History

History

Junior League of Seattle (JLS) is an organization of nearly 1,200 women who are committed to promoting voluntarism and to improving the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. As one of 294 leagues world-wide, the JLS has been a member of the Association of Junior Leagues International (AJLI) since 1924.

It all began in 1901 in Manhattan. Mary Harriman, Barnard College student, became impassioned about the plight of immigrants in Manhattan’s Lower East Side and formed Junior League of the City of New York. Ms. Harriman's efforts at organizing women volunteers to alleviate societal ills spread quickly and, by 1921, 40 leagues had joined together to form the national association (AJLI). A time-honored legacy had begun whereby volunteers identify and address community needs and then turn projects over to the community.

Junior League of Seattle was formed in 1923 and joined AJLI in 1924. Members opened the Eastlake branch of the Seattle Day Nursery and took responsibility for the welfare of 50 children, paying all maintenance and operating expenses, managing the medical and dental clinic at the nursery, and supplying members to assist the matron and kindergarten teacher. Today this childcare organization still thrives and is known as Childhaven.

Also during the 1920s, the JLS initiated the Braille Library for the Blind. The JLS owned and operated the only Braille Stereotyping Machine in the West, allowing books for the blind to be printed and distributed throughout the United States.

In 1929, the League started publishing Puget Soundings, an award-winning monthly magazine. Originally designed for in-house communication s, the magazine evolved over the years into a respected community magazine featuring articles on a wide variety of issues, often controversial. For several years, the magazine held a creative writing contest for Seattle high school students, awarding prizes in prose and poetry.

The League entered the Depression Years of the 1930s supporting the Convalescent Home for Crippled Children. The War Years of the 1940s saw the creation of the Blood Bank Services and the award-winning Educational Radio Series project.

During the 1950s, JLS started the Children’s Theater Project to facilitate communication in traumatized children. The United Nations adopted this project to help children impacted by war. In 1954, the League opened its first office at the Olympic Hotel in downtown Seattle.

The Northwest Art education project was created by the League in the early 1960s to bring arts education to school children. This collection of original works by Northwest artists continues to reach more than 20,000 students annually. In 1966, the League published and distributed, free-of-charge, the Guidebook for the Handicapped. League members surveyed all public buildings in the downtown Seattle area for accessibility for the disabled.

During the 1970s, the League donated significant funds to the Parkview Home for Exceptional Children, which provided the extra care necessary for children ages 10-16 who could no longer live in a normal home environment.

In the 1980s, the Court Appointed Special Advocate program (CASA) was developed by JLS and has since gone nationwide. The goal is to ensure that needy children have a caring adult to advocate and intervene on their behalf with the court system. The Christmas in April project was implemented to provide home repair for the elderly and disadvantaged. After three years of JLS support, this project established its own community board and is now known as Rebuilding Together.

During the 1990s, the Healthy Child Information Fairs linked over 300 families with food, education and contact resources. And the JLS collaborated with associated agencies to improve the rates of children being immunized. As a result, the immunization rate in King County rose from 45% to 80% in just three years. The Yesler Terrace project assisted hard-to-reach families living in poverty, and JLS members provided meals for teens at the Denny Place Youth Shelter.

Our Mentoring Moms project provided emotional and educational support to teen mothers, many of whom are on the verge of homelessness. Volunteers served as mentors by providing child development and parenting guidance, life skills, career and job planning, and recreational outings.

 The Healthy Futures Art Project gives troubled adolescents a chance to express themselves and build their self-esteem while working one-on-one with a JLS volunteer. Our Done in a Day (DIAD) efforts create several hands-on short-term projects each year benefiting greater Seattle area organizations in need of assistance. Arts Alive provided after-school programs for children. And volunteers involved in the LifeBooks project help foster care children create personalized memory books.

During the past decade, the League has not only provided 1,000,000 volunteer hours for community projects but provided over $1.5 million in funding. Since its inception, JLS has raised funds for its projects in a variety of ways. From the 1920s through the 1960s, The Follies was a popular fund-raiser. League members staged and acted in a musical revue presented to a fee-paying public. The Christmas Shop was a unique fundraiser for many years. The Wise Penny Thrift Shop opened in 1960 and brought in revenue for forty years. The Simply Classic cookbook, an award-winning bestseller, was created and published in 1993, and continues to be a major fundraiser. Our newest cookbook shows Celebrate the Rain shows similar promise. The Annual Campaign provides direct funds to the League from our members. Revenue has also been raised through successful silent and live auctions of donated merchandise and services since 1994.

