Women's College Scholarship Club was founded in 1938/39 as the Women's College Club.  Originally it appears to have been open only to college graduates, though it was later opened to all women.  In 1973 the name was changed to reflect the club's goal of providing scholarship money for Saranac Lake High School graduates seeking to attend college.  They held Chapeau Teas, bazaars, card parties and musical evenings, suppers, buffet dinners and teas, listened to speakers and showed films.

There were Women's College Clubs in several other parts of the Adirondacks.

Lake Placid News, February 16, 1940


A tea for undergraduates of the Saranac Lake and Lake Placid high schools will be sponsored by the Women's College club. Miss Roslyn Chapman of Saranac Lake was named chairman of the tea Saturday, March 23. She will be assisted by Mrs. James Waldron, Mrs. Fay Hunter and Mrs. Fletcher of Bloomingdale.

Adirondack Daily Enterprise, January 8, 1948


“Wildlife in the Adirondacks” was the subject of the address given before members of the Women's College club last evening by Greenleaf Chase, district game manager of the Division of Fish and Game of the New York State Conservation department.

The meeting was held at the home of Mrs. Erwin Heck of 51 Petrova avenue. Mrs. John Edelberg, Mrs. Irving Edelberg and Mrs. Stephen Hoyt were in charge of refreshments.

Mr. Chase addressed the group following a business meeting at which Mrs. David B. Lawton, president, presided. The next meeting will be a dinner for members. The place will be announced later.

These present were the Mesdames Carl Gronemeijer, David Lawton, Emanuel Wolinsky, Dorothy A. Starkweather, Hyman Weiner, Harold Hill, John Edelberg, Lucy Roberts, Anne F. Carter, Thomas Hand, William Hopkins, Wayne Henning, Alvin Gurley, W. Mason Lawrence, Sydney Bernstein, D. Mott Chapin, Irving Edelberg, Julian Myers, Stephen Hoyt, Richard Woodruff and Erwin Heck.

Also the Misses Helen Upson, Susan Cahill, Ruby Baker, Rosemary Lambertson and Elizabeth Gronemeijer and Dr. Louis A. Nelson-Garrett and Dr. Dorothy Tyler.

Adirondack Daily Enterprise, September 11, 1952

College Club Plan Another Busy Year

The executive committee of the Women's College Club met last night at the home of Mrs. Alvin Gurley, the president, and plans for the coming year were discussed.

Each year the club awards a scholarship to a girl graduating from the Saranac Lake High School who plans to go to college. The girl is chosen by a committee made up of club members and members of the high school faculty.

The club's program is both educational and social, and a cordial invitation to attend the meetings is extended to all college women in the area. The club meets the first Wednesday of each month, and the first meeting will be held Oct. 1.

Adirondack Daily Enterprise, November 30, 2002

A helping hand for the college-bound

Scholarship club has been reaching out to students since '30s

By LAURIE BESANCENEY Enterprise Staff Writer

SARANAC LAKE - Since the late 1930s, the Women's College Scholarship Club has been devoted to helping college-bound students offset the costs of attending school.

The goal of the club is "to stimulate and encourage the community in educational, civic and social areas," according to Nancy Phillips, one of the club's publicity chairwomen. She said that since 1944 the club's one consistent, major project for accomplishing its goal has been to give scholarships.

Today the WCSC, with about 60 members, annually gives four $800 scholarships to high school students and two or three $500 scholarships for people continuing their education after an interruption. According to Phillips, the recipients are chosen according to school grades, activities and community service. Anyone is eligible as long as the person is served by the Saranac Lake school bus system.

The club's history says five Saranac Lake women — Mrs. Richard Woodruff, Mary Louise Kelly, Ethel Hoepfner, Winifred Erskine — met in the summer of 1938 to discuss forming a club for college women. They agreed "there was the need for an organization that would welcome the newcomer and encourage hobby and housewife — consumer groups among women with a common educational background," according to the history.

In November 1939, a group of 20 women from both Saranac Lake and Lake Placid held the first official meeting of The Women's College Club at St. Luke's parish house in Saranac Lake. They elected Elizabeth Meury their first president.

In November 1941, the club voted to join the American Association of University Women and became the Whiteface branch. But then, just two years, later, because of gas rationing, travel between the two villages became difficult. In that same month, the club drew up its own constitution and bylaws and changed the membership requirements to a two-year degree.

In November 1973, the newly independent club opened membership to any woman wanting to work for the goal and scholarship project of the club. A month later, members voted to rename the club the Women's College Scholarship Club, its current name.

The WCSC raises money for scholarships through several fundraising projects. For many years, the club provided guided tours of Camp Topridge, the 207-acre, 68 structure great camp formerly owned by Marjorie Merriweather Post. Prior to Post's death, she held fund-raising teas at the camp. After her death, the title to the property was given to the state, but WCSC was still able to hold guided tours for fund-raising purposes.

