Finding aid for the Women's Centennial Commission Records

Repository: Western Reserve Historical Society
Creator: Women's Centennial Commission
Title: Women's Centennial Commission Records
Dates: 1891-1971
Extent: 6.80 linear feet (14 containers)
Abstract: The Women's Centennial Commission of Cleveland, Ohio, was founded in 1895 as the Women's Auxiliary of the Cleveland Centennial Commission. The group formally became a part of the Cleveland Centennial Commission on September 25, 1895, when its name was changed to the Woman's Department of the Cleveland Centennial Commission. Mary B. Ingham served as the first president, and Catherine Hitchcock Avery was chairman of the executive board. Woman's Day, a part of the centennial celebration, was held July 28, 1896. In December 1896, an aluminum casket time capsule was filled by members and sealed, to be opened one hundred years later in 1996 during the bicentennial of the founding of Cleveland. The casket was given to the Western Reserve Historical Society for safekeeping. In 1898, the executive committee of the Woman's Department became a permanent organization. Each member designated a successor, and yearly meetings were held. In 1921, a second aluminum casket time capsule was prepared, commemorating the one hundred twenty-fifth anniversary of the founding of Cleveland. This casket was not sealed until 1927, so that volume five of the Memorial to the Pioneer Women of the Western Reserve, a project begun in 1896 by the Woman's Department, and edited by Gertrude Van Rensselaer Wickham, could be included. That same year, the name of the group was changed to the Women's Centennial Commission. Continued by the successors of the women of 1896 and 1921, a sealed aluminum casket was placed at the Western Reserve Historical Society during the sesquicentennial celebration of Cleveland in 1946. At the one hundred seventy-fifth anniversary of Cleveland in 1971, a fourth time capsule was prepared. The group was revived as the bicentennial of 1996 approached, and in 1996, the contents of the time capsules were unpacked by lineal descendants of the original members. The collection consists of the contents of four aluminum casket time capsules from the years 1896, 1921, 1946, and 1971. The contents include letters, constitutions and bylaws, minutes, resolutions, financial statements, programs, lists, certificates, cards, photographs, invitations, addresses, speeches, essays, poems, newspaper clippings, magazines, newsletters, newspapers, brochures, directories, bulletins, notes, books, pamphlets, annual reports, yearbooks, biographical and genealogical sketches, business cards, medals, ribbons, coins, flags, badges, a gavel, drawings, watercolor prints, maps, calendars, and a poster. Material from philanthropic, social service, cultural, and religious organizations and agencies of the time is included. Documentation on the formation and organization of the Women's Centennial Commission is included, as is a large amount of personal letters and photographs addressed to their descendants by Commission members. The collection also documents how the Cleveland centennial was planned and celebrated in 1896, and how subsequent anniversary years were celebrated. Original manuscripts and copies of the speeches and toasts given during Woman's Day in 1896 were included in the time capsules.
MS Number MS 4752
Location: closed stacks
Language: The records are in English