Approximately eight meetings per year are scheduled for the purpose of intellectual improvement and social enjoyment among members. During each meeting a member reads a paper thoroughly researched by herself which leads to a lively discussion and comments. A theme for the year is chosen by a Program Committee and individual paper topics fall within the selected theme.
The Pierian Club is one of the oldest women’s clubs still in existence in Evanston. Founded in 1891, its initial purpose was to provide women an opportunity for “mutual self-improvement” through literary study and intellectual discourse at a time when higher education for women was not readily available. Meetings were held in the homes of members. Each year a different focus of study was chosen and members would take turns studying the subject and preparing lessons and papers for presentation at meetings. The club is organized in much the same way today.
When Pierian was founded in 1891 the women’s self-improvement club fulfilled many needs of Evanston’s female population. It was the cultural oasis they needed – it gave them a sense of intellectual independence, the first step toward true women’s liberation. A major side-effect, however, was the overall benefit accruing to the community of Evanston itself. If there were to be a common wealth of culture in a growing community like Evanston, the community of “cradle-rocking” women needed to be enlightened. In this case it was accomplished through the interchange of thoughts and the mutual expression of ideas sponsored by a club like Pierian. Other bits of information describing how we benefited our community are: Pierian’s support of the Evanston Library is ongoing. In 1903 we sent a delegate to a civic meeting to discuss ways and means of raising money to purchase the lot for a new library. In 1908 we provided the chairs for the rest room of the Assistants of the Library. We continue to make annual cash donations to the Library Fund and other groups supporting children’s literacy. Pierian contributed $200 in our very early years for a used piano for the Crippled Children’s Home. In 1914 we donated cash for provisions for the Belgians suffering the effects of World War I. In 1917 we made up “comfort bags” for soldiers wounded in the war.