More recently, the club has held a big raffle called Taste of the Good Life. In the past, 100 items, many from local businesses, have been raffled off at the event. Also, every other year, members of the club make an Adirondack quilt and raffle it off.

For the upcoming holiday season, the WCSC is raffling off two baskets. They are on display at the Adirondack Bank on Main Street in Saranac Lake. The drawing will take place Dec. 19, Raffle, tickets can be bought from club members or at the bank.

Just last weekend, the ladies sold baked goods and light lunches at the North Country Community College's Arts and Crafts Show.

"We had the best time," Phillips said. "It brings out hidden values in our members." She said Kathleen Hogan sold pies like it was her job; she really is a nurse in the Saranac Lake Central School District.

Not all their fund-raising efforts go to scholarships, though. Last year, the women decided to donate $500 they raised to the Afghan Women's Fund of the Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children.

"We try to make money in a few big, concerted efforts rather than a bunch of little events like bake sales and car washes," says vice president Linda Beairsto, who joined many years ago because she is a teacher and says she believes in education and raising money for education.

"Today, it is equally acceptable for men and women to attend college," says Phillips, who attended Vassar from 1938 to 1942, at a time when few women considered going to college. In the 1980s, the club decided to start giving scholarships to males as well, she said.

Meagan Doty (attending the University of Buffalo); Petrina Piro (Skidmore College), Sarah Snizek (Fairleigh Dickinson University) and Arran Smallets (Mount St. Mary College) all received scholarships from the club last summer.

At each WCSC meeting, there is an informative program about local accomplishments or local people's interests and adventures in other parts of the world. Each meeting also has a social break — a time to meet friends and enjoy the food made by members.

A particularly interesting meeting, according to the history, took place in 1969, when Mrs. Van Seagraves, the former "Sissie" Dall, talked about her life in the White House with her grandparents, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt.

The next WCSC meeting will be held on Dec 4 at the Saranac Lake Library. Heidi Kretser will be showing slides of the Arctic Wildlife Refugee. WCSC invites anyone who wishes to help further education for college-bound seniors and career-bound adults The complete history of the club edited by Nancy Phillips, can be found in the Adirondack Room of the Saranac Lake Free Library.

Adirondack Daily Enterprise, March 13, 1964

Spring Hats Will Blossom At Club Tea

Committees for the annual Chapeau Tea, sponsored by the Women's College Club for the benefit of its scholarship fund, are completing last-minute details for the tea tomorrow at 2 p.m.

The Hotel Saranac ballroom has been decorated by a committee headed by Mrs. David Young. The announcements, designed by Mrs. David Hunter, have been distributed by a committee in the charge of Mrs. Breckenridge Chapin. Mrs. Gerald Corbett's committee is tallying tickets. Mrs. Saxon Martin has prepared the programs. Mrs. William Meyer has appointed a committee to help the hotel staff serve refreshments. Mrs. Richard Basile and Mrs. William Schwartau are in charger of the fashions.

Models will be Mrs. Arthur Mrs. Martin, Mrs. James Monroe, Mrs. Robert Rand, Mrs. Louis George, Mrs. William Appell, Mrs. Thomas Long, Mrs. George Maclntyre, Mrs. Arthur Niederbuhl, Mrs. Robert Workman, Ms. Chapin, Mrs. Irving Edelberg, Mrs. Holt Hughes, Mrs. Pamela Oik, Mrs. Edwin Woodward, Miss Paulette Pecheux, Miss Gail Chapin, Miss Susan Edelberg, Miss Beth Norton, Miss Cindy Corbett, Miss Andrea Pecheux.

Also Miss Sara Swett, Miss Elizabeth Swett. William Hagar, Charles Hoffman, Miss Leslie Hoffman, Miss Pam Young, Miss Martha Young, Miss Lisa Feinberg and Richard Meyer.

Mrs. Thomas Waterman will be the commentator. Miss Alfreda Reynolds will be pianist.

Local shops that have lent hats and accessories for the show are Altman's, Kennedy's, J.J. Newberry, Town and Country, The Fair Store, Ann Foley's, Parnell's, the Hotel Saranac Gift Shop and the Cinderella Shop.

Lake Placid News, April 5, 1940


Placid and Saranac Organization to Sponsor Program

Forty-seven members and prospective members of the Women's College club of Saranac Lake and Lake Placid attended the program and dinner-meeting of the club held Tuesday evening at the Mirror Lake Inn here.

The guest speaker was F. W. Lowenstein of Tupper Lake who talked of his homeland, Germany. Dr. Lowenstein spoke briefly of his life in Berlin, where he was born, Upper Silesia where he lived for several years and of Vienna and Switzerland where he studied medicine. He also told of his first impressions of New York city and how he and Mrs. Lowenstein enjoyed residing in the north country.

