1400 Washington AveAlbanyNY
1400 Washington AveAlbanyNY

Versatile Club Records

1937-2011

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Abstract

The Versatile Club Records document the day-to-day operations of the first 100 years of this community organization founded in 1910.

Summary

Creator:
Versatile Club
Date Coverage:
1937-2011
Quantity:
0.50 cubic ft.

The Girls Versatile Club of Troy, New York was organized in 1931 under the direction of Reverend H. D. White of the A.M.E. Zion Church "to strengthen religious ties, to find an outlet in good clean fun, and above all, to learn to live and play as well as work together as friends."[1] The Club was formed following conflicts between the male and female members of the Elusion Club of the A.M.E. Zion Church of Troy. Reverend H. D. White advised the female members to form an all girl club, not restricted to members of the A.M.E. Zion Church, but to include any Troy girls who met moral and religious standards.[2] In February 1947 the club adopted its present name, The Versatile Club.[3]

In 1956 the Versatile Club restated its purpose "to further Christian aims and to strive always to make this community a better one because of the existence of the Versatile Club."[4] The purpose of the club currently is the "Pleasure and Recreation of its Members & Civic Service."[5] During the course of its existence the Versatile Club has contributed to church repairs, sponsored African American entertainers, provided scholarship support for members attending colleges, since the 1961 sponsored women's only "Ladies of Leisure & Career Womens Luncheons" which brought prominent women speakers to Troy including Muriel Jenkens, Ersa Poston, Shirley L. White and Dr. Dorothy Brown. The Club formed a junior Versatile Club to reach young children. The Versatile Club has given strong support to drives to fund research on Sickle Cell Anemia. The Club also sponsors trips and outings for its members.[6]

The Versatile Club originally held its meetings every Monday night at the home of Club members, currently it holds monthly meetings at Bethel Baptist Church.[7] The Club also holds an annual Palm Sunday church meeting rotating among the Bethel Baptist, Oakwood Presbyterian, and A.M.E. Zion Methodist churches.

The administrative officers of the club are a President, Vice President, Recording Secretary, Assistant Recording Secretary, Corresponding Secretary, Assistant Corresponding Secretary, Financial Secretary, Assistant Financial Secretary, Treasurer, Chaplain, and Assistant Chaplain. The Versatile Club's presidents have included: Jane Reese (1931-1981), Connie Gordon, Louise Byrd, Wilhamenia Simon, Carol Praylor, Irene Van Slyke, Patricia Hicks and and Catheryne Collington.

Contained in the records of the Versatile Club are official and draft minutes of meetings, memorabilia relating to social activities, by-laws, financial documents, photographs, and resumes/biographical sketches of club members covering the period from 1945 through 1988. Minutes of meetings from the 1930s and early 1940s were burned according to President Louise Byrd. A complete set of meeting minutes exists for the period, 1950-62, and 1981 - June 1988, while scattered draft minutes cover the period 1945-88. The official minutes from 1931-1949, July 1950-December 1950, and July 1962-March 1981 are missing.

Since the Versatile Club has operated primarily as a social club, the focus of its records relates to the social activities they sponsored from 1945-1988. Among the numerous entertainers the Versatile Club brought to Troy were Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Mary Lou Williams, Fat Man Robinson's Orchestra, and the pianist Dennie Carter. The rising cost of hiring entertainers forced the club to curtail its sponsorship of major bands in the late 1950s. The Versatile also sponsors African-American speakers, youth dances, fashion shows, and supports worthy charities such as the Girls Training School. The Club has a continuing interest in preserving a record of the underground railroad in Troy, and donated a plaque in honor Charles Nalle, an escaped slave who had been arrested under the fugitive slave act, and freed by a citizens riot in 1860.

The collection is organized into two boxes.

All items in this record group were donated to the University Libraries, M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, by the Versatile Club in February 1993. Two additional accessions were received from Carol Praylor, former president, in September 2004 and in September 2011.

Processed by: Shurawl Bryan

Collection record created by: This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on

Published: 2017-04-14 14:02:21 -0400

Encoded in EAD by Katy Sweet, 2013

Archival materials can be view in-person during business hours in our reading room, located on the top floor of the Science Library on the Uptown Campus.

We can also deliver digital scans for remote research for a fee.

Access to this record group is unrestricted.

Copyright Statement

The researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of copyright. Whenever possible, the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives will provide information about copyright owners and other restrictions, but the legal determination ultimately rests with the researcher. Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be discussed with the Head of Special Collections and Archives.

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Identification of specific item, series, box, folder, Versatile Club Records, 1937-2011. M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University at Albany, State University of New York (hereafter referred to as [shortened name]).

Contents of Collection

BoxFolderContentsDate

497adf81335c42e491eaea0140490442

1 1Anniversary Brochures, 25th, 50th and 80th1956, 1982, 2011

47b543ee2e3554f18435acd1eaec67bb

1 2Brown, Dorothy, News Clippingca. 2003

e70e0763bc8985b91e1d8688e5c91391

1 3By-laws1939, 1961, 1986, Undated

698323cd51105d8ed1ea6051e6151717

1 4Charles Nalle Plaque, PhotographUndated

1eec289dce4429695ffd7e17ee5be3e0

1 5Club CapUndated

28f56aa03b60d27913bd8631e11a30f3

1 6Draft Meeting Minutes-BoundNovember 1945-September 1955

6ed733678d1cb16d11b678242b41f809

1 7Draft Meeting Minutes-Loose PagesJanuary 1951-April 1988

012116ee5ff8317e4061a2075c442351

1 8Financial Documents1950-1984

210766b69c9070f9f068d227a14e25d5

1 9Installation Ceremony, NotesUndated

071389d9f0dec00593e6360afc1a87b3

1 10Ladies of Leisure & Career Girls/Women Luncheon1968-1990, Undated

96d4f1b8e8afb5039e430705ee7bdf13

1 11Membership1950-1983

32c988642aeeae4810af63ecd51e0b5c

1 12Miscellaneous Notes and Correspondence1987, Undated

390d009867904ae5a66ca6fa2acb63a5

1 13News Clipping, Class'iqueMarch 2002

89a239578c1805a0a33d5e16da266152

1 14Official Meeting MinutesJune 1950-January 1955

665cd7300af74aea1232564190aff0ce

2 1Official Meeting MinutesJanuary 1955-June 1962

fe7a63a35f5816c1722d50f5eec00a2b

2 2Official Meeting MinutesApril 1981-June 1988, 2002

76ff42624b61dccfb3d593cda08d7060

2 3Photographs1995, Undated

68f0fe06864c2118c0ed1d977369843e

2 4Rensselaer County Legislature Resolution2001

e781758982bd21f76a10af2e51783e04

2 5Resumes/Biographical Sheets1963-1976

ddac8f3350046711d8fd28a0c7ad20c5

2 6Social Activity Memorabilia1937-1988

591ad83f6bc8ff3f0c995650204ad499

2 7Social Invitations1951-1989

a5554c912d30969fe66a26f723886d68

2 8Thank You/Apology/Sympathy Cards1951-1990, Undated