PLF Club Records, 1900-1967  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Creator
PLF Club
Title
PLF Club Records
Dates
1900-1967 (inclusive)
Quantity
2.5 Linear feet.
Collection Number
XOE_CPNWS0058Plf (collection)
Summary
The PLF Club Records document the activities of this Bellingham women's organization. The records include meeting minutes, yearbooks, correspondence, and financial records. In addition, there are records from the Washington Federatation of Women's Clubs, of which the PLF Club was a member. These include three scrapbooks.
Repository
Western Washington University, Center for Pacific Northwest Studies
Goltz-Murray Archives Building
808 25th St.
Bellingham, WA
98225
Telephone: 360-650-7534
cpnws@wwu.edu
Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Languages
English
Sponsor
Funding for preparing this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the Washington State Legislature to the Washington Women's History Consortium. Funding for encoding the finding aid was awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.


Historical NoteReturn to Top

The Bellingham PLF Club (Progressive, Literary Fraternal Club) was organized in 1900 as a community organization for educated Bellingham Women. The PLF Club was federated in Washington State in October, 1900, and throughout its 67 year history was an active member of the Washington Federation of Women’s Clubs. Founding members included Washington State poet laureate Ella Higginson, and the first president, Mrs. Frances Axtell. Originally, the main focus was to “establish and maintain a social club, provide reading rooms, provide and give instruction for the diffusion of scientific, artistic, musical or historical purposes.”*

Early activities of the PLF Club included sponsoring lectures by visiting notables, including actors, writers, and politicians. In 1904, the club raised 2200.00 dollars and built a club house, known as Garden Hall, at the corner of Holly and Garden streets in downtown Bellingham. This was the first women’s club house in Washington State. The club house served as a venue for lectures, readings, and other club events, and in June 1908, it hosted the annual meeting of the State Federation for the first time. The PLF Club also used the club house to generate revenue by renting it out for social occasions. However, in 1914 the club sold the house when it became too burdensome to maintain. Later, the building’s name was changed to Tabernacle Hall.

Over time, charitable and social causes came to dominate the club’s activities. The PLF Club worked for city improvements in the water supply, food sanitation, public parks, education, and libraries. The club raised and donated funds to local organizations such as the City Mission, the Y.W.C.A, the Red Cross Milk Fund, Campfire Girls, the Salvation Army, and the Orthopedic Hospital. Beginning in 1941, the PLF participated in WFWC efforts to acquire and preserve forested land along the Snoqualmie highway, near Enumclaw. The "Federation Forest", which came to include 619 acres of old growth forest, later became the Federation Forest State Park. In 1952, one parcel of forest was dedicated as the Ella Higginson Grove. In the 1950s and 1960s, one of the club’s primary causes was the museum fund, to support the renovation and modernization of the Whatcom Museum of History and Art. The club raised and donated thousands of dollars to the museum.

In 1933, the PLF Club spearheaded the formation of a Whatcom County Federation of Women’s Clubs. Many notable Bellingham women were members of the PLF Club, which started with a membership of twenty in 1900, and never experienced a roster of more than forty.

*from Lottie Roeder Roth's History of Whatcom County (Seattle: Pioneer Historical Publishing Company, 19260

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The PLF Club records contains material that documents the club’s activities from its incorporation in 1900 through its dissolution in 1967. In addition, the collection includes records from the Washington Federation of Women’s Clubs, of which the PLF Club was a member throughout its existence. These records date from 1928 to 1968, however, the bulk of the material date from 1949 to 1968.

Amongst the PLF Club’s administrative records, most valuable are the detailed meeting minutes, which document the interests and activities of the club from 1911 to 1966. Sixty yearbooks, spanning 1900 to 1967, provide summaries of the club’s membership, activities, and philosophy. The financial records include cash books, receipt books, receipts, and bank statements which provide specific documentation on the club’s donations to a variety of charitable causes. Club efforts to support the Whatcom Museum of History and Art in the 1950s and 1960s are particularly well-documented. Other noteworthy documents include a history of the club through 1934, and two reports funded by the club. The first of these, dated 1913, presents the results of a study on the feasibility of using Lake Whatcom as a reservoir. The second, from 1945, is an appraisal of public health resources and services in Whatcom County.

Of most interest amongst the WFWC materials are the three scrapbooks, which are packed with clippings, event programs, and memorabilia. Researchers should note that additional material from the PLF Club records relating to the Whatcom Christian Temperance Union were removed to form a separate collection at the CPNWS. While the two organizations had some members in common, there was no formal relationship between them.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Preferred Citation

PLF Club Records, Center for Pacific Northwest Studies, Heritage Resources, Western Washington University, Bellingham WA 98225-9123.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.

