Ladies Literary Club Building
We are proud to announce that the Ladies’ Literary Club has gifted their building located at 850 East South Temple to Utah Heritage Foundation! We are thrilled to steward this beautiful space and we are dedicated to renovating the building and restoring its original beauty while preserving the legacy of the Ladies’ Literary Club. Once renovated, Utah Heritage Foundation will operate the building as an event center for the community to use. The building is currently available on a limited basis for community events and private rentals.
The Ladies' Literary Club has been an indelible part of Utah's history since it began in 1877. They were one of the first and longest enduring women's organizations and always generously gave of their time and resources. Their historic club house located at 850 East South Temple has served as their home for the past 100 years. Read more about the club's history, their various homes, and how the club chose to donate the building to Utah Heritage Foundation.
History of Blue Tea
The Blue Tea was a women's group that started in the early 1870's in Salt Lake City by Jennie Anderson Froiseth who missed some of the intellectual privileges she had enjoyed at her former home in England. She invited a few friends, whose tastes were similar, to meet weekly in her parlor for the purpose of reading and discussing their favorite authors. The Blue Tea was essentially an exclusive literary and cultural club with membership limited to 25 members. Eliza Kirtley Royle was elected as the first vice-president and presided over meetings during Mrs. Froiseth's absence.
The name Blue Tea came from the Blue Stockings, a group of 18th century intellectuals who met in London. The Blue Stockings were defined as "serious, intellectual or scholarly women". It was said that the group in Salt Lake City was a "regular Blue-stockings gathering", and since they met over tea, it became "Blue Tea".
Among the members of the Blue Tea were a few women who believed a non-exclusive women's club was needed in Salt Lake City, not only for the literary elite, but also for women who were simply learners. These women seceded from the Blue Tea. In February 1877, three Blue Tea members and a few friends met at the home of Mrs. Tina R. Jones and organized the Ladies Literary Club for the purpose of "Literary purists and mental culture". Mrs. Royle was elected the first president, and this began the "open door" policy, placing no restrictions on education or number of members. In April, the members of the Blue Tea who had been part of the secession were expelled from the Blue Tea.
The Ladies' Literary Club members were mostly mothers with young children. They were often wives of prominent businessmen, government officials and religious leaders who had resided in Utah for only a short time. A few were single professional women, but all were said to be non-Mormons. Although no group was excluded from the membership by the club's by-laws, it was said to be common understanding that non-Mormon women being such a small minority in the territory of Utah felt a need to form a sisterly enclave.
After about two years, the Blue Tea disbanded and about 20 percent of the Blue Tea members joined the Ladies' Literary Club, although Jennie never did. Her two daughters Ethylene Perkins and Dorothy Bracken were lifelong members and both served as presidents of the Ladies' Literary Club. Jeannie Froiseth was made an honorary member in 1927 in recognition of her contributions to the women's club movement in Utah.
The ladies have held the Blue Tea and shared this history for several decades. They would use the finest silver and have a tea party to celebrate the history and founding of the Ladies' Literary Club. Utah Heritage Foundation is proud to continue on the tradition and preserve the history so vital to the club's early beginnings.
Research by Patricia Lyn Scott.