Washington Women's History Consortium
Women's Clubs and Organizations
Mary Lincoln Brown, President, 1903-1905
Washington State Federation of Women's Clubs
Mrs. C.C. Brown of Everett, the fourth President, was well known among the club women through her connections with the official
family during previous administrations.
Mary Lincoln was born in Kennebec County, Maine, May 14, 1848. As a young woman she went to Minnesota to teach school.
There she met and married Mr. C.C. Brown. They came to Washington in 1892.
Mrs. Brown had been in Everett but two years when she became instrumental in organizing the Woman's Book Club, of which
she was its third President. An early objective of this club was to establish a city library. Mrs. Brown, always a friend of
library work, was placed on this committee. She also was a member of the State Library Board.
Among other public services was her interest in the Public Hospital Association of Everett, of which she was president
for several years. She was a member of the P.E.O. Sisterhood and the Christian Science Church. She passed away Sunday,
December 26, 1934.
Her charming personality endeared her to all club women and no convention was complete without her presence. She was a
bright and interesting talker and had innumerable human interest stories interspersed with effective homespun philosophy.
With the help of Mrs. N.S. McCready and Mrs. James Peace Caithness, she was largely responsible for the organization of
Snohomish District of Women's Clubs.
She served as President from 1903-1905, presiding at two conventions, one in Ellensburg, June 22-24, where the voting
strength reached 84; and the other at Walla Walla, May 31-June 2, where there were 92 voting members.
Several splendid laws were enacted by the Legislature of 1905, all heartily endorsed by the Federation. The Juvenile Court
Law was passed and made effective in Seattle, Spokane and Tacoma. A law raising the age from 16 to 18, at which a girl
might be sent to the reform school, one compelling parents or guardians to properly care for minor children, and one
declaring it a felony for a man to desert his wife and children were enacted.
Economic topics were beginning to be introduced. Domestic Science, a practical subject was emphasized for the first time.
Such questions as having departments in clubs to diversify the work, and districting the State Federation in order to contact
and acquaint more women with the possibilities of their influence in community and state were presented. The Federation voted
to have a committee to investigate the practicability of providing better and more general employment for the blind.
Interest in the Consumer's League which was national in scope was being forwarded with enthusiasm in the state. Women were
desirous of informing themselves as to its objects and aims. This led to the unearthing of many atrocities of child labor and
led to an urgent demand for securing and enforcing better child labor laws.
At the Walla Walla convention, Mrs. Holmes gave a detailed report of the library work in the state. The first Library
Commission in Washington was provided by the Legislature of 1900-01. It was to consist of the Superintendent of Public
Instruction, Presidents of the University and State College, one member recommended by the Washington State Federation of
Women's Clubs, and two members appointed by the Governor, one of whom must be a woman. Mrs. Holmes was a member of the
At the 1902-03 session of the Legislature, the law relating to the State Library Commission was repealed and a new one passed.
The Commission consisted of the Governor, the Attorney General, the five judges of the Supreme Court, and an advisory board
including the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, a member recommended by WSFWC, one recommended by the State
Historical Society and two members appointed by the Governor.
In the fall of 1904, Governor Meade was elected and he was a friend of the library interests.
Due to the influence of WSFWC, the University established in its Summer School of 1905 a Library Training Department.
In the State Federation, it had not yet become the custom to include the Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws in the yearbook.
In order that all club women might be familiar with them, it was decided to have them printed separately. Two thousand copies,
in pamphlet form were made and distributed to the clubwomen of the state.
The State Federation of Music Clubs had not yet been organized and in those early years many music clubs belonged to WSFWC.
It was the custom for such clubs to furnish the musical part of the programs at conventions.
During the Ellensburg convention, an invocation took place in the form of dance given by the men of the city to compliment
the clubwomen. The men also gave the women a drive in private carriages.