Beaufort County Book Club Celebrates 100-Years

A Beaufort County book club that was created for women is celebrating its centennial.

The O. Henry Book Club of Washington started with 20 members back in December of 1913, seven years before women could legally vote.

Today Its 19 members meet once a month and carry on the legacy of the group.

Member Nancy Hamblyn says, "It's kind of amazing that a group has lasted this long and to have the continuity. One of our members is over ninety. She has been here since the inception. We have that history and we want to continue with that."

Named after the famous North Carolina short story writer, the club was formed by Washington resident Latta Rodman.

Member Cathy Whichard says, "She wanted to create a book club that would be a place for woman to develop their culture, learn more about art and history and literature. She gathered together a group of 20 women on that day and they started the O. Henry Book Club."

Member Betty Cochran says, "Those ladies were intellectual leaders in the community. They were visionary in that they felt that women should vote."

Whichard says, "They were able to raise money to support some efforts, and do all kinds of things to be civic minded because they weren't able to vote."

Hamblyn says, "We're here being able to vote and having the freedom that we do because women like that started it all. Very grateful."

While women have come a long way since the book club's inception 100 years ago, the club continues the tradition, sharing reviews and discovering new books-- but look out for one other.

Hamblyn says, "If someone is not there we make sure we find out why, and what we can do to be helpful."

Cochran says, "If there is an illness or an accident, we hear from the ladies in the book club, we remember birthdays. It's a wonderful loving fellowship."

And a fellowship that is by invitation only...a tradition that remains the same since the beginning of the book club.