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Circle's First 75 Years

In preparation for Circle's 100th anniversary in 2015, we are updating the history for the years from 1990 to present. This history was written for our 75th anniversary.

The History of The University Circle

Compiled by Dorothy Murphy


For seventy-five years, the University Circle has been a vital part of Northwestern University. It is dedicated to promoting fellowship and advancing the interests of Northwestern. It provides a variety of activities, some including spouses, which bring together faculty, administration, staff, wives and families from the different schools. Originally, the Circle was open to any woman who held or whose spouse held an official connection to the university. Today, people with official relationships to Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary or to Seabury-Western Theological Seminary or any parents residing with anyone holding such a relationship are also eligible to become members.

Northwestern University

"When Northwestern was established in 1851, the founders' goal was to create an institution of 'the highest order of excellence' to serve the people of the original Northwest Territory (Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and part of Minnesota). On the date of its founding, Northwestern had no faculty, students, campus, or buildings, and there was only $9.92 in the treasury.

"In 1853, as a site for the new University, the founders purchased a 379-acre tract of farmland along Lake Michigan 12 miles north of Chicago - then a frontier city. The town that began to grow up around the University was named Evanston to honor one of the University's founders, John Evans.

"Having completed its first building in the fall of 1855, Northwestern opened its doors with two faculty and ten male students. A pioneer in the education of women, Northwestern first enrolled female students in 1869. By 1900, Northwestern was a university composed of seven graduate and undergraduate schools with 2,700 students, 680 acres in Evanston plus various properties in Chicago, and an annual budget of more than $200,000."*

Circle's Start

In 1915, a group of Northwestern faculty wives met at the home of Mrs. James A. James to form an organization which would help female students get their much needed Women's Building. Mrs. Walter Scott was elected president and Mrs. W. L. Lewis, vice president. This new organization was called the Faculty Women's Club.

The female students needed a social center with lunchroom facilities. The Women's Athletic Association had accumulated a small fund through "Sandwich Days" and minstrel shows, and it was decided to make that a nucleus for a fund for such a building. Other groups such as the Associate Alumnae, the Women's Building Association, the University Guild and on occasion the Woman's Club and the Drama Club put on benefits for the Women's Building Fund.


The Faculty Women's Club membership totaled 65 that first year. The next year the group raised money for the Women's Building Fund by sponsoring the photoplays "Rip Van Winkle" and "The Lady of the Lake" at the Strand. The performances were sold out and raised $225. The group also sold purple pencils at five cents each, sold doughnuts, raised $85 with chain teas, and even ran a tea room to raise money for the Building Fund. In 1923, "The Pirates of Penzance" was sponsored as a fund raiser for the Building Fund, with frappe served during the intermission.

Between March 1916 and May 1916, the name Faculty Women's Club was changed to University Circle. As the membership grew, other interests were added to Circle's program. One of the main projects was sewing for Northwestern University Settlement, which like Hull House was a neighborhood house in a congested area of Chicago. In 1923, 600 yards of material were used by the sewing groups at a cost of $144.54. The material was cut during the summer and sewed into garments during the school year. In May of 1925, the appropriation for material was limited to $100, and Mrs. Montgomery Ward offered to pay for all sewing material needed in excess of the $100.

In 1924, dues were $1 a year, and faculty women's hockey teams were organized. In 1925, the Circle Committee on Foreign Students contacted foreign students returning to their home lands because the committee felt it was most important that the students have the right attitude toward Northwestern and our country. A one-act play, 'Why Girls Stay Home," by Maud Humphrey was read by members. The Dames Club for wives of Northwestern graduate students was organized, and Circle sponsored it.


In 1926, funds were so low that it was voted to have "Susie's Kitchen Band" give a performance for children at Swift Hall some Saturday morning for the benefit of Circle. Circle again sponsored "The Pirates of Penzance" which raised $800 for the Building Fund. In 1930 and again in 1932, funds were contributed towards the purchase of a grand piano for the Harris Hall reception area.

