The Kansas City Athenaeum was founded in 1894.
Although there were no written rules stating it, the club was for women looking to become more active in the community through service and study, since many of them were not allowed to work.
In 1914 the women raised enough money to purchase a club house on Linwood Boulevard.
Throughout the years, the Athenaeum has advocated for social issues such as electricity, women’s rights and prohibition.
Founding members were responsible for ideas in education such as the creation of Parent Teacher Associations and having Kindergarten be required.
The women of the Athenaeum were also responsible for putting street signs on every corner in Kansas City.
“I was extremely impressed with what a forceful influence these women banding together could have in the overall betterment of the society and public environment,” said First Vice President Joyce Merrill.
The KC Athenaeum is affiliated with the General Federation of Women’s Clubs, which is the largest international, non-partisan, non-religious women’s organization in the world.
The main goal of the Athenaeum was to educate women. They continue to do this through hosting speakers and lectures to teach women lessons they wouldn’t otherwise know.
In 2000, the club officially started accepting men into the organization.
The Athenaeum currently has about 30 members.
In 2015, the Athenaeum sold its club house to another service organization. Part of the money from the sale has gone to several different charity organizations.
The organization also donated its 100 years worth of archives to Central Library as part of the Missouri Valley Special Collections.
“It’s one thing to found something, but it’s another to support it beyond its years,” said Communications Chair Donna Calvin.
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