Founded in 1908, the original purpose of The Congressional Club was to provide a non-partisan setting for friendships among the spouses of members of the House and Senate in Washington, D.C. Although the scope of the Club and the breadth of its activities have increased over the years, its purpose remains the same.
The first President of the Club, Mrs. James B. Perkins of New York, and her Board decided to seek a Congressional Act of Incorporation. On May 20, 1908, Mrs. John Sharp Williams, wife of the House Minority Leader who was opposed to the Act, invited her husband to lunch. While they were dining, the House of Representatives passed the Act unanimously. The Congressional Club, with ninety-five members, became the official organization of Congressional wives. From the beginning, the Club has been self-supporting.
An active member is the spouse of a sitting or former Member of Congress, Supreme Court Justice, or Member of the President's Cabinet; and once a member, always a member, upon payment of annual dues. Associate membership is only open to active members' adult children or spouses of adult children.
The Congressional Club publishes a beautiful cookbook containing recipes of the spouses of Members, Supreme Court Justices, Cabinet Secretaries and Ambassadors.
The activities of the Club have changed over the years. What was once a weekly program tea is now a bi-monthly luncheon featuring well-known speakers, musicians, and personalities. Red Cross work has been succeeded by Community Services. The Children's Party has become the family holiday party in December. Founder's Day is celebrated each year on or near the March 4th anniversary date. The Club's largest social event is the annual First Lady's Luncheon, honoring the First Lady.
The Congressional Club is rich in history and tradition, and continues to be a source of great pride to its members.