The College Club of Boston

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The College Club of Boston
The College Club of Boston
FormationDecember 1890 (1890-12)
Legal statusFoundation
Coordinates42°21′10″N 71°04′24″W / 42.3527259°N 71.073338°W / 42.3527259; -71.073338Coordinates: 42°21′10″N 71°04′24″W / 42.3527259°N 71.073338°W / 42.3527259; -71.073338
Region served
Boston, Boston Public Schools
Official language
General Manager
Edith Toth
Main organ
Board of directors

The College Club of Boston is a private membership organization founded in 1890 as the first women's college club in the United States. Located in the historic Back Bay of Boston, Massachusetts at 44 Commonwealth Avenue, the College Club was established by nineteen college educated women whose mission was to form a social club where they and other like-minded women could meet and share companionship. The College Club of Boston the oldest residential college club in the United States.[1]


In December 1890, 76 Marlborough Street, also located in Boston's Back Bay, became the first home of The College Club.[2] The building at 76 Marlborough was purchased by Club member Mabel Cummings in 1893.

In April 1905, the College Club acquired the clubhouse at 40 Commonwealth Avenue, which contained an Old English drawing room, a fine big cafe with a male chef, and seven bedrooms, each of which "were furnished and decorated in the colors of various women's colleges: crimson rambler wallpaper for Radcliffe, blue silk curtains for Wellesley, white (with brass beds) for Smith, dawn pink and gray for Vassar."[3] At that time, the College Club served 600 members, which grew to 1,243 members by 1915.[3]

In 1924 the Club purchased 44 Commonwealth Avenue, which was the family home of Royal E. Robbins, a major stockholder in the Waltham Watch Company, and once the home of American stage actress Maude Adams.[4] The brownstone townhouse was built in 1864 and was designed in the High Victorian style.

From its earliest days, The College Club was host to literary luminaries such as Mark Twain, Vladimir Nabokov, poet Oliver Wendell Holmes, and novelist F. Marion Crawford. Other well-known visitors to the Club have included actress Sarah Bernhardt, social activist Julia Ward Howe, abolitionist and suffragist Lucy Stone, health care advocate Judy Norsigian and Senator Edward M. Kennedy.

Club members took up the cause of educational philanthropy in 1985 and established The College Club Scholarship Fund, Inc. as an IRS 501(c)(3) designated charitable organization. The endowed fund is administered by Club members. Each year since 1986, the Scholarship Fund has awarded college tuition assistance to deserving high school seniors from Boston Public Schools.

On May 20, 2002, the City of Boston certified the club's status as the oldest (i.e., first) women's college club in the United States.[citation needed]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Kathleen Burge (February 26, 1991). "Topical Women". Editorial. Boston Globe. p. 14. Retrieved February 18, 2011.
  2. ^ "The Alpha Phi annual". The journal of the Association of Collegiate Alumnae. Alpha Phi. 3–5: 79. 1890. Retrieved February 19, 2011.
  3. ^ a b Margo Miller (January 15, 1983). "Updating The College Club The Leisured Anna Alumna' of Yesteryear Has Given Way To Young Professionals". Living. Boston Globe. Retrieved February 18, 2011.
  4. ^ "Shop Talk". Publishers Weekly. Frederick Leypoldt. 169. 1956. Retrieved February 19, 2011.


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