By Laurelhurst Study Club
For the Hollywood Star News
The world of Portland’s literary arts noted a significant milestone when the Laurelhurst Study Club celebrated its 100th anniversary on October 11. That’s when guests of the Laurelhurst Club in Northeast Portland celebrated with refreshments, dancing and historical displays. The original Laurelhurst Club was formed in 1912 to address issues facing the fast-growing Laurelhurst community; and its clubhouse, built in 1914, is still used by its members today.
The Laurelhurst Study Club, an offshoot of the larger Laurelhurst Club, is the oldest club of its nature in the Portland area.
On Oct 4, 1915, some of the women in the Laurelhurst Club decided to form a group to “add to the cultural life, as well as the social life” of the community. According to archival minutes, further objectives were to “improve its members in the fields of literature, arts, science, and vital interests of the day.” Initially, the club focused on drama and staged one production a year in addition to inviting outside speakers to discuss books, art, and music. The first formal meeting took place October 11, 1915 with the reading of the play “The Melting Pot” by Israel Zangwill.
Mrs. C.W. Hayhurst was the first chair and president. Charter members were Mrs. H.S. McCutchan, Mrs. G.D. Johnson, Mrs. J.H. Suttle, Mrs. C.B. Handy, Miss Ethel Handy, Mrs. J.L. Harper, Mrs. C.D. Minton, Mrs. Phil Easterday, Miss Lura Tamiesie, Mrs. R.E. Watkins, Miss Lucy Gedamke, Mrs. E.B. Chandler, Mrs. D.C. Powell, Mrs. K.S. Wilson, Mrs. C.W. Hayhurst and Mrs. T.S. Townsend. This group continued to be associated with the Laurelhurst Club for many years, but today’s group no longer has a formal connection to the Laurelhurst area, although the name has remained.
Today, the Laurelhurst Study Club focuses on reviewing current fiction and nonfiction selections in members homes, rotating monthly with the exception of July and August. Membership is currently at capacity.
Through the years, the Laurelhurst Study Club has donated books and resources to libraries, universities and charities, such as Albertina Kerr Center For Children.
Current members come from all over the greater metro area and no longer attend meetings wearing hats and gloves, but instead arrive in SUVs and then chat, text or share photos on cell phones, stream live music on Wi-Fi and read books on e-readers.