Circle had 9 sewing groups making garments for Settlement which had a pressing need; in 1926, 504 garments were made, and $50 was given to the Christmas Fund. In December 1934, 174 nightgowns, 55 dresses, and 7 blankets were made by the sewing groups; 20 baby dresses were made by the Dames Club. Also, money was collected for the Christmas Fund. This was typical of each year. In early 1935, a plea was sent to Circle for emergency relief items - anything from candies, clothing, books, magazines, and bacon fat to pianos. Two truck loads of articles were sent to Settlement.

Circle membership increased each year, with 151 members in January of 1931 and 312 in May, 1933. The Membership Committee consisted of the chairman and 21 other members; the Hospitality Committee had a chairman and 14 members. The other committees were Finance, Hospitality, Membership, Publicity, Sewing, and Program. Newcomers were called upon early in the school year, and arrangements were made to escort them to the first tea in the fall.

On April 8, 1927, 240 attended a dinner meeting at Willard Hall. All the past presidents of Circle and their husbands, except one, were present. In November of that year, a get-together and get-acquainted party was held in the Gymnasium with various stunts well executed, but the most amusing feature of the entertainment was the moving picture, "Cinderella." Also that year, a new group was formed for Newcomers so that they could get together apart from the larger group. In October of 1930, the annual Fall Party was held at Patten Gymnasium with a cafeteria supper, bridge, and games including indoor golf, which skirted the walls of the gym. At the meeting in January of 1932, members listened to the North Shore Talking Machine Company's victrola. In 1933, the University Circle Chorus premiered. In May of that year, the Spring Formal at the Edgewater Beach Hotel included dinner, dancing, and bridge, with the German Counsul-General and his wife, President and Mrs. Walter Dill Scott, and Professor and Mrs. James Taft Hatfield, past president of Circle, as guests of honor. In November, the annual Fall Party was held in the ballroom of the North Shore Hotel with a cafeteria style dinner, a quartet, dancing, cards, and\or conversation. In 1934, at the Fall Party in the Great Hall of the First Methodist Church, entertainment was provided by the faculty and their children. Two hundred seventy-five members and husbands attended.

In 1932, any woman whose son had an official relation to Northwestern University could become a member of Circle, provided that she made her home with that son, and also any hostess of a fraternity or sorority or any woman who was ever a member of Circle could join, with special cases handled by the executive board. The president, recording secretary, and treasurer, in consultation, were empowered to meet any emergency need of the Circle, expenditure for which should not exceed $10.00.


Of the 65 original Circle members, 38 were still active in Circle in 1935. Most of the programs throughout the years were drawn from Circle's own talent. In October 1936, the Board consisted of Membership, Programs, Social, Publicity, Finance, Sewing, Social Service, Newcomers, Fall Party, Spring Party, May Luncheon, Drama, and Book Review chairmen. In 1943, the Book Review Group and the Drama Group merged. The gavel used in meetings was made from one of the campus oaks by Professor Royal Bigelow of the Engineering School.

On December 11, 1936 at a meeting in Annie May Swift, members listened to King Edward's speech of abdication over the radio while having refreshments. In January of 1937, Northwestern President Scott spoke on how much influence a professor's wife has on her husband's success and contentment in his work at the university. In April of that year, 300 attended the Spring Formal Party at the Shawnee Country Club. Dinner, with specialty numbers from Waa-Mu, was followed by a water carnival in the pool with swimming, diving and water-ballet, then dancing to Foote's Orchestra, cards and a Question Box. President Scott spoke on the consideration paid to the suitability of the wife in selecting a new faculty member; he congratulated the present faculty on their choice of wives.

Dues were increased to $1.50 in 1937, and Circle voted to include Western Theological Faculty as well as Garrett Faculty in its membership. In the 1937-1938 year, there were 268 paid members. A chairman was added who was responsible for social service other than Settlement; she represented Circle on The Better Films Council of Evanston and the Board of the Northwestern YWCA. A contribution of $25 was made to the YWCA.

Circle owned 2 sewing machines and rented others. In 1937-1938, 8 sewing groups made 458 garments at a total expense of $144.65. During the summer of 1940, the Cutting Committee cut out 200 print dresses, 100 plaid dresses, and 80 pairs of black bloomers, all for Settlement.

