Francese Turnbull with family at La Paix estateThe Woman's Literary Club of Baltimore (1890-1941)  was a locus of literary inquiry and production for educated women in Baltimore during a period of rapidly shifting gender roles in American society.

The Club's extensive records for the years 1890-1920 provide a fascinating perspective on women’s knowledge and the professionalization of writing at the time. These records are held at the Maryland Historical Society in Baltimore and are being transcribed by students at Loyola University Maryland; they are made available here.

A selection of Club members' writings will be published in Parole Femine: The Words and Lives of the Woman's Literary Club of Baltimore, which will be published in 2019 by Loyola's Apprentice House Press.

Who were these women?

The membership map provides a geographical snapshot of the Club members' residences at different points during the Club's existence. Biographies of the Club's major authors are also available on the map. You may browse the Club membership list to see the names of all the Club members and when they belonged to the Club (currently, membership "snapshots" are available at 5-year increments for the years 1890-1914). 

The Women's Literary Club of Baltimore provided its members with a platform to share their own written works with each other, which we’ve gathered in our Virtual Library. The over 500 published works we have discovered range from lyrical poetry, novels, magazine fiction, and plays, to weighty tomes of history, philosophy, and literary criticism.

Title page, A Reed by the River

Virginia Woodward Cloud
A Reed by the River (Boston: Gorham Press, 1902)
poetry

Cover, A Branch of May

Louise Clarkson Whitelock
Buttercup's Visit to Little Stay-at-Home (E. P. Dutton, 1881)
poetry

Title page, The Royal Pawn of Venice

Francese Litchfield Turnbull
The Royal Pawn of Venice (Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1911)
novel

Parting Ode, 1859

Laura DeValin
"Parting Ode, 1859"
song

Discussions of Club activities are recorded in the Meeting Minutes, which have been transcribed and are searchable on this website. The site also includes complete information of Club meeting programs, listed by title, author, and presenter, showing the range and depth of their intellectual activities as well as their individual interests. You can also find out about the Club's organization by reading the Club constitution and Club history.

How did we do this project?

Follow and share!

Read about our process and discoveries on our blog! And share your ideas with us. We would especially love to hear about any stories or connections you may have with these historic Baltimore residents.

This project was made possible through the generous support of the Center for the Humanities at Loyola University Maryland and the Loyola-Notre Dame Library.