University City, Missouri: American Woman's League, 1910.
Single sheet of cream stock, 8.5 x 11 inches, with affixed red seal blindstamped "June 11, 1910." Decorative border, photographic "watermark" behind the text. Filled out for one Cora B. Cramer of Monterey, California. Horizontal creasing, staple holes at the upper left corner, original receipt detached from lower edge (not present), else about fine.
Enterprising publisher Edward Gardner Lewis established the American Woman's League—an organization that promoted educational cultural and business opportunities for women—in University City, Missouri in 1907. To drum up business--and also because he had a genuine interest in women's rights and other social reforms--Lewis offered free membership in the League to any woman who sold $52 worth of subscriptions to his various magazines, which included Woman's Magazine and Woman's Farm Journal. Supported by these sales, the League offered women a variety of social and educational opportunities and included a correspondence school, savings bank, and service organizations that provided for the homeless and for orphans. Benefits were available to all paid members at no cost. By 1910, there were reportedly 700 chapters and approximately 100,000 members. Each member would have been awarded a certificate like this one, which features photographs of League Chapter Houses in Edwardsville, Illinois and Lebanon, Missouri and the Woman’s Magazine Building and Press Annex and Woman’s National Daily Building, both in University City. Despite the numbers apparently issued, few of these certificates appear to have survived.