The Brooklyn Woman's Club was established on March 19, 1869. The founding members of the club, Anna C. Field, Celia Burleigh and Katherine Hillard, wrote a constitution and filed certificates of association and incorporation. The constitution notes that the business and objectives of the society were to culturally improve its members, instruct women, cultivate benevolence and practice charity for the relief of suffering.
In 1913, the Club bought and refurbished the 1840 Barnes Mansion in Brooklyn Heights and it became the headquarters of the Brooklyn Woman's Club. In 1980, the Club sold the building and established an agreement with the historic, beautiful Montauk Club in Park Slope to provide meeting space and dining facilities for members of The Brooklyn Woman's Club.
In the early days of the Brooklyn Woman’s Club, emphasis was placed on educating women in political matters and laws. Additionally, they sponsored philanthropic and social causes that improved the civic life of Brooklyn residents. The Brooklyn Woman’s Club assisted the Kings County Bureau of Charities. They worked tirelessly to appoint female members to the Board of Education and reform the pay scales of women probation officers and female jail inspectors. The Brooklyn Free Kindergarten was started and subsidized by the Brooklyn Woman’s Club. During World War II, the Club raised millions of dollars in bonds and received a special citation from the United States Finance Department. They also helped found the Brooklyn Children’s Museum and the Long Island Federation of Women’s Clubs.
The Brooklyn Woman’s Club has been progressive and innovative since its inception. Several honorary members, including Ralph Waldo Emerson, George William Curtis, Maria Mitchel and Jennie C. Croly graced the Club’s meetings. The Club has hosted notable writers, actors and political activists such as Fanny Hurst, Eva Le Gallienne, Paul Gallico, Fulton Oursier, Marianne Moore, Louisa May Alcott, Julia Ward Howe, Lucy Stone, Carl Sandberg, Walter Damrosch, Edwin Markham, Thornton Wilder, Cornelia Otis Skinner and Eleanor Roosevelt.
The Brooklyn Woman’s Club continues its philanthropic mission by making substantial yearly contributions to several Brooklyn-based charities including, Helen Keller Services for the Blind, CHIPS, The Salvation Army, The Veterans’ Administration, The Brooklyn Kindergarten Society, The Park Slope Geriatric Day Center and The South Brooklyn Colony House.
The Brooklyn Woman's Club's mission is to involve ourselves in the community of Brooklyn for the betterment through partnerships, collaborations, philantropy and charity to support Brooklyn families and those in need.