The Thursday Afternoon Club

Thursday Afternoon Club member Martha Ramsey, right, gives a presentation titled Women: Beacons of Change about women during World War I at the club’s meeting in Wendell on Thursday, October 5, 2017. The club was founded in 1917 and members take turns creating presentations that center around various themes.

“Our goal is to keep abreast of the day,
and to have fun along the way.”
-charter members of the Thursday Afternoon Club

The Thursday Afternoon Club

by Jessie Ammons
photograph by Madeline Gray

One group of women has been meeting in Wendell for a century. When the group first gathered on a Thursday evening in 1917, many of the charter members had husbands serving in World War I. They were mostly in their twenties, and the gathering was akin to a bookclub, a time to recommend titles and articles to one another, catch up on town and national news, and socialize. A year later, the group officially called themselves the Thursday Evening Club and printed programs for each weekly gathering: topics included “drama and travel,” “Southern literature,” “N.C. writers,” and “minorities and extremes.” 

“There weren’t even sidewalks around here when the club began,” says current member Kristy Todd. “It is really remarkable to think that these women got together.”

One hundred years later, two dozen women in Wendell still gather monthly on a Thursday afternoon. The group evolved to become the Thursday Afternoon Club as members had children and evenings became busier. Today, many of the club members have been together for decades, and monthly programs tend to focus on history, because “we have a real appreciation for tradition and where we come from,” says member Mary Jo Cashion.

Among the Thursday Afternoon Club members are civic leaders, including Wendell Mayor Virginia Gray. At a recent gathering, many of the women sported daffodil pins, made by a member to honor the club’s centennial with a representation of its official flower. 

“Those women came together to study interesting subjects, meet with other women, and keep abreast of the day,” says recent presenter Martha Ramsey. “We do the same thing, because our world today is also turbulent. It’s good to come together.”