|NEW JERSEY GIRL FRIENDS, Inc.
Since the late nineteenth century when the Black women’s club movement began with the National Association of Colored
Women, thousands of women have known the value of uniting socially and civically. Women of color have united socially
to expand beyond the domestic sphere and at the same time to show responsibility and commitment to their race and
communities through the support of various charities. In keeping with this proud tradition, the New Jersey Chapter of
Girl Friends was organized in Westfield, New Jersey in 1932 with six members: Alberta Banks, who was elected president,
Fannie Vick Berryman, Mattie Jones, Ivy Lambert, Eva Langston and Lillian Jones who eventually left the group.
(Lillian, the only surviving original member, now resides in Cranford.)
Sponsored by the Philadelphia Chapter, the budding New Jersey membership came from many different towns and
counties, mostly representing the northern and central portions of the state. Hence the name New Jersey Girl Friends
was appropriate for this new, early chapter in the Girl Friends organization. New Jersey is very proud to have had one of
its charter members, Fannie Vick Berryman to be one of the signers of the "Certificate of Incorporation" in the year
1938. With the legal guidance of Baltimore Boy Friend Thurgood Marshall, who was to become the first Black Justice on
the Supreme Court, the Girl Friends organization was incorporated on September 23, 1938. The first officers, including a
New Jersey Girl Friend, were: Eunice Shreeves of New York, the National President; Alberta Banks of New Jersey who
was elected the National Vice President; Elizabeth Young of Philadelphia became the National Secretary; and Dorothy
Bostic of Baltimore was the National Treasurer.
Over the years, perhaps our Chapter's greatest contribution to Girl Friends has been the sponsorship of several chapters,
including Albany, Buffalo, Detroit and Trenton. The membership of these chapters has been a welcome addition to our
Girl Friend Family, contributing to friendliness, charm and growth within the organization and to extrinsic charitableness
and community building.
Fondest Girl Friend memories and history hark back to the first conclave held in the home of GF Connie Cotterell in New
York City. New Jersey has been the proud sponsor of several conclaves in 1935, 1950 and again in 1977. We have hosted
one Executive Meeting and several Good Neighbor parties.
New Jersey has also sponsored one National President, Marie Carpenter, one Vice President, Rebecca Kingslow, two
Secretaries, Marion West and Ivy Lambert, and Carolyn Mitchell as Chatterbox Editor. More recently, Shirley Tolentino
was elected to serve as the National Parliamentarian. At the Cleveland, Ohio meeting in May 2000, Shirley, who is a
superior court judge, was recognized as providing significant judicial leadership during an unusually complex meeting.
Although in the beginning our aims were primarily social, we have since contributed to a number of charitable and
educational causes including the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Crossroads Theatre, the Urban League and
many other groups too numerous to mention in a brief history. Traditionally we’ve met on the first Saturday of every
month, except January, July, August and September. Socially we have also enjoyed a number of lovely, exciting, and fun-
filled affairs and have included our Boy Friends in most of the galas, picnics, etc.
The accomplishments of our members are in a wide array of medical, dental, secondary and higher education, legal,
business and other areas. Over the years we're proud to have taken in new younger members and daughters of Girl
Friends. The New Jersey Chapter is also proud to be continuing in its vital and integral role in a fine and growing
organization that now has over 40 chapters throughout the United States.
In the spring of 2001, three new members accepted invitations to join the New Jersey group while a transfer Girl Friend
from the Pittsburgh chapter was also welcomed. This increased the size of the chapter to 34 members, a record number.
Another record for the group was set when seventeen chapter members traveled across country to attend the three-day
national convention hosted by the Minneapolis-St. Paul Chapter held at the City Center Marriott. These record-breaking
milestones seem appropriate for a group preparing to celebrate its 70th anniversary in 2002.
(To enlarge, click on photo or link.)
|Gala at Marina
Del Ray, New
We were organized in 1932, sponsored by Philadelphia. Fifteen friends met in each others homes once a month, which is
still the procedure. Throughout the years we have taken part in community activities and have made financial
contributions to many organizations. We were the first chapter to become life members of the NAACP. We were the
author of the Mississippi Project and contributed $1,000 to this project. We have made substantial contributions through
the years to the Legal Defence Fund, Negro College Fund, the Urban League, to To Planned Parenthood, the Leaguers,
Inc.and to many other worth-while organizations. Our chapter has produced: a National President, Marie Carpenter; a
National Vice-President, Becky Kingslow; two National Secretaries, Marion West and Ivy Lambert and a National
Charterbox Editor, Carolyn Mitchell. We have sponsored two Cotillions, presenting twenty-one charming young ladies
each time. Of the original group of charter members, five are still participating. We are happy to be the hostesses for the
50th Anniversary of the Girl Friends.
|Greetings from New Jersey Girl Friends, Inc.
