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Entre Nous (Iowa City, Iowa)



On February 26, 1914, a group of Iowa City women formed a literary and drama club mainly for their own entertainment and edification. The club, named Entre Nous 'between us' began when Iowa City was a mere fraction of its present size. Student enrollment at the University of Iowa was approximately 2700. A favorite leisure activity for residents was the city's Pastime Theatre. It seated 400 and charged five cents for admissions.

Membership in Entre Nous was by invitation only. The number of members was initially limited to eighteen, but in 1957 was raised to a minimum of twenty-five. According to the club's constitution, those eligible for membership were to be young married women who sympathized with the club's objectives. Most of these women were neighbors whose spouses were employees of the University of Iowa. One such member was Eleanor Jessup, the wife of Walter A. Jessup, who was president of the University of Iowa from 1916 to 1934.

Early club activities focused on home economics. Eventually, the club expanded its activities to include poetic and dramatic readings. Though not often, members sometimes read from works that they wrote. Members also acted in plays produced by local drama companies. The club met twice a month, each time at a different member's home.

In addition to its literary and drama programs, the Entre Nous club actively participated in a variety of public service activities. Club members made surgical dressings for the American Red Cross during World War I and held book drives to collect books for American soldiers during World War II. During both wars, members voted to suspend the production of engraved annual club programs and instead donated the money to the American Red Cross. Peacetime activities included child welfare and prison reform work as well as a scholarship and loan fund for students attending the University of Iowa.

Entre Nous affiliated with the Iowa Federation of Women's Clubs in 1915 and remained a member until 1947.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Entre Nous records (Iowa City, Iowa)

Identifier: IWA0081

Women's drama study club founded in 1914 in Iowa City.

Dates: 1914-2002