Mayor Jacobs Recognizes The Coterie’s 100th Anniversary
by: Leanne H. West, Mayor’s Office
Cullman, AL – “On Tuesday afternoon, a number of young matrons met at the home of Mrs. M.H. Killingsworth, for the purpose of organizing a new society. … Some of the most charming and intellectual of Cullman’s young married women are members of this club, which bids fair to become one of the most delightful organizations in the city.” That quote was from the society section of the January 26, 1922, issue of the Cullman Democrat describing the formation of the Eclectic Study Club. The Eclectic Study Club, which became The Coterie in 1926, has indeed become “one of the most delightful organizations in the city,” just as the Democrat predicted over 100 years ago!
On Tuesday, April 12, 2022, Cullman Mayor Woody Jacobs attended the monthly meeting of The Coterie and presented a Certificate of Recognition in honor of the club’s 100th anniversary.
“I appreciate the invitation to attend the Coterie club meeting and to officially recognize the club’s 100 year history of serving our community,” said Mayor Jacobs. “This club has initiated or supported many community projects over the years, and they are still going strong!”
According to that old Democrat column, the club was originally organized as a study club where “ancient and modern writers as well as current events will be studied.” But it quickly became a club very much involved in improving the community through a variety of special projects or initiatives. The word “coterie” in the club’s title is defined by Merriam-Webster Dictionary as “an intimate and often exclusive group of persons with a unifying common interest or purpose.” And the Coterie’s motto is a quote from Alexander Pope: “There is no study or project that is not capable of delighting us after a little application.” True to their name and motto, the club has unified behind a wide variety of studies and projects throughout its history.
Soon after its formation, the club began sponsoring a “Clean-Up Week” during which Cullman residents could clean up their properties and place trash near the curb to be picked up free of charge. The Coterie continued to sponsor that event annually for many years. Other projects that The Coterie has initiated or supported over the years include:
- Establishing a county library in 1928.
- Raising funds to assist with the construction of the replica of the Col. Cullmann home that houses the Cullman County Museum.
- Funding the very first street lights on U.S. 31 through their “Light the Night” project.
- Sponsoring the formation of the Share Junior Women’s Club (now the Share Club) in 1972 – which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.
- Sponsoring a biennial college scholarship.
- Supporting local organizations. Currently, this includes the Cullman Historical Society, Cullman Caring for Kids, and the Pilot Light Home.
The Coterie operated under the umbrella of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs (GFWC) and its Alabama Chapter for many years. Although the club is no longer a part of GFWC, the club’s monthly programs still rotate under one of six general GFWC topics: Arts, conservation, education, home life, international outreach, and public issues. They also still include the citation of “The Club Collect,” written by Mary Stewart in 1904.
“While the Coterie club turned 100 in January of this year, April seems a fitting time to formally recognize their anniversary because the week of April 17-23 is ‘National Volunteer Week’,” said Mayor Jacobs.
Volunteer Week was established in 1974 in the United States as a time to recognize volunteers for their selfless contributions and to encourage others to volunteer in their communities. National Volunteer Week, recognized during the third week of April each year, is now organized by the Points of Light Global Network, the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service.
“The City of Cullman is grateful to members of The Coterie, the Share Club, and other local organizations who have volunteered their time and talents to help make Cullman what it is today and who continue to find ways to improve our community,” said Mayor Jacobs. “Happy 100th anniversary to The Coterie!”
The Certificate of Recognition Mayor Jacobs presented to The Coterie states:
WHEREAS, the Eclectic Study Club, a women’s civic club, was formed in January 1922. In 1926, the name of the club was changed to The Coterie and the group joined the General Federation of Women’s Clubs (GFWC) and its Alabama chapter; and,
WHEREAS, the word “coterie” in the club’s title is defined as “an intimate and often exclusive group of persons with a unifying common interest or purpose;” and,
WHEREAS, the motto for The Coterie is the Alexander Pope quote: “There is no study or project that is not capable of delighting us after a little application;” and,
WHEREAS, although the club dropped out of the GFWC a few years ago, the club’s monthly programs still rotate under one of six general GFWC topics: Arts, conservation, education, home life, international outreach, and public issues; and,
WHEREAS, throughout the past 100 years, The Coterie has initiated and supported many projects to help meet the needs of various groups and organizations. Their projects include establishing the county library in 1928, raising funds to build the replica of Col. Cullmann’s house in 1972, funding the first street lights on U.S. 31 under the “Light the Night” project, and sponsoring the formation of the Share Junior Women’s Club (now the Share Women’s Club); and,
WHEREAS, 2022 marks the 100th anniversary of The Coterie, and its many service projects and achievements over the past 100 years deserve special recognition.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Woody Jacobs, as Mayor of the City of Cullman and on behalf of the City Council and our citizens, do hereby present this official CERTIFICATE OF RECOGNITION to The Coterie in appreciation of the faithful and honorable service of its members, past and present, and in honor of its service to the community over the past 100 years.
FURTHER, an official copy of this certificate shall be personally presented to the club at their regular meeting on April 12, 2022.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the City of Cullman to be affixed on this, the 12th day of April, 2022. – Woody Jacobs, Mayor