In 1926 Mrs. Clayton Sedgewick Cooper sent an invitation to the women of Miami Beach. That December, 325 people responded, and this was the beginning of the Miami Beach Women’s Club. The objective of the club was to establish a basis of friendship between the residents of Miami Beach and that they may become an integral part of the life of the city. In their own papers the MBWC stated that ‘in order to hold a group a women together they must not be given high ideals, they must have practical constructive work.’ And over time what they did was quite remarkable.
A desire to develop the cultural life of the community led the members to concentrate their efforts in the creation of the Miami Beach Public Library which they begun with a book drive that yielded 899 donated books.
In 1942 they evacuated their clubhouse so that the US Armed Forces could use their building as classrooms and for training, they sold war bonds and stamps to support the troops, and sewed for the Red Cross. Later they were recognized by President Reagan for their ‘charitable and civic endeavors’.
On April 22nd, 2008, a fire destroyed their clubhouse, which by that time had been donated to The Wolfsonian-FIU. The photos that survived the fire reflect not only the history of Miami Beach, but lives of the women who were identified only by their husbands’ names.