Nineteenth Century Charitable Association Celebrates 125 Years

Photo courtesy of Chicago Tribune

Photo courtesy of Chicago Tribune

The Nineteenth Century Charitable Association has been promoting learning and giving since 1891 and is now celebrating its 125th anniversary. In order to commemorate this milestone, the organization has planned a list of calendar events for 2016.

The charitable organization supports Oak Park and River Forest by encouraging the public to provide financial support to non-profit organizations, and college scholarships to OPRF High School graduates through learning the variety of multi-cultural arts.

“We’re doing all of our regular programming, but we’re adding to it as well,” said Jeanne Schultz Angel, Executive Director of the Nineteenth Century Charitable Association. “We have a very strong membership who are actively involved in the organization. We want people to share with us [how the Club] has impacted them.”

Major events to highlight the 125th year of the club include a special production of historical events (performed by 30 actors) titled “Snapshots of the Past,” taking place May 1. Later on in the year, the club will host its special 125th-anniversary gala, scheduled to take place Nov. 12 at its Landmark Building, according to the Tribune.

Photos of the Nineteenth Century Charitable Association’s Landmark Building in its original 1928 form compared to how it looks today.

“[The gala] will have a silent auction, live auction, raffle, music, and dancing,” Angel said. “All of that goes not only to our operation of the club and the organization, but we have a capital campaign to pay for renovation and restoration of our ballroom space. We need some upgrades to the audio/visual equipment, the lighting and the aesthetics of the ballroom.”

Even though the organization’s history has been shifting and evaluating for the last 125 years, its mission has remained the same since its inception.

“The women of Oak Park, some of them married and some not, were keenly aware of what they wanted their community to be,” Angel said. “They formed the club as a way to offer study classes for women on a variety of humanitarian topics. They were activists for women’s voting rights, child labor laws and promoting women’s education.”

Community volunteers always offer their time, talents and skills to organize and deliver results of charitable works of the organization.

“What’s so inspirational to me is the mission has been consistent over time,” Angel said to Chicago Tribune. “We’ve welcomed men as members and it’s gone from a women’s club to a club for all, but the mission has stayed the same.”

For contacts and more information about Nineteenth Century Charitable Association, visit


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