Following the program a meeting was conducted by Miss Elizabeth Meury, president, and members discussed the possibility of promoting a community program of speakers or artists for next year. Further plans for the program will be completed at the next meetings in May and June.

On the first Tuesday in May the club will meet in the Harrietstown hall when Madame Jeanne Rieffel will be guest speaker. Madame Rieffel will talk on France and the Basque  country and will show illustrated slides.

Among those attending were Mrs. Bert Howard, Mrs. Willard W. VanAllen, Mrs. Alice Williams, Mrs. Richard Woodruff, Mrs. Robert Reed, Mrs. Walter Noble, Mrs. Fay Hunter, Mrs. Fletcher, Mrs. William Hopkins, Mrs. Raymond Ryan, Mrs. James Waldron, Mrs. Mariner Woodruff, [sic] Mrs. Davis, Mrs. Laurine Decker, Mrs. Glenn T. Manning, Mrs. Harold Soden, Mrs. Howard Page, Mrs. Merrill Thomas, Mrs. Clifford Wilkins, Mrs. John Hayes and Mrs. Howard Godson.

Also Miss Ruth Pelton, Miss Virginia Kendall, Miss Goodreau, Miss Roslyn Chapman, Miss Agnes Kennedy, Miss Elfreda Samuels, Miss Baird, Miss Mary Kelly, Miss Ethel Hoepfner, Miss Lillian Ryan, Miss Rita Donnelly, Miss Sally Johnson, Miss Hilda Hughes, Miss Helen Young, Miss Mary McDonald, Miss Gertrude Powers, Miss Marion Kennedy, Miss Mabel Smith, Miss Thelma McCurdy and Miss Thornton, Mrs. Harold Golding, Mrs. Mary Ware, Mrs. Irene Campbell and Mrs. Louise Campbell.

Women's College Scholarship Club Members, 2023. Historic Saranac Lake Collection, 2023.122.2. Gift of the Women's College Scholarship Club.]Fiftieth Anniversary - 1989
Women's College Scholarship Club anniversary introduction and historic highlights
Written October 2, 1989 about 1938 to 1989        Nancy Phillips (Editor)       
(edited 2023 for clarity)

[Historic Saranac Lake Collection, 2023.122.1. Gift of the Women's College Scholarship Club.]


The club started in 1938.  The club's goal is to stimulate and encourage the community in educational, civic and social areas. The Women's College Scholarship Club meets the first Wednesday of every month from October through June. Meetings consist of interesting and informative programs concerning local accomplishments and local people's influence and adventures in other parts of the world. A valuable part of each meeting is the social break for meeting friends and enjoying member-produced delicacies.

The club, through its fundraising efforts, has annually awarded scholarships to Saranac Lake area high school seniors. Recently, it has also been awarding scholarships to adult area residents who return to the academic world to continue their education.

Fundraisers have included a Thanksgiving pie sale and a peddler's picnic, a mix of high-quality collectibles and inexpensive items, in a cafe environment with homemade goodies. A principal fundraiser was guided tours of Camp Topridge, 1979 through the summer of 1985 and Chapeau Teas or fashion shows from 1959 through 1980. For a number of years, the club sponsored basketball games with the all American Redheads, a leading woman's pro team.

1989:  Our senior member Ilse Gronemeijer
Ilse Gronemeijer, joined the club in 1945-1946.

She was an active member of the club continuously since the 50s and she served as recording secretary. Her complete and vivid secretary’s notes and the newspaper accounts derived from them are the basis for a great part of our knowledge of the early highlights and progress of the club.

Many of the speakers at meeting programs through the decades have come as a result of invitations from Ilse.

The programs of the Chapeau Teas and the fashion shows all carry Ilse’s name; sometimes as the person in charge of the decorative hats (Ilse learned the trade of hat making in Vienna in her youth), sometimes in charge of programs, sometimes as chairman of publicity, sometimes as narrator.

During the 50’s, when the scholarship club was affiliated with the Northern New York Federation of Women's Clubs, Ilsa was our representative on the world friendship committee of the federation. She was exceptionally successful in collecting and shipping food and clothing to known deserving and needy individuals, whose resources had evaporated during the war. The club was individually thanked by the recipients.

Our senior member was a grand lady. The club has been enriched through the years since 1945 by her presence, her strong spirit, and her energy.

Historic Highlights

The Women's College Club of Saranac Lake had a rather informal beginning. In 1938, five women of this village met and discussed the formation of a club for college women. They were all agreed that there was a need for an organization that would welcome the newcomer, and encourage hobby and housewife consumer groups, among women with a common educational background. Comprising the group were Mrs. Richard Woodruff, and the Misses Mary Louise Kelly, Ethel Hoepfner, Winifred Erskine, and Eleanor Sherwood.

