Caroline Curtis Brown - Click to enlarge
According to the "FAWCO Red History Book - 70 Years of FAWCO 1931-2001", The Federation of American Women's Clubs in Europe came into being in the spring of 1931, evolving later into the Federation of American Women's Club Overseas, or FAWCO. Like all ideas, it started with a dream, a vision put into reality through practical application by the right person at the right time. That right person was Caroline Curtis Brown, who served as President of the AWC of London for many years and the right time was brought about by the then current social and political circumstances.
Caroline Curtis Brown had made her own Club, the AWC of London, an outstanding organization of 1,500 members, with a magnificent clubhouse and a thriving community service program. Convinced that members of similar Clubs shared a special experience by living overseas, Caroline was confident that the members could also be instrumental in promoting awareness of the needs and problems in countries other than their own. With equal dedication and vision, Caroline worked towards making the Federation a reality. Supported by colleagues, and especially encouraged by the President of the Berlin Club and other American Women's Clubs leaders in Europe, ten of the existing European clubs were invited to send representatives to London to discuss the Federation concept. This concept would address the goal of working towards international goodwill, the preservation of world peace, problems common to Club members and aiding women whose citizenship rights were being ignored or restricted. Clubs in Antwerp, Berlin, Paris, The Hague, Vienna and Zurich accepted her invitation and sent representatives to this meeting at the AWC of London clubhouse in May 1931. They decided to establish some form of organization and Berlin was chosen as the site for a Conference dedicated to working toward creating the Federation.
The Federation's Charter specifically stated as its primary objective the furtherance of international peace, guaranteed the autonomy of each Member Club and proposed an annual meeting that would be hosted by a different Club each year. The Federation concerned itself with the furtherance of international peace, the Equal Rights Bill in the United States and citizenship status for American women married to non-Americans. More immediate issues were education of their children in Europe and a scholarship program.
As we approached the 75th anniversary of the founding of FAWCO, it seemed appropriate to think of how we could fittingly mark three-quarters of a century of serving members and their families overseas. It also seemed appropriate to salute the woman whose original vision was to form the federation.
The 2003-2005 FAWCO Board and the FAWCO Counselors created The Founder's Circle. The Founder's Circle not only honors Caroline Curtis Brown, it also gives members the opportunity to support FAWCO's goals and ideals by supporting the federation's continuing work in fields that have always been important to FAWCO. Contributions and bequests to the Founder's Circle will be used to help our task forces and liaisons, as well as the board, pursue FAWCO's work on its priority issues of defending the rights of all Americans overseas and contributing actively to education, the natural and human environment, multicultural understanding and international goodwill.
For information on becoming a member of the Founder's Circle, please visit our Donations Tiers page.
Thanks go to AWC of London Club President Judy K., FAWCO Rep Kitty C. and FAWCO 2nd VP Kathleen S. for their help in providing us with the portrait of founder Caroline Curtis Brown . The portrait was debuted at the 2004 Interim Conference hosted by AWC of The Hague and will be prominently displayed at future FAWCO Conferences.