In 1941, a member (a home economist) volunteered and supervised nutrition in wartime classes at Settlement. She contacted the Wheat Flour Institute, Kraft Cheese, the Milk Foundation, Live Stock and Meat Board, Wesson Oil Company, and others who gave 14 demonstration lectures.

In 1943, the nutrition classes at Settlement were discontinued due to lack of attendance, but in response to a need, the Social Service Groups organized and instructed a sewing class there. At this time, 99 garments made by the Social Service groups were sent to Settlement and 184 were sent to the Red Cross Disaster Closet. Also, Circle's Red Cross Committee made surgical dressings. Members involved needed a white dress and a head covering, and could not wear any nail polish or jewelry except a wedding band. Because of the war, many of the women in Settlement were working, but Settlement needed helpers for cooking, kindergartners, and several other types of activities.

By June of 1938, Circle had contributed $4,500 toward the Women's Building, which cost $675,000 and was dedicated September 24, 1940 as Scott Hall. Circle rejoiced in the realization of the new building which incorporated the idea of the Women's Building and had 35 meeting rooms, lounges, a cafeteria, a grill, and Cahn Auditorium with facilities for staging plays and musicals, and with seats for 1,225. In appreciation of the generous contributions made by women's organizations, certain rooms were set aside for their use, including the Guild Parlors. In 1940-1941, Circle contributed $150 to Scott Hall for folding chairs, an indoor truck for hauling the chairs, and for the kitchen. The fall informal dinner was held at Scott Hall; members performed in a skit, "A Woman's Way." In May of 1941, the Anna Miller Scott Fountain, located in the sunken garden at Scott Hall, was dedicated; it was contributed by Circle and Alpha Phi. In 1941-1942, Circle repaired the silver urns and gave $15 toward replacing dishes. Members agreed to give $75 annually (in whatever form needed) to Scott Hall. In 1943, $75 was given toward maintenance and money was given toward slip-covering furniture in the lounge where the Circle's USO Chairman helped with weekly suppers for servicemen.

Services for USO included serving at parties, chaperoning dances, mending, shopping, theater tickets, collecting magazines, jelly and chili sauce, and so forth. It was important for adult groups like Circle to assist girls attempting entertainment for the Navy boys because "attempts of the girls to handle this independently had had unfortunate results." At Thanksgiving in 1943, the Director of the Civil Affairs Training School asked that officers be invited to Circle members' homes for the holiday. At Christmas, Circle entertained sixty officers from a U.S. Army Unit on the Chicago Campus with a tea in Lydian Lounge, Wieboldt Hall. One hundred thirty attended.

During 1941-1942, members offered their services to the Knitting Chairmen of the Northwestern Defense Unit. The government had recalled the wool ordered, so little yarn was available. However, the Defense Unit workers were able to hem two bolts of diaper material, make 15 baby jackets, 65 green sweaters, 18 crocheted shawls, and 22 baby blankets with buttonhole edge. The Circle President appointed a chairman to assist with emergency duties such as finding furniture for servicemen's centers and serving Sunday night supper to soldiers. Members were asked to plant Victory Gardens and salvage reusable materials. At this time, Circle helped finance courses in typing and stenography for the Women's Student Government Association.

In 1942, the membership totaled 340. Circle formed knitting groups of its own. The January meeting was in the new auditorium of the music school, Lutkin Hall. The Constitution was amended to allow any woman living with a daughter affiliated with Northwestern to join Circle. In February of that year, Mr. Parker Wheatley, radio director of Northwestern, talked on "Radio and the American Promise." In April, members and spouses attended an evening open house and tour of the new Technological Institute; 650 attended. In May, the annual reports of officers were given in a radio skit. In November, an Old Fashioned Party with old time movies and songs followed by square dancing and bridge was held in Scott Hall. Board members were asked to present a pound of coffee to the Social Committee before rationing came into effect.

In 1944, as a war measure, monthly notices of meetings were discontinued and only two notices a year were sent. The $50 saved was given to Downey Hospital at the Great Lakes Naval Center for magazine subscriptions and party refreshments. Other gifts of food, playing cards, and magazines were given to the servicemen's centers in Wilmette and Downey Hospital. Fortunately, Settlement no longer needed garments, because it was not possible to buy materials. The 5 sewing groups knit for the Red Cross (made 8 afghans) and made surgical dressings for the Northwestern Medical School.