In the summer of 1939 this same group, with the addition of several more women who were interested in the project, met and discussed plans for a tea to be held that fall at the Episcopal Church parish house. It was decided to invite college women from Lake Placid to attend, and in November of that year, about 20 women representing both villages met and held their first official meeting of the Women's College Club. At that time, Elizabeth Murray was elected the 1st president and ensuing meetings were held at 20 Main St. (then the home of the study and craft Guild), but more recently meetings have been held at the houses of members.

For a while, the Women's College club was affiliated with the AAUW (American Association of University Women) However, this affiliation was dropped. The club is an independent group, and the charter, drawn in 1944, gives as its aims “to unite college women of the vicinity, for work on the educational, civic and social problems of the community” and defines the requirements for membership as the equivalent of two years towards a degree in college or university.

Meetings are held once monthly, and usually take the form of a social evening with a speaker when available. Subjects discussed have ranged from safety regulations and driving, the Kenny method of treating poliomyelitis, a resume of village government and local laws, to the customs of Argentina.

Among its philanthropies, the club has donated to a girl's College in China, and in 1988 contributed a sum of money to one girl member of the graduating class at both Saranac Lake and Lake Placid high schools in recognition of their scholastic attainment. It also assisted in the general hospital auxiliary by handling the 1944 sale of tickets for their fundraising entertainment.

The highest membership, 44, was in 1941 and at present there are 33 members, representing 20 different colleges. One member is from McGill and one from the Sorbonne. Dues are $1 per year and a fundraising project included a sale of jellies, made by club members, and a white elephant auction.

The Guild News April 1945

The oldest document in the files of the Women's College Scholarship Club is the report of the biennial conference June 9 – 11, 1938 of the North Atlantic section of the American Association of University Women, whose general theme was “shaping tomorrow.”

According to newspaper clippings from October 1964, the Saranac Lake College Club remained active within the AAUW until the war, with its gas rationing, made it impossible for the Lake Placid members to come to Saranac Lake.  With the reduced membership in 1944, records show that the membership in the college club included only five who can fill the rigid requirements of a AAUW and so the group gave up its membership in the larger organization. It then returned to devoting itself primarily to helping prospective college students within the community, without paying dues to, or sending representatives to an umbrella organization. It was again known as the Women's College Club of Saranac Lake.

The club objectives and the name of the club have changed a few times, but never the basic purposes: to promote education and stimulate thinking within the community. According to the article in the Press Republican of March 28th 1980, in the first few years the college club required that members be graduates of a four-year institution. Soon after its resignation from the national organization, the club opened its members to women who had two years of college study. An article in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise of November 2nd 1973, after describing an interesting tour of the Algonquin school by the club, states that at the regular meeting, the name of the club was changed by vote of the members present, to Women's Club of Saranac Lake, since the membership is now open to any woman in the community who was interested in the purposes of the club.

A letter of May 6th, 1946 (from the corresponding secretary, Mrs. James Koethen) to the principal of the Saranac Lake high school informs him (H.V. Little) that the Women's College Club had established an annual scholarship of a $100 minimum. The chairman of the scholarship committee that year was Miss Ruby M Baker.

The programs for 1948 and 1949 included a picnic in September, a Christmas bazaar, a February dinner and dramatics at the Elks club, and a March meeting with the Chapins about ceramics.

In 1949, the college club sent parcels of clothes to needy civilians in Bad Gleichenberg to be personally distributed by a friend of Ilsa Gronemeijer. A letter of great appreciation described the difficulty (such as loss of all prewar savings, malnourished conditions, etc.) of each recipient and what piece(s) of clothing each received.

In 1959, the College Club, through its corresponding secretary (Mrs. Hoyt), wrote letters to the New York State budget division, New York State governor, and the president of SUNY trying to help bring pressure to save Champlain College. This college was, however, closed. The Air Force put the property to use for defense purposes and SUNY helped the students to transfer to other institutions.

In February 1955, the constitution was amended, establishing a loan fund in addition to the scholarship fund. At this time, the club had funds beyond the needs to satisfy the designated annual scholarships and felt that needy students would appreciate borrowing money, if not granted a scholarship.

The programs for 1956 to 1957 included talks on social work by a member, Jean Wilson, a talk with pictures by the Reverend and Mrs. Norman Moss about Japan and Korea, a discussion by college instructors on non-academic college problems for senior girls, talk and demonstration on treatment of house plants and flower arranging, insights into how laws are made by Mr. James Loeb of the local paper, talks by our high school exchange student and by Dr. Andretti of Brazil, and a dance presentation by students of Mrs. Sargeant.

