The Original FIVE…

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The Original FIVE….

At the Kiwanis Christmas party, Wanda Frey Joiner, the General Manager of the Buffalo Paint and Glass Company, was joined by business women of the city of Buffalo.  Among these were: Florence M. Smith, from A.R.Williams Machinery & Supply Corp.; Alice C. Sauers from H.I. Sackett Electric Company; Ora G. Cole, a member of the Chamber of Commerce; and Jean Ware Redpath, a Corsetierre entrepreneur.  Wanda had an uncanny ability to not only influence others, but to involve them in fulfilling her dreams.  Tonight this meant bringing about her vision to unite the women in her community who had made decisions out of necessity when their men were at war, but who were now part of the work-force and anxious to direct their talents to a worthwhile purpose.One month later, that vision came to fruition as these five women gathered together at Wanda’s dining room table to bring Quota Club International to life.

As they met that January day, selecting a name for the organization was at the top of the agenda. Wanda pulled out a dictionary and the women pored through it until they came to the letter ‘Q’ and the word ‘quota’ – a Latin word meaning “a share”. Upon this discovery, the discussion turned to the “purpose” of the organization.   Ora Cole said “Is this not what we have discussed?   Are we not prepared to share out talents and treasures with those whom we wish to help?”   With all in agreement, Wanda then said “May I have the privilege of choosing the Quota colours?”. The other four agreed to this and then upheld Wanda’s choice of blue and silver.

original five

Next on the agenda were the organization’s bylaws. The women used as a guide, a copy of the bylaws of the two men’s classified service clubs – Kiwanis and Rotary, as well as Robert’s Rules of Order.  They soon established bylaws for their Quota Club with the “Golden Rule” as its overarching code, and also completed the application for an International  Women’s Club – asking “Is this not what we want – to be in other states and other lands?”

The Application for a Certificate of Incorporation was made from the State of New York. In the beginning, their corporation was organized under the type of charter granted the Board of Trade, Chamber of Commerce, and similar organizations. However, Quota’s membership was not to be limited to one city, state, or country. Thus on February 6, 1919 the Certificate of Incorporation was signed by these five women as “Quota Club International Incorporated” and Quota became the first international classified women’s club on.

Quota International’s first meeting was held at the Toulaine Hotel in Buffalo on February 11.   At this meeting, the founding five became the first Quota International Club Officers with Wanda Frey Joiner elected as President; Jean Ware Redpath as First Vice President; Florence M Smith as Secretary; Alice C. Sauers as Treasurer; and Ora G. Cole as Club Organizer.   Additionally, Katherine M. Dreher, a member of the Chamber of Commerce  was also present and became the first Managing Editor of the “Quotarian”.  Interestingly, Wanda Frey Joiner was the only member of this group to hold the position of International President.  Lastly, Quota’s official headquarters address was also established at this meeting – Quota Club International Inc. 1224 Chamber of Commerce, Buffalo, NY  USA.quotarian

It is interesting to note that since these women created a classified organization, similar to Kiwanis and Rotary, their member classification in Quota Club International became:  Machinery Jobbers – Florence Smith; Electric Appliances – Retail – Alice Sauers;  Glass – Wanda Frey Joiner; Corsetierre – Jean Ware Redpath; and Ora Cole was simply referred to as “from the Chamber of Commerce”.

1919 constitution

The original 1919 copy of the “Constitution of the Quota Club International Incorporated”  adopted at this February 11 meeting lists the following headings under Articles I to XXIII –

Name; Objects; Membership; Revenue, Conventions; Representation at Convention; District Organization; Officers; Duties of Officers; Election of Officers; Official Publication; Quorum; Funds; Audit of Accounts; Committees; Duties of Committees; Quota Property; Seal; Commercializing Quota;  Supplies for Clubs; Parliamentary Authority; Amendments; Ratification.   (Of special interest to current membership might be Article IV, Revenue, which shows the annual membership fee set at $2.00 per member! Additionally, it was at the 1923 Convention that a Joining Fee of $10.00 for each new member was adopted – at Quota’s Centenary, it is still $10.00!)

