A Century of Service

1915-12-31 00:00:00

A Serendipitous Visit to New York City

When the 1915 debut season came to a close, Isoline Orme Campbell visited her friend Grace Henry, then president of the New York Junior League. She brought home theater programs, close fitting velvet turbans, pocketbooks suspended from bracelets and beaded dresses from Fifth Avenue. And she also brought home an idea. Her debutante friends in New York had excited her with accounts of an organization, the Junior League, through which the successive debs since 1901 were connected with practically every charitable work in New York, becoming aware of the social problems of their city and learning to attack these problems. Its inception came with the New York girls’ realization that sending their debut flowers to children’s hospitals gave nothing of themselves to their community. Now their number had grown to 900 members, and the debs of Philadelphia, Boston, Portland, Baltimore, Chicago, Cleveland, Montreal, Washington and San Francisco had also established Junior Leagues of their own. After witnessing what she described to The Atlanta Journal in 1941 as the "very efficient looking New York League," Isoline returned home with the idea of starting a similar organization in Atlanta.

1916-10-02 07:23:07

Junior League of Atlanta (JLA) is Founded

On October 2, 1916, Isoline Campbell and 45 women from the debutante classes of 1914, 1915 and 1916 met at the Piedmont Driving Club to hear her idea for an Atlanta Chapter of the Junior League and voted that day to apply for membership. JLA was the fifteenth chapter of Junior League in the country. On October 24th, the League planned their first fundraising event, the Butterfly Ball (also called Le Bal des Papillons), telling the press "We are girls working for girls who have not the same joys and comforts that we have."

1917-01-01 00:00:00

JLA Partners with Red Cross

The League responded to World War I with Red Cross courses essential to the relief effort. Additionally, with an idea borrowed from their counterparts in New York, the League founded the Domestic Science Institution to instruct young women in household arts. The institution consisted of a model apartment where ninety women, for ten dollars each, took courses in cooking, sewing and interior decorating. The school soon included a Red Cross dietetics course, a canteen course and the first Red Cross diet kitchen in the south where women cooked for local military hospitals.

1917-05-24 00:00:00

JLA Helps Fund Home for Girls

With funds raised by the Junior League at the 1916 Butterfly Ball, the Churches Home for Girls is founded. It acted as a home for working girls and young women whose jobs didn't pay a living wage.

1918-12-31 00:00:00

JLA Partners with Sheltering Arms

JLA volunteers began serving at Sheltering Arms Day Nursery. In 1918, Isolene Campbell was replaced by Robyn (Mrs. Edwin) Peeples as League President. When Isoline was transferring the League records to the new President, she accidentally sent her collection of old love letters.

1920-01-01 00:00:00

League Establishes a Free School Library

All text books of the time had to be purchased by individual students, and for many families this was impossible. In the first year the library supplied 92 grammar school children with their books, and the next year nearly one thousand dollars was used to equip 432 children, in 28 schools with their texts. The League stepped up to assit 105 junior and high school students with the purchase of their books. In addition, the League bought countless books of street car tickets to enable needy Atlantan children to attend school.

1920-01-01 00:00:00

Junior League Follies Raise Funds

At this point, dues were just $2.00 per year, and $8,000 was a comfortable annual income. Junior League members planned and performed the first of several Junior League Follies, which was a phenomenon of its own; the League hired a director from New York City who came with elaborate costumes and sets and taught "modern," if not occasionally risque, chorus routines and skits to members and their husbands. Follies were held each year from 1920 through 1923, raising as much as $7,000 a year.

1920-11-25 00:00:00

Members Distribute Holiday Baskets

Volunteers became active in the children's clinics at Grady Hospital and distributed the first Christmas baskets for the needy.

1920-12-31 00:00:00

League Serves Grady, Egleston and Hillside Cottages

Throughout the twenties, League volunteers regularly volunteered at Grady Hospital, Egleston Hospital and Hillside Cottages, a shelter for needy women and children.

1921-01-01 00:00:00

The Association of Junior Leagues of America is Formed

From 1901 to 1921 thirty Junior Leagues around the country organized and operated as independent units. In 1921, Atlanta joined the other units to form a central organization, The Association of Junior Leagues of America. It later became the Association of Junior Leagues, Inc., and is now called the Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc.

