Enduring success: Warren Shakespeare Club celebrates 140 years of literary tradition

From left are Judy Champlin, Darlene Schultz-John, President-Elect Ruby Stone, and Karen Austin.

The Warren Shakespeare Club is proud to announce the celebration of its 140th anniversary on Feb. 25. Founded in 1884, the Warren Shakespeare Club is a historic institution dedicated to the exploration and appreciation of the works of William Shakespeare in Warren, Pennsylvania. With a tradition spanning 140 years, the club continues to foster a sense of community and literary enthusiasm among its members.

Founded at the residence of Judge and Mrs. Rasselas E. Brown, the Warren Shakespeare Club initially comprised 17 co-ed members which over the next few months increased to 40 members. Today, the club continues to thrive with 38 members, committed to attending weekly meetings during the reading and dining season from November thru February. From those early days of meeting at members’ homes, the club has convened for the last 81 years in the historic Waters family mansion built in 1872, now owned by the Warren Woman’s Club.

Remarkably, the club has met continuously for 14 decades, not missing an evening’s meeting, while weathering blizzards, floods, wars, depressions, personal tragedies, blackouts, and the advent of television. The club also survived the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic and the social distancing of more than one year of the recent Covid pandemic. The programming continued via Zoom.

The enduring success of the Warren Shakespeare Club is attributed to its unique formula of reading Shakespeare plays, a modern play, and presentation of individual programs. Celebratory evenings at Christmastide, the club’s birthday anniversary, and an original entertainment at season’s end round out the programming. The members’ adherence to the club’s formal traditions has truly stood the test of time.

While enjoying a familial bond, the Warren Shakespeare Club has maintained a quiet presence in the community. However, the club recognizes the value of sharing some of its remarkable history in the spirit of celebrating 140 years of literary camaraderie.

Parties interested in membership information may reach the club at warrenshakespeareclub@gmail.com.


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