1912: Will the Society Admit Women to Full Membership?

In 1912, President Joseph Brown Turner raised the question of admitting women to full membership in the Society. The minutes do not record any discussion or rationale, only that the question was referred to the committee on bylaws for any necessary changes to that document.

Women had been associate members since 1895. They made an annual contribution of $1 and could attend meetings, but could not vote, hold office, or receive free copies of Society publications. In 1910, the Society had 25 associate members.

Alas, the Society did not move quickly on this issue. No changes were made in 1912…or in 1913. The matter came up again in 1914, framed this time in terms of eliminating “all distinction between women and men as members of the Society, and to admit women to active membership on the same basis as men.” The necessary changes to the bylaws were made immediately, and the Committee on Membership was instructed to propose all associate members for full membership, in accordance with the Society’s practice of proposing new members at one meeting, then voting on them at the next. Once again, progress was slow. Not until October 1915 did the membership committee present the list of women members, and they were formally elected to active membership in November 1915.

Emalea Pusey Warner, one of the Society's First Women Members
Emalea Pusey Warner, one of the Society’s First Women Members

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