Austin Ladies Floral Club
The Floral Club maintains a close contact with the activities of the library through its meetings. All fund raising is done to benefit the library. Regular contributions are made to the library foundation to honor past members. The group has a history of many benefit events, some where patrons can purchase a book for the library while enjoying lunch and a program. We meet at the library September through May.
September, December, and May agenda: 1pm social time, 1:30pm program, 2pm meeting.
Other months agenda: 4pm social time, 4:30pm program, 5pm meeting.
The Ladies Floral Club of Austin was created in 1869 by 13 women “….to benefit themselves and the public by
developing taste and skill in floriculture and to collect books which my prove to be the term of a ladies circulating
library.” Meetings were spend discussing their own expertise in floriculture and “any materials in print concerning
such.” While the club has since abandoned their efforts regarding floriculture, we have persisted in supporting the
Austin Public Library. We believe we are the oldest women’s club in Minnesota and the second oldest in the U.S.
The name of the club has been maintained to honor the efforts of our founders.
One of the first activities of this newly formed club was to hold a floral show as part of a fund-raiser to purchase
books. Only eight months after being established, the group opened the city’s first library consisting of 231
volumes. During the ensuing years, the library was moved from home to home of members. As the library
increased its book volume, the group determined that a permanent location should be found. When a new county
courthouse was constructed in 1884, a room in the basement was provided for the city’s first designated library.
In 1904, the club decided to concentrate on issues other than floriculture and began to conduct programs that
covered the history and geography of the United States. These civic-minded individuals became involved in
numerous community improvement projects, including helping with funding for construction of a new Carnegie
Library that opened in 1904. Any funds accrued over and above the expenses of the club were to be used to
support this new library and for other civic purposes. In 1923, the Floral Club established a foundation for the
benefit of the library that is managed by the library director and the library board. The club has 501(c)3 status.
The club continues to pursue literary and social-related programs in the city and provides financial and personal
support to Austin’s Public Library made possible through many efforts by members. The group’s long-time
association with the area’s literary needs has been recognized in the city’s new library which opened in 1996 along
the banks of the Red Cedar River. A large crest has been inlaid in the floor of the lobby of the facility honoring the
Ladies Floral Club for its service to the community.