [Annual meeting of the National League of Girls’ Clubs, Vassar, June 1922 - CT]

Standard-Speaker 6-30-1922: Exhibition Opens Today
“The citizens and residents of Freeland and the North side towns, who are interested in fancy work and the good that is being accomplished by the young ladies of the community, who attend the Girls’ Loyalty Club, are invited to pay the above institution, that is promoted by Mrs. Eckley B. Coxe, of Drifton, a visit today.”

Standard-Speaker 9-14-1922: Will Elect Officers Tonight
There will be a meeting this evening of the ladies associated with the Girls’ Loyalty Club to take an active part in arranging for the opening of the fall and winter schedule. New officers will be elected.

Plain Speaker 10-17-1922: Fashion Exhibit
"A fashion exhibit will take place at the rooms of the Girls’ Loyalty Club, with Miss Martha Rite, an out of town demonstrator in charge. The afternoon session is for the style edification of matrons and spinsters, while the evening session is for the young lady members of the club and their friends. Miss Rite will give a talk on ‘The Trend of Fashion’.”

Standard-Speaker 10-17-1922: To Have Exhibit
The afternoon session for women was to display women’s and children’s garments. The evening session was for Club members and their friends. “This fashion exhibit will demonstrate on professional models, the latest apparel from New York city and other fashion centers. In addition to the talk by Miss Martha Rite will be “a demonstration by an expert corsetiere on the most hygienic corsets.”

Standard-Speaker 2-10-1923: Attending Banquet
“The Misses Nellie Shovelin and Julia Boyle, who are members of the Freeland Borough teaching corps, who are also closely associated with the Girls’ Loyalty Club that was established in Freeland by Mrs. E. B. Coxe, of Drifton, left town yesterday accompanied by the Misses Alma Koch and Mary Keenan, for a trip to Philadelphia. They represented the local school at a banquet that was conducted in the Rittenhouse Hotel on Chestnut street.”

Standard-Speaker 2-27-1923: Girls Conditioning for Game
Girls from Freeland High School and the Girls’ Loyalty Club have joined forces to help St. Luke’s Lutheran church to raise funds for their building fund to erect a new building on the site of the current one. Best players from both schools are “now being conditioned for a basket ball game that will be played in the auditorium on Front street.”

Standard-Speaker 6-26-1923: Will Give Art Exhibit
“The people of the North Side, who are interested in education, are cordially invited to attend the free art exhibit in fancy needle work in the Girls’ Loyalty Club headquarters on Walnut street, Wednesday afternoon and evening.”

Plain Speaker 9-15-1923: Loyalty Club Officers
New officers of the Girls’ Loyalty Club were elected for the coming year:
President – Irene Berger
Vice President – Mary Contini
Secretary – Anna Palya
Treasurer – Catherine Beard
“Miss Beard, the principal, outlined a program of work and amusement for the coming term which will be carried out by the girls.”

Plain Speaker 1-23-1924: Returned To Work
Two visiting representatives of the National League of Girls’ Clubs “complimented the Girls’ Loyalty Club manager on the excellent progress that is being made here in the study of domestic economy and needle work. …”

Plain Speaker 2-6-1924: Will Attend Girls Club Convention
“Misses Alice Christy and Anna Cheppa, directors and active workers of the Girls’ Loyalty Club, of Freeland, have been chosen as delegates to represent the club at a convention and banquet to be held under the auspices of the National League of Girls Clubs, in Philadelphia, on February 16.”

Standard-Speaker 2-16-1924: Off On City Jaunt
“The Misses Irene Berger, Anna Cheppa, Mela Fenstermacher and Alma Koch, all of Freeland, members of the Girls’ Loyalty Club of Freeland, will leave town this morning for Philadelphia, where they will attend a banquet.”

Standard-Speaker 6-12-1924: Given Scholarship
Miss Anna Evans, member of Girls’ Loyalty Club, was awarded a scholarship to Bryn Mawr College summer school for girls, in industry.

Standard-Speaker 3-13-1925: Delivered Lecture
“Prof. W. R. Bray of the Mining & Mechanical School, visited at the Girls’ Loyalty Club last evening, and delivered a timely and interesting talk to the young ladies, which was thoroughly appreciated. His subject was ‘Government and Civics’.”

Plain Speaker 3-31-1925: City Lecturer Coming
Mrs. William Hendrik Shelly of Philadelphia is coming to give an illustrated lecture in the rooms of the Girls’ Loyalty Club on the performance she attended of the Oberammergau Passion Play.

Standard-Speaker 9-22-1925: Elected Officers
Young women associated with the Girls’ Loyalty Club held a business session and elected a staff of officers for the coming year:
President – Miss Alice Phillips, an attendant in the dental offices of Dr. Lester Trevaskis
Vice President – Miss Anna Evans
Secretary – Miss Susan Misto, the stenographer in the law office of Attorney M. S. DePierro

Plain Speaker 3-2-1926: Her Other Charities
“Mrs. Coxe was a liberal supporter of the Girls’ Loyalty Club of Freeland, whose activities are devoted to the instruction of working girls. …”

Plain Speaker 3-3-1926
Students to attend Sophia Coxe wake, 1926 “.. the numerous philanthropic agencies originated and maintained by Mrs. Coxe will be operated through trusts created by Mrs. Coxe before her death. She has arranged for trust funds to perpetuate the Girls’ Loyalty Club, the Freeland Mining and Mechanical Institute and the charitable work that had earned her the name “Angel of the Anthracite Coal Field. …”

Plain Speaker 3-3-1926: Schools To Close on Thursday
Students to honor the memory of Mrs. E. B. Coxe and attend her funeral.