One of many fascinating evening programs was in 1969 a talk by Mrs. Van Seagraves, the former “Sissie” Dall, who described a bit about life in the White House with her grandparents, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt.

In 1959, the Saranac Lake Chamber of Commerce asked many organizations, including the Women's College Club, to promote a modern ski lift at Mount Pisgah. The club did so. Also, that same year the club wrote governor Nelson Rockefeller, senator Robert McEwen of Ogdensburg, assemblyman Robert Maine of Malone, and assemblyman Grant Johnson of Ticonderoga, all to ask that the Northway follow a route near Schroon Lake, rather than along
Lake Champlain. In March 1959 the Schroon Lake route was selected.

1959 was a most active year. A “loan fund,” which had been available for several years, did not have enough applicants to justify its existence. Therefore, it was dropped. The money in the fund became a reserve for the scholarship fund. However, only $50 could be drawn from it in any one year. Since former members, who were unable to continue as active associates, had expressed a desire to donate to the scholarship fund, the club decided to let all members know about the financial situation. Scholarship amounts were raised from $200 to $300.

Among the many social highlights in the history of the College Scholarship Club were the annual Chapeau Teas held in 1958, 1959, and the 60s. They were great fundraisers and the price of admission in 1959 was $0.90.

One of the earliest of these Chapeau Teas had the theme “New Frontier in Hats”. The programs were covered with humorous pen and ink sketches of a head sporting a flowered bonnet, a chair with a hat, and an arm holding up a globe showing frontiers. No year or date was specified, but the club president was Miss Virginia Ann Barry and the master of ceremonies was Mrs. James Dupree. The committee chairmen were:

Models and Fashion            Mrs. James Dupree
Hostesses and Refreshments        Mrs. Saxon Martin
Decorations                Mrs. William Schwartau
Tickets                    Mrs. Stephen Boyd
Publicity                Miss. Ruby Baker
Programs                Mrs. C.F. Gronemeijer
Models                    11 Members, 5 Teenagers, 7 Children

Hats were from                Altman’s
                    Louise Curley
                    Lenoard’s Dept Store
                    JJ Newberry

Shoes were from            Endicott-Johnson
                    Parnell’s Shoe Salon
                    Wilson Clothing Co.

Flowers from                Wolff “Your Florist”

Piano Styling by                Mrs. Joseph Josephson

A clipping from an October 1964 Saranac Lake newspaper bears the headline “College Club, 25 years old”:

The Saranac Lake Women's College Club is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. November 1939 saw the first meeting of the College Club in Saranac Lake. Members consisted of about 25 women from Saranac Lake and Lake Placid who had met the previous summer for the purpose of organizing such a club.

This first group planned to give a tea for high school seniors, and wanted to join the AAUW, a national organization of women graduated from college. The new club did join the AAUW in 1941 and remained active in this national group until the war, with its gas rationing made it impossible for the Lake Placid members to come to Saranac Lake. In 1943 the local chapter resigned from UW and the members decided to hold meetings in private homes instead of at the Saranac Lake Guild as they had been doing.

In 1944 the local club joined the northern New York Federation and decided to give a scholarship to a Saranac Lake senior girl. In 1945 the first actual scholarship was awarded to a Saranac Lake senior and consisted of $50. Five times in the interim 20 years the club has given two scholarships. In 1964 two such scholarships were awarded totaling $450 all told, $5,160 dollars has been given in the scholarships since 1944.

The membership requirements of the Women's College Club are two years, or its equivalent, of study in an accredited school and the members of the club hope that all interested persons will join them.

In 1964 the first meeting was an anniversary dinner at the Elks club on October 7th.

The early Chapeau Teas were so successful in building the club's coffers that the 1964 program sported a glossy, four-color cover depicting a stylized femme with a very wide and elaborately decorated chapeau. In 1964, the setting was the Hotel Saranac ballroom. The Chapeau Tea committee consisted of:

General Chairman            Mrs. Alfred Swett
Invitations and Programs        Mrs. Breck Chapin
                    Mrs. David Hunter
Commentaries                Mrs. Thomas Waterman
Models and Fashion            Mrs. Richard Basile
                    Mrs. William Schwartau
Decorations                Mrs. David Young
Decorative Hats                Mrs. Carl Gronemeyer
Music                    Mrs. Alfreda Reynolds
Refreshments                Mrs. William Meer
Publicity                Mrs. Arthur Alliason
    Flowers                Demerse, Wolff’s
    Shoes                Parnell
    Accessories            Altman’s, Hotel Saranac Gift Shop, Kennedy’s
    Door Prizes            Meyer’s, Hoffman’s, Hotel Saranac, Pontiac Theatre
    Grass                Andrew Fortune

