On February 17, 1900, eight young men, many from Central Methodist Church, met and formed the Ruskin Literary and Debating Society. They never met in the church and never intended the club to have a church connection. From the first year, there were discussions, heated debates, and proposals about membership for women, but it was not until 1979 that a woman was admitted to membership. However, as early as 1902, women were invited to attend the yearly banquets that were held in various venues around the city. The following excerpt is taken from Point of Order Mr. President in a chapter entitled “But These Took Part.”
Because there was an inadequate response for the Honorary Members’ Night, the Executive recommended that it be cancelled and a Ladies’ Night be held instead. A formal dinner was held at the Heliconian Club, probably because either Rody Kenny Courtice, an artist, or Myrtle Hare Brown, a singer, provided them with an entree to this Women’s Club. Both were active members. It was recorded that “the hall was hung with paintings by Rody Kenn Courtice.” The dinner was most successful with a musical programme that was appropriate for the setting.
At the following meeting, the fun began when the status of the meeting was challenged. Some members refused to accept the dinner as a meeting, and the hapless secretary’s minutes were referred back to be re-written as a record of Ladies’ Night.
(Submitted by Joanna Robertson in March, 2012.)
On April 2, 1914, the 350th anniversary of the birth of Shakespeare was observed by a presentation of Shakespearean songs illustrated by living pictures. Lady Gibson of Government House not only lent her patronage, but was present with a party. The evening was an artistic and financial success. Another event that was notable was the reception to our own Margaret Anglin, now a noted New York actress. She was presented with a bouquet of lilies and violets by her first dramatic teacher, Mrs. Jessie Alexander Roberts, a member of the Drama Section ca. 1915; President 1912-13.
(Submitted by Mary Jane Warner in March, 2012)