During the 1920s, Chicago newspapers often featured the activities of the Illinois Woman’s Press Association in their “Women’s Club Page.” Two such events during this time hosted by IWPA’s active membership included an Easter “Charity Bazaar” which was held at the Blackstone Hotel. The Association collected autographed books from Illinois authors for sale at the bazaar with the proceeds going to the Chicago Working Girls’ home, Armenian Relief and the Paris Chicago hospital.
Maude Swalm Evans, IWPA president from 1919-1923, served over this and was responsible for a second book event providing 250 books to the 1922 Exposição Internacional do Centenario held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Originally planned to be a national exposition, the event held from September 1922 through July 1923, took on the structure and organization of the typical nineteenth-century-style universal exposition. After the fair, these books were donated to the city of Rio.
Maude first joined the Association in 1898 as a contributor. That same year, she married Albert Wesley Evans in Chicago and the young couple resided in the Hyde Park neighborhood of the city. As her writing career evolved she authored the “Club Ethics” column which appeared every Sunday in the Chicago Tribune. By 1919, Maude had been elected president of IWPA and was “raising the club to a new standard of achievements” with a plan “for further innovations.” The promoting of Illinois authors proved highly successful for the organization under her leadership and IWPA compiled a state author’s directory or “Who’s Who” of Illinois authors.
During Maude’s term the Association held a program meeting or a social gathering on the first Thursday evening of each month at the Association’s quarters in the Brownleigh Club Rooms, at 153 N. Michigan Avenue. Officers who served with Maude in 1921 included: First Vice-President, Miss Maude I. G. Oliver; Second Vice-President, Mrs. Thos. E. Nolan; Third Vice-President, Mrs. E. R. Higgins; Recording Secretary, Mrs. Archibald Rae; Corresponding Secretary, Mrs. A. J. Fisher; Treasurer, Miss Helen B. Bennett; Historian, Mrs. Chas. W. Henson and Parliamentarian, Mrs. C. G. Goodwin.
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