A Brief History of the Potomac Women's Republican Club from 1958 to 1973
By Carole Joseph and Gail Weiss
The PWRC was organized in April of 1958 at the request of Madelyn Allen of the MCFRW. The organization meeting was held at the home of Violet Gravelle on Bradley Blvd.
Mary Jane Heitmuller was elected as the first president, and was followed in that office by Violet Stone, Tilly Coleman, Anita Bogley, Marilyn Morrison, Ruth Livingston, Gini Gustafson, and Jean Roesser.
The Club participated in campaign and financial activities for presidential, state, and county Republican candidates. As an adjunct to the “Re-elect the President” campaign of 1972, a youth program was sponsored by the federation and implemented by youth chairman Rachel Dart. A Republican Information Center was set up in Montgomery Mall for four months prior to the close of voter registration in October. Also an extensive telephone survey of Montgomery County high school seniors was made which resulted in hundreds of new Republican registrants.
We have attended all county, regional, state, and national meetings by funding the attendance of two to four members to these events. Club members work on a regular basis at the headquarters. We have assisted with presidential inaugurations and have helped with Vice President Agnew’s mail. Club awards have included the Gold, White Oak, and Oriole awards given by the state and national federations of Republican women. Our Club won the state membership award in 1972.
Public service activities have included the formation of Women on Watch, a court watching program instigated by Club members Mary Drury, Ruth Livingston, and Marian Mattingly. Their work culminated in state approval of a more than a half a million dollar detention center for juveniles in Montgomery County. Another public service activity was the knitting of 40 afghans for donation to cancer patients under the direction of Bebe Calvert.
Guest speakers have included Mrs. George Romney, Mrs. William P. Rogers, Mrs. Earl Butz, Mrs. Ilona Massey Dawson, Mrs. Jane Hanks, Senators Brock, Mathias and Beall, Congressman Gude, Hogan and DuPont and Montgomery County Executive James Gleason.
Fundraisers included art shows, international buffets, card parties and raffles. From 42 charter members, the club grew in fifteen years to 185 members by the year 1973.
Over the intervening years, the club size has varied. Today PWRC has nearly 200 members. Find out more at Potomac Women’s Republican Club’s website: https://pwrcmoco.wpcomstaging.com/
There are also three other RWCs in Montgomery County currently - Chevy Chase, Upper Montgomery and Rural. Find out more about them here - https://mcfrw.org/newsite/
Contributed by Carole Joseph and Gail Weiss of the PWRC.