The program from the following year Chapeau Tea, held in April 1965 in the Hotel Saranac ballroom, had a delightful hand colored cover depicting the theme, Paris in the spring. The committee chairmen were:

Mannequinnes et Modes        Mme. Saxton Martin et Mme. William Schwartau
Invitations                Mme. Breck Chapin et Mme. Jacqueline Altman
Billets                    Mme. Stephen Hoyt
Programs                Mme.  Edwin Woodward
Le Décor                Mme. David Hunter
Publicity                Mme. Alfred Swett
Refreshments                Mme. Irving Edelberg
Prix d Entre                Mrs. William Meyer
Music                    Mme. Alfreda Reynolds
Commentator                Mme. Mott Chapin
Hostesses                Mme. Jacqueline Altman, Mme. Robert Hagar,
Mme. Howard Hoffman, et Mme. Robert Rand

The credits were too numerous to mention.

Three years later, 1968, was the 10th annual Chapeau Tea, with the theme of “sail through the beauty and mystery of fashion”. This was the 30th anniversary of the Women's College Cub. The program looked like this.

Shipping Company            Women’s College Club
Port of Departure            Harrietstown Hall
Date of Departing            March 30, 1968
Sailing Time                Four Bells
Ship’s Captains                Mrs. Loring Andrews
                    Mrs. Ernest Seifried, Jr
Ship’s Musician                Miss. Elaine Anderson
Ship’s Log                Mrs. Stephen Ransom
                    Mrs. Arthur Alliason
                    Mrs. John Decker
Ships Company Decorations        Mrs. E. Holt Hughes
                    Mrs. Michael Brannon
                    Mrs. Terry Healey
                    Mrs. Stephen Hoyt
                    Mrs. William LeRoy
                    Mrs. John Ott
                    Mrs. Robert Shaw
Door Prizes                Mrs. Howard Hoffman
Fashon and Models            Mrs. Saxon Martin
                    Mrs. Philip Feinberg
                    Mrs. Kenneth Norton
                    Mrs. George Outcalt
                    Mrs. Paul Pecheux
Invitations                Mrs. Henry Jakobe
                    Mrs. David Young
Programs                Mrs. David Hunter
                    Miss. Ruby Baker
Publicity                Mrs. Carl Gronemeijer
Refreshments                Mrs. William Sweeney
                    Mrs. Thomas Cantwell
                    Mrs. Jack Doolittle
                    Mrs. Irving Edelberg
                    Mrs. Robert Hager
                    Mrs. Rober Kampf
                    Mrs. Robert Reyell
                    Mrs. Warriner Woodruff
Tickets                    Mrs. Louis George
                    Miss Doris Akam
Hostesses                Miss Ella Buerger
                    Miss Helen Fraser
                    Mrs. Robert Stevens
Deck Hands (Models)            8 children of members, 7 teenage offspring of members, 12 adult members
Shipboard Shops            (15 Saranac Lake shops)
    Door Prizes            (14 Saranac Lake businesses)
    Posters                Mr. Henry E Jakobe
                    Mr. Alfred Tyroll

An unusual project of the club was the compiling of a community resource list of people volunteering to give their names to Saranac Lake schools to describe their travels, their businesses or occupations, their special interests or hobbies, to host children visits to their businesses or industry, to accompany musical groups on the piano, or to help with dance, drama, or art projects. This was done in 1975.

In 1976, the club dabbled just a little bit in local politics, by sponsoring, along with the Saranac Lake Teachers Association, a “meet the candidate night” in the community room of the library. The candidates were men and women running for two school board positions.

In June of 1978, several newspapers carried news items regarding an upcoming public tour of Camp Topridge. Each paper said that “the Women's College Scholarship Club is sponsoring its first public tour of the Camp Topridge in 10 years.”
The earlier tours were without doubt the annual Teas at which Mrs. Post opened Camp Topridge to a limited number of guests who made donations to the club for the privilege of visiting Camp Topridge for an afternoon.

Also, in June of 1979, the club held its annual banquet at the Dew Drops Olympic Room, in celebration of its 40th anniversary. The club's two senior members, Miss Ruby Baker (member for 37 years) and Mrs. Ilsa Gronemeijer (member for 32 years) spoke briefly about the early years of the club.

An amusing document recording one of many important and renumeration fundraising occasions connected with Camp Topridge is a rider to the Saranac Lake Women's College Club insurance policy covering “for two days only 8/12/79 and 8/26/79 for tours to be conducted by club at the Merriweather Post Camp, Paul Smiths, New York. Premises not owned or operated by the insured.”

In its way, the club participated in the 1980 Olympics, as evidenced by notes of appreciation January 14 1980 from members of the national Fine Arts committee for the XIII Olympic Winter Games 1980. After a performance of the Norwalk Youth Symphony, our club had provided “hot chocolate, cookies, and warm fellowship.”

