Xmas Edelweiss Club Meeting

This year I am going through an alphabet of news items taken from The Emancipator newspaper, published  between 1917 and 1920 in Montgomery, Alabama.  All of the news items were found on Newspapers.com. Each item is transcribed directly below the clipping.   Click on any image to enlarge.


My grandmother Fannie was a member of the Edelweiss Club. When I posted an invitation from the Club earlier in the challenge, Anne of Anne’s Family History asked if I was going to tell more about the Edelweiss Club. At the time, I couldn’t figure how I could fit it in. After looking through news items about the club, I came to one that announced  an Xmas day meeting.  Perfect. I present the Edelweiss Club.

  “The club will be entertained by Miss Brown on Xmas morning.

Dec. 21, 1918 The Emancipator

The Emancipator Saturday Jan., 4, 1919
Edelweiss Club Meets

“On Christmas morning the Edelweiss Club met with Miss Madge Brown, Cor., Brown and Carterhill Road. All of the club members were present, besides several invited guests. Whist was played and sweet music was enjoyed throughout the morning after which a Christmas dinner was served. The house was beautifully decorated in keeping with the season.”

In the 1920 census, Madge Brown was living with her parents, John and Julia Brown. Both parents were born during slavery in the mid 1850s. They would have been teenagers when the war ended and they were emancipated. Mr. Brown was a farmer and owned his own farm free and clear. Mrs. Brown had given birth to six children and six were living.

Madge’s sister, Elizabeth B. Deramus, her husband, James and their one year old son lived there too. Elizabeth taught music and her husband was a medical doctor. All the adults in the household were literate.

The Montgomery Times Thu Dec 26, 1918

The weather that Christmas day was clear and cold, with temperatures dipping down to 24 degrees.

Who were the members of the Edelweiss Club?  Thirty seven women attended the monthly meetings judging from news items that appeared in The Emancipator, starting January 12, 1918 and continuing monthly until  May 3, 1919. Some of the women were members and some were guests and not all were present at every meeting. Thirty of them were teachers. One was a seamstress. Three worked in family businesses.  The other three did not have employment and were relatives of members. Most of the members were single, some married as time went on. Some moved out of town.  A good number never married.

All of them came from literate homes. Most of their parents owned their homes, some free and clear, some mortgaged. Their fathers tended to work for themselves as barbers, carpenters and plasterers. Bertha Loveless’ father was an undertaker. Madge Brown’s father was a farmer. Alberta Boykin’s father was a mail carrier. Several lived with their widowed mother or an aunt.  Most had multiple siblings.

Their parents were born in the mid 1850s to the  1870 so they would have been teenagers when slavery ended or were born during Reconstruction.

There were no more reported meetings after May 3, 1919.

"Fannie and friends"
Fannie and friends at Holly Springs, MS 1914. Some later became teachers.

What I really need is another month or so to investigate all 37 women and their families, and a chart to be able to compare. I realize that with 37 women, there may very well be a theme here for my 2019 A to Z.


I found this information on Ancestry.com in Census Records, Directories, Death Records, Military Records and Marriage Records. News items were found on Newspapers.com.

11 thoughts on “Xmas Edelweiss Club Meeting

  1. Yep, I think you have next year’s theme and now a whole year to work on it. HA! So was the club purely a social get-together or did they provide a service to the community? How did the name of the club come about?

    1. HA is right 🙂 From the brief descriptions in the paper, they played whist and ate delicious refreshments. The individual members participated in community service programs, raising money for the Red Cross and the State Normal School, and various church activities, but I see no mention of them, as a club, doing any services.

      I’ve wondered about the name of the club too and unless I find something, we will never know. I have nine newspaper items and the invitation to the dance and that’s it.

  2. There is an Edelweiss Club in Victoria BC, it is a German-Canadian Cultural Society. Are there any German connections with your family? Whist was a very popular parlor game and is the forerunner to Bridge. Love the photo of Fannie and her friends. Good use of the letter X.

    My A to Z Genealogy Challenges

    1. Every gathering I read about during that time seem to include playing Whist and eating delicious refreshments.

      There are no German connections that I know of. All of the women in the club were 1 or at the most 2 generations out of slavery. I wonder if there was a song popular at that time or a book with the Edelweiss mentioned.

      1. I just searched and there were Edelweiss Clubs in many states and they are all German-American cultural clubs. If there are no German connections, maybe they just liked the flower? Could be too why you can find for only 1918-1919, if they are usurping the name.

        1. I thought of the liking the flower too. I am pretty sure there were not over 30 African American women in Montgomery during that time that were all German descendants. The newspaper, The Emancipator, stopped publishing in 1920. Maybe they just stopped publishing news of the meetings. Or maybe as people got married and moved away from Montgomery, and others got busy with other things, it just faded away. Thanks for trying to find a reason for the demise!

    1. That does happen a lot with genealogical research! Sometimes it’s easier to find answers to the new question than it is when everybody has died and left no record.

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