late sixties and early seventies it came like a new gospel of activity and service.
They had reared their children and seen them take flight; moreover, they had fought through the war, their hearts in the field, their fingers plying needle and thread.
They had been active in committees and commissions the country over; had learned to work with and beside men, finding joy and companionship and inspiration in such work.
How could they go back to the chimney-corner life of the fifties?
In answer to their question — an answer from Heaven, it seemed — came the women's clubs, with their opportunities for self-culture and for public service.
At first Society looked askance at the movement.
What? Women's clubs?
They would take women away from the Home
, which was their Sphere!
Shocking! Besides, it might make them Strong-Minded!
Horrible! ( “But,” said J. W. H., “I would rather be strongminded than weak-minded!” )
Possibly influenced in some measure by such plaints as these, the early clubs devoted themselves for the most part to study, and their range of activities was strictly limited and defined.
This, however, could not last.
used to say, “You may as well refuse to let out the growing boy's trousers as refuse larger and larger liberty to his growing individuality!”
Even so the club petticoats had to be lengthened and amplified.
Our mother, with all her love of study, realized that no individual or group of individuals must neglect the present with its living issues for any past, however