The New Jersey Girl Friends welcome you to the 50th Conclave on the Boardwalk in Atlantic
City, NJ. We extend to you our friendship, fellowship and hospitality. We salute you.
It is our hope that new and lasting relationships will continue to be established, maintained
and strengthened, as we gather to celebrate 50 years of friendship.
NJ Girl Friends
Rebecca Webster Kingslow,
W is for our welcome warm and gay N is for all our lovely new members-
For all the Girl Friends in 1950 Lean Lomax, Katherine Whetmore,
We are planning lots of work and play Marbel Wiley, Darby Garret,
To make our Conclave smart and nifty. Juanita Humphries, and Reiter Thomas.
E is for entertainment that was given E is for Eva Langston and the
in honor of our new members beautiful club meetings she holds
their husbands at the beautiful club
of Carl Jones-Mattie’s husband. W is for the work Marie Carpenter did as
Chairman of a Committee to raise money
L is for the laurels we give our president, for convention. She found time, however,
Ivy Lambert, for her serious work to repeat her radio program on human relations
in promoting our regular program over Station WAAT in March and to become the
while planning for our coming Conclave. secretary of the Board of Directors of the
Y.W.C.A. in Jersey City.
C is for our vivacious Connie Pate
who became Mrs. George Hayes J is for the happy journey the
and the first Negro to be appointed New Jersey Girl Friends took to enjoy
to the public schools in East Orange, lunch and cocktails with the New York
New Jersey. Brooklyn and Philadelphia Chapters-
the first in a series of Neighborhood Meetings.
O is for our orchid to Mildred McDougald
a wonderful mother, wife, and faithful E is for the effort Doris Wheeler makes to
Girl Friend who still finds time for get the Jersey City Girls to meetings
much community service. on time.
M is for Mary Mickey now the mother R is for the long, long rides we
of a beautiful baby girl - Sharon- take in New Jersey to get to meetings.
and for Marion, Mattie, May, and Maxine. We sometimes travel sixty miles on a round trip!
E is for the effort made by us all
to get down to the “business of S is for the “Sales talk” mailed to all
the day”- convention, F.E.P.C., the members by our president this year.
Card Party, Neighborhood Party, and It created new enthusiasm and grove
a new Chapter Constitution! us to greater efforts
T is for the thought that went into E is for the excellent rating we
the writing of a new constitution- give our corresponding secretary,
one we all feel we will support. lovely Inel Neals.
O is for our other orchid to the Y is for You - Girl Friends everywhere.
New York Chapter for their wonderful We hope to make the New Jersey
Neighborhood Party at Hotel Theresa in convention a great one for you in
New York. 1950.
Cynthia Sinclair, 1950
Note: Text was taken directly from Chatterbox, 50th Anniversary Issue. New Jersey was the host chapter in 1977.
|New Jersey Girlfriends,Inc., Officers 2009-2010:
PRESIDENT - MARJORIE RICH
Vice President - Ruby Sampson
Recording Secretary - Margaret Haynes
Corresponding Secretary - Carolyn Tinsley Rice
Treasurer - Sharon Harris
Parliamentarian - Shirley Tolentino
Sargent at Arms - Maeble Hairston
Historian - Frankie Hutton O'Meally
Chatterbox Editors - Costello Mahan / Maxine Owens
December 5, 2009
NEW HISTORICAL INITIATIVE 2010-2011
Report of the Ad Hoc Historical Committee
As per request of NJGF President Marj Rich
Co-Chairs: Frankie Hutton O’Meally and Valerie Branch Jackson;
Committee Members: B. Coleman, D. Douglass, G. Jackson & L. Matthews, L. Bowie.
Committee’s Purpose: to develop and implement procedures for recovering, recording, cataloguing and updating NJGF’
s cultural, social and service history. To work in conjunction with Records Retention Committee, Chaired by T. Neals.
