Quota Crosses the Pacific

Quota Centennial Banner BOLDQuota Club International was barely a decade old when Myrtle Fletcher and her husband traveled to the USA from Sydney to study at the Palmer School of Chiropractics. While there, Myrtle visited the Quota Club of Davenport at the invitation of Dr. Mabel Heath Palmer, who had just completed her term as International President.  Myrtle was greatly impressed by Quota’s impact in the community and began thinking about the good Quota could do in the communities of Australia.

In 1930, Dr. Mabel visited Sydney for a short time and made a point of visiting Myrtle Fletcher. In addition to meeting with Myrtle, she also introduced Quota to a few other women in Sydney, thus forming the nucleus of a new club there.  However, it wouldn’t be until 1933 that the Club would receive its Charter from the Governor of New South Wales, Sir Phillip Game.  With this charter, Australia officially became the third country to join Quota Club International, and the Quota Club of Sydney became the first women’s classified service club in Australia. mabel palmer

Enthusiasm was high and the new club immediately set about its service program. One of the first services undertaken by Quota in Australia was the establishment of a cottage known as “Quota Cottage” at the Hammondville Settlement.  This settlement served destitute families throughout the Great Depression and was established by the Rev. Hammond in 1933; today, Hammondville is a suburb of Sydney.

Unfortunately, as the first classified service club for executive women in Australia, the members of this fledgling club had no other organization in Australia to turn to for guidance.  There were no airmails, cables were expensive, and surface mail meant that inquiries and replies took months to be received.   Understandably, irregularities of classification and membership occurred, the Bylaws were not always understood completely, and the club had many difficulties.  After some time, the Board of Directors decided that the Sydney club should be wholly re-organized and that the Quota International Bylaws and Charter should be accepted.  As a result, the club was re-organized, and though a few of the original members had resigned, the ones who stayed were strengthened by this restructuring and by those who had joined in the intervening years.

The Charter of the present Quota Club of Sydney was received by its President, Minnie Gates on   September 28th, 1937, together with a gavel presented by Dr. Mabel Palmer of Davenport. This began a tradition for subsequent clubs in Australia to be presented with a gavel on their Charter by those who organized the club.

Through all of this communities all over Australia were experiencing the difficulties engendered by the Great Depression and the start of the Second World War. Thankfully, the Sydney Club progressed despite these challenges and when the temporary District 13 was formed, the opportunity arose for a new club to be chartered in Orange!  So, on February 3, 1940 11 members traveled to Orange for the chartering of the Quota Club of Orange by Governor Edna Davidson. The Quota Club of Katoomba followed soon thereafter, but by this time every community was wholly occupied with the “war effort”.   For the first 10 years, while the District was temporary, the District Governors were all appointed by the Board of Directors and were all members of the Sydney Club, with the exception of Helen McCormick who was a member of the Orange Club.

In 1942 President Effie Loudermilk reported at the Mackinac Island, Michigan Convention that there were a total of 75 Quotarians in Australia, and referred to them as “a brave and active group of Quotarians.”

After the war, community service and club growth began in earnest – an Extension Committee was set up and the North Coast area of New South Wales became the focus.  There was great excitement and the NSW area was ripe for a visit by the International President to present the Charters and further inspire the Quotarians in NSW. President Marie Higgins undertook the visit, and a wonderful round of inter-club visiting took place at the presentation of a “most triumphal succession of Club Charters”; namely the Lismore, Grafton, Murwillumbah, Kyogle, Kempsey and Taree Clubs. marie higgins

President Marie Higgins’ Christmas message for the “Quotarian” was written from Lismore.  “Tonight, as I write this Christmas Message, I am sitting on an open porch in Lismore, NSW. My trip to Australia has enabled us to join hands in true Quota spirit, and the Christmas season will be enriched with a new unity and a closer bond between our four countries”.   (Mexico City had received its Charter at the 1947 Convention in Victoria, British Columbia, making Mexico the fourth country in Quota Club International.)

The next 10 years saw great development in the growth and influence of Quota in Australia – the formation of over 30 new clubs and the establishment of three new Districts, the 24th in 1950, the 26th in 1954, and the 28th in 1957.  With 1956 came another visit to Australia by an International President – May Virginia Valencik.  International President Valencik attended the First Combined Conference of Australian Clubs and the first Seminar of District Governors which were held in Grafton, NSW and attended by 209 members from 31 of the 32 clubs then chartered. may valencik

Australia’s early leaders broke the mold of Quota’s all-American leadership by being nominated and then winning a seat on the Board despite their relatively small proportion of members.  The first of these leaders was Taree Past Governor Dr. Joan Redshaw who was elected Director 1966 – 68.  By the 1970s there began a succession of South Pacific Area Directors who had Board seats as-of-right, thanks to the efforts of their elected predecessors who had insisted on recognition.  As of 2019 Australia has now produced six International Presidents, two International Directors, 19 South Pacific Area Directors and 2 Vice Presidents – 2018 being the first year in 52 years that Australia did not have Board representation. Joan Redshaw

By 1980, New Zealand had become the fourth country to join Quota International, (Mexico had since been lost).  The Area concept was established which categorized clubs into the South Pacific and Atlantic Areas.  As a result, the Ninth Combined Conference held in 1980 was renamed the First Combined Conference of the South Pacific Area.  The conference was held in conjunction with the first International Convention in Australia, which took place in Sydney and had over 1,000 members in attendance.


