Women participate in century-old tradition

By: April Lehmbeck | Advertiser Times | Published April 6, 2015

DETROIT — The Woman’s Historical Club of Detroit was founded in 1877, and it’s still going strong with women who say they enjoy carrying on the tradition.

Members of the club meet monthly at different members’ homes.

Each of the women research, write and present a paper every year. Past topics have included Detroit’s historic churches, observations on the arts, South American countries and more.

“Our topic for this year is to return to a book that made a huge impact on us as a young person that we haven’t touched in a long time,” Grosse Pointe Park resident and club President Marilyn Schorer said. “The book has not changed, but we have.”

“We have different topics every year, so it’s always something new and different,” Grosse Pointe Park resident and club member Vesta Dajani said.

During a recent meeting, it was time for Schorer’s presentation, which she did on the work of author Samuel Beckett. Women in the group listened intently, at times smiling or chuckling over some of Schorer’s insights.

It had been more than 40 years since Schorer read Beckett.

“I can appreciate aspects of Beckett that I couldn’t before,” she told the group. “When I first read it, I thought, ‘This is such a downer.’ It’s a brilliant downer.”

The members like to learn from each other. One said she enjoys the group of smart women. They come together to share their thoughts on their papers, current events and other ideas.

“It challenges us,” Grosse Pointe Park resident and club member Wilma Ingalls said of the club.

They aspire to make learning a lifelong, transformative process.

The current members have diverse backgrounds, including their politics and religions, and one member is nearing 100 years old. The members come together to share their knowledge of history, the arts and the world around them.

While the club is open to members from many communities, many of the members currently live in the Grosse Pointes. 

“It was originally a group of Detroit women,” Dajani said of the group’s history.

In order to keep the tradition going well into the future, the group is looking for new members to join its ranks.

To find out more or to join, call Schorer at (313) 823-4295.