Montevallo Study Club celebrates 90 years

Published 4:29 pm Wednesday, November 1, 2023

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By BARTON PERKINS | Staff Writer

MONTEVALLO – The Montevallo Study club celebrated their 90 year reunion on Tuesday, Oct. 24 with a look back on the group’s founding and the contributions it has made to the community.

“In 1976, Pulitzer Prize winning historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich coined the phrase “‘Well behaved women seldom make history.’” said Study Club President Maggie Hall. “She said seldom, because the exception for the last 90 years has been the Montevallo Study Club.  Under the guise of hats, gloves, and china, we have been carefully shaping the history of our community.”

The Montevallo Study Club was founded back in 1933 by 17 young women who had a commitment to both community and personal development. 

“From that first meeting to today, the club has stood for community and personal improvement,” Hall said. “As the second youngest member of our Club, it’s hard for me to imagine a Montevallo in which my right to be independent and make choices for myself regarding education, career, family and more were questioned.”

Despite societal norms and social pressures of different eras, members of this all-female group, referred to as a ‘sorority’ by one of the group’s founders, have spent the years learning about and having discourse on topics such as the international control of atomic energy, political aspects of south america and child psychology as well as doing work for the community. Perhaps the best example of this is when the group worked to promote vaccinations for polio.

“The Montevallo Study Club initially started a drive for polio shots by having each member promise to get theirs, and that grew to trying to have everyone in Montevallo forty and under immunized,” Hall said. “The County Medical Society heard about the effort and asked us to enlarge that drive to the whole county.  Every doctor in the county as well as many of the nurses volunteered a full day giving shots. At one point, they had to commission a flying trip to obtain more vaccines because we did such an effective job. One of our members was even named ‘Polio Mother of the Year.’”

The Montevallo Study Group celebrated their 90 year anniversary at the University of Montevallo’s Block Hall, with members of the club being dressed in the attire of prior eras. The event also included a keynote address by Hall, who stressed the importance of learning on both an individual and community level.

“As Georgene Watson said when she concluded her 1968 program, ‘I don’t know about your halo, but mine needs pushing back from my eyes.  We are not through – the best is yet to come.’” Hall said. “As I said before, one of the biggest and most impactful aims of the Study Club is the intellectual development of its members.”