Washington Women's History Consortium
Women's Clubs and Organizations
Janet Moore, President, 1909-1911
Washington State Federation of Women's Clubs
The seventh President was Miss Janet Moore of Olympia. Janet Shotwell Moore was born in Newark, New Jersey, and came west with her mother and brothers to join her father, Philip D. Moore, who had been commissioned Internal Revenue Collector at Port Townsend in 1864 by Abraham Lincoln.
When of college age, Miss Moore went back to New Jersey to complete her education. After returning to Washington, she taught primary grades for 35 years. When she passed away, March 2, 1940, she was borne to her last resting place by grey-haired men, most of whom she had taught to read.
Her life was closely linked with the Olympia Woman's Club, the oldest organized woman's club on the Pacific Coast. Its birthday is March 10, 1883 and is called the "Mother Club" of Washington.
It was at the Olympia Woman's Club where Miss Moore acquired her experience in appearing before the public and in presiding. In recounting her first appearance, she describes it as a frightening ordeal. She said: "I trembled from head to foot. My subject was 'How I Make Currant Jelly.' I knew so well how to make it but the telling, standing alone before a listening group, was a painful experience." From such a small beginning was developed one of the most gracious, easy tactful and dignified presiding officer who ever occupied the chair in the State Federation.
When Miss Moore assumed the office of President, she had a strong feeling that her predecessors had been hampered by the lack of funds and she resolved to start her successor with a clean slate or better. She economized wherever possible without impairing the value of the work and with the aid of her efficient Treasurer, Nellie G. Day, her ambition was realized.
It had been decided to have the annual meeting in the fall and one had convened in Bellingham in October 1908, but the next meeting at Seattle was in June 1909, in order to take advantage of the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition then in progress. Thus it was 16 months before the meeting in Walla Walla, October 19 10, where Miss Moore presided for the first time. At this meeting, it was voted to again return to spring meetings, thus it was only eight months before the convention was in Olympia.
The work of the Federation relative to the training school for girls, developed and progressed during this administration. While attending the General Federation Biennial at Cincinnati, Miss Moore heard a lecture by Dr. Davidson which strengthened her aversion to the public drinking cup and towel. She recommended that legislation be undertaken in Washington state for their extermination and the Federation enthusiastically endorsed such a project. The time had arrived for women to demand more sanitary conditions that affected home life. The bill, sponsored by the Federation, passed the legislature and became law.
The 1909 session of the Legislature passed a bill submitting a constitutional amendment for the enfranchisement of women to be voted upon at the fall election in 1910. The amendment was overwhelmingly adopted by the voters. Miss Moore was unqualifiedly in favor of it, but she discouraged having a resolution in its favor presented at the convention because according to the constitution, the Federation could take no part in anything political.
The Alaska clubs were given full membership in the Washington State Federation until such time as Alaska could form a Federation of its own. This was voted after Isabel Ambler Gilman, a lawyer of Petersburg and member of both Alaska and Washington bars, told some interesting and surprising facts about club work in Alaska, and of her own club of 18 members which she organized in the little northern town of Petersburg.
The second convention at which Miss Moore presided was in her home city of Olympia. The meetings were in the Baptist Church and the Woman's Club was used for luncheons and social gatherings. Governor Hay welcomed the clubwomen to the capital.
Home Economics and home interests, civics, child questions, educational problems, civil service reform, women in the industrial world, and international peace were some of the subjects discussed and acted upon by the Washington State Federation at this period of its existence, with each chairman, as is usual, thinking her particular work the most necessary and important.
The women of the Federation, through the various committees worked for kindergartens in the public school system; more playgrounds; teacher's pensions; a bureau of child information which would record data pertaining to birth rate, infant mortality, orphanage, physical degeneracy, juvenile delinquency, illegitimacy, diseases; for a law to replace the Abrams law relative to the age of consent; for payment of wages to convicts in state institutions; for better conditions for female prisoners; the appointment of a commission with at least two women members to supervise state institutions dealing with women and children; to have appointments of superintendents of state institutions removed from political influence; for pensioning of mothers when deprived of their natural support; the enforcement of the anticigarette law and world peace.