Early Illinois Women

Sarah Atwater Denman, 1808-1882

Sarah Atwater Denman moved to Quincy in 1842 making her home at 9th and Broadway. In November 1866, Mrs. Denman invited twelve ladies to her home to read and discuss philosophy and literature. This group came to be known as Friends in Council and is the oldest continuous literary club in America. Sarah was the guiding influence and inspiration of the club. This photograph is courtesy of Friends in Council.
Sarah Denman as a young woman. Sarah Atwater lived in New York City until the age of 18, when she married Mathias Denman.
Friends in Council Study Clubhouse. For 37 years meetings were held in this house in the Denman garden at 9th and Broadway. In 1915 the clubhouse was moved to the grounds of the Historical Society of Quincy and Adams County, 12th and State Street, Quincy. A cameo photo of Sarah is on the right. Anna B. McMahon is pictured on the left. Document is courtesy of the Friends in Council
Minutes of the meeting reflecting the decision to adopt a constitution and elect officers. Minutes are courtesy of Friends in Council. [Transcription of minutes]
Friends in Council, 1866-1916. Original 5 x 7 inch 30-page booklet was published to mark the Fiftieth Anniversary of the founding of the study club. Document is courtesy of Friends in Council. [Complete text]
A Friend of the City. Article on the death of Sarah Denman, May 18, 1882. [Transcription of article]
Photo of Pioneer Women plaque located at the Women's City Club at 16th and Maine in Quincy, Illinois. In addition to Sarah Denman, the plaque commemorates Cora Benneson, Elisa Caldwell Browning, Louise Maertz, Abby Fox Rooney, and Christiana Holmes Tillson. Photo courtesy of Quincy Herald-Whig.
Pioneer Women of Quincy: Women's study club was bold innovation
by Helen Warning

Contributing Library:

Quincy Public Library, Quincy, Illinois

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