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Editor’s Note: The Friday Book Club will celebrate its 75th anniversary this Friday with a book review and reading at the Tell City Historical Museum. As a part of the celebration, members of the group provided this history of the club to the News.
TELL CITY – In December 1938, 12 wo-men met to organize a book review club which would “sponsor good reading in our homes and community.” Bylaws were written and officers elected. The first meeting of the Friday Book Club took place the next month.
Officers for the first year were Mrs. Glenn Traw, president; Mrs. C.D. Schrieber, vice president; Mrs. J.J. Graves, secretary and treasurer, and Mrs. Nelson Fenn, librarian. Other charter members were Mrs. Vol-mer Franz, Mrs. William Schergens, Mrs. Fred Heinzle, Mrs. Charles Schreiber, Mrs. Frank Ress, Mrs. J.D. Kriesle, Mrs. Roy Fenn and Mrs. H.C. Powers.
Annual dues were 50 cents and still remain so today. Meetings were held in members’ homes and no refreshments were served except for a glass of water to the reviewer. Members were given an assigned topic with which to answer roll call.
Later this was changed to allow members to answer by reading an item of interest on any subject. Those not responding in this manner were asked to pay a 10-cent fine. This rule applies yet today.
Each meeting opens with the reciting of “The Collect” and ends with reciting of the closing prayer. This practice has started and ended each meeting for 75 years.
The first review took place in January 1939. Mrs. Luetta Sweeny re-viewed the book “Big Four” by Oscar Lewis. This told the story of the completion of the trans-continental railroad.
The offices of vice president and librarian were dropped in later years. Formal review and changes in the bylaws were not made until 1988.
In earlier years, a tea was held each October in a member’s home. Today, a luncheon is enjoyed instead. A spring outing is also enjoyed each year. Regular meetings are now held at the Perry County Public Library-Tell City branch.