1921-07-01 18:54:14

Advocacy is Integral to League Goals

The word "advocacy" did not become official league parlance until the 1970s, but even the earliest members regarded the idea as being integral to the League goals. Article IV, Section 1.g. of the 1921 bylaws states: "The legislative committee shall inform themselves of matters of State and Federal legislation, studying especially those laws affecting women and children, and shall bring pressure to bear on the legislature of Georgia and on Congress for the passage of Suitable laws."

1921-12-31 00:00:00

JLA Partners with Girl Scouts

JLA began the financial aid and support for the Girl Scout program and initiated a hot lunch program to aid indigent school children.

1922-01-01 00:00:00

Atlanta Hosts National Junior League Convention

Junior Leagues from 37 cities sent delegates to Atlanta for the National Junior League Convention. JLA volunteers aided veterans at Public Health Service Hospital 48.

1922-07-09 18:54:14

JLA Helps Children in Need

JLA provided free dental work for children at English Avenue School and created a Milk Fund for undernourished Atlanta children.

1925-01-01 10:15:00

A Look Back at Provisional Training

Required courses for the 1925 provisional class included eight lectures in addition to instruction at the Good Samaritan Health Clinic. All provisionals were then required to write a paper or take a test that covered all course material.

1926-01-01 00:00:00

JLA Endows Educational Fund

JLA provided funds toward building a YWCA home and endowed the Educational Fund for deserving college students.

1927-01-01 10:15:00

Junior League Tea Room Opens to Raise Funds

The Junior League Tea Room was established in the Medical Arts Building on Peachtree Street and staffed by League members to raise funds. A profit of $1,700.00 in the first four months prompted the women to expand the Tea Room to 91 Peachtree Street. Although it was profitable, the league closed the Tea Room after three years due to necessary, stringent scheduling of League members as waitresses.

1928-01-01 10:15:00

League Partners with Egleston

JLA began financial and volunteer support of Henrietta Egleston Hospital for Children, funding a Junior League Ward at the hospital. Three of the beds were named in memorial of recently deceased members: Elizabeth Blalock Black, Sarah Rawson Smith and Louise Parker Carson. JLA members made the entire output of dressings and sponges used by the hospital, also all the bibs for the babies. They made doctors’ robes, caps, sheets, pillow cases, children’s gowns, dresses, bound blankets and did any patching or mending needed at the time. According to the 1928 - 1929 Annual Report, 95% of patients in the hospital were housed in the Junior League's Ward that year. The first performances of Children's Theatre, which continued as a project for more than 40 years, were held this year as well.

1928-01-01 10:15:00

A word from President Sarah Nelson Huger

“My year as President of the Junior League was an anxious but interesting and happy one. It was filled with new experiences and I learned many new things, the most valuable of which was of the Junior League members themselves – that I was acting as an executive of an organization that was standing 100% back of me – that they had joined the League because they were interested and wanted to do their part towards carrying on our business, welfare and cultural efforts. Regardless of the trials, they were ready to rise to any occasion necessary with a cheerful smile and helping hand. I wish I might find some way to express my deep appreciation for their loyalty. Just before presiding at the June meeting someone asked me if I had a farewell address. Suddenly I realized I had not thought of my last meeting in that way, so I repeat what I said then, that I have no farewell address because I am not in any sense telling the League, any of its activities or members goodbye. I always expect to be just as interested in every phase of the work as now, even though I shall no longer be the President. And may I wish for every incoming President the support and co-operation that I enjoyed during my year of Leadership. I could not wish more for them." - Mrs. William E. Huger

1929-01-01 10:15:00

Junior League Produces its First Marionette Show

JLA had its first Marionette production, which was an aspect of the League's relationship with the Children's Theatre Group. Members did everything from writing the plays, making the puppets and props to manipulating the strings that brought the puppets to life for school children.

1930-01-01 10:15:00

Junior League Jottings is Started

The JLA began publishing “Junior League Jottings” weekly in the Atlanta Constitution. The publication was described as serving a double purpose: "acquainting the public with the activities of the Junior League, as a local organization and a national organization, and of affording a means of communication between the Executive Board and the members of the League.”

