History Threads — ‘Hen Club’ Thanksgiving
This is the latest in an occasional series of posts about the history of the garment industry in Warren, Washington, Saratoga and Essex counties.
Male employees of the Park Street shirt factory in Glens Falls had no vote on the rule that excluded them from meetings of The Glens Falls Hen Club, a social organization for single women that worked at the factory.
Nonetheless, the men contemplated crashing the Hen Club’s Thanksgiving dinner.
“The famed Sorosis (a professional woman’s club in New York City) must hereafter take a back seat,” The Morning Star of Glens Falls reported on Nov. 29, 1883. “It’s dreary and monotonous disquisitions (long or elaborate discussions) of the eternal rights of women are in striking contrast with the light and cheerful meetings of the Glens Falls Hen Club, an organization composed of some fifteen young ladies employed in the Park Street collar shop.”
The group met every Thursday evening, usually at a member’s residence, to “while away the hours with merry song and mindful story, the exercises usually concluding with a dainty collation (light meal).”
On Thanksgiving, the meeting was moved up from evening to afternoon, when the Hens would feast on a bountiful meal — most likely of turkey.
“As the members of the club are pledged to single blessedness, no gentlemen are admitted to these weekly soirees,” The Morning Star reported. “Of course, the ladies are all young and good looking, and their perverse determination is a source of regret to their fellow employees of the opposite sex, who avow a determination to enter the banquet hall by stratagem when the Hen Club is eating its Thanksgiving Dinner this afternoon.”
Click here to read the most recent previous post in this series.