Series I:  PLF Club Administrative Records, 1900–1967Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
1/1
1934
1/2
Constitution and By-Laws, with notes
Undated
1/3
Meeting Minutes
1911–1922
1/4
Meeting Minutes
1933–1946
1/5
Meeting Minutes
1946–1957
1/6
Meeting Minutes
1952–1954
1/7
Meeting Minutes
1958–1966
1/8
Yearbooks
1900–1911; 1913–1924
1/9
Yearbooks
1930–1962; 1966–1967
1/10
Membership Log
1900–1943
1/11
Correspondence
1932–1986
1/12
Newspaper Clippings
1929–1966
1/13
Planning Notebook
Undated

Series II:  PLF Club Financial and Legal Records, 1904–1965Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Sub-series 1: PLF Club Bank Statements
1961–1965
Box/Folder
1/14
Bank Statements
1961–1965
Sub-series 2: PLF Club Cash Books
1904–1954
Box/Folder
1/15
Cash Book
1904–1922
1/16
Cash Book
1922–1954
1/17
Cash Book
1962–1984
Sub-series 3: PLF Club Receipts
1929–1965
Box/Folder
2/1
Receipt Book
1933–1941
2/2
Receipt Book
1942– 1945
2/3
Receipt Book
1946–1956
2/4
Receipt Book
1950–1954
2/5
Receipts
1929–1942
2/6
Receipts
1944–1957
2/7
Receipts
1961–1965
2/8
Loose Receipts
1936–1965
Sub-series 4: Legal and Property Records
1904–1913
Box/Folder
2/9
Legal and Property Records
1904-1913

Series III:  PLF Club Activities and Events, 1945–1960Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
2/10
Event Programs and Invitations
1950–1960
2/11
Certificates and Awards
1945–1960
2/12
Community Service Projects
1945; undated

Series IV:  PLF Club Poetry and Printed Materials, 1930, 1941Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
2/13
Poetry and Printed Materials
1930,; 1941
2/14
Club Letterhead
undated

Series V:  WFWC Administrative Materials, 1928–1952,   (bulk 1949–1952) Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
2/15
Yearbook
1928–1929
2/16
Directories
1949–1952
2/17
Program Planning Packet
undated

Series VI:  WFWC Activities and Events, 1951, 1958Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
2/18
WFWC Annual Convention Program: Bellingham
1958
2/19
Ella Higginson Grove
1951

Series VII:  WFWC Publications, 1932, 1966Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
2/20
Pamphlet of Prize Essays
1932
2/21
Washington Clubwoman Newsletter
1966 October ; 1966 November

Series VIII:  WFWC Scrapbooks, 1943–1968Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
oversizebox-item
1/2
Scrapbook
1943–1961
1/3
Scrapbook
1951–1967
1/4
Scrapbook
1968

Series IX:  Washington Children's Home Society Publication, 1934Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
2/22
Washington Children's Home Society Publication
1934

Series X:  Photographs and Artifacts, undatedReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
2/23
3 PLF Document Cases
undated
oversizebox-item
1/5
2 photographs (black and white)
undated

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Literature -- Societies, ect. -- Washington (State) -- Bellingham -- History -- Sources
  • Literature--Societies, etc. -- Washington (State) -- Bellingham -- History -- Sources
  • Poets laureate -- Washington (State) -- History -- Sources
  • Public health -- Washington (State) -- Whatcom County -- History -- Sources
  • Scrapbooks -- Washington (State)
  • Women -- Societies and clubs -- Washington (State) -- Bellingham -- History -- Sources
  • Women authors, American -- Washington (State) -- History -- Sources
  • Women in public life -- United States -- History -- Sources
  • Women in charitable work -- Washington (State) -- Bellingham -- History -- Sources
  • Women in community organization -- Washington (State) -- Bellingham -- History -- Sources
  • Personal Names :
  • Higginson, Ella, d1862-1940
  • Corporate Names :
  • PLF Club (creator)
  • Whatcom Museum of History and Art
  • Geographical Names :
  • Bellingham (Wash.) -- History -- Sources
  • Federation Forest (Wash.) -- History -- Sources
  • Whatcom, Lake (Wash.) -- History -- Sources
  • Other Creators :
    • Corporate Names :
    • Washington State Federation of Women's Clubs