1931-01-01 10:15:00

Atlanta's Bundle Week is Held

JLA spearheaded the United Clothing Fund, setting aside one week known as "Atlanta's Bundle Week," during which over 10,000 garments and shoes were cleaned free of charge. JLA helped start the Hugh Inman, Jr., Medical Library at the growing Egleston Hospital.

1931-01-01 10:15:00

Bobby Jones Exhibition Golf Match is Held

Money, which had been easy to raise a decade earlier, was now hard to come by. There were still money-raising efforts to continue the financial commitment to Egleston Hospital, one of which was a Bobby Jones exhibition golf match. It was held at East Lake Country Club and cleared $4,280. Other fundraisers included members serving as hostesses at Rich's Tea Room and Dress Shop. Despite the effects of the Depression, the League continued to fully support the Children in their ward of the Henrietta Egleston Hospital.

1933-01-01 07:23:07

Junior League Thyroid Clinic is Born

In 1933, Mrs. Joel Chandler Harris, Chairman of the Placement Committee, asked Dr. Henry Poer to address the provisional class at their discussions of community welfare. In his concluding remarks he requested the League’s assistance in the newly organized Thyroid Clinic at Grady Hospital. Mary Pickens and Ann Lane Whatley volunteered for what would become the Junior League Thyroid Clinic. By late 1934, twenty-five volunteers were busy every Monday and Friday as receptionists, secretaries, photographers, librarians and assistants. Grady saw the value of their work and moved them from one small room in the Cardiac Clinic to a larger part of the clinical section, with a waiting room and four receiving rooms. Under the supervision of four doctors, the volunteers assisted a record number of patients. The Junior League Thyroid Clinic awarded a scholarship in 1934 to an Emory Medical student to carry on research in blood iodine studies related to thyroid function. The League also purchased a much needed basal metabolism machine for the clinic.

1933-10-01 10:15:00

The Cotton Blossom is Founded

In October 1933, the first Issue of the Cotton Blossom, forerunner of JLA magazine, Peachtree Papers, came off the press. It appeared nine times during its first year and contained articles, announcements, reports and even gossip, written by League members for League members.

1933-10-01 10:15:00

Junior League Thyroid Reference Shelf is Established

It is important to recognize the League’s early volunteers as real pioneers in thyroid research. Outside of Duke and Vanderbilt, no other concerted research on thyroid conditions was underway in the south. By 1939, the Junior League Thyroid Reference Shelf was presented to the Abner W. Calhoun Medical Library at Emory. This collection was the result of league volunteers gathering all available literature from across the country on thyroid conditions, as well as copying and documenting cases treated in the clinic. Their work received the Fisher Award from the Fulton Medical Society recognizing the most outstanding piece of work done in “Clinical Management of Hypo-parathyroid Tetany using the Di-hydro-tachy-sterol Paratharmone and Vitamin D-1." It was also in these early years that Helen Loyless and Pat Kilpatrick went to the American Medical Association’s Annual Meeting in St. Louis to represent the League and the clinic at the Thyroid Exhibit. The clinic went on to win second prize at the Georgia Medical Association’s meeting and had an exhibit at the Southern Medical Convention in New Orleans.

1936-01-01 10:15:00

Marionettes are Nationally Recognized

The JLA Marionettes were nationally recognized and honored by being invited to perform at the Nation Children's Theatre Conference in Baltimore. Uncle Remus stories by Joel Chandler Harris were adapted into marionette plays, and many original scripts were written by members. "Katinka and the Jewel Tree" and "The Undersea Prince" by Martha Ellis were favorites.

1937-06-01 10:15:00

Katherine Hamm Introduces need for Deaf and Speech Impaired Children

Katherine "Kitty" Hamm introduced a project considered by many to be the League's most outstanding undertaking. Hamm brought two deaf and two speech impaired children to the June meeting and told the membership that there was no place in the southeast for these children to receive help.

1938-06-06 10:15:00

The Junior League School for Speech Correction Opens

The doors were opened at the Junior League School for Speech Correction; it was begun with a single, rented room and served 32 students in its first year. Through the years, it received countless hours of volunteer support and more than $500,000 toward operating expenses from JLA. Now the Atlanta Speech School, it is located next door to League headquarters on Northside Parkway.