November 1, 1980 was a night to be remembered for a gala show, modeled by our own glamorous gals, of family fashions from all appropriate stores in Saranac Lake and one or two from Lake Placid. The affair at Harrietstown Town Hall was complete with fall decorations, music, flowers, plants, refreshments, displays, door prizes, and a wine and cheese party raffle.

On Sunday, July 26th, the Women's College Scholarship Club of Saranac Lake sponsored a tour of Camp Topridge. On that day the grounds opened to the public for two tour sessions. The Club provided walking tours, guide brochures and tour hostesses. Donations for this event are $4 for adults and $3 for senior citizens. All proceeds were added to the club's scholarship fund.

Because so many club members spent so much time researching and recording and memorizing events pertaining to Camp Topridge and Marjorie Merriweather Post's life and did such praiseworthy job of conducting the Topridge tours for many years, we included here the essence of the Top Ridge story as the club repeated it to so many Topridge visitors and to the Adirondack Enterprise just before one of the early guided tours in 1981.

For decades the Adirondacks has drawn people from all walks of life to enjoy, no matter how briefly, the sylvan beauty and peace of this region. Notable among those who came here were the wealthy. Their vestige remains in many of the now abandoned great camps in the Adirondacks. Camp Topridge, the former summer retreat of Marjorie Merriweather Post, is an example of the opulence that once thrived in these woods.

At Topridge today there are about 68 structures on 207 acres, eighty of which are water. At full capacity, the 11 guest cottages and four servant houses can accommodate about 75 people. Upon the death of Mrs. Post, the title to Camp Topridge was given to the state of New York in 1974.  Since that time the state has maintained the camp and scheduled activities including seminars, training sessions and planning sessions by various state agencies and employee groups. Sightseeing and educational visits have also been provided for interested parties and nonprofit groups.

Marjorie Merriweather Post was only 27 when she inherited her father's $2 million cereal company. When she died in 1973, at the age of 86, the original post inheritance had grown to 1/4 of a billion dollars. Mrs. Post had given the world a glimpse of extravagant and royal living. She was married four times. Her first husband was socialite Edward B Close. In 1921, while married to her second husband, EF Hutton, Mrs. Post bought Camp Topridge. Her other husbands were Joseph G Davies, ambassador to Russia, and Herbert May, industrialist. When her fourth marriage ended Mrs. Post assumed her maiden name.

Upon purchasing the turn of the century camp, located on Upper Saint Regis Lake, Mrs. Post remodeled some of the existing structures and added many new buildings. However, in keeping with the flavor of the surroundings, the new buildings were constructed of rusticated wooden siding and painted various shades of green.

As rustic as the buildings were on the outside, the interiors were designed for comfort and luxurious living. East each guest cabin was decorated according to a theme of Mexican, blue-green, black. Furniture, linens, and accessories were all color coordinated. Even the fly swatters were designed to complement the decor. The guest cabins were also outfitted with a fireplace in each bedroom and sitting room. Kindling and logs were constantly supplied by household staff, which numbered as many as 50 during the summer months. The press of a button or the ring of a telephone would summon any service desired. Individual needs were attended to by a personal valet or a maid assigned to each visitor.

A special cabin was also built for Nadina, Mrs. Post and EF Hutton's daughter, better known as actress Dina Merrill. Of the original furnishings in this cabin, all that remains is a small child's upright piano.

The main lodge of the camp is the showcase of the enclave. Housed here in the service wing are the enormous kitchen and huge food storage lockers that allowed guests to enjoy gourmet fare while in the wilderness. The white birch line dining room comfortably held a table with a maximum seating capacity of 42.

Measuring approximately 60 by 70 feet, in the enormous living room of the main lodge is a display case for innumerable artifacts collected by Mrs. Post. Most of the Eskimo and Indian collection (pottery, leather work, totem poles, etc.) have been donated and removed to the Smithsonian. The artifacts that do remain are overwhelming in their abundance and eclectic flavor. Peruvian hangings, woven American Indian rugs, animal pelt upholstery, woven basket chandeliers, stuffed and mounted animals and endless brick-a-brack are but a few of the artifacts still located in this room. The loft above the living room hides a projection room, so guests could be entertained by first run movies.

While married to Joe Davies, FDR's ambassador to Russia, Mrs. Post obtained a priceless collection of Russian art and crafts. She used many of these pieces to decorate and set the theme for the “Dacha”, a large Playhouse built at Topridge. It was here that Mrs. Post hosted weekly square dances for her guests.

Each summer until 1971, from the second week in July until Labor Day, weekends at Topridge saw an endless stream of dignitaries, royalty, government officials, and socialites enter the singular world of the country's most benevolent Hostess. To truly appreciate the uniqueness of Topridge and Mrs. Post, one needs only relive a typical weekend at this Adirondack hideaway.

