The Engineers' Wives Club was organized May 26, 1955 by wives of engineers working in beautiful Polk County, Florida. It was felt that wives who were often left alone while their engineer husbands worked long hours, sometimes in foreign lands, needed the support of friends who would understand their unique situation.
When the club was originally formed, some thought it should be an auxiliary of the local branch of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers but it was quickly decided to include wives of all kinds of engineers and scientists.
In 1955, Governor Adlai Stevenson told the Graduates of Smith College that in modern America the home is not the boundary of a woman’s life. There are “outside activities aplenty.” And that “it’s a woman’s job to keep her man straight on the differences between Botticelli and Chianti.” In 1955, the Dean of Penn State’s Engineering College said, “Women are NOT for engineering,” and that women lacked the basic capacities to become engineers. And, because engineers spent relatively little time with their wives, engineers working in the college should not be tempted with the idea of allowing women into the department. But women are more than wives and wine stewards (although knowing where to find a good Chianti isn’t a bad thing). In 1955, a few engineer wives organized a club with the intention of supporting one another as well as the community. And support our community we have. Since our inception, EWC has donated over $55,500 in scholarships to deserving local engineering students.
Now, sixty years later, we have broadened our organization by including women engineers - a career path that was unheard of in 1955. And with our new inclusive name, we will continue our journey growing relationships between ourselves and our community as a group of even more vibrant and diverse women. These are the exact same goals that the ladies envisioned on May 26, 1955.
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