Women's Groups 2013 - Polyhymnia Reading Group

Polyhymnia Reading Group

Purpose of the group

The group was established in Coolgardie for women to get together in appreciation of literature and music. Meetings were held twice a month from April to October and alternately considered classical musical—including details on composers’ lives—and works of literature.

Group members read original essays, stories, biographical sketches, debates, short papers and any other reading material that facilitated thinking and discussion. Participation in group meetings was a membership requirement.

Time period

The first meeting was held on 12 July 1897. A handwritten minute book is held in the State Library of Western Australia and records meetings held until 10 May 1900.

Key achievements

Meetings were lively and often included debates. The minute book records a debate on 11 July 1898 on the subject: ‘Do women deteriorate by having to go out to earn their own living?’ The debate was won by the negative team.

Key people and positions in the group

  • The inaugural meeting of the club was held at the home of Mrs Curle Smith.
  • Mrs Rennick was voted in as first president.
  • Mrs Harwood and Mrs Brunel King were vice-presidents and Mrs Curle Smith was voted honorary secretary and treasurer.
  • Other members in 1897 included Mrs Rodda, Mrs Tescheu, Mrs Chaudley, Mrs Tucker, Mrs Parnell Mundy, Miss Day, Miss Burns and Miss Wilson.
  • In 1900, Mrs Read was president.
  • Other 1900 members included Miss Reader and Mrs Zabel.

Sources

  • Manuscript, 1900. Syllabus of the club’s activities for the year 1900, printed on silk. Held by the State Library of Western Australia (ACC 150A).
  • Manuscript, 1897–1900. Minute book. Held by the State Library of Western Australia (ACC 338A).


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Artemis
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Polyhymnia Reading Group
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