1939-12-14 10:15:00

League Hosts Gone With the Wind Ball

Knowing the movie's world premiere was to be held in Atlanta on Friday, December 15, member, Vaughn Nixon Courts consulted League president Cobbie Carter about staging a ball the night before. The event would not only celebrate the momentous occasion but would also raise money for the league. Members sold more than 5,000 tickets. The night was alive with spotlights and limousines as celebrities swept in. The evening glittered with presentations and speeches, spirituals by the Ebenezer Baptist Church Choir, a polka for league members and their husbands and dancing for everyone far into the night. The ball raised more than $19,000 for League activities.

1941-12-05 10:15:00

The League Celebrates Silver Anniversary

JLA commemorated its 25th anniversary with the Silver Jubilee Follies. The production was elaborate and was followed by a convivial Helzapoppin Cabaret at the Piedmont Driving Club, where silver spoons were given as party favors, a live pig was a door prize and some stated that it was the best party that they had ever attended. The gaiety was short-lived; two days after the event, Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. Like the generation of League members during World War I, members went right to work for the war effort while continuing other volunteer commitments.

1942-01-01 10:15:00

Civilian Defense Volunteer Office is Established

The League helped the Red Cross establish the Civilian Defense Volunteer Office to allow the Red Cross to take responsibility for housing, feeding, clothing and rehabilitation of families hit by bombing or sabotage. Members manned an Open Door Canteen and strove to reach 100 percent registration at the Civilian Defense Volunteer Office.

1943-01-01 10:15:00

JLA and World War II

Members prepared to volunteer for the Red Cross Motor Corps during World War II by taking motor mechanic courses and lessons in “black-out” driving.

1944-01-01 10:15:00

League's Radio Committee Contributes to War Effort

Founded in 1932, the Radio Committee was especially active during World War II, giving weekly programs for the Civilian Defense Volunteer Office. In 1944 and 1945, the group worked with WAGA Radio and presented "America's Town Meeting of the Air" at the Municipal Auditorium.

1945-01-01 10:15:00

JLA Sells War Bonds

The largest contribution the League made throughout World War II was staffing a war bond booth at the downtown Citizens and Southern National Bank. They also held a Bonds for Victory Ball at the Municipal Auditorium during which they sold $1.3 million worth of bonds. In all, League members were responsible for selling nearly $5 million in Victory Bonds, earning citations from the War Finance Committee for selling more bonds than any other women's group in the city.

1945-01-01 18:54:14

Southeastern Annual Art Exhibition is Born

Junior League instigated a regional art show through the High Museum of Art by procuring two nationally recognized judges to select the paintings. Davison -Paxon department store provided the prize money, and the Southeastern Annual Art Exhibition was born. The project grew and continued for twenty-two years with league members handling the publicity and hospitality.

1945-02-01 10:15:00

The First Fashionista Benefits Egleston

Members joined with Rich's to present the first Fashionista event. The Coca-Cola Company brought in one of its "Spotlight" bands, and the proceeds from the lavish fashion show helped provide germ-killing ultra-violet lights for all wards at Egleston Hospital.

1946-01-01 10:15:00

JLA Supports the Symphony Orchestra

After the war, Junior League sponsored a performance by the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1946. The league also gave money to Henry Sopkin's struggling Atlanta Youth Symphony, which in 1947 became the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. The league endowed a chair for the symphony in 1951, and the flowing year founded the Symphony Library with a gift of $1,000 a year for the purchase of music. Additional league monies established an instrument fund for musicians.

1946-11-01 10:15:00

Disney Movie Premier Benefits Egleston

Walt Disney, interested in producing a movie called "Song of the South," had visited Atlanta in 1939 for a private showing of Uncle Remus tales by the League marionette group. When the 1946 world premiere of the Disney movie was held in Atlanta, League members rode in the parade and created a souvenir program that raised enough money for an advanced research laboratory in bacteriology at Egleston.

