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Celebrating Accomplishments and Anniversaries: The Junior League of Saginaw

“A time of celebration will be the monthly luncheon meeting of the Junior League of Saginaw, Wednesday noon, when the League, formerly the Service Club, will meet for its first session as a member of the Association of Junior Leagues of America. The organization was notified of its acceptance into the national association on Friday. The luncheon and business session will begin at 1:00 p.m. Wednesday and will take place at the Saginaw Club.” (The Saginaw Sunday News, February 11, 1934.)


“Fifty Years of Service to Saginaw will be celebrated this month by the Junior league of Saginaw, Inc.


Last week the league hosted a reception at the Saginaw Historical Museum, highlighted by the presentation of $50,000 to the recently established Saginaw Community Foundation.”  (The Saginaw News, February 14, 1984.)


As we were searching for this week’s recipe, we chose one from the Junior League of Saginaw – a perfect choice for a week in which the Saginaw Community Foundation celebrated the 40th anniversary of its founding. The founding of the Sagianw Community Foundation was directly linked to the 50th anniversary celebration of the Saginaw Junior League receiving its charter.

This early description of the Saginaw Junior League and its activities is from a program for the Junior League Follies of 1936:


“THE JUNIOR LEAGUE OF SAGINAW is presenting for your approval "Bermuda Bound" and takes this opportunity to give you a few facts about the organization which you are supporting tonight. The Association of Junior Leagues of America is composed of 142 Leagues throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico, all having the same purpose, that of fostering interest among their members in the social, economic, educational, cultural and civic conditions of their communities and giving efficient volunteer service. It is non-political and non-sectarian and is not affiliated with any other group of any kind. The 28,000 young women who are members of the Association are seriously endeavoring to fit themselves through training and active work to become intelligent citizens and to assist in promoting community welfare.

There are 82 members of the Saginaw League. All of the active members are required to engage in some continuous form of community service. Local welfare agencies are consulted concerning their need for volunteer workers, since, through the assistance of volunteers, the professional may be free to work on more specialized tasks. Volunteer service to be efficient must be dependable. Through our placement system each member is interviewed to ascertain her qualifications for different types of work and is given training to enable her to perform her chosen work well. As the various agencies usually ask for workers for a definitely scheduled time each week, every volunteer who is assigned to a regular job for the year is required to keep her appointment or provide a qualified substitute.


Among the agencies whose requests for volunteers have been filled are Saginaw General and St. Mary's Hospitals where library books are distributed to the patients, and recreational periods are held in the Children's Wards. Clerical assistance is given the pre-natal clinic at Saginaw General and the three well baby clinics and the dental clinics conducted by the Saginaw Health Department. Other welfare agencies who receive volunteer service are the Canteen, the Y. W. C. A., the Homestead and the Needle Work Guild. Junior League members work in the Welfare League drive, the Red Cross Roll Call and the sale of anti-tuberculosis seals.


The Community Center in the First Ward was established by the Junior League six years ago and, until it was taken over by the Welfare League this year, was maintained and operated by the Junior League. We continue to furnish volunteer workers and make a substantial contribution to the Welfare League for the maintenance of the service.


Our latest undertaking is conducting handicraft classes for the handicapped children at the Handley School. These children come from the deaf class, the sight saving room and the crippled classes. Some of the children are quite talented and it is hoped that with capable instruction they may learn some craft which will make them at least partially self supporting when they leave school.


Our Arts Committee endeavors to bring to Saginaw interesting speakers and exhibits and to organize study groups for League members.


The aim of the Children's Theatre Committee is, through the presentation of plays for children, to provide them with an outlet for their imaginative and creative gifts and to develop in them an artistic appreciation and discrimination. The purpose is to fill a civic need and is not in any sense considered a money raising project.


Money raised by the Junior League from the public is spent only for community welfare. All League operating expenses, including conferences, are covered by the dues of the members.


The Junior League of Saginaw wishes to express its deep appreciation to every member of the cast of "Bermuda Bound", to those business firms which have cooperated so splendidly and to each one of you for your encouraging support. We earnestly feel that our work has been of value to Saginaw and that with your continued interest and understanding we may be of greater service.



Over the past nine decades the Junior League of Saginaw – now joined with other communities to become the Junior League of the Great Lakes Bay Region - has impacted numerous facets of Saginaw. The organization has provided leadership and staffing to numerous community projects. Laying the foundation for new projects and supporting existing ones. Their work has been critical to the vitality of Saginaw.


One of the Saginaw Junior League's early efforts, First Ward Community Center, serves as an example of how vision, leadership and support created a foundation for an institution that has thrived and grown:


The birth of First Ward Community Center can be traced to 1930 and 1931 when the Junior League, then known as the Service Club of Saginaw, opened a community house and clinic. The program grew quickly and became part of the precursor of the United Way, The Saginaw Welfare League. In January 1936 Edith Bailey was named the first director of First Ward Community Center and the next year it moved into a refurbished building that had housed the former nightclub known as the Cotton Club.


In the early 1940s increased attendance drove the need for a new center. Wartime material restrictions prevented construction, but the problem was solved by moving two barracks from the National Youth Administration Camp, and a new center was opened at 1410 N. 12th.


A 1961 Saginaw News article published when First Ward Community Center was celebrating a quarter century of service noted that “The 25 year history of the First Ward Community Center cannot be told simply by stating dates, names or locations. Rather it is an accumulation of things…” and then continued to list the objects symbolizing the breadth of the center’s programs. These ranged from equipment in the clinic, works demonstrating the accomplishments of the alumni of the center and a ball of clay still waiting to be “molded by some youngster’s fingers.”


This is just one example of how the Junior League of Saginaw’s efforts have blossomed and inspired others.


This link will take you a more complete history of the Junior League of Saginaw


The Recipe – Adapted from the “Saginaw Junior League Tea Cozy Specials”: Chicken filling for a Tea Sandwich


This week’s recipe is from a photocopied sheet of recipes found in the Jean Beach cookbook collection. Jean inscribed Saginaw Junior League on the top margin of the copy. Jean was the co-author of Savoring Saginaw, the cookbook published by the Castle Museum and was a member of the Junior League of Saginaw.


This recipe was found under the heading “Tea Cozy Specials.”    The introduction to the recipe notes:  “Also, many people wanted to know where to purchase the silver dollar rolls or mini-hamburger buns. They were ordered from Sebald’s bakery.”  As Sebald’s is no longer open, we decided to use the filling to create a classic open-faced tea sandwich. The original recipe was simply the ingredients, the CTK added the preparation and garnish.


Chicken Filling:


1 C. chicken [we used boiled chicken, finely diced]                         

4 T. Miracle Whip                         

1/3 C celery chopped fine                                                                    

¼ t seasoned salt [omitted by CTK]                                                                  

1 T. Onion, chopped fine                                                                       1 T. Walnuts, chopped  


Optional garnish: possibilities include parsley leaves, chives, or edible flower petals.

Thinly sliced bread. We used Pepperidge Farm Extra Thin..

Prepare and mix ingredients. Using a cutter, cut out disks of bread. Spread with filling and garnish.

1 Comment

What a great vision for community service. I wonder if my grandmother took part in their handicrafts at Handley School. She contracted polio as a child, and attended Handley due to her withered leg.

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