Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center

 

The Coterie

 

LH - 207

 


Introduction

Agency History

Scope and Content

Inventory

Introduction

The records included in this collection have been donated by the members of The Coterie since the organization’s founding in 1895.

Agency History

Established in Fremont, Ohio, The Coterie was founded by Mrs. Basil (Martha Elizabeth) Meek, Mrs. Byron (Ethel) Dudrow, and Mrs. W. G. Waters, who served as the first president. 4 November 1895 marked The Coterie’s first meeting at the home of Mrs. Meek. The stated purpose of the organization is to inspire “mutual improvement of its members in literature and parliamentary usages and to accustom them to the performance of such duties as may devolve upon them at any time as members or officers of a deliberative assembly.”

From its inception, the organization established two committees: literature and parliamentary. Membership, restricted to fifteen in number, consisted of only women, who were residents of Fremont, Ohio. Those absent from the city for more than a year were placed on an absentee list and prevented from taking an active role in the organization. Although non-resident members retained their privileges, they could be replaced with a new member.

Once each year, the organization plans an overall theme. They range from art, the Bible, English literature and history to the study of countries.  Members are assigned special duties for upcoming meetings such as providing readings and discussions on topics of interest. Meetings were social gatherings filled with orations, musical performances, and discussions of current events.

The constitution changed numerous times over the years. In 1895, meetings were held every Monday evening; in 1934, on alternate Monday evenings; and in 1958, on the first Monday evening of the month. At its founding, annual dues were fifty cents. They increased to a dollar in 1934, and finally reached three dollars in 1975. In 1958, membership was expanded to thirty, and remains so today (2012).

The Coterie is known for its “generous giving” such as furnishing a room at the Sandusky County Medical Society in 1897, donating funds to the Red Cross during the Spanish American War for suffering soldiers; devoting time to World War II efforts, and visiting the infirmed.

Scope and Content

The Coterie records, spanning the years from 1895 to 2012, contain the organization’s original constitution and four constitutional changes; a complete set of minutes from 1895 to 1989; and a nearly complete set of annual meeting program pamphlets. Found within the minute books is a summary of annual finances and a list of the officers.

Inventory

Ac. 1437, 5312, 5348

1 ¼ linear feet

Box 1

Constitution: 1934-1935

Constitution: 1947-1948

Constitution: 1958

Constitution: 1975

Constitution: 1978

 

*Note: 1895 constitution inside first minute book on pages 1-7

 

Minute Book: November 4, 1895 – March 6, 1901

Minute Book: July 1901 – August 24, 1909

Minute Book: October 4, 1909 – August 3, 1917

Minute Book: October 15, 1917 – October 1, 1925

Minute Book: October 12, 1925 – May 4, 1931

Minute Book: October 12, 1931 – April 25, 1938

 

Box 2

 

Minute Book: October 10, 1938 – May 14, 1945

Minute Book: October 8, 1945 – January 4, 1954

Minute Book: January 18, 1954 – March 7, 1960

Minute Book: April 4, 1960 – December 6, 1965

Minute Book: January 10, 1966 – January 12, 1976

Minute Book: February 2, 1976 – June 13, 1989

 

Box 3

 

Meeting Pamphlets: 1895/1896 – 1926/1927

Meeting Pamphlets: 1928/1929 – 1929/1930

Meeting Pamphlet: 1931/1932

Meeting Pamphlets: 1933/1934 – 1934/1935

Meeting Pamphlets: 1936/1937 – 1956/1957

Meeting Pamphlet: 1958/1959

Meeting Pamphlets: 1960/1961 – 1968/1969

Meeting Pamphlets: 1972/1973 – 1976/1977

Meeting Pamphlet: 1978/1979

Meeting Pamphlets: 1981/1982 – 1984/1985

Meeting Pamphlets: 1987/1988 – 1998/1999

Meeting Pamphlets: 2000/2001 – 2002/2003

Meeting Pamphlet: 2004/2005

Meeting Pamphlets: 2006/2007 – 2012/2013

 

Box 4

 

1. History of the organization

2. Finance Records 1977 – 1993

    *early treasurer records located at end of each year in minute books

3. Correspondence

4. Biographical material regarding deceased members

5. Newspaper clippings on achievements, meetings, and service

6. One photo from the 1995 Christmas Dinner

7. Writings of group members

8. Meeting notes - scattered