1947-01-01 10:15:00

Metropolitan Opera Resumes Annual Visit and Benefits the League

Three League members were resolved to have the Metropolitan (Met) Opera resume its annual visits to Atlanta, which it had made from 1910 to 1930. The members persuaded several prominent businessmen to establish the Atlanta Music Festival Association in order to invite and host the Met Opera. This resulted in an annual spring event providing funds for community activities through the publication of souvenir Opera programs and ticket sales, eventually grossing as much as $220,000 a year until the Met ended its touring entirely in 1986.

1948-01-01 18:54:14

Cotton Blossom Cookbook is Published to Raise Funds

The Cotton Blossom Cookbook was a moderate success, and fashion shows sponsored by the League had produced some income, but a permanent project was needed. In the late 1940s, membership settled on two different but equally successful means: the retrun of the Metropolitan Opera to Atlanta and the Nearly New Shop.

1948-01-01 18:54:14

JLA Publishes Atlanta Culture Magazine

Many League members conducted a survey of art in Atlanta and published "Cultural Atlanta at a Glance," which was distributed to the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce. A quotation from the publication reflects many members' feelings about the arts: "The fine arts are not to be considered as the flimsy dessert of life, nor as merely 'euphoria of folly,' but they must evolve as an integral part of the moral, economic and industrial development of a community."

1949-01-01 10:15:00

Nearly New Shop is Opened

The Nearly New Shop opened with a two-fold purpose: to raise money for the League and to provide low-cost clothing and household items to the working poor. The shop would also provide volunteer placement for League members, and the income was used to fund established projects. The shop raised more than $1,200 on its first day of business. The concept was established by then League President, Mary Elizabeth Barge Schroder. It was designed to fill the need for a permanent fundraising project. Mary Elizabeth felt that the Metropolitan Opera may not always be coming to Atlanta and we would need an alternate fundraiser.

1950-01-01 10:15:00

Children's Theatre Flourishes

Children's Theatre flourished throughout the 1950s, presenting plays and marionette shows. Happy not to have the responsibility for raising money, a small group of members each year chose a play, secured a director, auditioned for parts or made marionettes, constructed sets, costumes and props and trooped productions to public theaters and schools, especially underprivileged ones.

1950-01-01 10:15:00

1,000 Members Strong

League membership surpassed 1,000, which prompted careful organization and fine-tuning. To maintain good standing, members were required to attend six of nine general meetings. Even new motherhood was no excuse for absenteeism, although a two month maternity leave from regular placement was established in 1956.

1952-01-01 10:15:00

Nearly New Shop Grows

The Nearly New shop was such a success that it moved to a bigger quarters twice in the 1950s. It became such a big business that several separate subcommittees were formed to manage consignment, pricing and marking, publicity, collection and records. In 1952, a mandatory quota was started, requiring each member to contribute twenty dollars a year to the shop in goods or cash.

1952-01-01 10:15:00

JLA Supports Art Museum

Work with the High Museum of Art, which was named the Atlanta Art Association at the time, had been constant throughout the decade. League members assisted with hosting twelve teas a year at the Atlanta Art Association. In 1952 membership voted to give $10,000 toward a members' room at the museum to be used for lectures, demonstrations and receptions.

1953-01-01 10:15:00

League Continues Close ties with Egleston Hospital

Service to Egleston Hospital settled into a routine: volunteers worked in a sewing group, and others made educational materials for use in the wards. In addition, the festive annual Christmas party with Santa, stockings and elaborately trimmed trees is part of League lore. Members were gatekeepers for the annual tour of homes, and in 1953, the League handled an estate sale that brought $28,000 in a trust for Egleston.

1954-01-01 10:15:00

JLA Supports Girl Scouts' Camp

JLA gives a donation towards the construction of the Junior League Infirmary at Girl Scout Camp Timber Ridge.

1954-01-01 10:15:00

League Continues Close Relationship with Atlanta Speech School

The League continued to give a tremendous amount of volunteer hours and money to the Atlanta Speech School. In 1954 and 1955 alone, more than $8,000 was given for seventy scholarships, $4,000 for remodeling the lunchroom, $1,000 for paving the parking lot and $2,000 for two group hearing aids. Even though the school became independent in 1960, League volunteers continued to work in its classrooms, especially in the arts program.

A Century of Service

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