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Odd Volumes Women's Club

 

   
 


The Odd Volumes Women's Club was a literary club. It was one of the oldest of the federated women's clubs in New Jersey and a charter member of the New Jersey State Federation of Women's Clubs. Cecilia Gaines Holland organized the study group in October 1887 as a study group. The name for the club came from two societies by that name in London and Boston that concentrated on the study of rare and classical works.

Since the Jersey City public library was not opened until 1891, the women exchanged books that they purchased and discussed them at their meetings. The membership was limited to thirty-five members who were invited to join the club. Members were assigned topics by the program committee and the members wrote reports for presentation and discussion.

Summaries of the discussions at the club meetings were recorded over the years. In 1987, at the time of the club's centenary anniversary, "The Record of the Odd Volumes" was presented to the New Jersey Room of the Main Branch of the Jersey City Free Public Library for its collection and preservation. The topics among the many reports were varied and changed over the years. They ranged from poetry, biography, philosophy, religion, and history to housing and local concerns.

In the 1940s, the members of the Odd Volumes began a "memorial bookshelf" at the Five Corners Branch Library in Jersey City. They donated a book in the name of each of its deceased members. Among the books are rare ancient, classical and modern works.

The Odd Volumes affected the founding of another women's organization, the Woman's Club of Jersey City. The limited number of members maintained by the Odd Volumes encouraged the new club to be formed by Mrs. A. J. Newberry with Cecelia Holland as its first president.

Reference:
Odd Volumes Women's Club., "The Record of the Odd Volumes." Joan D. Lovero Collection, New Jersey Room, Jersey City Free Public Library.

 

By: Carmela Karnoutsos
Project Administrator: Patrick Shalhoub