Ebell Club, and their "Rest Cottage"
The New York Times takes a look at some of the dilemmas facing Hancock Park's Ebell Club, a women's social club launched in the 1897. In its heyday, the club, housed in an Italian renaissance revival building off Wilshire Boulevard, had 2,500 members, but now Ebell struggles "with a 21st-century problem: how to convince modern women that such a club has contemporary value to them."
Some background: Women's clubs grew in number after the Civil War, according to the paper. Excerpt: '"It was a time women all over the country decided a woman’s place is not in the home, that they needed to get out,' said Karen J. Blair, a history professor and expert on women’s clubs at Central Washington University. '"So they got together to study literature, history, philosophy and poetry.'"
Currently, the Ebell Club, whose web site posts announcements for bridge games and chorals, has about 480 members, but its current president would like to attract more members, and is targeting women in their 30s and 40s (membership is $220 plus the $45 registration fee).
Meanwhile, charitable work is an important part of the club: Their web site has information about the “Ebell Rest Cottage," a home near LAX that was given to "needy women convalescents to stay for a few weeks before returning to their homes" from 1917 to the mid-1920s. While the program is no more, and the cottage site has been sold, the Ebell Club continues charitable work, raising money to help women.
· A Sanctuary for Women, Even Today [NY Times]
· The Ebell Club of Los Angeles [Official Site]