A Brief History of the
Mills College Club of New York
The Mills College Club of New York (MCCNY) was founded in December 1918 by eleven women. As a branch of the Alumnae Association of Mills College (AAMC) its purpose was, and remains to this day, to further the interests of Mills College, promote among its alumnae a spirit of fellowship and service, and to support the national programs of the AAMC: Alumnae Admissions [see separate page on this], Public Relations, Alumnae Fund (now the Mills College Annual Fund), and Continuing Education.
A very active branch in the 1930s, it was the first Mills alumnae group to open a club room and to publish, in 1937, a newsletter. Many early functions were held to honor visiting officials of the college, to which prospective students were invited. Herbert Hoover served as chairman of the 85th anniversary of Mills in 1937. East Coast Mills alumnae raised $100,000 during that year for the endowment fund.
The Club was affected by World War II in the form of belt-tightening and the closing of the club room. But at the same time there was an increased interest in the responsibilities and capabilities of women. An executive committee was established to carry on the then-important task of alumnae admissions. At the first official postwar meeting in 1947, fund-raising was made the top priority. Club gifts to the College in previous years (excepting the anniversary gift) ranged from $11 to $225. The need to give more substantial gifts to the College was originally prompted by concern about faculty salaries.
The first Holiday Auction was held in 1953 and this major fund-raising event has continued every year in some form. For many years high-quality hand-crafted items were produced by members in area workshops, then sold via "Caravan": one-day day sales held in members' homes, moving from Manhattan, to Westchester & Fairfield counties, and then to New Jersey. As more Mills alumnae joined or rejoined the workforce, the Caravan Sales were discontinued in 1971. However, the Holiday Auction/Dinner--originally held on the first Sunday of December, but now replaced by a fall afternoon event with a guest lecture, silent auction, and refreshments--continues as the Club's main social and fund-raising festivity.
In addition to the annual auction/event, the Club has undertaken a number of other fund-raising endeavors: a concert & LP recording of pianist James Tocco at Alice Tully Hall; a Fred Waring concert at Carnegie Hall; a cookbook, Parties to Picnics (now out of print); postcards & posters of an 1871 Muybridge photo of Mills Hall (some of these are still available for purchase).
On occasion MCCNY members have gathered for a talk, tour, or performance, often given, conducted, or performed by visiting Mills professors or staff, alumnae, or friends. Our Tri-State Scholarship Fund [see separate page on this] was set up in 1988 as a way to encourage prospective students from our area to consider Mills, and to help these students pay for their Mills tuition. All of the proceeds from our fund-raising events are donated to this fund.