Sunday, August 21, 2011

Jane Cunningham Croly, journalist, author, editor, and woman's club leader

The annual GFWC Middle Atlantic Region Conference will be held this year in New Jersey, September 15-18th and hosted by the New Jersey State Federation of Women’s Club (NJSFWC) of GFWC.
Included in the events of the weekend is a rededication ceremony on Friday, September 16th at the gravesite of Jane Cunningham Croly, the founder of the General Federation of Women’s clubs (GFWC), located at Evergreen Cemetery in Lakewood, NJ.

She began working as a journalist for the New York Sunday Times and Noah's Weekly Messenger, where she started using the pen name, Jennie June.
In 1864, Croly published her first book, Talks on Woman's Topics, a collection of newspaper pieces. In 1866 she published Jennie June's American Cookery Book, a domestic manual dedicated to the young housekeepers of America.
Croly formed the General Federation of Women's Clubs in 1890, to support clubs throughout the nation and further their efforts at providing education, improved working conditions, health care, scholarships and other reforms. Croly also founded the New York Women's Press Club in 1889.

She was one of the earliest American newspaperwomen, writing for various New York newspapers under the pseudonym Jennie June. From 1860 to 1887 she edited Demorest's Quarterly Mirror of Fashion (later Demorest's Illustrated Monthly) and later was part owner of Godey's Lady's Book. She specialized in women's features and was among the first journalists who syndicated their articles. In 1856 she called the first women's congress. Twelve years later, in 1868, she founded Sorosis, the only women's club of importance at that time, and in 1889, the New York Women's Press Club. She wrote The History of the Woman's Club Movement in America (1898).

Friday, August 12, 2011


Established in 1944, the Cecilia Gaines Holland Award is the highest honor that can be bestowed upon a New Jersey Clubwoman. Named after the second President of the NJSFWC, this prestigious award is given annually to one clubwoman who demonstrates her commitment to her community by performing outstanding civic and volunteer work that extends above and beyond her service to her club.

This year’s recipient was nominated by the Woman’s Club of Maplewood, Liberty District. JoAnn Aponte resides in Bloomfield and is a 39 year member of her club, having first joined as a Junior and then as an EMD’er. Her journey to this award started as a teenager candy striper at New York Hospital. Active in girl scouting for many years and in her Church for over 40 years, JoAnn has continued in her dedication in helping those less fortunate.

She has been a mentor to unwed mothers through church organizations and has chaired many committees. She is an active member of MADD of Essex County, serving as President for five years. She has worked diligently for stiffer DWI laws. Cerebral Palsy and Battered Women’s Shelters in Essex County have benefited from her volunteerism for over 25 years.
She was instrumental in starting a “sweat suit” program for rape victims at United Hospital of Newark where she volunteered for over 10 years. Through her generosity of a baby grand piano, children at a Belleville school were able to learn to play the piano.

The NJSFWC congratulations JoAnn Aponte and joins a very proud Liberty District in honoring her as the 67th Recipient of the Cecilia Gaines Holland Award.