A missing chapter in Lander University's history can now be read, thanks to an unexpected gift received by the Larry A. Jackson Library.
Library staff members were taken by surprise when they were approached by Jonathan Fowler, a former employee of Williamston Public Library and custodian of a treasure trove of documents.
The documents tell the story of the All-Together Club, formed on Oct. 28, 1915, when three women's groups — the Samuel Lander Lyceum Association, the Williamston Civic League and the Williamston School Improvement Society — became one.
For some time, the Samuel Lander Lyceum Association had served as the alumnae association for Williamston Female College, from which Lander University evolved.
The records of the All-Together Club were offered to Lander, according to Dr. David Mash, dean of Library Services, because it was "the only surviving institution with a substantial tie to that group."
The All-Together Club was established to stave off what was perceived as a declining interest in the groups of which it was composed, and it achieved its objective. Its members met for 46 years, sponsoring lectures on art, music and travel, working to improve the physical town of Williamston, taking part in the women's suffrage movement, establishing the Samuel Lander Memorial Library for the Williamston Grade School in 1926, and participating in many other civic duties and functions.
"They really tried to have a significant purpose in what they did," said Lander assistant librarian and archivist Mike Berry.
The spending records, minutes of meetings, club rolls, reports, resolutions, letters to and from club members, histories, newspaper clippings and yearbooks they left behind, Berry said, suggest that members of the All-Together Club were "very businesslike."
The All-Together Club appears to have finally met its end, as 1961 is the last year for which records are available, but there is no disputing the fact that, as Berry said, "it had a good run."