The Ruskin Art Club was founded October 12, 1888, and is the oldest women's club in Los Angeles. Its original purpose was
to study the technique and history of engraving and etching, inspired by founding member Mary E. Boyce's own collection of
prints and extensive library of books on art. The Club's main activity were the annual courses of study in the history of
art, architecture, or archaeology. These consisted of lectures delivered by the members to the membership at the monthly
Wednesday morning meetings. Programs were printed and distributed amongst the membership and were, in effect, syllabi, including
a weekly schedule of specialized topics, the names of the members who would research and present on these topics, and the
schedule of the presentations. The records document the Club's activities, with especial emphasis on the annual courses of
study as preserved in the minutes and programs.
The Ruskin Art Club was founded October 12, 1888, and is the oldest women's club in Los Angeles. The founding members of
the Club were Mary E. Boyce, Fanny Brainerd, Dora Haynes, Lora Hubbel, and Mary Widney. Its original purpose was to study
the technique and history of engraving and etching, inspired by founding member Mary E. Boyce's own collection of prints and
extensive library of books on art. The name "Ruskin Art Club" was chosen by the original members at its first meeting, and
is significant, as it signaled both an embrace of English art critic John Ruskin's philosophies about the Arts and Crafts
movement, and the rights of women. The Club’s activities were designed by its members to give more meaning to their lives
than Victorian society ascribed to them. Through "the earnest study of masterful works of art,” the club’s members would become
sensitized to beauty in an increasingly mechanized society, and the club would make art available to a wider audience and
thus elevate society's values as a whole. In addition, the appellation "Club" had great significance in 1880s Los Angeles,
in which clubs were exclusively the domain of men.
29.26 Linear Feet
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