RG 198: Records of the Neighbors’ Club of Arlington, Virginia, 1920-2009

Collection Number
RG 198
The Neighbors’ Club of Arlington, Virginia, was formed in 1920 by nine women living in Arlington in the vicinity of Glebe Road and Rock Springs Road. Arlington at the time was quite a rural area, having few paved streets. The stated aim of the Club “is to bring together a congenial group of women in this locality for the purpose of enjoying our mutual interests and developing their talents in a harmonious atmosphere. The Club is non-sectarian and non-political and as a Club sponsors no causes.” Mrs. Frank Suter is credited in one history as a main founder of the Club.

Officers of the Neighbor’s Club are: President, First Vice-President /Program, Second Vice-President /Hospitality, Recording Secretary, Corresponding Secretary/Newsletter Editor, Treasurer, and Historian. Each active member must serve as one of the numerous hostesses for one meeting.

The Club has always had separate interest sections that hold monthly section meetings for those interested in the topic. Additionally, each section is responsible for planning and presenting one general meeting, coordinating with the Vice-Presidents. These monthly meetings are held October through June on the first Wednesday of the month. As of 1991 the sections were Art, Book, Drama, Home and Garden, Music, and Travel. Meetings not planned by sections are planned chiefly by the two Vice-Presidents.

To be eligible for active membership, a woman must currently reside in postal zip code 22207 and be sponsored by several members in good standing. In earlier years, zones for membership were indicated by maps and street names. In spite of these guidelines, the club grew to include over 200 active members. The Drama section regularly presented short plays or skits. In 2020 the club will celebrate 100 years of existence.
Scope and Content
Record Group 198 measures approximately seven linear feet of records dating from 1920 to 2009. Materials consist of yearbooks, minutes, budgets, annual reports, and club histories, membership files, newsletters (The Neighbors’ Club Newsletter), correspondence, clippings, scrapbooks, and loose photographs.

Scrapbooks are a large part of the collection, containing many photographs and newsletters, and give the most complete picture of the Club’s activities. Newsletters and scrapbooks over the years show well-attended general meetings with topics such as the work of local or national agencies or current and historical events with high-profile speakers such as Washington Post columnists, relatives of members with high level government posts, and nationally prominent figures such as Sandra Day O’Connor. The scrapbooks also show that the section members took part in a wide variety of activities including trips to museums and government facilities, French and art lessons, musical programs, and other cultural events. Annual events pictured in scrapbooks include the May Book Luncheon, often with well-known figures such as Jim Lehrer, and the June Garden Party and Art Exhibit. Elaborate table decorations with artfully arranged flowers and refreshments suited to holidays such as Christmas and Easter are a regular feature of the monthly meetings.

Some of the scrapbooks have been left in original condition, while most have been disassembled with the photographs and other contents photocopied in place. The photographs were then numbered and sleeved. (See Arrangement and Description.) There are over 900 numbered photographs not including those left in the five scrapbooks left in original condition, thus forming a large part of the Record Group.
Arrangement and Description
RG 198 is arranged into nine series by type of material. All folder titles with an asterisk [*] have oversized material that has been housed separately.

Series 1 contains yearbooks, 1939-1991, arranged chronologically. Title from original folders.

Series 2 contains minutes of meetings and budgets, 1951-1998, arranged chronologically. Title from original folders.

Series 3 contains annual reports of the sections and club histories, 1920-1992, arranged chronologically. Original folder titles.

Series 4 contains copies of the newsletter, The Neighbors’ Club Newsletter, 1965-2006, arranged chronologically. These are mostly complete from 1965-1991 although these were scattered among files; the processor gathered and arranged them. Later issues (through 2008) can regularly be found interfiled with photographs in chronological order in the scrapbooks in Series 6, thus forming an apparent full set.

Series 5 contains correspondence originally scattered among unmarked folders, chiefly 1971-1977 and 1992-1998, arranged chronologically.

Series 6 contains scrapbooks, 1920-2008, arranged chronologically. These were found titled The Neighbors’ Club with dates covered. Scrapbooks before 1989 cover multiple years, but those after 1989 contain two or three years per book. Those after 2000 cover one year. Most have been disassembled and photocopied in the original order including photographs that have then been removed, numbered, and sleeved. However, five scrapbooks have been kept in original condition (2001-2004, 2006-2008) and boxed separately.

Series 7 contains loose photographs, 1973-2005 and undated, in chronological order. Title from original folders.

Series 8 contains membership and miscellaneous files kept by those serving as hostesses, 1959-2009, in chronological order. Original titles were Membership Files, and Hostess Files.

Series 9 contains miscellaneous items including clippings, two oversized photographs of founding members, and obituaries and funeral programs for members and spouses. Title assigned by processor.
Record Group 198 was donated by Mary Henderson, then President of the club, in November 2012.
Record Group 198 has no research restrictions.
Related Collections
Related records for women’s groups with a strong social (rather than political) aspect that overlap with postal zip code 22207 are RG 50, Records of the Women’s Club of Waycroft, and RG 73, The Records of the Williamsburg Women’s Club.