KATY MAGAZINE l OCTOBER 2019
By Natalie Cook Clark
The Katy Literary Club celebrates its 89th anniversary this month. Thirteen women, many from founding Katy families, started the group with the mission to inspire, serve, and share this city's great history and traditions. With members in their 30's to 100's, they serve our community and preserve its history.
How Katy Joined the Popularity of Women's Clubs
In the early 20th century, women's clubs were very popular. Ladies would gather to socialize, draw strength from each other, and promote a sense of community. On October 15, 1930 seven young Katy women met in the home of Catherine Morrison to socialize and discuss the creation of a new women's club.
Katy Literary Club Founding Members
Mrs. T.C. Alderson (Sudie) Mrs. Charles E. Morton (Buelah)
Mrs. H.H. Alexander (Mae) Mrs. L. Pauli (Eva)
Mrs. C.C. Cardiff (Florence) Mrs. R. Robertson (Ida)
Miss Eudora Fraser Mrs. H.E. Romack (Buelah)
Mrs. L.E. Morrison (Catherine) Mrs. A.P. Smith (Allie)
Mrs. C.W. Morrow (Mary) Mrs. W.P. Vaughan (Myrtle)
Mrs. W.J. Murrow (Mary Elizabeth)
Members Love the History
"My mother-in-law, Mary-Alice Rheman invited me to join and I finally did in 2013," says member Jerrilyn Rheman. "I love the history and how our members talk about it."
Marjorie Gordon is 101-years-old and is still an active member of the Katy Literary Club and serves on the officer nomination committee. Gordon moved to Katy as a young woman in 1943 and joined the club in 1959.
"I love the history of the group. It nicely ties into Katy and Katy is still very much that 'Old Katy' feel even with all its growth," says Gordon.
Margorie Gordon is 101-years-old and still serves an active role in the club. Photo: Natalie Cook Clark
"When I was younger I was very active in the club. I had to step back some when my husband passed away in 1967 but still always hosted the anniversary dinner," says Gordon. "I love how the club does a lot of interesting things. It's a wonderful group especially in a day when I feel that country club connection are fading."
A History of Service
In addition to their focus on history and community, the group focuses on service.
Recent service projects include the Ballard House, Katy Christian Ministries, and the Katy Historical Society.
"We also provide a gift to the Katy Branch Library each year, as well as memorial books to remember members who have passed away," says Rheman. "Last year, Angel Hill, the Katy Librarian and recent addition to our members, provided a window at the Katy Library for the Literary Club. We honor members who pass away with this window."
The Literary Club also goes to the Brookwood Community each year.
"My husband's grandparents owned the land that is now the Brookwood Community," says Rheman. "One of the guys there remembers it being my mother-in-law's place."
A Focus on Local Heroes After Harvey
After Hurricane Harvey, the club started a new program of focusing on local heroes. They have honored and interviewed Mayor Hastings, who led the community through the storm and aftermath as Chief of Katy Police, and the Katy Football team just to name a few.
Last year, the Katy Literary Club supported a new program called Raising Up Families. This special charity supports Katy and Spring Branch families who have have come into difficult times financially.
"The goal is to keep families in their homes and support children with school," says Rheman.
Each year the club presents three different programs to consider, and then votes for the winner to receive their support. Raising Up Families won the annual program prize.
Carrying on Tradition Many aspects of the club have remained the same over the decades, including the name. The group still meets on the second Tuesday of the month. Each meeting begins with "Collect for Club Women" by Mary Stuart. The club flower is still the pink rose.
"While the purpose of the club was originally designated 'to progress socially and intellectually,' it is still very close as the objective is conscientious cooperation, good fellowship, perfect attendance, added to a willingness to help each other and to perform to the best of our ability any work assigned to us that will lead to the betterment of our organization," explains Rheman.
Katy Literary Club celebrates Christmas in 1964.
The Times of Change
Some things have changed in time. Meetings are no longer year round as the group takes the summer off. In the early years, members who arrived late had to perform an entertainment or stunt. That is no longer the case. Membership dues started out as 50 cents a year and have adjusted for inflation to twenty-five dollars. The club used to invite men to attend special meetings such as field trips. Today, none of the meetings include men.
Celebrating 89 years
The Katy Literary Club met earlier this month the celebrate at their annual anniversary luncheon. This year they met at the Old Town Bistro in Old Katy. Each year they vote on the best program from one of their monthly meetings. This year it was a tie between a program of the charity, Raising Up Families and a program when Marilyn Frishman's father, the Austin Police Chief during the University of Texas sniper incident, spoke. The group also honored members Lynn Cardiff and Sherry Coons, who both passed away this year.
"The Katy Literary Club is a fantastic opportunity for the women of Katy, both young and old, to share, learn, and grow in our great city," says Rheman.