Collinsville Study Club Has Served Community Since 1929
“In this past year, we’ve done a lot.
A quick reminder in case you forgot:
We reviewed and oriented;
School supplies, we then donated.
We sold wraps from Innisbrook;
In an ‘Evening Cup of Yoga,’ we partook...”
- Beginning excerpt from the June 4, 2015, President’s Report by current President Jennifer Cunningham Barber
The closer I get to finishing college, the more I begin to wonder about what exactly I’m going to do with my time outside of college.
Obviously, I’ll have a job and that should take up most of my time, but what about doing community service and volunteering at events? Do I just forget those times and settle for doing nothing but work as if I never had the free time to belong to a club or organization that wanted to make something better for someone?
I won’t accept that, and I never considered what I could join or what I would be interested in terms of civic life until I attended the Collinsville Study Club’s last meeting June 4.
This was their end of the year banquet, and I was interested to see who participated in this “Study Club” and what in fact did they study. I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was made up of women in town who I had met before and a few others that I had the pleasure of meeting that evening.
This group full of women of all ages was interesting to me because the only all female group that met together that I could remember coming into contact with before was the Red Hat Society. I had no idea that there was a group like this that is dedicated to serving their community.
In April 1929, the Study Club was formed in Collinsville, with 21 charter members and two honorary members. Soon after in May, the club was federated with the Alabama Federation of Women’s Clubs, and their motto was “We study that we may serve”.
The first president was a teacher named Miss Louise Nicholson, and the members were a mix of married and unmarried women who at first met to study and discuss cultural subjects like art, poetry, and music. They evolved from this to focusing on subjects like children and gardening and then to more community-based projects after WWII.
The Collinsville Library was established because of them, and the constant maintenance of the Collinsville Cemetery is still watched after by this group of devoted women.
Past projects include starting an annual flower show and sponsoring art classes at the local school. The Study Club is also responsible for erecting 62 street markers on principal corners in Collinsville, and landscaping the city triangle. In addition, the group sells goods made by the blind and sponsors a student at the Alabama School for the Deaf and Blind.
Literacy is another top priority for the group, which sponsors a youth writing contest at the local school and has contributed more than 500 books to the Collinsville Library.
This Study Club has had Collinsville’s back for the past 85 years, making them a gem of an organization that always finds ways to help the local community.
Now that I know that organizations like the Collinsville Study Club exist, I hope to join a similar, humble organization such as this one in the future. There’s no flashiness about it, and the women who are apart of it are the ones who continue to serve Collinsville through other local organizations and/or their local jobs.
For these women, coming together for a common theme of doing what’s right and good for the community is what I think keeps them going.
“…And last but not least, as our year wound down,
We bought college tomes for a senior who is now college-bound.
So look back, ladies, and hold your heads high
Opportunities to help are not passing us by.
I thank you for all of your large thoughts, words, and deeds,
And for making a difference by meeting these needs.”
- Ending excerpt from the June 4, 2015, President’s Report by current President Jennifer Cunningham Barber