In October of 1944, the fall social event was a family party with children invited to enjoy a variety of entertainment; colored pictures were shown, and there were games, square dancing, and group singing. Tickets were 25 cents. The April 1945 meeting, which opened with a silent prayer for President Roosevelt, also included the children. The program was a puppet show. Ginger ale and punch not used were given to the Wilmette Servicemen's Center.


Circle continued to support the Dames Club and the Northwestern YWCA financially, and to collect money for Settlement's Christmas Fund. Membership ranged from 311 members in 1945-1946 to 421 in 1947-1948. In 1946, the dues were increased to $2, with $1.25 going to Circle and 75 cents going to Newcomers. The reason for the increase was the rising cost of food, and members thought that speakers should get a fee. There was no thought of paying the speakers, but merely expressing Circle's appreciation with a gift such as a bouquet of flowers, a corsage, or perhaps a gift certificate for the purchase of a book. In the 1947-1948 year, monthly notices were again mailed to members. Then in 1954, the dues were increased to $3, with $1.75 going to Circle and $1.25 to Newcomers.

The 6 Sewing Groups knit 6 wheelchair size afghans for the servicemen at Great Lakes Naval Hospital and made surgical dressings for the Northwestern Medical School Clinic in 1945-1946. They continued with these projects, sometimes making full-bed size afghans. However, in 1947-1948, they made 270 masks for Evanston Hospital in addition to the afghans and surgical dressings, and in 1951-1952, they also made 55 dozen cancer dressings for the Evanston Cancer Society. That year it was decided to sell the 2 sewing machines and rent machines, if needed. Members contributed gift wrap, playing cards and stationery to Ward 78 in the U.S. Naval Hospital at Great Lakes in December of 1946. This ward was assigned to Circle by the Red Cross.

Circle's gifts to Scott Hall were 180 plates, cups, saucers, 24 extra cups, 24 tea size plates, and 18 sturdy card tables in 1947-1948, 12 dozen forks in the pattern in use, several plates for sandwiches and cakes, and $75 in 1948-49, 2 metal pitchers for refilling urns, 3 metal trays, a wall dispenser for paper towels, and a 5 foot by 7 foot by 1 foot folding speaker's platform in 1949-1950, 8 card tables in 1951, $35 for replacing dishes in 1952, and a tea cart in 1953. And in 1950, Circle paid half the expenses over the amount which Scott Hall would pay for help in cleaning Scott Hall kitchen.

In 1951, Circle raised $1105.50 for the Centennial Fund, which was presented to President Roscoe Miller. Due to the extra activities of the Centennial celebration and the uncertainty of the world situation, the Spring Party was postponed until the following year. Also in 1951, Circle contributed a letter to the cornerstone of McGaw Memorial Hall, which was layed in place in a ceremony on October 20.

The first informal postwar Spring Dinner Party was held at the First Methodist Church on April 13, 1946; 308 attended. In addition to dinner, there was bridge, dancing, and the reading of the play, "I Remember Mama" by three School of Speech students. In May of 1947, 19 past presidents attended the dessert luncheon at Scott Hall which featured a style show by Lord's Department Store. On April 8, 1949, a series of skits was presented highlighting Franklin Bliss Snyder's 40 years on this campus, and a garnet brooch was given to Mrs. Synder. In November 1949, the Harvest Frolic was held at the Northwestern Country Club with supper followed by cards and dancing. The Spring Party of 1950 was held at the North Shore Hotel with dinner, dancing, bridge, and canasta. In 1955, the summer bridge meetings were so well attended that a 5th meeting was scheduled.


Membership continued to increase with 565 members by December of 1964. In 1956, President Mary Bertha Huxford stated, "Keeping warm our University friendships is a must in spite of high priced and hard to get sitters and of interesting full time jobs." In 1957, President Doris M. Kohn found that there had been no records of members who paid dues since 1952. The directory listed everyone showing an interest in Circle whether or not they paid dues. She sent out 1000 mimeographed booklets, "This is the University Circle," with a letter asking for support. She met with President Miller who agreed to let Circle charge any costs incurred in mimeographing and addressographing to the President's account. The Courier was now sent only to those who paid their dues and to all Newcomers. In 1965, the decision was made to include members' first names in the Directory and on future name tags.

