HISTORY

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The Louisa St. Clair Chapter, NSDAR was formed by a group of eight women in the Detroit home of Mrs. William Fitzhugh Edwards at 372 E. Congress on January 19, 1893.  The chapter was named for Louisa St. Clair, the daughter of General Arthur St. Clair, Governor of the Northwest Territory, following the Revolutionary War.  The name of Louisa St. Clair was suggested by charter member Katherine Hendrie Green as Louisa was a daughter of the Revolution in every way, having been born in 1773.

By the time the National Charter was issued on February 13, ten more had joined, making 18 charter members, with Mrs. Edwards as Regent of the first chapter in Michigan and 44th in the National Society, which had been formed a little more than two years prior.

The chapter grew rapidly, becoming one of the largest in the country, and by 1903, it had reached 300 members.  In the 1928-1929 the yearbook listed 653 members.  Membership decreased in the 1930s but began to grow again during the 40s, reaching 600 members by 1950.  Due to the exodus of Detroiters to the suburbs and the organization of many new chapters, membership again fell.

In the fall of 1896, the chapter began meeting at the Russell House, a large hotel in Detroit, at 10:30 a.m. on the third Thursday of each month. Later the meetings were moved to the Twentieth Century Club, the Women's City Club of Detroit, the Detroit Institute of Arts, and the Book Cadillac Hotel.  Then, in 1937, the chapter started meeting at Newberry House on East Jefferson Avenue at the invitation of Helen Newberry Joy who later deeded the property to the Louisa St. Clair Chapter.  Newberry House was the chapter's home for the next 24 years.  In 1961, an office was established at the Women's City Club of Detroit, moved to the Whittier Towers in 1976, and from there to Jefferson Avenue Presbyterian Church in 1998.

In April 2007, after the chapter changed its official location to Grosse Pointe, the archives were removed to Kerby Elementary School in Grosse Pointe Farms.  The archives were removed to a climate-controlled storage facility in August, 2012. Chapter members now meet in restaurants, clubs, and homes.

Citations:

  1. Public Domain Image of Arthur St. Clair painted by Charles Willson Peale between 1782-1784
  2. Silhouette of Louisa St. Clair from Louisa St. Clair Chapter Scrapbook, 1893.

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