This Day in SIA
The Road to the First Soroptimist Club Meeting
Throughout our year long 100th anniversary celebration, SIA will share pieces of our story, highlighting momentous occasions from our bright past. While some events are large and some are small, they all lead to where we are today—celebrating 100 years!
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Let’s journey back together through time as we reveal events leading up to the very first club meeting, starting with what happened on this day 100 year ago—May 31, 1921.
May 31, 1921
We aren’t sure of the exact date when Stuart Morrow, a past organizer of Rotary clubs, walked into Parker-Goddard Secretarial School in Oakland, California. During that visit, Adelaide Goddard, one of the two women who owned the school, inspired Morrow to consider a club for business and professional women, similar to Rotary. But we are sure when Morrow started the effort to form such a club.
This image from the “Morrow Book” in the Soroptimist Archives documents the formation of the first Soroptimist club. It shows on May 31, 1921, that Morrow was joined at 4:00 p.m. in the Rose Room of the Hotel Oakland by seven women from the community: Mrs. Barndollar, Dr. Robb, Dr. Jump, Miss Porter, Mrs. Hamlin, Miss Rabbas, and Mrs. Adams.
There are no other minutes of the meeting, and of the seven women gathered, only Gladys Barndollar, a printer, went on to become a charter member of the new Soroptimist club. She submitted her membership application on June 11, 1921 (although she did not pay her $15 dues until September), and was one of the nine women who attended the next organizational meeting on June 21, 1921.