Concise Encyclopedia of Tufts History
Tufts Wives Club, 1946-1955
The Tufts Wives Club was established in conjunction with the construction of Stearns Village in order to provide a social outlet for the wives of the veterans who returned to Tufts on the G.I. Bill of Rights following World War II.
Sparked by interest expressed at a welcoming tea, the Wives Club was formally organized on April 25, 1946, by Mrs. Leonard Carmichael and Mrs. Jan T. Friis. Their aim was to stimulate social interest among the wives of Tufts students. An executive board was established, consisting of officers and group chairmen, which guided the organizations activities. Membership numbered more than sixty women, limited to the wives of Tufts graduate and undergraduate students. General meetings were held once a month, when it was common practice for the women's husbands to study and watch the children while their wives were meeting. Most of the women were residents of Stearns Village, although a few resided in Boston and surrounding communities.
Activities of the club included sewing classes, an evening bridge club, athletic groups,holiday parties, speaker presentations on campus, and a cooperative babysitting league. The league was organized as a bartering system among the wives, with the swapping of child care hours allowing the economically strapped couples to have an evening out without incurring greater financial burden. The organization was also the first to sponsor a Christmas party on campus during its first year of existence. These types of events were seen as a method of dispelling the probable loneliness and isolation experienced by the "book worm widows" of the scholarly veterans.
The club's greatest contribution to the Tufts campus was the establishment of a cooperative day care system for the more than fifty children residing in the village. In 1949, this venture evolved into the Stearns Village Nursery School. In 1951, the licensed establishment was absorbed by the Boston Nursery Training School, which later became the Elliot-Pearson Children's School.
Following the demolition of Stearns Village in 1955 and the subsequent relocation of families back into the surrounding communities, the Tufts Wives Club ceased to exist.
Source: BG13; RNTC3