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Mrs. Emmaline Jackson, organizer and first President of
The Ammoncongin Literary Club



With today’s availability of books, newspapers and easily obtainable news, both on paper and via TV and Internet, we often forget about how things were with our ancestors.

The first club for Westbrook women was formed in Cumberland Mills in December, 1892.  It would be named the AMMONCONGIN LITERARY CLUB, and would welcome any woman of Cumberland Mills who was “accepted by unanimous vote of the Advisory Board, and upon payment of an admission fee.” The Club would be limited to 50 members.

In its Constitution it stated that the Club’s purpose was to   “create a center for mutual improvement of its members in literature, science, art, and the current events of the day.”   The Constitution also stated that there would be no unkind criticism among members, and that partisan politics and sectarian religion would not be discussed.

Programs were presented by members at each meeting, and the topics of the programs reflected the statue of women in that day.  Authors such as Tennyson, Whitter, Longfellow, and Shakespeare were discussed and compared; readings were given of The Merchant of Venice; there were also papers presented on  Psycical [sic] Research, Domestic Science, Hygiene, and Scientific Discoveries.
But, as an example of  ‘what goes around, comes around’, in 1893 their minutes report that there were reports given on the use of medications and abuse of medicine; immigration, “not so much the numbers as the quality of our immigrants, some restrictions must be made. Capitalists responsible for the undesirable element in immigration”…subjects that are still being discussed in 2017!
The Ammoncongin Literary Club became recognized as the oldest woman’s club in Westbrook and continued to be active up until 1969.  Aside from the regular course of study, the club also responded to may calls for charity and was identified with civic betterment.


AL 2

The photo on the left is from a news article which reported on the dedication of an elm tree and bronze marker in Riverbank Park.  To commemorate its 40th anniversary in November 1932, the past presidents of the Ammoncongin Literary Club planted the tree.
Pictured, left to right: Mrs. Cora Roberts, Mrs. Sarah Ames, Mrs. Isabel Ray (oldest past president in point of service), Mrs. Rose Graham, Mrs. Ernest Theis, Mrs. Ralph Whitney, and Mrs. Paul Fraser.

    References: Ammoncongin Literary Club records, on file at the Historical Society  
All photographs and information taken from Westbrook Historical Society archives, unless otherwise noted.
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