Holding History In My Hands
By Eleanor Simons
I hold a thin old ledger in my hands with yellow pages. I don’t know where the ledger has traveled in the past 100 years, but looking through it gives me a glimpse of the women in the early years of Grace Church. A note tucked into the pages tells me that Jackie got it from her grandmother (Edith Rose Reichard) who died in 1949. Since her grandmother was a member of The First Presbyterian Church she was sending it to Fran, also a member there. Fran gave the ledger to Evelyn Weaver who asked Diane Morse about guilds at Grace, and Diane talked to me. A hundred year journey and here it is in my hands. This is a record book of St. Margaret’s guild over 4 years, 1920 though 1924. There were 4 guilds in the 1966’s at Grace, so I can guess that it was the same in the 1920’s. I don’t know the name of the treasurer, but I know she kept careful records. Looking through this ledger I learned that St. Margaret’s guild had $250 on hand in 1920. At the Christmas sale they had a profit of $48.50. The bazaar was held at the Harrington Hall Hotel because there was no Parish House until 1948. There were about 30 members in the guild and they met monthly and paid dues of .25 cents each month. They cleaned the church and bought the cleaning supplies: $1 for soaps, .50 cents for a broom. They also bought crochet hooks for .20 cents. That suggests they were making things for the next bazaar. The ledger shows from 1921 -1924 the profits from the bazaars grew.
Each year they gave an annual gift to the church. In 1921 it was $50 and in 1922 it was $100. In 1923 they gave an Easter offering of $100 and sent $25 to the Japan Relief fund. In September there was an earthquake and tsunami and the people of Japan needed help. By 1924 the bazaar must have been growing and they made $271.57. Their expenses were $10.26. They were able to donate to repair the organ for $194.88. What these women did was important for the church. These were difficult years after the war and the vestry was borrowing money to pay the rector and buy the land beside the church for a rectory. I am amazed that all this happened 100 years ago. I see in my mind faithful women doing God’s work just like the ECW today.