Clio Logo

Opened in 1957, the Bartlesville Women’s Club is the result of long-lasting partnerships among Bartlesville’s many women’s organizations. The Tuesday Club, Bartlesville’s first group, worked in its early years to fight illiteracy in the frontier town and acted as a leader among the social structure of the clubs throughout the twentieth century. Other groups, like the Musical Research Society aided with public education, while the Indian Women’s Club brought Native American women together, and West Side groups such as the Renaissance Club operated in Bartlesville’s African American community. Today, the clubhouse still holds club meetings and community programs and is available to be rented by anyone in the community. Its continued use acts as reminder of the proud past of Bartlesville’s women.

The Women's Club has been used as a community gathering space in Bartlesville for over sixty years.

A sign for the Bartlesville Women's Club.

The Women's Club frequently hosted special programs, such as musical performances from the Ponca City Music Club.

A photo from a newspaper showing women playing stringed instruments.

The foundation for women’s clubs in Bartlesville was laid in 1898. Nine years before Oklahoma became a state, a group of women called the Forthnightly Club began meeting with a mission focused on growing their small town. In 1904, the club incorporated as the Tuesday Club and focused on education, literacy, and community improvement, eventually birthing Bartlesville’s public library system. In 1908, the Tuesday Club approached the Bartlesville City Commission, recommending that a civic group seek funding to create a physical public library center. Five years later, after displaying what the State of Oklahoma called “unflagging zeal” a physical library location was opened at the corner of Osage and Seventh Street.

The Tuesday Club was not the only group started during this early era in Bartlesville’s history. The Musical Research Society was organized in 1908 with the goal of elevating the standard of music in schools and the local community, and seven years later, a local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution was founded. Native American women from the Bartlesville area also organized, forming the Indian Women’s Club in 1935, which welcomed women from various Native American nations, including Delaware, Cherokee, Osage, and Creek. All three of these organizations matched the Tuesday Club’s community improvement efforts, offering scholarships and hosting numerous programs during the early and middle decades of the 1900s.

Bartlesville’s historically African American neighborhood, the West Side, also featured several active women’s clubs. Local Black women such as Earline Wray and Luvnia Brown led and participated in many West Side organizations that had a wide range of charitable and social purposes. These groups included the Porte Soir (which means “open door”), the City Federation of Colored Women, and the Renaissance Club, which provided support to Bartlesville’s African American public school, Douglass.

By the mid-1950s, Bartlesville’s population had grown to over 30,000 and the various women’s clubs had become too large and numerous to gather in homes and at local meeting spaces like the YMCA. Calling back to partnerships established during the 1920s, various women’s clubs from around the city came together to build a meeting space they could call their own. Led by the Tuesday Club, the groups quickly gained support from the Chamber of Commerce and city council. The groups searched for a desirable spot to build their new clubhouse, and found one at the corner of Sixth and Shawnee Avenue for the price of $10,000. That cost was quickly covered, with ten different groups each contributing $1,000. On April 27, 1957, the Bartlesville Women’s Club was ready for an open house and its first meetings.

By 1986, group membership in the Bartlesville Women’s Club had shrunk to four organizations: the Tuesday Club, Indian Women’s Club, Daughters of the American Revolution, and Musical Research Society. Those four clubs remained as the Women’s Club’s pillars until 2017, when the Tuesday Club disbanded. The over a century worth of work of the Tuesday Club in Bartlesville calls back to their persistence and the role numerous women had in raising Bartlesville up. The mission of the club’s remaining three organization, “to bring all cultures of people together to benefit families and the community” also speaks to this history and to the partnerships that made the Bartlesville Women’s Club possible. 

About the Organizations, Bartlesville Women's Club, Inc.. Accessed May 3rd 2022.

Examiner-Enterprise March 22nd 1963. 2.

"Indian Women's Club Opens Sixth Club Year." Examiner-Enterprise (Bartlesville) October 8th 1940. 5.

Stewart, Vickie. Century Celebration: Bartlesville Woman's Club. b Monthly. October 1st 2020.

Wilt, Mike. Bartlesville's Own West Side Story. b Monthly. February 1st 2019. 22 - 27.

Image Sources(Click to expand)

Bartlesville Women's Club

Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise