On Monday, March 25, the Town Council honored the Woman’s Club of Verona for 125 years of service to the town.
The club had its origins in a gathering of women, The Isabella Literary Club, that was started in January 1893. America was then celebrating the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ discoveries and the group’s name honored the Spanish queen who financed the expedition. The club became a charter member of the New Jersey State Federation of Woman’s Clubs in 1894, and soon decided that its first big effort for the then rural community of Verona would be to create a small library. Members bought books and kept them at their homes and, in 1912, the club turned over 1,500 books to the newly formed Verona Public Library.
In its early years, the club also campaigned for sidewalks, sewers, water and fire departments, mail delivery, snow plows and street lamps for Verona, organized bond drives during World War I, and contributed to the founding of the New Jersey College of Women, now the Douglass Residential College of Rutgers University. The club grew so much that it opened a Junior Woman’s Club of Verona in 1926.
The Woman’s Club developed an extensive roster of community service programs over the years, focusing on everything from health to scholarships for Verona High School seniors. One long-running project was the creation of Braille books for blind children. Its fundraising now supports both the VHS scholarships and donations to various service organizations in town. In recent years, the club has become known for its “Share Your Light” night, traditionally on the second Saturday in December. It sells sets of luminaries that are displayed around homes and in the center of town as a symbol of community spirit and unity. Many members have been honored by the state federation of Woman’s Clubs for their work over the years.
Membership in the Woman’s Club of Verona is open to women of all ages interested in community service and meeting new friends. The club holds regular meetings in September, November, January, February, April and June, and more casual gatherings are held in months in between meetings. Anyone interested in membership is welcome to attend. Simply contact the club at [email protected] or visit the club’s website.