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“N” is for New Era Club

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“N” is for New Era Club. Founded in Spartanburg in 1912, the New Era Club began disguised as a study group. Thirty Spartanburg women founded the club, they said, “to stimulate interest in civic affairs and to advance the industrial, legal, and educational rights of women and children.” They met twice monthly to discuss education, public health, and domestic issues. They also sponsored a section in the Spartanburg Herald featuring pro-suffrage articles. In January 1914, the club publicly declared its true purpose as a suffrage group. Soon after, Charleston and Columbia had suffrage clubs. In May 1914 all three clubs (with four hundred members) united as the South Carolina Equal Suffrage League. The New Era Club lasted only a short time but was significant as the nucleus of South Carolina’s first statewide women’s suffrage organization.

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Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar received his B.A. degree from Davidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.