The College-Community Club is an organization open to women of Emory & Henry College, the Emory community, and to others who are interested in the purposes of the club. The club promotes the ideals of Emory & Henry College, and the cultural, educational, social interests, and improvements of the community.
June 26, 1896, was the date of the first meeting of a small group of women in the Emory community who called themselves the Emory & Henry Library and Improvement Association. This original club was begun by the wife of then E&H president, R.G. Waterhouse. Edith Waterhouse was an aggressive, creative woman for that period. She was closely involved with her husband’s role and had clubwomen participating in any college situation which needed helping hands.
Beginning with a candy sale that netted $4.60, these women raised almost $3,000 over the next three years. Projects included oyster suppers, ice cream socials, club sponsored debates, public lectures and loaning money (to the college, etc.) at 6% interest. They even requested the proceeds from Christmas day marriages performed by a Bristol minister, known as the “Marrying Parson.” He met the incoming trains and took young couples across the Tennessee state line to marry (Tenn. had no age requirement then).
In 1901, the club changed its name to Homemakers Band, and set out to promote Christian ideals in the home. During that time they built the west wing of Carriger Hall, firing a kiln for bricks made from clay from the campus. They also donated $1,478.79 worth of seats for the building’s chapel. In 1906, the club became The Needle, and was purely a social group.
In 1918, they merged with another club on campus and became the Woman’s Club and College Aid. In 1921, they joined the Federation of Women’s Clubs and had a strong affiliation with this international organization for many years.
Club members performed a variety of services to the campus, providing social and religious activities, dinners, enrichment programs and personal services. Many motherly tasks were provided, including mending and sewing on buttons. During the 1920s, the club focused on campus beautification — planting thousands of bulbs, many shrubs and trees, an orchard behind Weaver Hall, and Japanese cherry trees behind the administration building.
During WWII, ladies met four times a week to make thousands of surgical bandages, sweaters, etc. for servicemen. When the Navy V-12 program came to the E&H campus, they made semaphore flags, arm bands, etc. to contribute to the program.
In 1927, they undertook the industrious project of moving the Tobias Smyth House. This house, located on a nearby farm, was the site of the first meetings about the founding of E&H, and as it faced demolition, the ladies took on the challenge of having it torn down, numbered and reassembled in its present location. Upon completion, the house was “dedicated to the spirit of the pioneers whose intelligent foresight, untiring zeal, and sacrificial labor made possible the founding of Emory & Henry College.” The house has served as the group’s official clubhouse ever since.
As College needs arose the College-Community Club focused their efforts to meet those needs. Funds were given to furnish the infirmary, purchase baseball equipment, band uniforms and a “gym apparatus.” Members helped establish a school for the children of the nearby Blacksburg community. The CCC took orders, made and sold Homecoming Corsages, held Card Party Fundraisers, cared for the Confederate part of Holston Conference Cemetery, hosted Welcoming Teas for freshmen girls. In 1962 members’ phone numbers were listed in the yearbook but it was not until 1981 that members’ given names were listed instead of their married names. The Tobias Smyth House was shown on the Virginia Highlands Festival Tours and the Historical Society’s Christmas Tours. In 1983 the House was registered as a historical landmark. In 1997 the CCC voted to accept the offer of the Emory & Henry Craft Fair as their major fundraiser. The CCC entertained patients from the Southwestern State Hospital.
Major renovations were made to the House in 1996-98 including the roof, kitchen, bathroom, heating and air conditioning. The ramp to the kitchen was added by the college. The club continues to be active in contributing to community outreach programs such as the Hope Award, Glade Spring Life Saving Crew, Meadowview Fire Department, Supplies and Clothing for Meadowview Elementary and Friends of Washington County Library as well as major contributions to the Crossroads Medical Mission and the Meadowview Health and Literacy Clinic.
An Endowment Fund was set up in 2008 to sustain the Emory & Henry Scholarship.
Heda Quillin, president