May…… Service is what ‘We Share’


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

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

Quota Centennial Banner BOLD

On March 3rd, 1919, the Buffalo newspapers carried a story of a meeting of 100 women at the Lafayette Hotel. The purpose of this meeting – to appoint a Nominating Committee.  The following May 5th, at a special luncheon meeting held at the Hotel Statler, 200 women were in attendance as Quota Club International was presented with their first 100% Loan Campaign banner.   However, the surprise of that meeting’s program, as planned by Wanda Frey Joiner who was then the President of Quota Club International Inc., was the presentation of a Charter to Quota’s first club!  The Buffalo Quota Club, of which 151 of the women in attendance at that meeting were members, was organized!   Records show that in addition to these first 151 women, another 10 joined on May 6th, then 14 more on June 12th, and an additional 10 on July 10th, making a total of 183 members in the Buffalo Quota Club by the end of July 1919.

Very quickly, organizational work began in Syracuse, Binghampton, Rochester, and Elmira, New York, as well as in Scranton, Pittsburgh, and Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. However, it wasn’t long before the pains of this rapid growth set in.

Many women at the time were comparatively new in the business world, and in club membership.  Most of their previous associations had been with religious or patriotic groups, so the differences inherent to their new service club meetings had to be worked out.  One of the greatest problems, though, was that membership was limited to busy business and professional women.  Difficulties often arose as the demands of their occupation kept them from serving on committees or supporting service activities during working hours.

Another problem was that clubs grew too large, too soon to sustain a consistent vision for the future work of their new Quota Clubs.   It is noted that one member of the Buffalo Club was a “trouble maker” when, in truth, like Wanda Frey Joiner, she too had a strong personality and very definite ideas of what was needed to move forward.  Unfortunately, this “issue” was not unique to the Buffalo Club. To address the problem that had arisen, a special convention was called in Rochester, NY on September 26, 1919. When President Wanda was asked, “Which clubs have seceded?”, she responded, “Buffalo, Syracuse, Elmira and Binghampton”.   This was a serious blow to the International Board of Directors! With the loss of those clubs, Scranton became the oldest continuing club in Quota, according to the Bylaws under which organization had taken place. Additionally, out of this secession, Zonta International was formed, receiving its Charter in November, 1919.

As an aside, it should be noted that, as revealed in a letter to General Secretary, Gwladys Jones on March 23, 1945, by Buffalo Club Secretary, Miss Martha Braithwaite, the Buffalo Club did not actually disband in 1919.  Rather, they were not in attendance at the special convention held that September because, “A difference of opinion arose among some of the members and a number of them withdrew and formed a new club which was called Zonta”. The remaining members, although not very active for a time, still kept their Quota organization.  The club sought new members and re-invented itself in 1920 with Louise Hayes Strubbing elected President.   Louise was not on the original list of members.

Quota International’s first annual convention was held in Scranton, Pennsylvania on April 22-23, 1920, and was attended by members from just three clubs: Scranton, Pittsburgh and Wilkes-Barre – all from Pennsylvania.  International President Wanda reported at this convention that “it was the desire of the present international board that an entirely new board be elected with new officers and start all over again”. Jenny Lewis Evans  An election was held and Jennie Lewis Evans from the Scranton Club became Quota’s second International President, effective immediately, and after which she served four years.  Several other important decisions also resulted from that convention. First, Wanda Frey Joiner was made Honorary Life Member of Quota Club International – a decision which has followed for all succeeding International Presidents – which, in their words at the time, “made her a member of every club”.  Second, as evidenced by the loss of so many clubs in 1919, there was a great need for a central headquarters officer; Florence Snowdon, a member of the Scranton Club was chosen and appointed to fill this need as the first General Secretary.  Next, a new set of Bylaws were adopted and Ora Cole was retained for another year as a club organizer.  Lastly, because of a lack of funds, the publication of The Quotarian was suspended temporarily.

Interestingly, it’s recorded that as smaller groups were organized, and weekly meetings were adopted, warm friendships were formed, not only in each club, but from club to club.  This closer understanding and unending loyalty has continued on through the years. Little did these women know that their small beginnings, limited by classification mandate, would leave a legacy of friendship and fellowship to be passed on as a most precious heritage!

March……..the first Decade

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