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Gertrude Weil - Smith College - Home Culture Club

In this letter, Weil discusses with her mother the possibility of starting a "Home Culture Club" in Goldsboro. Run by a Miss Moffat, whom Weil greatly admired, the Home Culture Club provided classes and advice to the working-class population of Northampton. Here, Weil provides an astute analysis of the differences between social service work in different types of communities, commenting how different the populations of Goldsboro and Northampton were.

Weil wrote regularly to her mother about her work with the Club. In October 1898, having signed up to teach penmanship, she expressed her initial nervousness to her mother*:

I'm sure I shall be frightened to death when I start to speak to a class—fancy my giving directions to a class of great big working men, who, I am told, will most likely be the class. Maybe it will give me a little self confidence—make me less afraid when Miss Hauscom, Ph..D., calls upon me to criticize a ballad in Lit. class. If they were only children, I shouldn't mind. But they say that the people who go to learn are very earnest and conscientious.

Work with the Club gave Weil not only self-confidence, but also practical experience working to improve the lives of those less fortunate than herself. She would draw constantly on this experience in her later social service work, most immediately in the advice she gave her mother on establishing a similar organization in Goldsboro.

Excerpts from Letter from Gertrude Weil to her family, November 20, 1898

Letter from Gertrude Weil to her Family, November 20, 1898 - excerpt from page 1
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Letter from Gertrude Weil to her family, November 20, 1898 - excerpt from page 1.
Courtesy of the North Carolina Office of Archives and History.
Letter from Gertrude Weil to her Family, November 20, 1898 - excerpt from page 11
Full image
Letter from Gertrude Weil to her family, November 20, 1898 - excerpt from page 11.
Courtesy of the North Carolina Office of Archives and History.
Letter from Gertrude Weil to her Family, November 20, 1898 - excerpt from page 12
Full image
Letter from Gertrude Weil to her family, November 20, 1898 - excerpt from page 12.
Courtesy of the North Carolina Office of Archives and History.

View the full letter.

Notes

*Letter from Gertrude Weil to her family, October 17, 1898, in the Gertrude Weil Papers at the North Carolina Office of Archives and History.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Gertrude Weil - Smith College - Home Culture Club." (Viewed on February 14, 2016) <http://jwa.org/womenofvalor/weil/smith-college/home-culture-club>.

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