Woman’s Club of Louisville


Susan Look Avery 

Unknown artist 


Oil on canvas 


Susan Look Avery founded the Woman’s Club of Louisville in 1890 when she was 73 years old. The club supported civic improvements, championed education and philanthropyand cultivated the fine arts. It had 39 charter members who were wealthy, well-educated, and from the upper crust of Louisville society. Club members were often involved in other activist organizations as well. Avery herself was a leading member of the Louisville Equal Rights Association, the city’s first organization dedicated to winning the vote for women.  


Filson Museum Collection [2019.25.1] 

Gift of Catherine Warner and Mary W. Fewell 

The Woman’s Club of Louisville was founded in 1890. Its mission had three components: to promote and support civic improvements; to champion education and philanthropic needs, especially for women and children; and to cultivate the fine arts. Early efforts included building playgrounds for children, founding a children’s hospital, sponsoring women’s rights legislation and child labor law reform, petitioning for matrons in city jails, and championing World War I liberty loan and food conservation campaigns. The club also sponsored arts exhibitions and lectures.

The Woman’s Club had 39 charter members who came from the upper crust of Louisville society. They were wealthy, well-educated, and members of prominent families. Many were social reformers who were involved in other activist organizations. For instance, there was considerable overlap in membership between the Woman’s Club and the Louisville Equal Rights Association (LERA), which sought to win the vote for women. At least six charter members of the Woman’s Club were also involved in LERA, including Margaret Anderson Watts, LERA’s first president.

The Filson Historical Society's Manuscript Collection contains the minute book for the Louisville Equal Rights Association, 1889-1895 (Mss BJ L894). The minute book has been digitized and transcribed and is hosted on this site. Please check out our Collections page to see the minute book.

Voices for Reform
Woman’s Club of Louisville