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History

Wellesley in Westchester took shape at the hands of community-minded women, 90 years ago – with the purpose of enabling ongoing learning, serving our community, and connecting Wellesley alumnae to each other and to Wellesley.

As we prepared for our 90th anniversary celebration, we gathered details of our club’s history to share with you.

  • The Wellesley in Westchester Club founder was Helen Besler Gardner Adams (Mrs Harold B Gardner) of New Rochelle.
  • The Wellesley in Westchester scholarship fund was established by local alumnae nearly 100 years ago and as of the writing of this historical summary (early 2022) the scholarship fund and a fund created to support long term retention of the college’s talented faculty members, also established by the club, continue to deliver financial returns to support these purposes.
    • Fundraising was underway as early as 1929 with a game of bridge at the Scarsdale Women's Club
    • That same year, our Club together with New York and others held a gala on a ship called Ille de France at Pier 57  --  5000 people attended and "Wellesley girls" from Westchester -- as the article captured --- modeled Lord & Taylor styles and their efforts yielded more than $10,000 in scholarship funds. Today, the fund has grown 350x its original size.
  • Two traditions we’ve continued to present day that line our club’s treasured past: Hosting professors locally and our history of hosting our college presidents.
    • Edna Heidbreder, professor of psychology at Wellesley, gave a talk to the club on “Women's Place in the World of Today” in the fall of 1941.  
    • President Pendleton visited and spoke at Scarsdale HS in February 1925, before the club was officially formed.
    • President McAfee was guest speaker at a dinner in Larchmont in May of 1942. The Topic: "The Impact of the War upon the College.” This was her 2nd visit – first in 1938.
    • President Margaret Clapp, for whom the college’s library is named, also spoke at a Wellesley in Westchester alumnae club birthday party in 1959.
    • President Kim Bottomly visited our club in recent years at an event in Rye.
    • President Paula Johnson spoke to our club at the Bedford Historical Society to mark the celebration of 90th Anniversary Retrospective in 2019.

We are proud to have alumnae engaged in the club from all towns in Westchester across decades of graduating classes.