Perhaps it was a slow news week.
More likely, a Westport Woman’s Club member’s husband was a high-ranking Life Magazine staffer.
Whatever the reason, on August 11, 1947 America’s leading photo magazine featured the organization in a 2-page spread.
Describing the town of 8,258 just 45 minutes from Manhattan, Life said Westport “pleasantly combines the character of New England and the up-to-date bustle of a commuting population.”
Like most American towns, Life noted, Westport has a woman’s club. But ours had “little time for lectures, cards and teas.”
Instead — already 40 years old — the Westport Woman’s Club had transformed our “once somnolent” town through good works: organizing and funding street signs, public drinking fountains, garbage collections and trash cans, playgrounds, sidewalks, street lights, hot lunches in schools, and lifesaving equipment and a pavilion at Compo Beach.
Now, Life said, the club was focused on a visiting nurse service, free milk for underprivileged children and a free dental clinic. They also provided over $1,000 in scholarships each year.
With 693 members — but annual dues of only $3 — members relied on the Yankee Doodle Fair to fund those projects. The 1947 event raised $18,000, with attractions like a merry-go-round, dart games, pony rides, and a raffle with prizes including cars, washing machines, luggage, watches and cases of scotch.
More than 70 years later, the Westport Woman’s Club — and Yankee Doodle Fair — are still going strong.
Which is more than can be said for Life magazine.
(Hat tip: Paul Ehrismann)