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Anna Brooks and the Woman’s Club

1921

By Jolene Hawkins

Looking Back to some women who help formed Springville in the past, I think one of the first women I will talk about is Anna Brooks.  Anna lived from 1866 to 1950, and in her lifetime she achieved more than the “modern” woman has.

One of the reasons we can look back through old records and items that were from a time before is thanks to Anna.  She worked among the old families of the town and accumulated articles which would be of interest.  These were stored in attics and cellars of old homes.  She then set aside several rooms in her house to display the items and invited all to come and see them.  She also made some dolls; at one meeting for the Historical Society, she told a story and used the dolls as part of the story.  The Concord Historical Society still has those dolls.

In 1911, Anna was among the group of women that help form the Home Economic Club, later to be known as the Woman’s Club. Their motto was: “ I will apply to homemaking the same science and culture demanded to any other profession.” She was the first president and was a president for 17 years, from 1911 to 1927.

They would often have teas in the yard or in the house of Mrs. Brooks, taking a photo each year to document it.  This group of women worked hard to get hot lunches into the schools.  A thank you that was written to the Club in 1920 says….. “Dear Club members, I have been trying to solve the hot lunch problem for the children.  I received the utensil and really think it helps the children as they have all gained in weight during the last month.  It does make a little extra work, but the children do most of it and I feel than repaid for the trouble.  I wish to thank the members of the club and wish you much success in the good work you are doing.”

In 1917, Anna was instrumental in establishing not only the Local Red Cross unit, but several others in the surrounding towns.

What did the local Red Cross units do?  The Springville branch furnished a quota of 125 articles for foreign relief each month, in addition to all the knitting for the soldiers and hospital supplies.  The items sent were: 25 mufflers, 16 pairs of socks, 18 pairs wristlets, seven sweaters, 2 dozen slings, five dozen T bandages, five dozen washcloths and 134 comfort pillows (some filled with milkweed down that was gathered in the fields). Besides sending items, the Red Cross helped the families of the men who were in the military service.

In 1924, the Woman’s Club was trying to work with the Village of Springville to beautifying and define the outdoors areas that were around the Village such as the pond.  They wanted to clean up around the pond and with the help of the Woman’s Cub, plant flowers and shrubbery, to make Springville a more attractive place.

In 1937, Anna was on the committee that helped establish Bertrand Chaffee Hospital. She also made gowns and receiving blankets for newborn babies and gifted them to the hospital.

Everywhere I looked in the archives of newspapers and journals that we have at the Lucy Bensley Center, Anna’s name pops up over and over again, on the Morton Corner’s Cemetery Assc.,  the hospital board;  she also was assisting the aging population of the town and the Universalist Church committee— every week her name seemed to be in the paper.

Anna may have only lived 84 years, but I feel like she accomplished more than the average person did.  She was a leader, that people wanted to join along with and work with.  I wanted to remember her during this month.  History is never forgotten, our deeds will live on after us.  What will you be remembered for?

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