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CANNELTON – Every month a group of women gathers at the Cannelton Public Library to discuss literature, trips members have taken or listen to programs covering various topics.
These women are members of an almost 100-year-old organization that was started Sept. 14, 1914, in Cannelton. According to a 1965 News article, the group was organized by Mrs. David Rodman, Mrs. Lee Rodman and Patricia Rodman.
The 14 charter members became the Woman's Travel Club. Club historian Mildred Rutherford said the club decided on its name because the members first studied Stoddard's Lectures, which dealt mostly with travel. Members bought a set of books for $45 with a down payment of $3.
Charter members were Stella Bush, Mrs. Frank Clemens, Jennie Clark, Mrs. Jessie Conway, Mrs. M.C. Conway, Carrie Hess, Mrs. Eugene Hicks, Mrs. Phoebe Martin, Mrs. G.W. Pohl, Clara Sloane, Sallie Worrell, Mrs. D.M. Rodman and Mrs. Lee Rodman.
The club's motto is "Build Thee More Stately Mansions O My Soul." According to a 1994 News story, a club song titled "Oh Travel Club," to the tune of "O Christmas Tree," was written by Marguerite Taylor.
In addition to learning about far-off places, Rutherford said the club was active in raising money for civic projects and held performances and teas to raise money. In 1922, she said the group sponsored a French orphan girl.
The club also placed trash cans in Cannelton, sponsored a Girl Scout troop and during both World Wars helped the American Red Cross make sweaters, socks, ditty bags and other items for servicemen.
Club members also gave an award to a Cannelton High School senior girl for scholarship, leadership and extracurricular activities. The club continues to give an award to a senior girl each year.
Rutherford said today the group discusses a variety of things during its meetings. Sometimes they take trips, like a recent one to the Hancock County Museum, have book reviews or discuss trips other members have taken. Club members also invite speakers to educate the group on several subjects like a November program on breast cancer.
Club officers are Nancy Spencer, president; Deanna Freeman, vice president; Sally Walker, secretary and Mary Lou Aldridge, treasurer. Members meet at 7 p.m. on designated Mondays at the Cannelton Public Library.
Anyone interested in joining the Woman's Travel Club should contact Nancy Spencer at 836-2800.