Established only two years ahead of the Johnson City Public Library that was founded as one of the club’s first orders of business, the Monday Club sprang from a group of 10 women who met for the first time in 1892 under the auspices of the Ladies Reading Circle.
In 1893, the group reorganized as Monday Club of Johnson City and set out on what is now more than century-long course of community service, starting with the opening of a reading room on the second level of the Reeves Building downtown.
By 1913, the reading room was incorporated as the Mayne Williams Library, named in honor of the son of the largest contributor to the club’s fundraising drive for construction of what would be the first of three new library buildings the club would help finance.
Several public health initiatives were also among the other cub’s early projects.
The club initiated the city’s first garbage collection system, purchasing trash cans that were placed in residential neighborhoods for city trucks to pick up.
Club members introduced the city’s first school lunch program, preparing and carrying homemade vegetable soup and sandwiches into public schools that previously had no hot lunches.
Faced with an international polio epidemic, the club members purchased polio vaccinations for children.
They launched a dental program in the city’s elementary schools and teamed up with East Tennessee State University and volunteer physicians to provide a free tonsillectomy clinic for children and the families.
And they conducted city wide beautification projects, planting flowers at Fountain Square, the library, churches and other public spaces.
One hundred twenty-eight years out from its first meeting, the Monday Club’s membership is once again on an uptick with 20 new members joining this year. Enthusiasm for its projects and programs is at a new high as its support for the library remains robust.
Mattie Mullins, who is serving her third intermittent term as Monday Club president, said the club currently has more than 120 members. And the largest of its annual financial contributions continues to go to the library.
Meetings are held in the library’s Jones Meeting Room on the first Monday of each month and include a luncheon, a musical program and an educational presentation organized by one of the club’s six departments — arts, conservation, education, home life, international outreach and public issues.
Upcoming programs include an April 3 presentation by Linda Good, chair of Johnson City’s Women’s Suffrage Centennial Celebration, and an April 20 presentation, “Conservation in the Redevelopment of the General Mills Property,” by Summers-Taylor President Grant Summers.