Guests arrived at via the Merriweather, Mrs. Post’s private turboprop plane, at the Saranac Lake airport on Thursday evening. After riding in a chauffeured limousine to upper Saint Regis Lake landing, they boarded a large blue Criss Craft and boated across the lake to the camp. More often than not, guests were greeted at the dock by Mrs. Post and one of her aides. A cable car took them to the top of the Hogback.

Each guest was assigned a cabin and personal valet. The cabins were well outfitted from a stocked bar to a stocked medicine cabinet which included cosmetics. The cabins each had a panel buzzer labeled with a different service or activity. A guest could push a button to arrange for swimming, fishing, boating, etc. They could also summon a hairdresser, stenographer, masseur, dance instructor, or barber. The panels were later replaced by telephone system, but the same service remained available. Instruction cards to guests remain in most cabins today.

Square dances were held each weekend, as well as showing of first run movies, for guest’s pleasure.

Participation in a day long “carry” was something Mrs. Post urged each visitor to do. This entailed canoeing across one lake and portaging to another. A picnic lunch was brought and cooked by the staff. Each participant was expected to carry something for the lunch, as the staff carried the boats. Steak and potatoes was the usual fare followed by Adirondack pie for dessert (a concoction of large pancakes stacked on one another and layered with Maple sugar butter and syrup).

The guests departed on Monday morning, reversing their steps of arrival.

The lavish environment Mrs. Post established at Top Ridge was just part of her empire where money was meant to be spent. She had no guilt feelings about her wealth, living for pure enjoyment for herself and her guests. She was so concerned with the happiness and comfort of her guests, she developed the two rules for visitors at Topridge: “Do whatever you want to do, regardless of the planned activities offered and if there is anything you want and don't ask for, it's your own fault.”

Since Mrs. Post had annually, for several years prior to her death, opened Camp Topridge to the Saranac Lake College Scholarship Club for fundraising teas, and then, for many years after her death, the club had provided the guided tours, it was, indeed fitting that the June 1985 banquet of the club beheld in the main lodge dining room at Camp Topridge, catered by students at Paul Smiths. Dinner was prefaced by a cocktail hour that featured champagne flowing from a fountain in the front of one of the enormous plate glass windows looking out over a Saint Regis Lake. The after-dinner  speaker was from the State Bureau for historical preservation, who joined in our enthusiasm for the continuing the maintenance of Topridge as a historic site. The following year however, the state sold the property to Roger Jakubowski.

A financial highlight of the club's history occurred in October 1985 when the membership of the Women's College Scholarship Club of Saranac Lake approved the recommendation of the Finance Committee to invest approximately $7410.80 of its memorial scholarship fund in the government securities fund of ID’s financial services, to provide interest income from the funds accrued through the years of Topridge tours.

Among recent programs have been

Diana Fortado speaking on planned parenthood
Kathy Butts (program aid of the Essex County Cooperative Extension agricultural program) conducting a new workshop on wreath making
Kathy Pierre juvenile officer Police Department discussing juvenile problem cases
Singka Hoegh (American field services student) describing his native Greenland
Barbara Mott describing with slides her travels in China new line
Bob Walsh conducting a tour of the American management association

Bill LaBounty taking us by slide and words to Mongolia and the Gobi Desert
Mark Seidenberg AFS student talking about West Germany
Judy George acquainting us with the work of mental health professionals in Saranac Lake
Debbie Wells telling and showing us life in her favorite country Ireland
Sharon Wells enlightening us about nutritional concerns for women
Mary Hotaling giving us a glimpse of her research and pictures of the cure cottages of Saranac Lake

Paul Sorgule, professor of culinary arts at Paul Smith college, showing us how to prepare flowers for the Thanksgiving table made out of vegetables!
Lynn Cameron vividly telling and showing us fine features of past fashions, which she has incorporated into her designer originals (modelled by club members)
AFS students from Belgium and Italy talking about their homelands
Curt Stager, whose article on killer lakes in Cameroon appeared in last September's National Geographic magazine, telling us the scientific basis for the exploding lake and anecdotes about his research trip to the beautiful Cameroon mountain Lake Country
Nina Holland, sharing her collection of slides, baskets, and researched facts about our nearby Native American exquisite craft basket weaving.
Jack Drury, telling us a great deal about his wilderness experience courses under the auspices of NCCC, followed by a prepared audio/slide glimpse of highlights of one of the three-week outdoor experiences, captured by a student who had an eye for beauty and humor.
Mary Hotaling, back by popular request from the year before, giving us an historic look at Saranac Lake during our first 50 years.


See also: Chapeau Tea