For over 100 years The Iris Club has been a place for women to be entertained, enlightened and involved.
Women were just beginning to do things on their own in 1895 when Miss Alice Nevin, the daughter of Franklin and Marshall College President John Williamson Nevin, invited about seventy women to her home to discuss the feasibility of a women’s club. Mrs. A.J. Steinman was appointed to draft a constitution and bylaws and they were adopted shortly thereafter.
The Iris Cub was formed that year with Miss Nevin as its first president. An elected Board of Directors governs the club so the talents and interests of the membership determine the scope of activities and resulting committees. The club offers contemporary women the opportunity for self-improvement and service, while honoring the club’s heritage and fulfilling the objectives of the original bylaws to promote service to the community, educational pursuits, and creativity.
Alice Nevin was the quintessential club member. She was the first president of the newly formed Red Cross Chapter and is named as a founding member of the Visiting Nurse Association. Credited with starting Lancaster’s first well-baby clinic and first kindergarten, she also helped establish The Cliosophic Society, organized in 1879 by Franklin and Marshall College professors and their families to promote improved "town and gown" relations through joint discussion. In 1898, she purchased the lovely Black Mansion, built in 1858, as the club’s home. The beautiful Bates Auditorium was added in 1955 to accommodate the need for additional space due to a growing waiting list for membership.
The Iris Club meets twice monthly, except over summer, at its gracious home on North Duke Street in downtown Lancaster. Members enjoy lunch and entertainment, as well as time for warm friendship at a traditional high tea. We also host activities that are open to the public and these include bridge luncheons, evening programs, and excursions.
We extend an invitation to attend one of our meetings and hope you will consider joining our club. Please call us at 717-394-7811 to arrange your visit. We’re looking forward to meeting you!