In January of 1962, the Executive Board voted to change the fiscal year of Circle from the academic year to the calendar year. President Virginia Bosch took office in September 1961 and served until December of 1962. Then in 1964, the Circle year was changed back to the academic year. President Mary Ruth Sanderson took office in January 1965 and served until September of 1966. Payson S. Wild, Vice President and Dean of Faculties, had urged Circle to return to the academic year.

Money was collected for Settlement's Christmas Fund until 1959, when the Board decided to discontinue our support since Seftlement no longer had a connection with Northwestern. In 1962, the donation to the Northwestern YWCA was increased to $35 and to the Dames Club, $50. In 1963, the YWCA was disbanded due to lack of interest.

The Social Service Groups kept busy. In 1959, they knit afghans for VA hospitals, made bandages for the American Cancer Society, made 40 Christmas bags and crocheted edging on terry cloth to make washcloths for the Red Cross, made 2 dozen diapers for Evanston Community Hospital, and made 240 puppet costumes for Evanston Hospital.

Circle's contributions to Scott Hall were to repair the coffee urns (1958), buy silver trays (1959), allot $150 for kitchen supplies (1960), and buy 2 large pots for hot water and six stainless pitchers (1962, Guild paid 3/4 of this).

In the summer of 1960, Mrs. Joseph G. Fucilla, president, purchased a handwoven, embroidered tablecloth made of church linen, at Circle's request. President Fucilia and her husband, a professor of Italian and Spanish, were on a trip to Italy. The tablecloth was obtained from Baroness Rapisardi of Villa Bruciata in Florence, who designed all of her own patterns and sold only to American customers, because she did not want local workers to copy her patterns. Carson Pirie Scott, Chicago, Lord and Taylor, New York, and Neiman Marcus, Dallas, were among her many American customers.

Some of the social events of this decade were a Bourbon Street Party in November of 1959, an Italian Party in November of 1960, a dinner party with a variety show and male fashion show presented by husbands of members in February of 1961, and a box supper before the opening basketball game in December of 1962. The Italian Party, at the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Temple, included a scene from an opera, a violinist, Italian folk dancing, a dinner of spaghetti with meat sauce, cold cuts, Italian cheese, beans, tossed salad, French bread, Italian dessert, and coffee for $1.50 per person. The male fashion show of the 1961 dinner party had Vice President Bill Kerr and Deans Payson Wild and Ben Gotaas, among others, as models. The variety show included solos, dances (Butterfly Ballet performed by faculty members Rudy Goedsche, Bob Breen, and Jack Sissors), a satirical skit, community singing, and mood music.


This period of time in Circle's history saw a decrease in membership, from 500 members in 1966 to 247 in 1975. The dues increased to $5 in 1966. Speakers at Circle meetings received a gift with the value of about $10, and outgoing president Mary Ruth Sanderson received a gift certificate for a bowling ball. In 1968-1969, the name Newcomers was dropped so newcomers understood that they were members of Circle. Support for the Dames Club continued, and in 1975 they asked to change the name "Dames" to "Wives of Northwestern University Graduate Students"; this was approved.

In 1967-1968, the Social Service Groups (now 5 groups) made 8 hospital gowns from good secondhand shirts for the Evanston Community Hospital, 8 baby quilts, 50 bibs, 20 baby gowns, 10 pair booties, 11 pair mittens, 5 baby sweaters, 1 bonnet, and 1 pair children's scuffs for children in the Illinois Research Hospital. In 1969 they also made weight bags for use in therapy and 64 scarves for the Rehab Institute. They continued to make articles for the Rehab Institute, the Illinois Children's Hospital, and the Evanston Community Hospital, and volunteered at the Rehab Institute sorting and distributing books. In December 1969, a contribution of food was given to the Evanston Neighbors at Work. In 1974, 30 Christmas stockings were given to the Red Cross.

