The Tuesday Morning Musical Club

Lucy Merril, Mary Eilbracht, Carol Holden (French horn), and Betty Berry, at the home of Mrs. Harold Iles (Bessie Iles), 1962

The Tuesday Morning Musical Club has always been centered around music, but over time it has shifted in scope: members used to sing and perform operas, for example. Image from Tuesday Morning Musical Club Records, 1898-2014, series 1, Sousa Archives and Center for American Music, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 

The Tuesday Morning Musical Club was founded in October 1914 and is still going today, making it over one hundred years old. It is a music performance club for women, by women, started by five female musicians who resided in Champaign County. All of the founders had been formally trained in music and were performers or teachers. According to the club's 1983 history, its interesting name came from a Nebraskan musical club that one of these founders had belonged to.

“The purpose of the club was to advance the interests and promote the culture of musical art in our community and to promote the mutual improvement of its members," proclaimed club member Mrs. Lloyd Morey in 1952 (during a large part of the club's history, members were written about under their husband's names only). “One does not become a musician and performer by wishing yesterday that he could play or sing well today. The price is much dearer; the price one pays for performing is to keep everlastingly at it.” 

Activities of this club throughout its history have comprised of a junior club for high school students (1923-63), a "Five-Five Plan" that donated a $5 music book or score to the Music Library at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Christmas and Spring public performances, offering scholarships, and regular meetings on Tuesdays where members perform music from famous, contemporary, and local composers. Tuesday Morning Musical Club members have included college professors, Julliard School alumni, professional performers, and a famous braille author and music transcriber. However, club membership is still restricted to women - according to a 2013 article from The News-Gazette, "...there was an attempt to include males, but it failed by one vote."

The photographs on this page were provided by the Sousa Archives and Center for American Music at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. To learn more about their collection of Tuesday Morning Musical Club records, please see here

Holiday Concert Invitation, 1938
Holiday Concert Photograph, 1938

An invitation from and photograph of the 1938 Tuesday Morning Musical Club holiday concert. Images from Tuesday Morning Musical Club Records, 1898-2014, series 3, Sousa Archives and Center for American Music, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Tuesday Morning Musical Club