‘It Is Worthwhile’
from a talk given by Mrs. Lillian Mosgrove at the Eight Annual Convention of the South Central District held in Salida, Colorado, May 17, 1932 — the eleven founding members of the Tuesday Evening Club were: Mary Ridgway, Georgia Morrison, Lillian Mosgrove, Sarah Disman, Innes Frame, Martha Deen Jones, Amelia Evans, Ora Rech, Hattie Cornwell, Katherine D. Rudolph, and Mary Imlay Sisson.
To give a glimpse in ten minutes of the work of thirty-eight years will require rapid sketching.
We organized in 1894 with eleven members. The purpose of our organization ‘to widen the outlook of women, aid in the betterment of our community and to that end establish and maintain a public library and reading rooms’ made a wide appeal and our membership increased rapidly.
From the start we were ambitious. Adopting the motto ‘Operae pretium est’ we tried to do worthwhile things. Our first study was a university extension course in general history. Then followed in turn the study of the literature and music of the different countries. We wrote papers, gave book reviews, discussed the trend of modern literature and studied parliamentary law. Everyone was interested and everyone worked.
After a time we divided into departments; literature, music and art, and home and current events. General meetings were held once a month.
We were only two or three years old when we started the library. Just a few books at first but once started our enthusiasm knew no bounds and many entertainments were given to raise funds. We also booked lyceum courses and chautauquas, the first given in our community, the club assuming the local management and ticket selling.
I have forgotten how many books we had accumulated when we rented a room (on the corner of F & 3rd) and opened our library. Then began our work as librarians, For twelve years we served in turn three afternoons a week. Also we served as janitor, each librarian had to make a fire, take care of the ashes and clean. It was often a struggle to pay the rent, so it was a great relief and joy to us when the city recognized our efforts by giving us quarters in the City Hall over the Fire Department. It seemed very luxurious to come to a warm room, and there being plenty of space for our general meetings, the music and art department purchased a piano for the club.
During these years we were greatly cheered and encouraged by Mr. Harbottle’s bequest for a reference library and Mr. Carnegie’s promise to help and build.
Mr. Carnegie gave us $9,000. Our first president, Mary C. Ridgway (gave) $1,200 for the lots, and the balance was raised by entertainments and subscriptions.
The library building was completed in 1908 and we moved in our books and at a brilliant reception turned our loved library – our child – over to the city.
While the library, to which we still contribute, has always been our first love, we have always aided in civic improvements and kept up our interest in the state federation, contributing to the scholarship funds and creating a small one of our own to aid our home girls in getting a start.
Working in our own corner we have not sought recognition abroad, although twice our club has taken honors in the state poetry contests.
We led in the celebration of the Washington Bi-Centennial and each summer help a flower show.
So while our work is not as strenuous as in former years we still try to do things that are worthwhile.
The following documents were graciously donated for digitization by the Salida Museum. They document the correspondence between the Tuesday Evening Club (Salida Library Association) and the Carnegie Corporation from the years 1905 – 1909. The last includes a response to a patron who had requested the use of the Library’s assembly hall for use as a dance space.
The Recording Secretary’s Book of the Tuesday Evening Club:
Board of Directors Minutes, 1899-1906
‘The Public Library‘ – article from The Salida Record, June 11, 1909
On the 40th anniversary of the Tuesday Evening Club’s founding, Mary C. Ridgway, the first president of the club, mailed a letter to the current members – Mary C. Ridgway letter
Tuesday Evening Club – article from the Salida Mail, June 23, 1938
Tuesday Evening Club – manuscript from the Noranne Giemer Collection.
‘It Is Worthwhile’ — by Joy, March 2016.