Several serving pieces were purchased for Scott Hall in 1967. In 1968, Circle had the ovens professionally cleaned.

A speaker at the May commencement of Northwestern in 1965 returned the $300 honorarium to Dean Wild, who gave it to Circle to be used in some way gratifying to his late wife. A silver punch bowl engraved with "Memorium to Marian Wild" was purchased. In 1974, in honor of Berenice Miller, wife of retired Chancellor J. Roscoe Miller, a large crocus bed was planted at Northwestern by Circle, other friends, and the Richard Pepper family (son-in-law).

Also in 1974, money was allocated for redecoration of the Faculty Club. Circle members volunteered to help redecorate the club and painted 122 stair spindles, and doors, fireplaces, and cupboards. They also installed curtains. The March 7, 1975 Circle Board meeting was held there so Circle's contribution could be viewed.

Creative social events enlivened this period of time, and from 1966 through 1969 these events took place at the Orrington Hotel. In March of 1966, there was "The Wild Wild Follies at Payson Place" or "Merriemaking on Miller Meadow," with cocktails sponsored by Dean Wild. The dinner and show were $5 per person. On March 11, 1967, the show was "Dr. Strange Rock or How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Lake Fill." (The filled in portion of the lake became the J. Roscoe Miller Campus.) Tickets for dinner, dancing to a band, and the show were $5.50 each. On April 20, 1968, dinner, dancing to Larry Siegal's Band, and the show, "Countdown to the Seventies or Going to Pot," cost $12 per couple with 274 reservations. The April 19, 1969 party had cocktails, dinner, show, and dancing for $6.50 per person. The show was "Follies of Fashion" or "Academic Clowns in Gowns."

The dinner theater parties from 1970 through 1974 were held at the Ivanhoe Theatre. On April 17, 1970, the play, "Time of the Cuckoo," starring Celeste Holm, was followed by dancing; 308 tickets were sold. May 7, 1971, the play, "Another Part of the Forest," starring Diane Baker, Larry Gates, and Nancy Coleman, was followed by dancing. Tickets were $10 per person, 420 attended. April 9, 1972, the play was "House of Blue Leaves," starring James Broderick. Tickets were $10 per person; 557 attended. March 4, 1973, the play was "Suddenly Last Summer," starring Sylvia Sidney and Katharine Houghton, with tickets at $10.75 per person. The following year, 1974, 383 attended; the play was "Dark at the Top of the Stairs," starring Betsy Palmer. Cocktails were hosted by Provost Raymond Mack, as usual, and tickets were $12.50 per person. The April 20, 1975 play was "Under Poppa's Picture," starring Eve Arden at the Drury Lane East, McCormick Place. Tickets were $11.50; 373 tickets were sold.


Membership was increasing, with 319 members in 1976. A kit consisting of a League of Women Voters publication, "This Is Evanston" (purchased by the Provost), the Northwestern Facts, and a discount purchase list of Evanston merchants was given to newcomers. The Graduate Student Wives group no longer existed in 1982. The Interest Groups in 1984 included Block Gallery Docents, Museum Tours, Book and Drama, Bowling, Daytime Bridge, Evening Bridge, Ethnic Neighborhoods and Cooking, International Women, Physical Fitness, and Social Service. The Directory listed the chairpersons; they were no longer chairmen.

The Social Service Groups numbered 4 and in the 1979-1980 year, they completed 11 lap robes and enough embroidered squares for a baby quilt. In 1980-1981, there were only 3 groups; they made 13 colorful lap robes and 2 scarves for the Rehab Institute. They also made 21 finger puppets (18 pigs and 3 doctors), 6 pair slippers, and 2 toys for Children's Memorial Hospital. More puppets were requested.

Members organized a Circle of Gifts fundraiser in April of 1976 at Scott Hall which raised $1700. These funds were contributed to the Northwestern University Library to purchase books in honor of Payson Wild. The April 1977 Circle of Gifts featured homemade foods, such as strawberry bread, and books, handcrafts and boutique items. The first door prize was a performance by Ray Mack's Jazz Swing Band. Some of the other prizes were a poncho set and a Holly Hobby quilt. The money raised was used to purchase works of art for the new Northwestern Fine Arts Complex. The money raised with the 1980 Circle of Gifts was used to purchase books for the African Collection in the Library in honor of Helen Strotz.

