The Chatham Book Club was born on 16 April 1937 in Greenville, North Carolina. The founders - 13 young Greenville matrons -- met in the home of their sponsor, Mrs. J. B. Kittrell. Their stated aim was to promote the "Civil, social and intellectual improvement" of the members. The Chatham Book Club joined a number of already existing books clubs including the End of the Century Book Club and the Sans Souci Book Club.
The founders then elected Mrs. N. S. Beard as their first president. In addition, they elected a vice president, treasurer, secretary and librarian. In later years, the same person usually served as secretary and librarian. They also selected a Program Committee, Book Committee, and Emergency Committees. They also arranged a list of hostesses -- members who volunteered to have meetings in their homes and to provide refreshments. The Club met between once and three times per month usually from early October to late May.
They selected the Chatham Book Club name to honor William Pitt the elder, the first Earl of Chatham (15 November 1708 - 11 May 1778), the British Whig statesman who achieved his greatest fame leading Britain during the French and Indian War, 1755-1766. He later served as prime minister of from 30 July 1766 to 14 October 1768. Pitt County, North Carolina, like Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is named for him. Chatham's second son, William Pitt the younger (28 May 1759 - 23 January 1806) also became a political leader of note becoming the youngest prime minister in British history and leading the nation during the Napoleonic Wars, 19 December 1783 - 14 March 1801and 10 May 1804 - 23 January 1806.
The members also selected a club motto: "While We Live Let Us Live to Some Purpose."
The 13 original members were Mrs. C. L. Adams, Mrs. N. S. Beard, Mrs. F. A. Bendall, Mrs. H. G. Clayton, Mrs. J. C. Lanier, Mrs. E. Lee Moore, Mrs. R. S. Neal, Mrs. E. D. Robinson, Mrs. A. C. Ruffin, Mrs. R. W. Stark, Mrs. W. S. Tyson, and Mrs. W. D. Tucker. Source: #409.3.a.
The collection consists of minutes of club meetings, including lists of members, officers, committee members & hostesses, books read, officers reports, elections & accounts of discussions.
In addition, the collection contains three scrapbooks, 1937-1985, containing club correspondence, constitutions & by-laws, photographic prints, yearbooks, clippings, information about the Greenville Arts Festivals, the End of the Century Book Club, the Woman's Club of Greenville, Sheppard Memorial Library, and other Greenville literary, arts, & social organizations. The compiler glued or stapled these items into the scrapbooks. The repository has filed additional loose correspondence and other documents separately.
Among the notable items in the scrapbooks are:
List of Officers:
YEARPRESIDENTVICE-PRESSECRETARYTREASURER / LIBRARIAN
1937-38Mrs. N. S. BeardMrs. H. G. ClaytonMrs. W. D. TuckerMrs. F. A. Bendall / Mrs. J. C. Lanier
1938-39Mrs. R. I. NealMrs. L. H. BowlingMrs. A. C. RuffinMrs. Carl Adams
1939-40Mrs. J. C. LanierMrs. W. S. TysonMrs. Lee HannahMrs. R. W. Stark
1940-41Mrs. Rufus StarkMrs. F. A. BendallMrs. L. E. BabcockMrs. E. D. Robertson
1941-42Mrs. L. H. BowlingMrs. A. C. RuffinMrs. R. S. BealMrs. J. C. Lanier
