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'Century Chest' reveals Oklahoma women's club collection

The Philomathea Club recently unearthed a time capsule buried in 1913. Inside were perfectly preserved documents of the time.
BY STACEY RIST ALLEN, For The Oklahoman Modified: October 28, 2013 at 1:02 am •  Published: October 28, 2013

Members of the Philomathea Club, the oldest women's club on record in Oklahoma, unearthed their portion of a “century chest” on a recent Friday at a lunch meeting at the Oklahoma History Center.

The Century Chest, buried 100 years ago at First Lutheran Church in downtown Oklahoma City, was opened this past April, revealing all sorts of Indian relics, documents, letters, newspapers, audio recordings and many photos.

The Philomathea Club was founded in 1891 for “mutual improvement through general education and literary work,” as stated in the club's constitution.

Philomathea, derived from the Greek language, meaning love of learning, was evident in the faces of the women around the conference table as they anticipated hearing and seeing what the women of early 1900s had to share with them.

Bob Blackburn, executive director of the Oklahoma Historical Society, and Chad Williams, the society's director of research, revealed the letters and photos using an overhead projector.

One item shared was the women's club constitution from 1913 that looked remarkably similar in shape and content to the one of 2013.

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