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Did you know that The Shakespeare Club in Pasadena is the first women’s club established in Southern California?
By Janet Beggs
The Shakespeare Club was established in 1888, a mere two years after the City of Pasadena was established. Were it not for the club established in San Francisco as a result of the Gold Rush of 1849, the Pasadena Shakespeare Club would hold the distinction of being the first women’s club west of the Mississippi—but it certainly is the oldest women’s club in Southern California.
The Shakespeare Club was an important participant at Pasadena’s 130th Birthday Celebration in 2016. Its contributions to Pasadena have included creation of the first public restroom, the first kindergarten, a home for neglected children and the establishment of sanitation and food safety regulations.
Continuing the legacy
One of the oldest Club traditions was its association with the Pasadena Tournament of Roses, which began in 1897. The Club has contributed toward prizes each year and served picnic lunches in Tournament Park to visitors. In 1906, the Shakespeare Club entered its first float, a decorated carriage, and it had four prize-winning floats in the years 1929-32. The Queen’s Luncheon, held at a regular meeting of the Club, has been a tradition since 1952.
The Club continues its legacy of cultural, civic and philanthropic activities to this day, as well as a very active social calendar. The Shakespeare Club now is located in the beautiful Italianate Villa on Grand Avenue next to the former Vista del Arroyo Hotel.
> Click for inquiries regarding the club’s membership.
Janet Beggs is President of the Shakespeare Club.
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