1942-43Mrs. F. A. BendallMrs. L. T. ShotwellMrs. E.R. ConwayMrs. W. P. Moore
1943-44Mrs. E. E. ForbesMrs. W. P. MooreMrs. F. A. BendallMrs. H. G. Clayton
1944-45Mrs. W. P. MooreMrs. C. L. AdamsMrs. C. E. BlairMrs. W. D. Tucker
1945-46Mrs. C. L. AdamsMrs. C. A. BowenMrs. R. W. StarkMrs. L. T. Shotwell
1946-47Mrs. S. H. WilliamsMrs. W. D. TuckerMrs. E. R. ConwayMrs. Bryant Brown
1947-48Mrs. E. C. BlairMrs. L. T. ShotwellMrs. A. C. RuffinMrs. L. H. Bowling
1948-49Mrs. A. C. RuffinMrs. J. Bryan BrownMrs. C. L. AdamsMrs. R. W. Stark
1949-50Mrs. Bryan BrownMrs. W. P. MooreMrs. N. S. BeardMrs. J. C. Lanier
1950-51Mrs. Carl AdamsMrs. J. C. LanierMrs. C. A. BowenMrs. L. T. Shotwell
1951-52Mrs. L. W. ToppingMrs. F. A. BendallMrs. J. Bryan BrownMrs. W. D. Tucker
1952-53Mrs. L. H. BowlingMrs. N. S. BeardMrs. C. E. BlairMrs. E. R. Conway
1953-54Mrs. W. P. MooreMrs. T. M. WatsonMrs. L. W. ToppingMrs. J. K. Long
1954-55Mrs. C. A. BowenMrs. C. E. BlairMrs. A. C. RuffinMrs. L. T. Shotwell
1955-56Mrs. Carl AdamsMrs. N. S. BeardMrs. J. Bryan BrownMrs. T. M. Watson
1956-57Mrs. F. A. BendallMrs. A. C. RuffinMrs. N. S. BeardMrs. J. C. Lanier
1957-58Mrs. E. C. BlairMrs. L. W. ToppingMrs. W. P. MooreMrs. C. a. Bowen
1958-59Mrs. L. H. BowlingMrs. W. D. TuckerMrs. C. A. BowenMrs. E. R. Conway
1959-60Mrs. W. P. MooreMrs. P. B. UpchurchMrs. J. Bryan BrownMrs. T. M. Watson
1960-61Mrs. A. C. RuffinMrs. W. D. TuckerMrs. F. A. BendallMrs. L. H. Bowling
1961-62Mrs. A. C. RuffinMrs. P. K. AndresenMrs. P. B. UpchurchMrs. C. E. Blair
1962-63Mrs. P. B. UpchurchMrs. F. A. BendallMrs. R. H. EvansMrs. E. Lee Moore
1963-64Dr. Elizabeth UtterbackMrs. C. A. BowenMrs. P. K. AndresenMrs. L. T. Shotwell
1964-65Mrs. R. H. EvansMrs. W. P. MooreMrs. E. B. FisherMrs. C. C. Studdert
1965-66Mrs. P. K. AndresenMrs. P. B. UpchurchMrs. A. M. MumfordMrs. E. R. Conway
1966-67Mrs. A. M. MumfordMrs. E. B. FisherMrs. A. C. RuffinMrs. R. H. Evans
1967-68Mrs. R. W. StarkMrs. C. C. StuddertMrs. R. L. PowellMrs. J. A. Taylor
1969-70Mrs. Robert L. PowellMrs. Arthur S. AlfordMrs. W. P. MooreMrs. P. K. Andresen
1970-71Mrs. A. S. AlfordMrs. P. K. AndresenMrs. Joe PaulkMrs. E. Lee Moore'
1971-72Mrs. A. C. RuffinMrs. R. H. EvansMrs. R. W. StarkMrs. C.W. Snell
1972-73Mrs. P. B. UpchurchMrs. F. A. BendallMrs. A. M. MumfordMrs. C. C. Studdert
1973-74Mrs. A. H. WhiteMrs. A. M. MumfordMrs. F. A. BendallMrs. W. P. Moore
1974-75Mrs. C. W. SnellMrs. P. K. AndresenMrs. R. W. StarkMrs. James Graham
1975-76Mrs. R. L. PowellMrs. P. B. UpchurchMrs. A. C. RuffinMrs. E. Lee Moore
1976-77Mrs. R. H. EvansMrs. Carl AdamsMrs. A. S. JohnsonMrs. W. P. Moore
1977-78Mrs. W. P. MooreMrs. A. C. RuffinMrs. A. S. JohnsonMrs. C. A. Bowen
1978-79Mrs. James GrahamMrs. Carl AdamsMrs. H. A. WhiteMrs. Carter Studdert
1979-80Mrs. A. S. JohnsonMrs. R. L. PowellMrs. H. G. DawkinsMrs. R. W. Stark
1980-81Mrs. A. M. MumfordMrs. C. W. SnellMrs. R. H. EvansMrs. R. L. Powell
1981-82Mrs. E. T. VinsonMrs. A. C. RuffinMrs. H. A. WhiteMrs. C. W. Snell
1982-83Mrs. H. g. DawkinsMrs. H. A. WhiteMrs. C. W. SnellMrs. A. M. Mumford
1983-84Mrs. A. C. RuffinMrs. R. L. PowellMrs. A. S. JohnsonMrs. Carter Studdert
1984-85Mrs. R. L. PowellMrs. C. W. SnellMrs. E. T. VinsonMrs. James Graham