Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Guide to The Willows Reading and Study Club Records,1896-1980s
View entire collection guide What's This?
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Collection Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Processing Information
  • Organizational History
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms

  • Collection Summary

    Title: The Willows Reading and Study Club Records
    Date (inclusive): 1896-1980s
    Collection number: CR-2009-04-01
    Creator: The Willows Reading and Study Club
    Collection Size: 8 boxes 2.71 linear feet
    Repository: San José Public Library, California Room
    San José, CA 95112
    Abstract: This collection is comprised of administrative records, organizational papers and history, meeting minutes, correspondence, clippings, written essays and poems, and photographs created and collected by The Willows Reading and Study Club. The records have been kept by The Willows Reading and Study Club.
    Physical location:

    For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.

    Languages represented in the collection: English


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Although San José Public Library's California Room does physcially own all archival materials in its possession, it does not necessarily own the intellectual property rights (copyright) associated with all items (Title 17, Chapter 2, Section 202, "Ownership of copyright as distinct from ownership of material object). Publishing materials from our holdings requires written permission from the San José Public Library, along with proper credit given to our institution. For permission to publish or reproduce, please contact the Lead Librarian of the California Room. Users may reproduce materials for teaching, research, and private study in accordance with fair use on the condition that they give proper credit to the California Room, San José Public Library.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], The Willows Reading and Study Club Records, California Room, San José Public Library

    Acquisition Information

    This collection was created by The Willows Reading and Study Club and donated to the California Room, San José Public Library. Also, Sourisseau Academy for State and Local History dontated one box of the clubs documents to the California Room in January 2009.

    Processing Information

    Processing and guide prepared by Diana Kohnke. Guide encoded by Diana Kohnke, 2009.

    Organizational History

    The Willows Reading and Study Club was established in 1896 and is one of the oldest organizations in the Santa Clara Valley. It changed its name to Willows Reading and Study Club in 1917. "Willows" in the club's title refers to the Willows neigborhood, later known as Willow Glen. The club's purpose, stated in its 1900 constitution, is "for the mutual improvement and culture of its members through reading of good books, the discussion of questions of general interest and importance and the study of parlaimentary law." While initially the club was organized as an improvement club for the Willows, it became a reading and study club after "men in the community" organized an "Improvement Club."
    Over the years the club studied a diverse range of topics, for example, the 1903-1904 programs included a series on American Poets, the "Influence on America's Development of Laying the Pacific Cable," and the study of China and its people. During the Progressive Era, club members wrote on topics ranging from Jane Addams to the juvenile court system. Particular to the Unites States' war years the club's topics concerned the "Nutritive Value of Food Stuff," "Sanitary and Economical Cookery," "Our Friends and Foes - Bacteria," and "Foods and Their Adulteration." Other studies concentrated on local themes such as the "Pueblo de San Jose de Guadalupe," and "Golden Gate and California's People Involving Foreign Citizens." Not all of these essays exist in the collection. In addition to study, the club worked for charities such as a Home for Crippled Children and Fruit for Needy Families.
    Some of the clubs past members have included women from Santa Clara Valley's first pioneer settler families. Many members belonged to prominent fruit-raising families, some of whom came to California in the early 1850s. One member, Nell Rose, was the daughter of the Reverend Brierly, chaplain of "the Legislature of a 1000 Drinks" - the name given to the first California State Legislature located in San Jose from 1849-1851. It was so called because Senator Thomas Jefferson Green made several motions to adjourn and have 1,000 drinks at his expense. Other notable members include Carrie Elizabeth Mitchell, reading club historian and early settler, who came with her family to the Santa Clara Valley in 1873. Her father, Thomas Keesling, was an orchardist. She married Robert Grant Mitchell, also an orchardist, and she served as the first president of Willow Glen PTA.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    This collection is comprised of materials relating to the activities of The Willows Reading and Study Club. The collection contains correspondence, financials, meeting minutes, poems, essays, news clippings, and photographs.


    This collection consists of four series: Series I. Administrative Files, 1896-1980; Series II. Photographs, 1922, 1932, 1974; Series III. Printed Matter, late 1800s-1980s; and Series IV. Written Essays and Poems, 1900s-1980s. It is arranged alphabetically by format and chronologically by date.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index similar items in the Library of Congress.


    Women--Societies and clubs--California--San Jose.
    Women--Societies and clubs--Sources.
    Women--California--Societies and clubs--History.