The Fortnightly Club in Vincennes is an educational, social, and humanitarian club for women. Before women were allowed to vote (1917 in Indiana, 1920 nationally), clubs and organizations were the only accepted way for women to take an active role in social reform. Such groups hoped to influence social reform in housing, education, and healthcare. Indiana was home to some of the earliest women’s clubs, notably the Minerva Club in New Harmony that was established in 1859. The peak years for club membership nationally were 1915-1925.
Fortnightly clubs were started all over the country but there was no link on the state or national level. The name referred to the fact that meetings were held twice a month (“fortnightly”). Indianapolis founded a Fortnightly Club in 1889 while the early Indianapolis suburb Irvington created one in 1897. The Vincennes Fortnightly Club was founded in 1890 and they met at the public library, city hall, and the YMCA. The focus of the Vincennes club was on the arts of living including literature, art, music, and the home. The Vincennes Fortnightly Club joined the Indiana State Federation of Women’s Clubs in hopes of uniting women’s clubs in the hope of social betterment for all.
In 1915, the Club purchased a private residence as its clubhouse. When the Club began to outgrow the space they started a fundraising campaign. By 1928, the Fortnightly Club was able to gather the necessary fund and hired Sutton and Routt to construct a new clubhouse. Inside were a reception room, meeting room, restrooms, 420-seat auditorium, and kitchen to serve 150. Originally there was a small apartment for the caretaker, but this space is now used for storage and extra kitchen facilities. The Vincennes Fortnightly Club continues to meet twice per month.