After More Than a Century of Service, the Woman’s Civic League of Pasadena Dissolves

Saying declining membership, combined with the difficulties of meeting during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Woman’s Civic League (WCL) of Pasadena today announced it is dissolving.

The group, which first met on June 28, 1911, at the home of Mrs. Robert J. Burnett to form an organization devoted to the “betterment of Pasadena,” will donate its treasury to Pasadena Heritage in support of its work, particularly in the preservation of the Blinn House located on the Fuller Theological Seminary campus on North Oakland Avenue, where WCL meetings were held monthly for many years.

Funds raised through the league’s annual Holiday Boutique and auction were distributed as grants to member-selected nonprofit organizations serving women, children and youth. An example of some recent awardees includes Club 21, Convalescent Aid Society, Elizabeth House, and Women at Work.

Each Spring, the league honors young women chosen by their middle school counselors and teachers for notable improvement in their scholastic standing by overcoming health or environmental setbacks to their education.

By October of 1911, the league was very active, with committees working in the fields of city and state beautification, health and sanitation, city government, education, and social welfare.

The founding members were far ahead of their time in their campaigning on social issues and governmental reform. In the early years, some of their efforts involved establishing kindergarten as part of the regular school system, free rubbish collection, and inspection of milk supplies, restaurants, beauty parlors, and hotel kitchens.

In 1916, the league began a volunteer program of classes for immigrants to learn English. In the 1920s, members backed the efforts to preserve California redwoods and actively campaigned for the planting of trees on Colorado Boulevard.

In the 1930s, members protested plans to build a state highway through Brookside Park. They endorsed a plan to borrow funds from the Department of Water and Power to help build the Pasadena Civic Auditorium.

League members spanned a broad range of life, career, and volunteer work in education, social work, government service, the arts, and other activities benefiting the community.

Each year since 1994, the league has honored local women for their notable contributions to their fields and their community.

The league’s final honoree was Marna Cornell, a well-known and beloved local figure who has been active in civic affairs and volunteer activities in the community for many years.


After More Than a Century of Service, the Woman’s Civic League of Pasadena Dissolves