Throughout its over 85-year history, the Junior League of Seattle has successfully met the emerging needs of the community by initiating cutting edge programs and providing trained volunteers to manage and direct service projects, community education, fundraising and advocacy efforts. As a result of League training, the Junior League of Seattle has also provided a legacy of leaders who bring knowledge and experience to the community in which they serve.

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Past Presidents

Ashley Baerwaldt   2012-2013

Renee Hartnett   2011-2012

Natalie Bowman   2010-2011

Elizabeth Reilly Curtiss   2009-2010

Joanne Petitto   2008-2009

Heather Giacoletto   2007-2008

Christine Miller   2006-2007

Rhonda Neben   2005-2006

Evelyn Zabo   2004-2005

JoAnne Jones   2003-2004

Marilyn Groce Leck   2002-2003

Maria Mackey Gunn   2001-2002

Jane Harris Nellams   2000-2001

Marcia McCraw   1999-2000

Monica Cyr Parent   1998-1999

Susan Arwine Minahan   1996-1998

Joan Murphy Brigham   1995-1996

Susan Campbell Hubbard   1994-1995

Dorothy Vetter Fuller   1993-1994

Nancy Schmitz Wilson   1992-1993

Cathi Christensen Hatch (Lindstrom)   1991-1992

Shari Whitaker Hardy   1990-1991

Joan McWilliams Gehrke   1989-1990

Susan Weber Mecklenburg   1988-1989

Kathleen Ryan Randall   1987-1988

Judith Drum Holder   1986-1987

Ann Bryant Hart   1985-1986

Anne Shermack Blair   1984-1985

Linda Shoemaker Blyth   1983-1984

Marcia Woodby Zech   1982-1983

Maxine Early Barnard   1981-1982

Gale Barre (Hofeditz)   1980-1981

Susan Thomas    1979-1980

Marli Janssen Iverson   1978-1979

Barbara McGregor Hodgson   1976-1977

Sara Comings Hoppin   1975-1976  

Colleen Seidelhuber Willoughby   1974-1975

Susan Cosgriff Kirk (Lile)   1973-1974

Anne Van Ness Farrell   1972-1973

Nancy Skinner Nordhoff   1971-1972

Suzanne Lile Hunter   1970-1971

Greta Titcomb Beatty   1969-1970

Barbee Lease Crutcher   1968-1969

Clair Rogers Jenkins   1967-1968

Mary Maxwell Gates   1966-1967

Marion McKenzie Hickey   1964-1966

Anne Corbet Holt (Clark)   1962-1964

Kate Belcher Webster   1960-1962

Barbara Bowden Pringle   1958-1960

Janet Hartman Skadan   1956-1958

Josephine Lane Collins   1954-1956

Iola Brown Groth   1952-1954

Alice Ostrander Wright   1950-1952

Marian Moser Bailey   1948-1950

Bettie Brinkley Nickum   1946-1948

Rosalie Field Milburn   1944-1946

Elsbeth Young Mauk   1942-1944

Elizabeth Fetter Allen   1940-1942

Anne Nicholson Flohr   1938-1940

Charlotte Heussy McAllister   1936-1938

Virginia Wiley Patty   1934-1936

Katherine Agen Baillargeon   1933-1934

Janet Powell Holmes   1932-1933

Mary Andrews Ryan   1930-1932

Olive Schram Lambuth   1928-1930

Gertrude C. McRee   1927-1928

Elizabeth Wardle Brinkley   1925-1927

Catherine Collins Clark   1923-1925

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Past Sustainer Directors

Laura Garcia Pendergrast  2011-2012

Beth Cosker   2010-2011
Elizabeth Arganian   2009-2010
Leslie Decker   2008-2009
Andrea Mann   2007-2008
Bonnie Larson   2006-2007
Peggy Walton   2005-2006
Sheri Salo   2004-2005
Mary Rae Cowles   2002-2003
JoAnne Jones   2001-2002
Janet True   2000-2001
Mary Herche   1999-2000
Beverly Jefferson   1998-1999
Cynthia Freimuth   1996-1997
Gail Richards   1995-1996
Susan Armstrong   1994-1995
Susan Armstrong   1993-1994

Ann Rogers   1992-1993
Marla Moss   1991-1992
Jane Urner   1990-1991
Marli Iverson   1989-1990
Julie Hooker   1987-1988
Claudia Eland   1985-1986
Jean Rolfe   1980-1981
Susan Mullen   1979-1980
Phyllis Reininger   1976-1977
Dorothy Capeloto   1973-1974
Clair Jenkins   1972-1973
Marion Thomas   1971-1972
Beth Briggs   1970-1971
Anne Simons   1969-1970
Frances Graham   1968-1969
Frances Graham   1967-1968

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