Meetings were held every two weeks, hence the name fortnightly. Their object was to establish a center in town for the promotion of the educational, literary, social and civic interests of the community. In 1896 the group became affiliated with State and General Federation of Women’s Clubs so that it could participate in national projects. The Club became incorporated in 1818. Meetings were held in member’s homes at first, but soon the Grand Army of the republic Hall at 40 Chestnut street was used, and after that, the Indian King was the meeting place for twenty-six years. The Artisans’ Hall, on the corner of east Kings highway and Grove street, was purchased in 1930 and became the club’s permanent headquarters.
Originally a reading club, the Fortnightly eventually established Literature and Drama Departments. The support of the Free Library became a continuous project. The original twelve memberships has grown through the past eighty-three years to a unlimited size. The Junior Section was instituted in 1928 for ages 19 to 35, and the Evening Department was established in 1936 for women unable to attend afternoon meetings.
It celebrated its 40th anniversary in 1976. High school girls have been able to attend the Sub Junior Section since it was started in 1958. The first Antique Show in South Jersey was pioneered by the Fortnightly in 1941 and it has been an annual event on the club’s calendar. There was an annual garden pilgrimage and a tour of the town’s interesting homes that was scheduled for May 6, 1977.
The Fortnightly headquarters was open that day to the public and was an opportunity for all who have never visited the historic old structure that was built in 1857 for the home of the First Methodist Church. The Fortnightly is still a growing organization and is still as it has been through the years, actively serving the needs of Haddonfield.
Civic interest of the Fortnightly was evidenced in 1913. It built a dam across the stream flowing through the ravine down in Mountwell Woods with stones that formerly were used to secure the flagstones in the street crossings throughout the town. The dam created a fine swimming pool that for years was a summertime delight to both young and old. Carved on the wall of the dam was, “Built by the Haddon Fortnightly 1913.”
Mrs. Robert J. Moore, President of the Haddon Fortnightly, extends an invitation to all, and particularly to anyone who has never visited the historic old Headquarters there on east Kings highway on May 86. Admission is free, of course, and the hours are from 10 AM to 8:30 PM. Anyone wishing to take the garden and interesting home tour may do so at 10 AM, 4 PM, 6:30 PM. Tickets are $3.25 including tax. Luncheon will be available at the Clubhouse from 11 AM to 2 PM if desired.
Mrs. Moore’s reminiscing about the Haddon Fortnightly
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