The Setauket Library Club
In 1896, a group of Setauket women came together to create a group where they could continue their education. Naming themselves the Setauket Library Club, members would gather each week from November through April in the upper reading room of the Emma Clark Library, with the “object to stimulate an interest in education and reading along define lines” (Constitution and By-Laws of the Setauket Library Club). By the 1920s, the Club was officially registered as a study club by the University of the State of New York’s Library Extension Division and member of the Long Island Federation of Women’s Clubs.
Each week, members would present a lecture and discussion on a chosen topic for that year. Topics included Egypt (1926-7), France (1929-30), “Social, Economic and Political Questions of the Day” (1934-5), Mexico (1936-7), “Folk Groups of the United States” (1945-46), and “Women of Influence in the Last Century” (1949-50).
In January 1925, the group took an intermission from their weekly discussions on Italy and hosted future first lady, Eleanor Roosevelt, at the Setauket Neighborhood House. There, she presented a lecture on “Women’s Responsibility as a Citizen.” The club was a fixture of the Emma Clark Library for 60 years, until eventually dissolving in the mid-20th century.
More information on the Setauket Library Club, including minutes, letters, and their colored hand-bound lecture pamphlets can be found at the Three Village Historical Society’s Edward R. Rhodes Collection Of Local History, located in Emma Clark Library.
Gatti, Stacey Horstmann. “Thinking Globally, Acting Locally: The Women of the Setauket Library Club, 1896-1924). Long Island Historical Journal, Volume 17, Numbers 1-2 (Fall 2004/Spring 2005). https://dspace.sunyconnect.suny.edu/bitstream/handle/1951/6616/LIHJSpring2005.pdf
Article by Rebecca Grabie