Standard-Speaker 8-2-1926: Instructor Returned
“Miss Beard, one of the local instructors, who had been out of town during the past month while taking advantage of her summer vacation period, is back at the Girls’ Loyalty Club at the peak of Birvanton Hill on Walnut street.”

Standard-Speaker 8-21-1926: Going To Club Quarters Today
“Miss Sue Misto, of the Girls’ Loyalty Club, who is the stenographer in the office of M. S. DePierro, will leave today for Philadelphia, where she will report to Whitford Girls’ Club quarters.”

Plain Speaker 8-30-1926: Judges Selected
The ladies of the Freeland Civic Club selected a board of judges for their flower show, including Miss Beard, “governess of the Girls’ Loyalty Club”, Dr. A. A. Reelin, Miss Moulder, a Drifton trained nurse, and Robert Montgomery, of Jeddo, “who won a number of prizes during the competition incident to the war gardens campaign in Jeddo some years ago.”

Plain Speaker 11-10-1926: Corset Show Held
Staff of the corset department of Deisroth’s store spoke about corsets from a health point of view and then some corsets were modeled.

Plain Speaker 7-21-1927: Freeland Girls Meet On Mid-Ocean
Miss Grace Boyle, “a member of the Freeland High School teaching faculty”, was traveling to Europe during holiday vacation when she met on board ship Miss Ada Powell of Ithaca, N.Y., now in charge of the Social Service League but formerly “a member of the teaching corps at the Girls’ Loyalty Club.”

Standard-Speaker 9-10-1928: Spent Vacation In Chicago
“Miss K. Beard, who is the resident secretary of the Girls’ Loyalty Club, on Walnut street, Birvanton Hill, is arranging to report back to town from her western pleasure trip, a part of which she enjoyed with relatives and former associates in Chicago.”

Plain Speaker 11-14-1929: Volunteers of Freeland
Student health volunteers, 1929 Miss Mary Zadra, chair of volunteers of the Freeland branch of the Red Cross, teaches girls from the Girls’ Loyalty Club to make surgical dressings, nurses’ aprons, etc. The girls participating in this work were: Betty Repko, Matilda Waskevich, Susan Gregor, Matilda Evancho, Josephine Matuka, Helen Kosciusko, Mary Kosciusko and Miss Mary Zadra.

Plain Speaker 8-3-1931
“Miss Ada Powell, of Ithaca, N.Y. is visiting her sister, Miss Jane Powell of Walnut street. Miss Powell, who formerly had charge of the Girls’ Loyalty Club here, is now employed by the Special Service League, of Ithaca.”

Plain Speaker 9-4-1931: Loyalty Registrations Open
Registration for winter classes now open, classes beginning on September 14. “The Girls’ Loyalty Club is one of the established institutions for girls in Freeland and each year many young women take advantage of the opportunities offered at the club.”

Plain Speaker 11-9-1933: Girls Loyalty Club Held Party
About forty girls from the various classes of the Girls’ Loyalty Club enjoyed their annual Halloween party. A card party “in the beautiful Loyalty Club auditorium” is planned for November 17.

Girls’ Loyalty Club closed, 1934 Plain Speaker 12-27-1934: Loyalty Club Closed
Freeland’s Girls’ Loyalty Club has been closed by the Board of Trustees of the Coxe estate, and the secretary, Miss Beard, has left for Philadelphia to accept another post. A statement is expected soon from the Trustees. The article says that the institution was founded as a recreation center for girls with instructions given in art and needle work, cooking and domestic science.

Girls’ Loyalty Club closed, 1935 Plain Speaker 1-8-1935: Coxe Trustees Liquidate Club
Announce Closing of Girls’ Loyalty Club of Freeland and Sale of Club Building
This move was announced by the Board of Trustees of the Sophia G. Coxe Charitable Trusts.

Standard-Speaker 1-9-1935: Girls’ Loyalty Club Disbanded
Clubhouse of Freeland Unit Has Been Announced for Sale
Girls’ Loyalty Club closed, 1935 Girls’ Loyalty Club closed, 1935 In part, the statement of the Board of Trustees of the Sophia G. Coxe Charitable Trusts reads: “It is believed that the original intent of the club, as formulated by the late Mrs. Eckley B. Coxe, has been fully realized and carried out. During the earlier years of the club, there were no Y. W. C. A.’s in the neighborhood, and church and school societies were few in number. The girls of Freeland have for many years benefited from its instruction and hospitality but since the advent of the modern high school and parish societies for young people, it is believed the Girls’ Loyalty Club has outlived its usefulness – hence its liquidation.”

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