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The COLLECT

Today, we swipe through Pinterest for quotes that will motivate and inspire us.

Beautifully designed squares with great fonts and gorgeous backgrounds.



Most of the time, we don't know who wrote these clever quotes, and we're too busy to jump into the rabbit hole to find out who this -Anonymous could be.

Does it matter? Not really, as long as it makes us happy and pushes us to be better humans or gets us a step closer to overcoming something we're going through.

Imagine what it was like in 1904, the year 28-year-old Mary Stewart wrote a daily prayer that would later become the creed for many organizations worldwide.


There aren't many pictures of Mary Stewart(above). Many of another Mary Stewart, the British novelist.

Most members of a women's club know about the Collect for Clubwomen that Mary Stewart wrote because the General Federation of Women's Clubs was the first organization to officially adopt it, and it is literally baked into almost all club meeting agendas, and members read it aloud in unison. It was read into the printed records of the Congress of the United States by Senator Tobey of New Hampshire at the closing session in 1949.


What is the Collect, and who is Mary Stewart?


Mary Stewart was very involved in her club work (she was a member of the Longmont Fortnightly Club, which was a member of the General Federation of Women's Clubs and later became the Longmont Colorado Business and Professional Women's Club) and believed that "women working together, with wide interests for large ends, was a new thing under the sun, and perhaps they needed a special petition and meditation of their own." A way to instill a sense of unity among women working together with wide interests and important goals.


The Collect was reprinted around the world in many forms. The first printing of the Collect was a paragraph in the Delineator, a woman's magazine published by Butterick, who also printed sewing patterns. Paul Elder and Company of San Francisco printed it as a wall card in 1909, and in 1924, the Armstrong Stationary Company of Cincinnati did the same. Until 1910, she signed the Collect with her pen name, "Mary Stuart".


Mimeographed notecard (ca.1920's) Gift of Frank Balogh at Hoboken Historical Museum

Mary Stewart was active in the women's suffrage movement and attended the National American Women's Suffrage meeting in St. Louis on March 25, 1919.


She held several teaching positions in Colorado and Montana. In 1927, her alma mater, the University of Colorado, presented her with an honorary degree to recognize her distinguished work in education and social and civic service. From 1921 to 1942, she worked for several departments in the US Government. She continued writing for newspapers and magazines, published a book: “Metrical Translations from the Latin Lyrics of the Poet Catullus”, and remained active in women's organizations until she died in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1943.


Curiosity will make you jump into that rabbit hole, and I'm so glad I did because, aside from her writing the Collect, there is more about Miss Stewart I'd like to explore.


So, let the Collect continue to be our guiding light, but let's internalize it and live by it. Only by adopting her words will we be able to come together, continue to do the good work, and keep our clubs standing and healthy.


Learn more about Mary Stewart. Found this great article from the The Daily Sentinal, Colorado, published on Sunday,

May 1, 1927.




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