In spring of 1982, Circle accepted a gift of silver from Mary Jane Crowe appraised at $35,000. Northwestern was responsible for the silver and for insuring it.

In March of 1976, the Circle Folly, "Turn About Is Fair Play," was held in McCormick Auditorium with the setting circa 1996. This was a spoof on how things would be if women were in charge of the university; 96 attended. The April 1976 dinner theater party with "Last of the Red Hot Lovers," starring Sheila MacRae at the Drury Lane North, Marriott's Lincolnshire Resort, was $13.50 per person. The April 1977 dinner was at the Michigan Shores Club. The play was "The Circle Folly or Won't You Go Home, John Dewey!" The March 1978 dinner theater party was at the Drury Lane North, starred Susan Saint James in "Ready When You Are, C. B.!" and tickets were $14.50 per person. May 1980 brought the Spring Fling, dinner at Emmett's following the Waa-Mu show. The show, dinner, and dancing to a three piece combo was $15 per person. May 10, 1981, Mother's Day, was celebrated with a brunch at the Allen Center, cocktails hosted by Provost Ray Mack, followed by the 50th Anniversary Show of Waa-Mu. In April 1984, Circle had its first spring party in three years - Noel Coward's "Private Lives" presented by University Theatre, which was followed by a cocktail party at the Allen Center. In the summer of 1984, Circle sponsored its first Ravinia party, with approximately 55 people attending. In April of 1985, members attended a cocktail party at the Allen Center followed by a Faculty Dance Concert at the Josephine Louis Theatre.


Membership fluctuated from 279 in 1987, to 245 in 1990. In 1986, Timothy Verrilli in University Relations wrote to Circle about the importance of strengthening the bonds between the University and the Evanston community. Circle sent representatives to the first meeting of the Big 10 Organization for Faculty Wives. This conference, which would be held every two years, took place at the University of Wisconsin.

In the 1985-1986 year, the Social Service Groups made 15 baby afghans, 11 stuffed yarn dolls, 3 stuffed dolls, 5 pair mittens, 1 pair booties, 1 scarf, and 1 pair slipper sox for Children's Memorial Hospital. In 1988, there were 2 Social Service Groups; they made little dolls, including Miss Piggy, caps and booties for 3 to 5 pound babies, shoulder-warmers, and afghans. In 1990, the 2 groups made 41 items for Children's Memorial Hospital and 23 lap robes and 3 shoulder-warmers for the Rehab Institute.

In October of 1988, Circle contributed $1000 to the Myron and Muriel Bender Distinguished Summer Organic Lectureship. That year and each succeeding year, Saks Fifth Avenue gave a benefit fashion show to raise money for Circle projects. In 1988, $1,200 was donated to Block Gallery on the Evanston campus for 3 exterior planters; in 1989, $2,000 was donated to the Northwestern Library to help prepare a special reading room for the visually impaired. This facility is equipped with state of the art visual aid equipment. In 1990, $1000 was contributed for a drinking fountain in Anderson Field in support of women's sports at Northwestern.

The 1985 Circle year started with an October tea and housewalk featuring the homes of Mrs. Roscoe Miller, Mrs. Robert Strotz, and Mrs. Arnold Weber. Eighty-nine members attended. In April 1986, members enjoyed a cocktail buffet at the Allen Center, followed by Gertrude Stein's "Ida," presented by Northwestern Theatre. In May 1987, the cocktail buffet at the Allen Center was followed by the play, "The Perfect Dinner Party" at the Northlight Theater. During the summer of 1988, a picnic behind Norris Center followed by a summer band concert was so enjoyable that it started a tradition. Each member brought an appetizer to share as well as dinner for her own family. In October of that year, a tea at Edna Weber's home preceded a tour of her lovely perennial gardens.

Members toured the Sara Lee Corporation art collection in Chicago in March of 1988, the new Rice Wing of the Art Institute of Chicago in April of 1989, the Northwestern Law School in October of 1989, and Kenilworth historical sites in April of 1990.