The 1920s

The Chartering of the Zonta Club of Milwaukee

The Zonta Club of Milwaukee was the 39th to be chartered – on January 08, 1926 – with 30 charter members in retail, finance, medicine, music, real estate, law, insurance, and education.  Dr. Bessie Childs, an Osteopath, was the first Club President.

Dr. Bessie C. Childs

Dr. Bessie C. Childs

Milwaukee Sentinel January 8, 1926

Milwaukee Sentinel January 8, 1926

Milw Sentinel Zonta Club article 010926-1

Milwaukee Sentinel, January 09, 1926

One of the pioneer Charter Members and a Club President was Dorothy Caroline Enderis.  The UWM Business Office has written that “Her dedication is still evident in the innovative and award-winning programs of the Milwaukee Public Schools, Division on Community Recreation. Her vision and passion for a city responsive to the needs of its citizens, resulted in social programs that were well ahead of many other cities.”

Dorothy Caroline Enderis – Photo from UWM Business School

Other charter members were: Edith M. Shaw, Adeline T. Ricker, Marie K. Franzen, Fannie V. Gassman, Delia G. Ovitz, Katherine R. Williams, Daisy L. Carrington, Ruth Foster, Anna E. Koerner, Lillian Baker, Mary S. Berry, Mrs. G.L. Andrews, Bessie O’Leary, Adele Abert, Rose Gemler, Harriet Semler, Edith McCann, Grace A. Kelly, Louise M. Rubs, Anna Leisk, Bertha Ehlers, Maud Swett, Anna B. Swinney, Beatrice Robart, and Gertrude M. Jacobs.

Early goals included assessing the needs of women working in industrial environments, mentoring and training twelve girls to develop their skills as effective employees in the industrial workforce. The Club even had its own drum corps that performed for sick children and the elderly in hospitals during the 1928 Zonta Convention in St. Paul, MN.

In 1927, Toronto, Canada was admitted to the Confederation of Zonta Clubs and by 1930, the Confederation was incorporated as Zonta International.