What we have right now in historic preservation:
1.Produced and coordinated by GF Frankie, we have now a website that provides a quick, easy access to Chapter
history. The site contains brief Chapter history; list of current officers, a few historical pictures and other selected
information such as our Hurrican Katrina victim family support project and GF Juanita Humphrey’s mega contribution to
the GF Fund. The site is intended as a quick reference for guests to various chapter-sponsored events, for our families
and other interested parties. www.njgirlfriends.com
(The website has thus far been free to the Chapter and a gift from GF Frankie)
2. Archives at Schomberg that have been catalogued recently, including 5 boxes of records, mostly minutes, invitations
to various events and past Chatterbox issues through 2004. (It took several years to get these records catalogued
because there is inadequate archival staff there and at practically all libraries…)
3. One large plastic bin of various chapter archives, including minutes, financial records spanning about 50 years.
There is no chronological sequence to these records at the moment. The records are incomplete.
4. Several flashdrives of 75 years of chapter history in over 200 pictures scanned for the 75th gala event by Chapter
President Marj has been given one of the flash drives; Maeble Harriston provided her own flash drive and Frankie
supplied her with the file.
5. One short DVD film of a GF party at Sag Harbor, New York as per old film footage provided by GF Daisy Douglas.
Footage was shot by BF Fred Douglass; GF Frankie retrieved the film and had it converted to DVD. Cost to Chapter
was approximately $100.
Work Commitments Made by Members of the Committee:
Gwen Jackson has taken the responsibility to sort and scan and catalogue archival records submitted to her by various
chapter members and those in her possession. She will begin this work late in the Spring or Summer (2010). To ensure
the success of this commitment by Gwen, each GF’s who has archival-worthy material should begin sorting materials in
their possession and submitting it to Gwen.
Valerie Jackson has taken the responsibility to begin an Oral History endeavor of interviewing senior members of the
chapters and any others who feel they have interesting historical memories that they’d like to share. Valerie will set up
procedures for this endeavor and will notify chapter members, if they wish to participate. GF’s who wish to be
interviewed should contact Valerie.
Linda Williams Bowie, a professional librarian and a new member of the committee, has offered a model form to be
modified as necessary and filled out by each member of the chapter so has to provide a brief resume of chapter
members professional background, family history and civic or humanitarian work, etc. Some members of the Committee
think we should make a commitment to fill out such a form and provide this information to Gwen who will make it part of
her Scan and Catalogue mission.
III. Things to think about in order to Advance the Historic Preservation effort:
1. There ought to be a budget line, perhaps, $500-$700, to purchase flash drives and or portable hard drives, ink
cartridges, acid proof boxes, etc.; high quality tape recorder, blank CDs etc.--- whatever Gwen and Valerie need for
their work. Copies of whatever archival preservation they accomplish would be presented to several members of the
executive officers, including the Historian. Thus approximately 5 copies of flash drives or hard drives and audio CDs
would be distributed to chapter officers.
2. The archives already available at Schomberg (5 boxes) have been available for 2 years and no one has asked to see
them or use them since they were catalogued. Schomburg and other research facilities are short staffed, archival
processing takes very long periods and there is lessened interest in the kind of archives that may have been of interest
25 years ago. Special collections/ Archives all over the United States have cut back on all but archives of “hot”
dignitaries, organizations, etc. Thus, we ought to be carefully selective about what we submit. Chatterbox issues are
3. In order for the work that Gwen (scanning and cataloging archives beginning this Spring/Summer) and Valerie (Oral
History Project) have agreed to do to be successful, Chapter members must be supportive and cooperate fully when
called upon. It’s a good idea for Senior members of the Chapter to begin to jot down thoughts or make outlines of key
points they’d like to impact on audio tape when Valerie begins recording next year. Likewise, each chapter member who
has gf’s archives, must given some thought to organizing those archives and presenting them to Gwen in some
chronlological fashion so has to facilitate Gwen’s work.
4. Barbara Bell Coleman has suggested that the opinion of an outside historian (such as Clement Price) might be
valuable as we make decisions about how much effort to put into preservation of Chapter archives. When it is
convenient, Barbara will try to arrange a meeting with Price to tell him of the Chapter’s concern for historic preservation
and to get suggestions from him. She will report back to the Committee.
Respectfully Submitted by:
Frankie Hutton O’Meally, Chapter Historian
And C0-Chair, Historical Ad Hoc Committee, 12/ 5/2009