1919 constitution pg

These 16 pages of International Bylaws were then followed in that tiny book by a 12-pages which included “Standardised Local Constitution, Regulations and Bylaws of Local Quota Clubs” as well as by 12 more pages of Member Classifications.

February ….. Quota Club International Inc. is on its way – with hiccups!

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The Beginning…

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The Beginning…

It’s December 1918 – peace was declared only 4 weeks previously, bringing to a close The Great War.

Wanda Frey JoinerA “Ladies Night” is being held by the Buffalo Kiwanis Club.   It is very cold with snow on the ground, but inside the Ballroom of the Hotel Statler, decorated in the colours of the Kiwanis Club, the atmosphere is dense with good humour, celebration and Christmas cheer.   At many tables are seated jolly men and their beautifully gowned escorts, the ladies, in whose honour the festivities are given.  The music of the orchestra is almost silenced beneath the merry and hearty laughter and witty remarks by Kiwanians, in ‘very friendly and appropriate slams’ invented for the Occasion.

However, at one of the tables sat an appreciative group of five women – all active in business in the Buffalo community.   They understood what this gathering meant to the men.   The very closeness each one felt to the other was fully noted and they admired the fact that, even with business cares and problems, they knew how to play.   As the evening progressed, full of excitement, the thought came to these FIVE, how splendid if WOMEN, business and professional, could enjoy the same spirit of friendliness in associations with each other and in an organization of their own.  So out of this belief, a purpose predominated and with VISIONS and DREAMS to make this a REALITY, one month later a covenant was signed by this little group of FIVE.

The leader of the group was Mrs. Wanda Frey Joiner, the General Manager of the Buffalo Paint and Glass Company, who had accepted her invitation to join the Kiwanis Ladies Night.  She was 36 years old.

Wanda Frey Joiner and Quota International Flag

Wanda’s beginnings were far from ordinary and she was no stranger to challenges.  Born on September 4, 1882 in the seaside resort of Odessa, Russia to parents of German heritage, her father died before she was born. Her mother was Eugenia Frey, the daughter of the famous German poet Ludwig Koehler, and her father, Alexander Frey, was a graduate of the Imperial College in St. Petersburg.   This small, fatherless family then had to wait nine long years for Ivan, Wanda’s brother, and Eugenia, her mother, to be released by the Russian government to leave Odessa and to be granted entry into the United States of America. It was their hope to make a new home in Buffalo N.Y. with their aunt.   Finally, at nine years old, Wanda arrived in her new country.

Wanda knew that her future was in her hands, so she worked hard.  She was endowed with a keen sense of knowing “what she wanted” and “going after it”.  She chose the most promising opportunity for advancement by accepting an entry-level position at the Buffalo Paint and Glass Company and worked hard to make her way up the company ladder.  Then, in 1910, wedding bells rang out when Wanda Frey married Robert Parks Joiner.  Shortly thereafter she left her occupation behind to begin her new life as a wife.   Sadly, Robert Joiner died a short three years later.  About the same time, the Buffalo Paint and Glass suffered a heavy loss and sought out Wanda Frey Joiner to re-join them to sort and settle their many claims.  Upon completing this work, her time with the company once again concluded and Wanda moved to California to join her brother. Not long after her move though, she received a very flattering offer to return to the Buffalo Company once again, but this time as its General Manager – the position she held when she attended the Kiwanis Christmas Party.

Wanda and Sign Language

With the death of the Buffalo Paint and Glass Company’s President, Wanda was offered that position, which she accepted and accomplished with great integrity and recognition.  At the same time, Wanda was busy guiding her new international classified executive and professional business women’s service organization.

Upon retiring, Wanda moved back to California and enjoyed her life living among her many Quota friends.   Wanda Frey Joiner passed away in June, 1968, aged 86 years – a Quotarian for 50 years!  Her Quota legacy lives on and the beautifully embroidered black shawl which was brought by her mother from Russia in 1891, is now framed for posterity and hangs on the wall of the Executive Director’s office as a lasting reminder of her heritage, her achievement, and her gift to every Quota community.


With thanks to Past International President Helen Turk – “A Symphony of Life”  the story of Wanda Frey Joiner – Founder of Quota.


January…… the Original FIVE.

Want to print and distribute these messages to your club?  Click HERE to access the printable PDF archive of this series.