Guide to The Willows Reading and Study Club Records,1896-1980s

The machine readable finding aid for this collection was created by Diana Kohnke and reviewed by Stacy Mueller.
San José Public Library, California Room
San José Public Library
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library
California Room
150 East San Fernando Street
San José, CA 95112
Phone: (408) 808-2167
© 2009
California Room, San José Public Library. All rights reserved.

Guide to The Willows Reading and Study Club Records,1896-1980s


California Room, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library
Contact Information
California Room

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library

150 East San Fernando Street

San José, CA 95112

Phone: (408) 808-2167


Date Completed:
April 24, 2009
Processed and encoded by:
Diana Kohnke
© 2008 San José Public Library, California Room. All rights reserved.

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.

Box/Folder 1/1-7/31

Series I. Administrative Files, 1896-1980

Physical Description:

31 folders

Scope and Content Note

The contents in this series are arranged alphabetically by format and, in the main, by date. This series contains correspondence, meeting minutes which are mostly in bound record books, and financials.
Box/Folder 1/1-1/11

Correspondence, 1930s-1980

Box/Folder 1/1

Correspondence, undated

Box/Folder 1/2

Correspondence, 1969-1980

Box/Folder 1/3

Correspondence, 1950s

Box/Folder 1/4-1/8

Correspondence, 1940s

Box/Folder 1/4

Correspondence 1 of 5, 1940s

Box/Folder 1/5

Correspondence 2 of 5, 1940s

Box/Folder 1/6

Correspondence 3 of 5, 1940s

Box/Folder 1/7

Correspondence 4 of 5, 1940s

Box/Folder 1/8

Correspondence 5 of 5, 1940s

Box/Folder 1/9-1/11

Correspondence, 1930s

Box/Folder 1/9

Correspondence 1 of 3, 1930s

Box/Folder 1/10

Correspondence 2 of 3, 1930s

Box/Folder 1/11

Correspondence 3 of 3, 1930s

Box/Folder 2/12-2/15

Financials, 1896-1947

Box/Folder 2/12

Financials, 1940-1947

Box/Folders 2/13

Financials, 1916-1939

Box/Folder 2/14

Financials, 1924-1946

Box/Folder 2/15

Financials, 1896-1925

Box/Folder 3/16-3/18

Minutes/Record Books, 1956-1980

Box/Folder 3/16

Minutes/Record Book, 1968-1980

Box/Folder 3/17

Minutes/Record Book, 1958-1968

Box/Folder 3/18

Minutes/Record Book, 1956-1968

Box/Folder 4/19-4/21

Minutes/Record Books, 1934-1956

Box/Folder 4/19

Minutes/Record Book, 1949-1956

Box/Folder 4/20

Minutes/Record Book, 1943-1949

Box/Folder 4/21

Minutes/Record Book, 1934-1942

Box/Folder 5/22

Minutes/Loose, 1939-1951

Box/Folder 5/23-5/27

Minutes/Record Books, 1909-1938

Box/Folder 5/23

Minutes/Record Book, 1925-1934

Box/Folder 5/24

Minutes/Record Book, 1918-1925

Box/Folder 5/25

Minutes/Record Book, 1920-1938

Box/Folder 5/26

Minutes/Record Book, 1913-1918

Box/Folder 5/27

Minutes/Record Book, 1909-1913

Box/Folder 6/28-6/30

Minutes/Record Books, 1899-1909

Box/Folder 6/28

Minutes/Record Book, 1907-1909

Box/Folder 6/29

Minutes/Record Book, 1903-1907

Box/Folder 6/30

Minutes/Record Book, 1899-1903

Box/Folder 7/31

Miscellaneous Records and Printed Matter, 1949-1959, 1980

Box/Folder 7/32

Series II. Photographs, 1922 1932 1974

Physical Description:

1 folder

Scope and Content Note

This series contains one folder of photographs of the club's members.
Box/Folder 7/33-7/39

Series III. Printed Matter, late 1800s-1980s

Physical Description:

7 folders

Scope and Content Note

This series is arranged alphabetically by format and then chronologically by date. It contains news clippings, yearbooks, and miscellaneous printed matter.
Box/Folder 7/33-7/35

Clippings, 1900s-1980s

Box/Folder 7/33

Clippings, 1930s-1980s

Box/Folder 7/34

Clippings, 1900s-1950s

Box/Folder 7/35

Clippings, 1920s-1930s

Box/Folder 7/36

Miscellaneous, 1930, 1934, 1971-1980

Box/Folder 7/37-7/50

Yearkbooks, 1961-1967

Box/Folder 7/37

Yearbooks, 1961-1967

Box/Folder 7/38

Yearbooks, 1956-1961

Box/Folder 7/39

Yearbooks, 1951-1955

Box/Folder 7/40

Yearbooks, 1944-1950

Box/Folder 7/41

Yearbooks, 1940-1944

Box/Folder 8/42

Yearbooks, 1935-1940

Box/Folder 8/43

Yearbooks, 1928-1934

Box/Folder 8/44

Yearbooks, 1925-1928

Box/Folder 8/45

Yearbooks, 1921-1925

Box/Folder 8/46

Yearbooks, 1918-1921

Box/Folder 8/47

Yearbooks, 1915-1918

Box/Folder 8/48

Yearbooks, 1910-1915

Box/Folder 8/49

Yearbooks, 1905-1909

Box/Folder 8/50

Yearbooks, 1899-1911

Box/Folder 8/51-8/52

Series IV. Written Essays and Poems, late 1890s-1980s

Physical Description:

2 folders

Scope and Content Note

This series contains written essays and poems by members of The Willows Reading and Study Club. Many of the essays were written to be given as addresses at club meetings. The essays cover a diverse range of topics. The topics include progressive activist Jane Addams, the object of Forestry, the Hawaiian Islands, and the juvenile court system.
Box/Folder 8/51

Essays, 1890s-early 1900s

Box/Folder 8/52

Essays and poems, early 1900s, 1960, 1980