Twelve members of the Travel Club resigned and formed the Castalian Club at the home of Sara Hart in Bloomington, Illinois, on November 23, 1925.
It was a women’s literary club that lasted until 1988. For the most part, meetings were held on the first and third Tuesday of every month during the club’s season, which lasted from October through May. A typical member hosted a meeting in one year and presented a paper on a designated theme the following year.
The themes ranged from Nobel Prize Winners to Scandinavian Countries to the American Theatre. Members talked about current events, the club’s constitution and by-laws, and payment of dues, and held yearly elections of officers. The officers were the president, vice-president, and secretary-treasurer. There were also calendar, membership, courtesy, and nominating committees. The club rotated officeholders and committee members on a yearly basis.
Illinois Wesleyan Dean William Wallis, a spouse of one of the members, suggested the club’s name. The name refers to a fountain on Mt. Parnassus near Delphi, Greece, or as the poet Ovid called it, the “spring of Castalia.” Sacred to Apollo and the Muses, those who drank from the spring were to be endowed with the gift of poetry.
The Castalian Club collection consists of the club’s minutes, yearly programs, final savings account book, day book, club roster, list of club officers, a fifty-year history, letters, obituaries, newspaper articles, copies of the club’s constitution, and a sample program and invitation to join the club and more.