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Encyclopedia Dubuque


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DUBUQUE LADIES LITERARY ASSOCIATION. This women's organization, often referred to as D. L. L. A. in the newspapers, for the "systematic study and mutual improvement" was founded on January 13, 1876. (1) The invitation to the thirty-eight ladies who attended the first meeting was sent by Clara Aldrich COOLEY. Officers elected were Mrs. Cooley, president; Mrs. B. M. Harger, treasurer; and Mrs. Benjamin Billings Richards, secretary. Membership dues were established at one dollar and in January 1895 the membership included 260 Dubuque residents. (2)

The Association was composed of eight divisions: First Division of American Literature, Second Division of American Literature, Art, English, English Literature, English Classics, and History. Members attended meetings with prepared written papers on various subjects related to the divisions. Studies were intensive and taken seriously. Issues involving religious or political matters were not discussed. (3) A constitution was adopted later in 1876.

By 1880 a permanent home was considered necessary given the Association's growing membership. Meetings once held in the Baptist church were moved to the Facade Building between Locust and Main on Ninth Street. In 1882 the Association studied such topics as foreign affairs, the electoral system, the condition of women in America, the Chinese question, and pension claims. A Homemakers Division was added in 1893.

Affiliations were made in 1890 with the General Federation and in 1894 with the State Federation. In 1894 the association was represented at the General Federation of Women's clubs at the World's Fair in Chicago by its president, Miss May ROGERS and its delegate, Mrs. Ada Langworthy COLLIER. Miss Rogers was elected to the General Federation board of directors. (4) In 1895 Mrs. Ada Collier represented the Society at the State Federation meeting in Cedar Rapids. Mrs. B. B. Richards represented the Association in Denver, Colorado in 1899 at the General Federation meeting.

In 1901 the name of the organization was changed to the DUBUQUE FEDERATED WOMEN'S CLUB.



1. "The D. L. L. A," Dubuque Daily Herald, January 1, 1895, p. 4

2. Ibid.

3. "Our Writers," Dubuque Daily Herald, April 7, 1895, p. 7

4. "Formation and Growth of the Woman's Club," Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, March 23, 1913, p. 27